Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda all agreed to wait until after dinner to visit Matt in the Hospital Wing the next day. They had the afternoon off, but Kaden didn't, and he wanted to come along. Kaden seemed even happier now that he was no longer excluded from anything that Albus did. Gone were the days where Albus would be able to sneak off to the Room of Requirement without Kaden, now that he knew about the room. Of course, Albus supposed he could just ask the room not make itself noticeable to Kaden, but Kaden could probably guess that he was in there anyway.
"You have to be quiet in the Hospital Wing, Kaden," Albus explained as they walked there after dinner, "Or else Madam Pomfrey will throw you out."
"I'll be quiet," Kaden assured him.
Albus pushed open the door and everyone followed him inside. Madam Pomfrey was pouring a bluish potion into a bottle and looked up when she saw Albus and his friends enter. She raised her eyebrow and peered at Kaden curiously.
"He knows now," Albus explained when he saw the nurse's curious look.
"Huh," Madam Pomfrey shook her head, "You'd better keep it quiet, Kaden. Don't go telling the whole school about it."
"I won't," Kaden sighed, "Why does everyone think I will?"
"Because they know you," Albus smirked, "Now let's go."
Albus led his friends over to the only occupied bed and pulled back the curtains. Matt was awake, but he looked exhausted as usual.
"Hey, how are you?" Albus asked.
"All right," Matt replied.
Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda crowded around Matt's bed like usual, but Kaden had frozen in place and was staring at Matt. For the first time in his life, he was speechless.
"What's with you, Kaden?" Matt asked.
Kaden shook his head and then went over to the bed. "Er, nothing. I just didn't really expect, well..." Kaden gestured to Matt's arm, which was bandaged and in a sling.
"Oh, yeah, told you it was horrible," Matt said, "Broke my arm last night."
"I didn't know that's what would happen," Kaden said quietly.
"Only happens sometimes," Matt explained.
"But he always looks like he got off worse in a duel," John commented, gesturing to the gash on Matt's cheek.
"It heals," Matt shrugged, "So, what's new with you lot?"
"Not much," Rose said, "But what happened in Potions on Monday? Were you all right?"
"Oh, yeah, I mean I slept the entire rest of the day and all night and all day yesterday, but I'm no worse than usual."
"You slept for that long?" Kaden looked astonished.
"I've slept for longer than that," Matt replied, "Record's four days."
"But why did you sleep that much this time?" Rose asked, "Was it the potion?"
"Yeah. Actually, one of the active ingredients in the Drowsiness Potion is also in the Wolfsbane I take, so it was like I got a double dose. That's why the potion had more of an effect on me than everyone else and why it took so long to wear off."
"That makes sense," Rose said.
"But Madam Pomfrey said I can't finish making that potion next week," Matt continued, "Because it seems to affect me more than it's supposed to. Malfoy won't be too happy."
"He wasn't that bad about it the other day, though. The potion seemed to make him too sleepy to care," John laughed.
"Hopefully that'll happen next week, too," Matt said.
"I don't see why it wouldn't," Rose commented.
"So," Albus lowered his voice, "We're going to start looking for that Wizard's Finger Print charm as soon as you get out of here."
"Excellent," Matt grinned, "I'll be out by Friday, probably."
"We'll do it over the weekend, then," Rose said, "Along with studying for exams."
"Don't remind me," Matt groaned.
The rest of the week passed by very slowly. Albus was excited about finding the Wizard's Finger Print charm, so that didn't help matters. After what seemed like forever, Saturday finally arrived and Albus and his friends found themselves holed up in the library, searching as many books as they could.
"Look in the index," Rose instructed as she dumped a huge pile of books onto the table, "Just look up 'Wizard's Finger Print' and if it's not there, don't bother searching that book."
"What would we do without you, Rose?" John laughed as he took the book that was on top.
"Oh, it would take you until sixth year to figure this out," Rose grinned.
"You're probably right," John agreed.
Albus had to agree with this. Rose had done most of the work for this map, even though it was Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden who were supposed to be the new Marauders. But it's not like Rose wouldn't benefit from the map, so Albus tried not to feel guilty about it.
Albus grabbed a book and opened it up to the index. He ran his finger down it until he got to the Ws. Nope, Wizard's Finger Print wasn't there. Albus sighed and reached for another. No such luck with that one either. The morning progressed like this and Albus became increasingly disappointed that they hadn't found anything.
"This is hopeless," John sighed and tossed a book onto the table next to them, which was being used as a discard table.
"We'll find it eventually," Rose assured him.
"I'm bored," Kaden announced.
"Me, too," Amanda agreed.
"Keep looking," Matt told them as he grabbed another book.
"It's got to be here somewhere," Albus said.
Albus went through another five books before he actually found one that had Wizard's Finger Print in the index. Everyone else had found books that contained it, but didn't give the incantation. Albus excitedly flipped to the page given in the index and quickly scanned it.
"I think I've found it!" Albus shouted. The book had given a two paragraph explanation of the charm, the incantation, and the proper wand movements. "Look," he handed the book to Rose.
"This is it," Rose grinned after she read the page, "Go check it out and we'll go to the Room to try it."
Albus walked quickly over to Madam Pince and handed her the book, which was entitled, 101 Charms Every Auror Should Know. The librarian glared at him for a moment and then checked the book out for him. She handed it back to him and rattled off her usual warnings about defacing library books.
"It should be relatively simple," Rose explained as they entered the Room of Requirement, "But I think we ought to try it out with scrap parchment first."
"Definitely," Albus agreed. He set the book down on the table and opened it up to the correct page. "I'll read what it says.
"'The Wizard's Finger Print is an extremely useful charm, especially for those involved with Magical Law Enforcement. When performed correctly, the charm will reveal a wizard or witch's full name, birthday, a list of places where he or she has lived, any sort of special abilities or abnormalities, and a few personality characteristics. The charm has been useful in identifying bodies, as well as discovering whether or not a witch or wizard is under the influence of Polyjuice Potion. The Wizard's Finger Print is not fooled by Polyjuice.
This particular charm is quite controversial, given the fact that it reveals large amounts of personal information. In the wrong hands, the charm can be used to steal another's identity. It gave the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in Spain a particularly hard time in the 1930s, when a group of thieves used it to gain access to various bank accounts.
A relatively simple charm to perform, all the caster must do is wave his or her wand around in a circular fashion, clockwise (as shown in the diagram on the opposite page), then point the wand at the finger in question, say the incantation, and push the finger down onto a piece of parchment. No ink is necessary. The incantation that is used is Digitulus Scripsi.
Once the finger print is on the parchment, a different incantation is needed to reveal the information. Simply tap your wand to the finger print and recite Acclaro.'"
Albus looked up from the book at his friends. "Seems simple enough."
"Kind of strange, though," Matt commented, "That someone could get all that information just from your finger print."
"Let's try it," Rose suggested as she pulled out a roll of parchment. She ripped it up into six pieces and handed them out.
Albus pulled out his wand and watched his friends do the same. "Er, I'll just read the instructions and we can do it at once." Everyone nodded.
"All right," Albus began, "Wave your wands in a clockwise circle. Then point your wand at your finger and say 'Digitulus Scripsi'. Then push your finger onto the parchment."
Albus waved his wand, muttered the incantation, and quickly pressed his finger onto the parchment. He set down his wand and picked his finger up, revealing a finger print. "It worked!" he shouted excitedly, "Did yours work?"
"Mine did," Rose announced, holding up her parchment.
"Me, too," Amanda, John, and Matt said.
"Mine didn't," Kaden sighed.
"You moved your wand counter-clockwise instead of clockwise," Rose told him, "Try it again."
This time, Kaden succeeded in performing the charm.
"Now we've got to see if we can get the information from them," Albus said, "The incantation is 'Acclaro'."
Albus pointed his wand at his finger print and muttered, "Acclaro."
Nothing happened for a few seconds, and then words started appearing below the finger print, much like the way words appeared on the Marauder's Map. Albus stared in awe as he looked down at the parchment.
ALBUS SEVERUS POTTER
D.O.B. June 28, 2005
Born in London, England
Other places of residence- None
Hair Colour- Black
Eye Colour- Green
Special Magical Abilities- None
The list then went on to describe Albus's personality. It was so accurate that he was kind of freaked out by it. How could a charm get that much just from a finger print?
"Did yours work?" Albus asked everyone.
"Mine did," Matt said quietly. Albus and Matt swapped parchments and Albus looked at Matt's.
MATTHEW CONAN ECKERTON
D.O.B. February 6, 2005
Born in Brisbane, Australia
Other Places of Residence- Caloundra, Australia; Thetford, England
Hair Colour- Blonde
Eye Colour- Blue
Special Magical Abilities- None
"This is mad," Albus muttered as he handed Matt back his parchment, "Did everyone else's work?"
"Yeah," Rose announced, "But it's kind of scary, really."
"It worked," John said.
"Mine, too," Amanda and Kaden said at the same time.
"We should try it on the Map now," Albus announced.
"We should probably burn these first," Matt gestured to his parchment, "You know, so nobody finds them...."
"Oh, right," Albus agreed, realizing that Matt probably wouldn't wand a piece of parchment laying around the school that said he was a werewolf.
Rose collected the parchments and tossed them in the fire while Albus rummaged around in his bag for the Map. He found it and set it down on the table. Everyone crowded around it, staring at it.
"This is it," Albus grinned as his heart hammered, "I hope it works."
Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden all performed the charm to get their finger prints onto the map. A minute later, there were four finger prints on the map. Nobody said a word as they performed the revealing charm on them, but Albus could feel the excitement building. This was it. In a matter of minutes, they might have the new Map revealed. Albus and his friends had been working towards this ever since the beginning of the school year.
Albus stared at the Map after everyone had finished performing the charms. Nothing happened for the longest time, and Albus was beginning to think that they had guessed wrongly about the Finger Print Charm being the correct charm to reveal the map. Then, the finger prints suddenly disappeared into the map.
"Why'd they do that?" Kaden asked.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged. The finger prints hadn't disappeared when they tried the charm on regular parchment.
Then, words began to appear on the map. Everyone leaned in towards it and Albus read the short phrase.
'Please sit patiently while the map assesses your Marauder attributes.'
"I think it's working!" Albus shouted.
"I think you're right!" John exclaimed.
"Here it goes," Albus grinned as the phrase melted away and new words began to form on the map.
'Congratulations! You have successfully decoded The Marauder's Map: Second Edition. Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs are proud proclaim Matthew Conan Eckerton, Kaden Peter Dursley, John Malcolm Brickston, and Albus Severus Potter the next generation of Marauders.
'Please use the Map wisely, ensuring that you cause as much mayhem as possible. From now on, simply press your finger to the four paws on the front of the map and say 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good' to reveal it.'
"We did it!" Albus shouted. He jumped up from his chair and high-fived Matt and John. "We've got the new map!"
"Yes!" John shouted, "All that research finally paid off!"
"I can't believe we've finally done it!" Matt exclaimed, "This is brilliant!"
"So what's so special about this map?" Kaden asked, "I mean, how's it different from the other one?"
"Not sure yet," Albus grinned and sat back down. "Thanks, Rose, for all the help."
"No problem," Rose smiled, "I'm glad we've got it working, too."
"Me, too," Amanda agreed, "Because the four of you will have to let us use it."
"We will, but only the four of us can actually get it to reveal itself," Albus replied.
"So you can open it and then give it to us," Rose laughed.
"Look!" Matt pointed to the map, "It's doing something else!"
Albus turned away from Rose and looked back at the map. The welcome message was slowly disappearing and new lines were forming on it. At the top it said 'The Marauder's Map: Second Edition'. The rest of it looked exactly like the regular Marauder's Map.
"It looks the same," Rose commented.
"I know," Albus groaned, "I thought it would be better."
"Maybe the Marauders just wanted to create a prank that would outlive them," Rose suggested.
"You're probably right," Albus sighed. After all that work, the new map was no different than the regular one. For Albus to say he was disappointed was an understatement. He could see the Marauders doing something like this, but it was still incredibly disappointing.
"Well that sucks," John muttered, "All that research for nothing."
"All that work for just a prank?" Amanda asked, "Would they really have put that much effort into a prank?"
"Yes," Albus and Rose said at the same time.
"It is kind of funny," Kaden remarked.
"You're just saying that because you didn't spend the whole year on it," Albus snapped, "If you'd spent a year trying to figure that thing out, you'd be angry, too. But you just found out about it a week ago."
"And whose fault would that be?" Kaden asked. "You're the one who didn't trust me."
"I had a good reason not to!" Albus shouted.
"Oh, quit fighting," Rose said, "There's nothing you can do about it now."
"Wait," Matt said quietly, "There's three numbers at the bottom." He pointed to the bottom right hand corner.
Albus peered down at the map and saw that there was a number one, two, and three at the bottom. He didn't think they had been there on the other map.
"So that's the difference?" John asked, "Wow, that's exciting, three numbers."
"Tap your wand on the number two, Albus," Rose said.
Albus shrugged and did as he was told. He let out a gasp as all the ink disappeared and then began to return, forming a new pattern.
"Bloody hell, that's Hogsmeade!" John shouted.
It most certainly was Hogsmeade. This part of the map detailed the village of Hogsmeade as well as it depicted Hogwarts on the other part. Albus stared at it and saw Honeyduke's, the Three Broomsticks, Dervish and Banges, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the Hog's Head, the Shrieking Shack, and all the houses that created the little village.
Then there were the dots. Just like on the regular Marauder's Map, this one showed all the people in Hogsmeade as labeled dots. Albus peered down and saw his Uncle Ron's dot moving around in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. There were various other dots in the shop as well, although Albus didn't recognize any of them. All the buildings on the map, with the exception of the Shrieking Shack, were filled with various labeled dots.
"Whoa," Albus grinned, "I guess it wasn't a joke."
"This is incredible," Rose said.
"We are going to have so much fun next year in Hogsmeade," John grinned.
"Wish I could go," Kaden said.
"You'll get to eventually," Amanda reminded him.
"I am so glad this wasn't a joke," Matt commented, "Think of everything we can do with this."
Albus was thinking the same thing. He was sure the Marauders had created this in order to aid with their pranking of students in Hogsmeade. Albus wasn't really one to prank people. Sure, he did it on occasion and certainly enjoyed observing other people's pranks, but he wasn't that good at coming up with them. However, he was thinking that the map of Hogsmeade would be useful if they ever wanted to sneak into the village when they weren't supposed to. Combined with the Invisibility Cloak, he could get away with anything in Hogsmeade.
"Wonder what the number three does," Matt mused.
Albus shrugged, "Only one way to find out." He picked up his wand and prodded the number three.
The lines of ink that made up Hogsmeade began to disappear. A few seconds later, ink formed once again to create words on the parchment.
'By now, you have surely discovered the map of Hogsmeade. Be sure to use that to create as much mischief as possible.
'At the beginning of our sixth year, we decided we needed a new project to work on. The Animagus process was long since completed, and we were bored. Yes, I suppose we could have concentrated more on homework, but that would have been even more boring.
'So eventually we decided that we needed a place of our own. A common room of sorts that only we knew about. Sure, we had the Room of Requirement, but as we discovered in our fourth year, it wasn't always available.
'Thus began the long process of finding an empty room in the castle that nobody knew about. Well, a place everyone except Dumbledore didn't know about.'
'Even Dumbledore doesn't know all the secrets of Hogwarts, Padfoot.'
'I know, Moony, but I think Dumbledore knew about this room. He just didn't bother to get us to stop using it. He had other things to worry about.'
'Just get on with it.'
'Patience, Moony, I want to explain it properly. Anyway, once we found this room, we used a variety of spells to make it our own. We also concealed it and charmed it to only open for us.
'Since you have proven yourselves to be the Next Generation of Marauders, this room will open for you as well. We would like to pass it on to you.'
"We get our own common room?" John asked, "Brilliant!"
"There's more," Albus said.
'Ah, but Padfoot, do we want to make this easy?'
'Why of course not, Prongs. Do we ever make things easy?'
'You're right. We always make these things as difficult as possible. Opinions, Moony, Wormtail?'
'I agree, difficult would be best.'
'Excellent, Moony's on board.'
'Difficult is fine.'
'And Wormtail agrees. So, we are not going to make it easy to find the room.'
'Thus, we leave you with instructions. We have set up a sort of hunt throughout the school and grounds. The first clue will lead you someplace, where you will find the four paw prints carved somewhere in that place. Tap it with your finger and it will give you another clue.
'And now we will give you the first clue. Find the place where we rest our heads, but the answer is not our beds.'
With that, the map went blank once again. Albus quickly grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and scribble down the first clue.
"If we can find this room," Albus began, "It's going to be awesome."
"It will be perfect for studying," Rose commented.
"I don't think that's what it's supposed to be used for," John laughed.
"I don't care," Rose replied.
"Imagine, our own common room," Matt said, "I think this will be even better than the Room of Requirement."
"Yeah, because it'll be ours," Albus agreed.
"Although the Room has always been available when I've wanted it," Matt commented.
"Still, our own room will be better," Albus said.
"Oh, definitely," Matt agreed.
Albus and his friends spent another fifteen minutes in the Room of Requirement trying to decipher the clue. Nobody came up with anything and Rose decided they should all study and figure out the clue later. Albus couldn't argue since he had put off his homework long enough, and he had Quidditch practice the next day.
A/N: I'm leaving for vacation on Saturday and will be gone until late on Tuesday, so if you review after Friday, I won't be able to respond to it until sometime in the middle of next week. I will respond eventually, though!
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to drownzer, Moonylupin, tranc3rooney, sinwillys822, phoenixy_friend, EvilChaos, Denas, XDNLxtlz99, Luke, BElestrange, Jen, and Padfoot_15 for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
For the next few days, Albus found his mind drifting to the clue every time he tried to study. It was driving him mad. Where else did he sleep besides his bed? None of his friends had come up with anything either. Rose didn't seem to be putting much thought into it, since exams were only a month and a half away. She seemed to think that Albus ought not to focus too much on the clue either, but Albus couldn't help it.
Albus was completely ignoring Professor Binns' boring lecture the following Wednesday and focusing solely on the clue. A place to sleep, he thought as he tapped his quill on his book. He sighed and lifted his head up. Rose was the only one actually taking notes. John's eyes were drooping and Albus was sure he'd fall asleep soon.
Sleep! Albus grinned to himself. That was it! The History of Magic classroom was the answer. It seemed obvious to him now. Everyone except perhaps Rose had fallen asleep at one time or another in that room.
Albus quickly scribbled the answer onto a piece of parchment and handed it to Matt. Matt read it, smiled at Albus, and passed it on to John. The note made its way to Rose and Amanda after that, who turned around and nodded to Albus.
Once Professor Binns stopped his lecture and everyone hurried to leave the room as soon as possible, Albus purposely spilled his ink onto the floor.
"I'll just clean this up, Professor," Albus said as he bent down.
"Yes, yes, Mr. Pewter..." Professor Binns responded absentmindedly and drifted through the chalk board.
"Ok, any ideas where the four paw prints could be?" Rose asked as she quickly cleaned up the ink with a wave of her wand.
"No idea," Albus replied, "Probably one of the desks, since that's where we sleep. Let's just split up and look."
Luckily there wasn't a class in the room at that moment, so Albus and his friends had as much time as they needed to look. Albus started his search in the front, making sure to inspect each desk carefully.
It was John who found the paw prints, about twenty minutes after they started searching. They were on one of the desks in the back. Albus and the others hurried over to it and John pointed it out.
Sure enough, there were four tiny paw prints etched into the bottom of the desk.
"You do it, John," Albus told him, "You found it."
"All right," John said and touched the paw prints.
It was kind of awkward to have all five of them underneath the desk at the same time, but they managed. Albus watched as the paw prints disappeared and words replaced them.
'Find the place where we play, and make the Slytherins pay.'
Albus groaned as he got out from under the desk. He scribbled the new clue onto the piece of parchment below the old one.
"Any ideas?" he asked, as he and his friends left the room.
"Nope," John shrugged, "But how would they make the Slytherins pay them? Were they betting with them? And how are we supposed to know where they made bets with them?"
"It's wherever they played," Matt said.
"But where was that?" John replied.
"I don't think it means the Slytherins paid them," Rose commented, "I don't think it was meant to be that literal. It probably just means they got the Slytherins back for something, or beat them at something."
"And it's got to be the same place they played something," John said.
Matt stopped in his tracks, "Of course! It's the Quidditch Pitch!"
Albus turned around to look at him, grinning. "Why didn't I think of that? They played Quidditch there, and beat the Slytherins."
"Let's go down to the Quidditch Pitch, then," Matt said.
"Let's eat first," John suggested, "I'm starving."
"Good idea," Amanda agreed.
"I think we should study after lunch," Rose sighed.
"You can," Albus replied, "But I want to go to the Quidditch Pitch first."
Rose groaned and followed Albus and the others to the Great Hall. They were late for lunch, since they spent so long in the History of Magic classroom. Kaden demanded to know where they were, and became very excited when Albus whispered that they were following the clues for the map. He was a bit disappointed that Albus would be continuing to work on it after lunch, since Kaden had classes, but Albus assured him that they would update him later that evening.
Albus, Matt, and John ate a very hurried lunch, as they wanted to get out to the Quidditch Pitch as soon as possible. Rose announced that she would not be going with them because she wanted to devote the afternoon to studying. Amanda agreed with her since her Astronomy grade was abysmal at the moment.
Albus was very relieved to see that the Quidditch Pitch was completely deserted when he and his friends entered it a few minutes later. This may have been because of the torrential downpour, but Albus didn't mind getting soaked.
"Any ideas as to where it would be?" John asked.
"Maybe the goal posts?" Albus suggested, "They couldn't have put the prints on the ground."
"Let's get looking, then," Matt said.
Albus, Matt, and John each started inspecting one of the goal posts. Albus looked carefully, but couldn't find anything. Neither did John or Matt. The three of them ran to the other side of the pitch and began to look at the other three posts.
"You know, I'll bet they etched them up higher," Albus realized as he finished inspecting his goal post. "It would make it harder."
"You're probably right," John agreed.
"Let's go," Albus started running over to the changing rooms. He kept his broom in his dormitory, but there were plenty of school brooms in the changing rooms. They would suffice for this.
Albus wrenched the door open and led his friends over to where the school brooms were kept. He handed each of them a broom and the three of them headed back out into the rain.
Albus kicked off from the ground and flew directly towards the goal posts. His broom listed to the left and Albus was really grateful he got to play Quidditch on a superior broom. Despite the mediocre broom, he was still faster than Matt and John, and made it to the goal posts before either of them.
It didn't take Albus long to find the prints. They were etched on the very top of the middle goal post.
"Found them!" he shouted at John and Matt. The two of them immediately flew over to Albus.
"Go on, let's see the next clue," Matt said.
Albus touched the prints and strained to make out the next clue through the pouring rain.
"'Find the place we got when we're not feeling our best, one of us goes there more than the rest,'" Albus read and then looked up at his friends.
"Hospital Wing," Matt said immediately, "That one was kind of obvious."
"Somehow I don't think riddles were the Marauders' strong suit," Albus commented as they flew back down to the ground.
"Makes it easier for us," John grinned.
"Not really," Matt said, "You know how hard it's going to be to search the Hospital Wing for four tiny paw prints? What do you suppose we'll tell Madam Pomfrey? 'Don't mind us, we're just searching your entire ward for some carvings that were left here decades ago.'" Matt rolled his eyes.
Albus didn't say anything as they walked back to the changing rooms. Matt was right. It would be extremely difficult to search the Hospital Wing for the next clue. Madam Pomfrey was always there. They could never get the place empty in order for them to search.
"Anyone got any ideas as to how we can do this?" Albus asked as they walked back to the castle.
"Not a clue," Matt shrugged.
"Hey," John turned to Matt, "Maybe you can go look for it the next time you're there. During the night or something."
"Are you mad?" Matt laughed, "She'd wonder what I was up to. She's always got an eye on me. Must be some kind of sixth sense. If I so much as turn over in bed, she comes out of her room and asks me what's wrong. I can only imagine what she'd do if I started searching the whole place in the dead of night."
"Didn't think of that," John replied.
Albus sighed dejectedly and decided to just go to the common room and do his homework. He had been neglecting it the whole week and figured he would have to do it sometime. Rose would at least be happy.
Rose and Amanda were feverishly working on homework when Albus, John, and Matt entered the practically deserted common room. The boys settled down at the table Rose and Amanda were sitting at and reluctantly pulled out their books.
"Success?" Rose asked without looking up from her book.
"Yeah," Albus whispered, "But now we've got to find the next clue in the Hospital Wing, which should be pretty impossible."
Rose thought for a moment "Yeah, that will be difficult," she said and then continued her reading.
Albus tried his best to concentrate on his homework for the rest of the afternoon. He did manage to write an essay for Potions and read a chapter of his Herbology book, but after that he just couldn't do anything else. John was all too happy to stop doing homework as well, and the two of them played chess until dinner.
After dinner, Albus and his friends went to the Room of Requirement, as Albus had promised Kaden he would tell him about the new developments with the map. Kaden was a bit jealous he didn't get to fly around the Quidditch Pitch looking for the next clue.
"I thought you didn't like Quidditch," John said.
"I just said I think football is better," Kaden explained, "That doesn't mean I don't like flying."
"Well, we're going to have plenty of other clues to work out," Albus reminded him, "Like the one we're working on right now."
"And what's that one?" Kaden asked.
"'Find the place we go when we're not feeling our best, one of us goes there more than the rest,'" Albus told him.
"Where could that be?" Kaden asked.
"The Hospital Wing," Albus said, "We've already figured it out. We just don't know how to get in to look without Madam Pomfrey there."
"Hmm..." Kaden walked slowly around the room, "Shouldn't be that hard...."
"And why's that?" Matt asked, "She's always there."
"We've just got to get her out of the room for a while," Kaden said, "My friends and I at my old school did it a few times with teachers. You just use a distraction to get them out of the room for a few minutes or so."
Albus was amazed that his cousin was able to think of that. Albus always thought Kaden wasn't too bright, but he did come up with good ideas every so often.
"That might work," Rose said.
"And how are we going to get her out of the Hospital Wing?" John asked, "She's always in there."
"One of us just has to pretend to be ill or injured," Kaden explained.
"We could use a Fainting Fancy for that," John suggested.
"No we can't," Albus said, "She's seen them too many times. No way she'd believe it."
"She would if I did it," Matt said quietly.
Albus had been thoroughly surprised by Matt's willingness to eat a Fainting Fancy to trick Madam Pomfrey. He had become much more outgoing since the previous year. Albus figured it was because he was more certain now that none of his friends were going to announce to the entire school that he was a werewolf.
Albus and his friends immediately formed a plan once Matt had so willingly volunteered to eat the Fainting Fancy. It would take place the following Saturday. Matt, Amanda, and Kaden would be stationed on the grounds, as they figured it would be best for Matt to faint as far away from the Hospital Wing as possible. Albus, John, and Rose would hide next to the Hospital Wing underneath the Invisibility Cloak and dash in as soon as Madam Pomfrey left. They figured it would guarantee them twenty minutes of searching, perhaps thirty if they were lucky.
Saturday arrived and Albus was eager to put the plan into action. Rose figured it would be best to do it in the morning, when most students were either sleeping or lounging around in their common rooms. It would be better not to attract too much unwanted attention.
Albus, John, and Rose headed up the stairs after breakfast, while Matt, Amanda, and Kaden went out onto the grounds. Once Albus, John, and Rose reached the Hospital Wing, Albus pulled out the Invisibility Cloak and threw it over them.
"And now, we wait," Albus whispered.
"Shush," Rose hissed.
About twenty minutes later, Kaden came running down the corridor with a fake worried look on his face. Albus only hoped that Madam Pomfrey wouldn't be able to tell it was fake. Kaden ran past Albus and into the Hospital Wing.
Not even a minute later, he burst back through behind Madam Pomfrey.
"And where is he?" the nurse shouted.
"On the grounds," Kaden told her.
"Hurry up! Show me where!"
Madam Pomfrey and Kaden disappeared around the corner and Albus, John, and Rose hurried into the Hospital Wing.
"I'd say we've only got twenty minutes," Albus muttered, "She's fast."
"Let's get looking," Rose said.
Only one of the beds was occupied and the curtains were drawn around it. Albus hoped the paw prints weren't on or near that bed. He quickly ran to the nearest bedside table and started investigating it.
Five minutes passed, then ten, then fifteen, and still nobody had found anything. Albus was beginning to get worried. They couldn't pull off a stunt like this again.
"Found it!" Rose announced. Albus breathed a sigh of relief. He hurried over to the farthest bed and bent down next to Rose.
"Where is it?" John asked.
"There," Rose pointed to the right side of the bedside table.
Albus craned his head and saw the carving. He quickly touched it and watched as the words materialized.
"Hurry," Rose said, "I hear footsteps."
"Write it down," Albus said as he shoved the piece of parchment that had the other clues on it to her, "'Find the place where we are served and waited on, they even have pie of pecan.'" Albus stood up as Rose scribbled it down.
"They're coming!" John seethed as the door opened.
Albus quickly pulled out the Invisibility Cloak and threw it over the three of them.
"Tell me again what happened?" Madam Pomfrey asked exasperatingly as she levitated Matt onto a bed.
"Er, he just fainted, Madam," Kaden said.
"What were you doing?" she asked as she waved her wand over Matt.
"Just sitting and talking," Amanda said.
"Hmm..." Madam Pomfrey muttered, "This particular fainting looks an awfully lot like the kind that results from eating a Fainting Fancy. Either of you have any idea as to why?"
"Er," Kaden stammered.
"No, not really," Amanda shrugged.
The nurse stood up and looked at Kaden, who was beginning to turn red. "Are you sure, Mr. Dursley?"
"I, well, er, I may have given him a sweet," Kaden stammered, "But I didn't know it was a Fainting Fancy!"
"He's Muggle-born, like me," Amanda explained, "He probably didn't know what it did."
Madam Pomfrey sighed, "Yes, that might be true. Although it makes me wonder why Matt actually ate it. Just give me the other half."
Amanda reluctantly pulled the other half of the sweet out of her robes and handed it to the nurse. Madam Pomfrey put it in Matt's mouth and within seconds he was opening his eyes.
"I don't know what you lot are up to, and I don't really care to know, but I would suggest that you not mess around with making yourselves ill," Madam Pomfrey said sternly, "Now get back to your common room, all three of you."
Albus, John, and Rose carefully maneuvered their way over to the door and snuck out behind Matt, Amanda, and Kaden. Once they were a safe distance from the Hospital Wing, they pulled off the cloak.
"That went fairly well," John announced.
Matt, Amanda, and Kaden shrieked. "Merlin, don't do that!" Matt shouted.
"Sorry," John grinned, "Anyway, that was pretty good improvising back there."
"I can't believe she figured out that it was a Fainting Fancy," Kaden sighed.
"Honestly, I didn't think she'd figure it out either," Matt said, "I half expected her to keep me there overnight to make sure I was all right. Didn't expect her to kick me out with you lot."
"How's it feel to be treated normally?" John laughed.
"Shut up," Matt said, "I am happy I don't have to be there overnight. I spend enough time in that place."
"Did you get the clue?" Amanda asked.
"Sure did," Albus grinned, "Rose found it."
"What is it?" Kaden asked.
"Hang on," Albus said, "We'll tell you once we're in the Room."
A few minutes later, Albus and his friends were once again in the Room of Requirement working on the clue.
"'Find the place where we are waited and served on, they even have pie of pecan,'" Albus said.
"The Great Hall," Amanda said immediately.
"But we're not really waited on there," Rose pointed out, "The food just appears."
"It's got to be somewhere with food," Kaden said.
"The kitchens," John announced.
"Brilliant," Albus grinned, "Everyone up for a trip to the kitchens?"
Albus continued leading his friends down to the kitchens, while wondering how he would possibly find the next clue while he was there. The kitchens were huge. Albus had no idea where the Marauders would have carved the paw prints.
Albus stopped in front of the picture of the bowl of fruit and tickled the pear. It giggled and turned into a handle, which Albus turned.
"Bloody hell," Kaden stood transfixed in the doorway as he stared out at the kitchens. He had only been to the kitchens once before. “This place is my favorite place in the castle.”
"Go on, already," Albus pushed Kaden into the room, "We don't want anyone to see us."
Kaden walked into the kitchens and everyone else followed him. They were immediately greeted by no less than ten house elves.
"Is young masters and mistresses needing anything?" the elf closest to Albus asked.
"Yeah!" John grinned, "How about a turkey sandwich, some crisps, a piece of treacle tart, and a glass of pumpkin juice."
Rose raised her eyebrow, "Lunch is in an hour."
"You're right," John replied and then turned to the elf, "Skip the crisps."
"I'll have the same, except a roast beef sandwich," Kaden said.
"And I'll have a cheese sandwich," Matt told the elf, "Please."
"I'll just take some crisps, please," Albus said.
"Boys," Rose muttered.
"Will that be all?" the elf asked as a few other elves scurried away.
"Actually," Albus began after realizing that maybe the elf could help, "I was wondering if any of the elves were here in the 1970's?"
"Yes," the elf smiled, "Quite a few of us. I myself was here then."
"Excellent," Albus grinned, "Then I was wondering if you could help us. But we need you not to mention it to anyone, not even the other elves or the teachers."
"Of course, sir," the elf said.
"All right," Albus took a deep breath, "We're looking for a carving of sorts that's some place in here. It's four tiny paw prints. I don't know if you remember four students who called themselves 'The Marauders'-"
"I is remembering them well!" the elf laughed, "They was very amusing. Always down here wanting food."
"That's them," Albus grinned, "Anyway, they carved these paw prints somewhere in here. Have you seen anything like that?"
"I has seen it," the elf smiled, "Behind the ovens."
"Can you show us?" Albus asked.
The elf led the way through the throngs of other elves over to where the ovens were. He squatted down and pointed to behind the largest one. Albus bent down next to him, but everyone else had to remain standing due to lack of space.
"Right there, sir," the elf said.
Albus craned his neck and just made out the paw prints, situated in a very awkward position near a pipe.
"Thanks," Albus replied, "Er, I actually have to get closer."
"Not a problem," the elf ducked out of the way and stood next to John.
Albus reached behind the stove and quickly touched the paw prints. They were very hot. Words formed on the stone and Albus jotted them down on the parchment before reemerging.
"Got it," he whispered, "I think this is the last clue. 'Go to the place where we learn to fight the dark, it is there where we've left our final mark'."
"Certainly sounds like it," Rose agreed.
"Yes!" Kaden shouted in between bites of sandwich.
"Brilliant," John grinned, "Let's go."
"I hate to say it, but I've got Quidditch practice after lunch, so I don't think there's time today," Albus sighed. He wished practice would be canceled, but the chances of that were slim to none.
"Merlin," Matt groaned.
"We've waited this long, we can wait some more," Amanda pointed out.
"Hey," Albus turned to the elf, "Thanks for the help."
A/N: For vacation, my family and I went to the resort I mentioned in an earlier chapter, the one with the scavenger hunt. Just wanted to tell everyone that we came in dead last. A far cry from our second place win last year. Oh, well, we'll hope for first next year!
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight (who was the one who had to run around the resort following the clues). Thanks as well to Moonylupin, Denas, tranc3rooney, XDNLxtlz99, sinwillys822, EvilChaos, Jen, Luke, harleypotter, Bookworm045, Blergh?, Be easy on Kaden, Too many gryffindors, Seb, potterfan296, and Roxz80 for the reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Much to Albus's dismay, there wasn't a convenient time to continue following the clues of the map the entire weekend. Quidditch practice took the entire afternoon, because Georgia was beginning her ruthless pre-Quidditch final practices. There was only one match left before the final, and it would determine who would play Gryffindor in the last match. Georgia stressed the need for extra practices and encouraged everyone to practice by themselves whenever they had a free moment. She had somehow seen a glimpse of Albus, John, and Matt flying around the pitch looking for clues and thought Albus had been practicing. Albus had to hide his smirk as she praised him in front of the entire team.
Professor Kendrick canceled all afternoon classes on Wednesday of that week. Since Albus never had classes on Wednesday afternoons, it was no different than usual. The reason for the cancellation was that this particular Wednesday was May 2nd, the twentieth anniversary of the Final Battle at Hogwarts, which lead to Voldemort's downfall.
Fifteen years prior to the twentieth anniversary, five years after the actual battle took place, a memorial had been erected on the Hogwarts grounds, in the precise place where Professor Longbottom had beheaded Voldemort's snake, Nagini. The statue was made of marble and depicted a phoenix spreading its wings atop a large square pedestal. The names of every person who had given their lives during both wars against Voldemort were etched into the pedestal.
Professor Kendrick, along with the Minister, had organized a memorial service that was to take place near the monument. It was to take place at one o'clock in the afternoon and witches and wizards from all over Britain came to attend.
The chairs that had been set up earlier in the day were already filling up when Albus and his friends walked towards them. John's parents had already found seats and he went to sit with them.
"Albus! Matt!" a voice called out over the crowd.
Albus gazed around and his eyes fell upon Victoire, Amy, and Teddy, who were sitting in the second row.
"Hey, Victoire," Albus greeted her once they had walked over, "Happy Birthday."
"Thanks," Victoire sighed, "You know, it kind of sucks to have my birthday today. Everyone's so depressed."
"Not everyone," Albus said, "I mean, it is the day Voldemort was defeated."
"Yeah, but so many people died," Victoire pointed out.
"Are you parents coming, Matt?" Albus asked.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged, "They didn't even live here when Voldemort was around, so I've no idea."
"I think they are," Amy said.
The rest of the Weasleys and the Potters soon filed into the rows near Albus and his friends. His entire family took up quite a bit of space. Albus's parents wound up sitting in the front row, along with Lily, Rose's parents, Hugo, his grandparents, and a few of his other aunts, uncles, and younger cousins. Matt and Amy's parents did come and the four of them sat together in the second row. Albus sat next to Teddy and Rose, with Kaden and Amanda on the other side of Rose.
The rows of chairs were soon all filled up, and some people were even standing or had conjured their own chairs that didn't quite match the others. Professor Kendrick stepped up to the podium that had been placed next to the monument. The crowd quieted down quickly once he got up there.
"Welcome," Kendrick said somberly, "And thank you all for coming. I welcome you to Hogwarts.
"May 2nd, 1998. A day that was both joyful and full of sorrow at the same time. It may seem odd to some that May 2nd is a day we celebrate, when they are mourning the loss of loved ones. We celebrate with feasts, and parties, and days off of work or school; but for so many, today is a day when we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.
"That is why so many died. They died for us. So that we may live happy and peaceful lives with each other. In our sadness, we must remember that our loved ones knowingly gave their lives for us. There are many of us here today who fought that battle and survived. And I am sure that all of them were prepared to die for the cause.
"I still remember that battle. I was a few years out of Hogwarts. Well, more than a few, but I was still young. I had not settled down. I did not even have a regular job. I was not fully active in the anti-Voldemort movement, but when I got word of the battle, I was there.
"But we must not only focus on the actual battle. I have decided to speak today about the aftermath. About what happened after Voldemort was defeated, after we were free from his oppression. What happened after the battle is what made me decide to settle down and begin teaching.
"I admired the way everyone came together. The way we leaned on each other amongst the grief and happiness. The way Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped up to the plate and organized the Ministry. The way Minerva McGonagall stepped up and organized the rebuilding of Hogwarts.
"We were unified at that moment. Unified by our grief and our happiness. It is this unity that makes us strong, made us able to defeat Voldemort, and makes us able to continue to fight the evil in our lives. We must remember to keep ourselves unified, today, tomorrow, and forever.
"As we remember those who gave their lives twenty years ago, we must also remember that they would not want us to dwell on the past. We should always remember the past, so as not to make the same mistakes, but we shouldn't dwell on it. We should live our lives to the fullest, for that is what they would want us to do."
Albus clapped along with everybody else. Kendrick's speech had been short, but meaningful. Albus noticed that Teddy's eyes were tearing up, and Victoire had put her arm around him.
The Minister gave a speech next. His speech was longer and drawn out. Albus found his attention waning as the man droned on and on. Once he was finally done, Kingsley and McGonagall each gave short speeches.
"And now," Kendrick announced, "We shall hear from Harry Potter."
Albus jerked his head up and watched as his dad slowly got up to the podium. He had no idea his dad was making a speech. The crowd was clapping as Harry got up to the podium.
"Thank you all for coming," Harry began quietly, "Um, well, anyone who knows me really well knows I don't really enjoy making big speeches like this. I'm sure my students can attest to this, given how few actual lectures I give in class. When it comes to teaching, I'd rather take a practical approach. But, when Fabius asked me to speak today, I couldn't turn him down.
"So, I'm going to keep this short. I suppose I'll begin at the beginning. My parents gave their lives to protect me, and to protect all of us. They died in order to help defeat Voldemort.
"Of course, I had to go live with my aunt and uncle after this and grew up without a single bit of knowledge of the wizarding world. If you had told me when I was nine that I would grow up to defeat the most evil wizard of all time, I would have laughed.
"But to say that I defeated Voldemort would be an overstatement. I could never have done it without help from those who died and those who are here today. Without Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Tonks Lupin, I would never have survived. Where would I have been without Hermione and Ron Weasley, or any of the Weasleys, really? I couldn't have done it. It would be inaccurate to say that I defeated Voldemort twenty years ago. What should be said is that we defeated Voldemort twenty years ago.
"With that, I would like to repeat what Fabius said. We must always remember those who lost their lives, but we shouldn't dwell on the past. We should live in the moment, and think about the future. Because we don't know what the future holds. We make our own future and we should make the most of it. That is what those who gave their lives would want us to do."
Harry left the podium and sat back down amongst loud applause. Albus thought his dad's speech was very good, despite him not wanting to make it in the first place.
Kendrick stood up once again. "I would like to thank you all for coming today. Feel free to explore the castle and grounds. You are welcome to join us for dinner as well. We will be serving it outside, as the Great Hall is not nearly great enough to house you all."
People slowly began to get up from their chairs and most of them migrated towards the memorial. Albus's parents did this as well, but Albus didn't really want to join the big throngs of people. He followed Teddy out of the aisle and stood off to the side with Matt, Rose, Amanda, Kaden, and Amy while Teddy and Victoire went over to the memorial. The two of them joined Teddy's grandmother and Teddy put his arm around her as they walked to the memorial.
Albus saw John with his family. John's aunts, uncles, and cousins must have come as well, because there were a whole lot of little kids with them. The whole group headed back towards the castle and Albus figured that John and Isabelle were showing their family the school. As far as Albus knew, John's parents weren't really involved with the battle because they were too young to fight when it happened.
Once Teddy and Victoire rejoined the group, they started to walk back towards the castle. Nobody really said much. Even Kaden seemed to know that it was a time for silence. Albus noticed that Teddy's face was streaked with tears.
They walked through the castle, somehow all going to the Room of Requirement without anyone ever stating that as their destination. Matt paced in front of the empty wall and once the door appeared, everyone filed in.
"That was a nice service," Rose commented once they had all sat down.
Everyone nodded without saying anything.
"So," Amy began a few minutes later, "How has the year been?" She turned to Kaden, "I don't believe I've ever met you. I'm Amy Eckerton."
"Kaden Dursley," Kaden replied, "At your service."
"Oh, you're Kaden," Amy said. "Nice to meet you."
"You, too," Kaden said.
Amy turned to her brother, "And how are," she glanced at Kaden, "Your you-know-whats?"
"It's ok," Matt sighed, "He knows."
"What?!" Amy shouted, "I thought he was the kid who got into the Whomping Willow?"
"He is," Matt confirmed.
"Then why would you tell him?" Amy asked, then turned to Kaden, "You know?"
"Know what?" Kaden asked, "Oh, that Matt is a-"
Albus broke out into a grin as he saw Kaden's mouth clamp shut. The charm was still working.
"What's wrong with you?" Amy asked, "And how did you find out?"
"Er-" Kaden stammered.
"We charmed him not to tell anyone," Matt explained, "The Sileo Altus charm. Rose performed it. Kaden can't talk about it in front of you or Victoire or Teddy or anybody who isn't me, Albus, John, Rose, or Amanda."
"You performed a Sileo Altus charm?" Amy asked Rose.
"Yeah," Rose blushed, "It wasn't that difficult once I figured it out."
"Wow," Amy let out a low whistle, "That's impressive."
"I'll say," Victoire agreed, "You've definitely got your mother's brains."
"Good to know the charm's working," Amy said.
The mood in the room became increasingly livelier after that. Albus and his friends told Teddy, Victoire, and Amy all about what had been going on in school and what classes they were going to take the following year. Teddy, Victoire, and Amy talked about Auror and Healer training. Teddy shared that Auror training was very intense and he spent all his spare time sleeping since it was so draining.
Once evening arrived, Albus and the rest of the group headed back outside for dinner. Somebody had conjured loads of long tables and chairs and had placed them throughout the grounds. Albus saw his family taking over a couple of tables near the lake and led his group over to them. Matt's parents were there as well, talking with Victoire's parents.
Albus sat down at a table, across from his parents, with Rose and Matt on either side of him.
"Hey, Al," Harry greeted him.
"Hi, Dad," Albus grinned.
Food soon appeared on the tables and everybody loaded up their plates. Albus ate in silence and listened to the conversations around him. He liked having his whole family at school together. It reminded him of Christmas at the Burrow.
Lily and Hugo were talking animatedly about what they were going to do when they got to Hogwarts the following year. Hugo insisted he would be the next star of the Quidditch team and Lily was telling him that he couldn't try-out until second year.
"But that's not fair," Hugo whined.
"Nobody's leaving this year anyway," James pointed out, "Georgia's the oldest on the team and she'll be a seventh year next year."
"Fine. I'll join when I'm a second year," Hugo huffed.
"Unless of course you're not in Gryffindor," Lily smirked, "I could see you in Hufflepuff."
"I'll be in Gryffindor!" Hugo shouted, "Like the rest of us."
Georgia, Fred, and Heather were deep in discussion about strategy for the Quidditch final. The three of them had always been the most ruthless players on the team. Albus preferred not to get involved in the tactics and fine points of the team. He just liked to play. He could never see himself as captain.
Albus reached over and grabbed a roll from the basket near his dad. Harry was deep in conversation with Ron, and Albus strained his ears to listen in.
"It's kind of disconcerting that we haven't gotten any leads in a while," Harry whispered. "We were getting sightings a few times a month for a while. And now, nothing."
"Do you think they're laying low?" Ron asked.
"Not sure," Harry muttered, "I have a bad feeling about it. Almost like they're luring us into a false sense of security."
"I was thinking that, too," Ron agreed, "But nobody's seen anything. I've got people patrolling Hogsmeade, but they're getting bored. People are saying we need to decrease security. They think it's blown over."
"I don't like that," Harry said darkly, "I'm not decreasing security. Not until we've got them caught. I don't care how bored they get."
"I agree," Ron said, "If word gets out that we've decreased security, they're likely to return to the school."
"I think Al wants to know what we're talking about," Ron grinned, looking up at Albus.
Albus quickly looked down at his plate and shoved a piece of roll in his mouth, blushing.
"I think you're right," Harry laughed, "It's ok, Al. If we talk about work stuff at the table, it's our own fault if you overhear it."
Albus nodded and swallowed the roll. "I wasn't, er, listening in, or anything...."
"It's ok," Ron laughed, "We'd have done the same thing in your place."
Albus nodded and continued eating. He had once again almost forgotten about Washburn and the Willinsons. Now they were fresh on his mind once again. What did it mean that nobody had sighed any of them in months? Albus hadn't even known that there had been frequent sightings before. The Prophet must not have published articles about all the sightings. Albus supposed if they became frequent enough, they would become old news. But where were Washburn and the Willinsons now? Albus doubted they had given up on finding the Hallows. He was more inclined to believe that they were trying to lull his dad into a false sense of security.
Neither Harry or Ron mentioned anything further on the subject. Albus tried to forget about it, but he couldn't. The thought of Washburn or the Willinsons returning for the Hallows was too frightening, especially now that Albus himself had the Invisibility Cloak.
By the time the weekend arrived, Albus had nearly forgotten about the conversation he overheard about Washburn and the Willinsons. The reason for this was that there was finally time for Albus and his friends to locate the final clue for the map.
"What was the clue again?" John asked as they entered the Room of Requirement.
"'Go to the place where we learn to fight the dark, it is there that we've left our final mark,'" Albus recited. He had been thinking about the clue all week, trying to figure out what it meant.
"How do you fight the dark?" Amanda asked.
"Lumos?" John shrugged, "Where did we learn that?"
"I learned it at home," Albus commented.
"I don't think it literally means darkness," Rose sighed, "You lot take things way too literally. Think about it. Dark as in evil."
"Oh!" Albus smacked his forehead. "The Defense classroom!"
"Exactly," Rose grinned, "Let's go."
The classroom was empty when they arrived. Albus quickly shut the door and stared out at the room. Where would the Marauders have put the mark?
"We'd better spread out and start looking," Albus announced.
Everyone agreed and began to search the classroom. Albus inspected all the desks, but found nothing. He sighed and walked over to the bookcase. It was taking a very long time to find this particular print. Longer than it had taken to find any of the others. They had been there for nearly a half hour.
"Found it!" Matt shouted.
Albus looked up from the bookcase and saw Matt crouching in one of the back corners of the room. Albus quickly ran to the back along with the rest of his friends.
"It's right there," Matt pointed to the corner.
"You're going to have to read us what it says," Albus told him.
Matt nodded and touched the carving. It disappeared and a much longer string of words appeared than had appeared from the other marks.
"'Congratulations,'" Matt read, "'You have successfully followed the clues. Either that or you somehow stumbled upon the last one before finding the others. In that case, we suggest you enter the lottery.
"'Anyway, we shall now reveal the directions to find the secret room. We can't vouch for what kind of state it will be in when you arrive, since we're not sure what year it will be when you discover it. In which case, we suggest you learn some good cleaning spells, as Muggle cleaning is miserable.'"
"'You'd know, wouldn't you, Padfoot?'"
"'Shut up, Moony.'"
"'Just get on with the directions.'"
"'All right. You'll need to go to the north end of the sixth floor corridor. There should be an army of suits of armor on one side. Face them. Find the one that's fifth from your left. Lift its right arm up to its head and then put it down again. Turn around. On the opposite wall, there will be a small carving of the four paw prints. Tap it with your wand and say 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.' You'll know what to do next.
"'And, keep in mind that only the four of you will be able to open up the Room. So, if you ever want to take a girl there, make sure you arrive first.
"'With that, we wish you luck in all your future mischievous adventures. And as always, mischief managed.'"
Matt glanced up from the wall as the writing slowly disappeared. "That's it."
Albus grinned, "Well, anyone want to go check it out?"
"Yeah!" everyone shouted.
"Let's go, then," Albus led them all out of the classroom.
Albus couldn't believe that they had managed to figure out all the clues and were on their way to the room his grandfather had discovered when he was in school. Everything they had done that year with the map seemed to have led up to this. Albus was extremely excited about this room. It would be solely theirs. The Room of Requirement seemed like their own private common room whenever they were in it, but it really wasn't. The Marauders' room would be their own private common room. Nobody else would know about it. Nobody else would even be able to get in it.
Albus and his friends tried to get to the sixth floor corridor as fast as they could without drawing attention to themselves. Albus hoped the corridor would be empty when they got there. They couldn't exactly get into the room if there was anyone hanging around.
There was one kid walking around near the northern end of the corridor when Albus and his friends got there. He must have been a first year because he was even shorter than Matt. Albus didn't recognize him, but Kaden did.
"Hi, Leonard," Kaden said once they got closer to him.
The kid jumped and turned around. "Oh, hi, Kaden. Thought you were a bunch of Slytherins."
"Nope, no Slytherins here," Kaden replied, "But we're going to let off some dung bombs here, so you'd better get going."
"Oh, ok. See you later," Leonard said and quickly ran down the corridor.
"Nice one," Albus laughed, "But what if he tells Filch we're setting off dung bombs?"
"He won't," Kaden assured them, "He's kind of afraid of Filch. Plus, he hardly talks to anyone."
"Ok," Albus shrugged, "That's good, I guess."
Albus walked a few more feet down the corridor and stood in front of the suits of armor. His friends joined him. Albus silently counted the suits of armor and found the fifth one from the left. He wordlessly walked over to it and lifted up its right arm.
"It'll be somewhere on that wall," Albus pointed to the wall opposite the suits of armor.
Everybody spread out along the wall and began to look for the paw prints. Albus assumed they would be small like the clues throughout the school and he was right. Anyone who walked by would never be able to spot them.
"There they are," Albus pointed to a spot that was about level with his nose. "Ready?"
Everyone nodded. Albus took a deep breath and tapped the paw prints with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
The paw prints sunk into the stone and a small stone doorknob appeared just where they had been. Albus turned to glance at his friends before grasping it. They all wore looks of excitement. Albus turned back to the wall, took a deep breath, and turned the doorknob.
A/N: Bit of a cliffhanger! Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Denas, Mozarts Confutatis, phoenixy_friend, Luke, tranc3rooney, sinwillys822, Roxz80, Jen, Moonylupin, heir of muruaders, Seb, EvilChaos, and XDNLxtlz99 for their reviews!
Albus let out a gasp as his eyes fell upon the room in front of him. He stepped inside, gazing around in awe, and his friends followed in behind him. Albus heard someone shut the door as they stepped in.
The room was circular, just like the Gryffindor common room. The decor was similar, too, as most everything was scarlet and gold. It kind of reminded Albus of the Room of Requirement whenever Matt asked for it, only better. There was scarlet shag carpeting on the floor and scarlet curtains on the windows.
Although the room was mostly circular, there were four smaller square rooms leading off of the main room. Albus walked deeper into the room and saw that there was a four-poster bed in each of them, along with a bedside table. Each of the little rooms had a sign on it that depicted which one belonged to which Marauder.
In the main part of the room were a few couches, chairs, and tables. A few bookcases were up against the walls that housed books, parchments, old dung bombs, and various other detritus. There was even a pile of opened sweets sitting on one of the tables, giving the room the feel that the Marauders had just stepped out for class or something.
At the same time, the place looked like nobody had been in it for decades. There was a thick layer of dust coating every surface and there was a faint smell of dankness in the air. That may have been because there was a cauldron full of a foul smelling potion sitting next to the window. The tables were covered in various pieces of parchment, open books, and yellowing copies of the Prophet.
The Marauders had even decorated the walls. There were pictures of themselves that seemed to range from first year all the way to seventh. Posters of a few different Quidditch teams were also fixed upon the stone walls. A large banner was above the window, directly across from the door. It read, 'The Marauders' Den.'
"Blimey," Albus whispered, "This is kind of strange."
"Yeah," Matt agreed, "But brilliant at the same time."
"It almost looks as if they were expecting to come back here," Rose commented as she sifted through a pile of parchment, "Looks like they left some homework here."
"Excellent," John grinned, "Maybe some of the teachers have been assigning the same homework every year and we can copy it. I'll bet Binns uses the same assignments year after year."
"I think we'll have to clean this place up a bit," Amanda commented as she peered into the cauldron, "That potion is positively disgusting."
"Wonder if these are still good," Kaden said as he picked up a few chocolate frogs.
"I wouldn't eat those, Kaden," Rose grimaced, "They're decades old."
"This place is amazing," Albus said as he walked towards the window. He gazed out of it and saw that it looked out on the lake.
"It's like our own common room. And dormitory," John said as he walked over to the alcove labeled 'Padfoot'. "Guess this one's mine!" John flopped onto the bed and a cloud of dust flew out of it. "Oh, gross!" he coughed, "Wonder if we can get the house elves to clean this place."
"They've got enough to clean," Rose replied, "We'll just clean it ourselves. It won't be that bad. I know a few cleaning spells."
Albus wandered over to the alcove that was labeled 'Prongs' and walked into it. It was very strange, knowing that the place had belonged to his grandfather. Albus almost felt like he had gone back in time, to when his grandfather had been at Hogwarts. He glanced up at the walls and noticed a picture of a Quidditch team that was labeled 'Puddlemere United- 1975'. The whole room had pretty much frozen in time. The rest of Hogwarts changed as the years passed and new students came to the school. But this room, this room hadn't changed. It was just the same now as it had been in the 1970s. Now, it would skip an entire generation and be propelled into the twenty-first century.
"Blimey, look at this," John announced.
Albus stuck his head out into the main part of the room and saw that John had picked up a newspaper clipping. Albus and everyone else went over to John and crowded around him to read the article.
ENTIRE MUGGLE FAMILY MURDERED-
SUSPECTED WORK OF YOU-KNOW-WHO
An entire Muggle family was murdered last night
at their home in the outskirts of London. Muggle
police officers have attributed the death to
carbon monoxide poisoning, but wizard investigators
have discovered the cause of death was Avada Kedavra.
Nearby Muggles reported seeing a 'strange cloud'
above the house early the next morning. Before
Obliviators modified their memories, they all said
the cloud was the shape of a skull with a snake
coming out of its mouth. This odd cloud of smoke
has appeared over the dwellings of multiple murders
during the past year. Rumors are that this is the
mark of You-Know-Who, but it has yet to be confirmed.
Employees of Magical Law Enforcement are currently
investigating the murder and the strange cloud
above the house. Anyone with information about
the murder, the cloud, You-Know-Who, or his
supposed 'Death Eater' followers should contact
Magical Law Enforcement as soon as possible.
"That is strange, to be reading that article now," Albus said quietly. From the sound of it, Voldemort was just starting to gain power when that article was written.
"I'll say," John agreed, "I'll bet there's all kinds of articles around this place about Voldemort."
"You're probably right," Albus said, "My dad said that when the Marauders were in their last year of school, they were already working to fight Voldemort."
"This is so weird," Matt commented.
"Yeah," Albus agreed.
"We should probably clean this place up a bit," Rose announced.
"But let's not throw away any of the old articles or anything," Albus said, "They might be interesting to read."
"Or the old homework," John added. "Might be useful," he muttered after Rose sent him a withering glare.
Rose spent a few minutes teaching everyone else the few cleaning spells she knew. Then they all got started on cleaning up the room. Albus found quite a few copies of the Prophet and he set them aside in a box.
They left the pictures and posters up on the wall. It seemed wrong to take down all the pictures of the Marauders' when they were the ones who founded the room. Albus left the old picture of Puddlemere Untied up as well, since he supported that Quidditch team. To John's delight, there was a similar picture in Padfoot's section of the room. Albus was pretty sure Matt would be adding a picture of the Chudley Cannons to his alcove, since apparently Moony didn't support them based on the lack of a picture of them near his bed.
After a couple hours, the room looked new once again. All the dust, old sweets, and rubbish was gone. The cauldron had been emptied and was now sparkling. Amanda, who had somehow stumbled upon the laundry room a few months ago, had gone down and fetched a few new sets of bedding for the beds.
Once they were done cleaning, they began to make themselves at home in the Marauders' Den, as it was apparently called. Rose began to peruse the various books that were on the shelves. Kaden was rifling through the assorted pranking items that had been left behind. Amanda was looking at a pile of photographs they had found. Albus, John, and Matt were looking at all the newspapers and clippings that had been left behind.
"This is going to be an excellent place to study," Rose said as she sat down on one of the couches with a book. "It'll be quiet."
"Can't guarantee that," John grinned.
"I never really knew that Voldemort attacked this many people," Albus muttered as he leafed through a paper, "I mean, I knew he killed loads of people, but there's two or three articles about him in each paper."
"I don't think I would have wanted to live back then," Matt commented, "Seems like it would have been bloody miserable."
"Same with when my dad was a kid," Albus added. He was lucky, really, that he lived in a time when the country wasn't being ravaged by a murderous madman. I mean, Washburn and the Willinsons paled in comparison to Voldemort.
"Nothing like learning about history to make you grateful of the time you live in," Rose commented.
"Why can't Binns just have us read old articles in class?" John sighed, "It's actually interesting reading about the war like this."
"We haven't even gotten to the war in History of Magic yet," Rose pointed out.
"Yeah, well, it's more interesting than what we've been learning about."
"That's because you feel it more directly relates to your life. But we have to learn about all the history, if we want to avoid the mistakes of the past."
"But Binns could at least make it more interesting," John muttered.
"I'll give you that one."
"Do you guys think we should tell anyone about this place?" Albus asked as he set down the article he had been looking at.
John and Matt both turned to stare at him. "What? Are you mad?" John asked.
"No," Albus sighed, "I just meant, should we tell my dad about it. And Teddy." As soon as Albus had seen the room, he thought both his dad and Teddy would love to know about it and to see it. Both of their fathers had been involved in the creation of it, after all.
"I dunno," Matt shrugged, "I can sort of see your point, though."
"I still think we should keep it a secret," John said.
"I kind of agree with Albus," Rose said, "This place would be really sentimental for both Uncle Harry and Teddy. And I suppose James and Lily would like to know about it, too."
"I never said we should tell James and Lily," Albus hastened to say. "They'll both be here next year, which means they'll want to be in here all the time. Teddy and my dad would be different. They'd see it, know about it, and maybe visit every once in a while. But they wouldn't want to be here all the time."
"They couldn't get in, though, Albus," Rose pointed out, "Only the four of you can open this place."
"I know, but I still don't want James and Lily to know about it while they're at school," Albus said defensively. "Plus, James would never keep it a secret. He'd tell Ben and Cedric and Nathan."
"Not if we use that charm," Kaden suggested, "Not that I think we should tell James and Lily."
"James would never agree to that charm," Albus said.
"I still think that if we're going to tell Uncle Harry and Teddy, we should tell James and Lily," Rose said.
"I don't," Albus crossed his arms, "And it's not up to you. It's up to the four of us."
"Fine," Rose huffed.
"So," Albus turned to John and Matt, "What do the two of you think about telling my dad and Teddy?"
"I think we probably should," Matt said.
"I don't know..." John said, "I kind of like the secret. Can we at least keep it to ourselves for a while? Let's think about it over the summer and then maybe tell them next year."
Albus shrugged. His conscience was telling him that he should tell his dad and Teddy about it. He knew that knowing about the room and the new map would mean the world to both of them, but at the same time he kind of wanted to have the room to himself for a few months as well.
"That sounds like a good idea," Albus agreed. "So we'll think about telling them next year."
Albus and his friends immediately started spending their free time in the Marauders' Den as opposed to the Room of Requirement. Albus found that he felt very at home there. It provided a sense of calm, a place to go to get away from the chaos of the main part of the school. He was even able to concentrate more on his studying there than in the Room of Requirement, although that may have been due to the fact that they had solved the mystery of the map and Albus wasn't nearly as distracted as he had been.
The final dueling tournament took place on the following Sunday, a few days before the full moon. Albus's team had not made it to the finals, despite Albus and Malfoy's excellent dueling skills. Both boys had won every single duel they had been in the entire year. However, the rest of the team wasn't nearly as skilled and they did not have enough points for the finals. Rose's team was in second place and therefore was in the finals. They were up against a team that none of Albus's friends were on.
Albus could feel the excitement in the air as he walked to the dueling room after lunch. Even those who were not competing were going to the room in order to watch the final duel. The two competing teams sat with each other at the front of the room, but none of the other teams sat together. Albus didn't think that Kendrick's idea of inter-house unity had worked very well with the dueling teams.
The tournament lasted about an hour, which was much shorter than all the previous ones. Rose won one of her duels, against a third year Slytherin.
"That concludes the final dueling tournament!" Kendrick announced after the last two students had dueled. "I shall now calculate the points."
Kendrick pointed his wand at a sign that had all the team names and number of points on it. The top two teams' numbers flashed and then changed to the new numbers.
"Congratulations to Team Three, the Hungry Hungry Horntails! They are the new champions!" Kendrick shouted, "Will the team members please come forward to accept the trophy."
"Merlin," Albus muttered and clapped politely. Rose's team had not won.
"Second place is still good, though," Amanda said.
After the Hungry Hungry Horntails had accepted their trophy, Kendrick returned to his podium.
"Yes, the Hungry Hungry Horntails have proved themselves to be most excellent duelers," Kendrick smiled, "As well as have an aptitude for creative names.
"I would like to thank all of you for putting up with the inter-house teams this year. I know many of you were very opposed to this at the beginning of the year."
"Many of us?" John muttered, "I think pretty much all of us. Except Rose, that is."
"I sincerely hope that you have all learned that despite our differences, we can be united. I think the inter-house teams proved successful and I hope you agree. I will be having a discussion with Professor Longbottom and Professor Potter about whether we will have inter-house teams next year.
"With that, I wish you all good luck with your exams. You'd better all go study for a while, as I have been hearing that some of your teachers have created particularly tough exams."
"He's just trying to scare us into studying," John said as they made their way out of the room.
Albus agreed, but he wasn't taking any chances. Albus was feeling very confident about his exams, though. With Washburn gone, Albus felt he would do well on all of them.
Albus and his friends quickly found Rose and congratulated her. Rose was very happy with a second place win. She didn't think her team would even get second place. Rose wasn't really a competitive person, with the exception of Wizard's Chess, so she didn't dwell on the thought of losing to the Hungry Hungry Horntails.
Over the next few weeks, Albus and his friends spent most of their free time in the Marauders' Den. They mostly goofed off, but did manage to get some studying done. Rose all but physically forced them to start studying by the time the last week in May arrived. Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden hadn't spent the night in the room yet, despite the fact that it was obviously set up for that. Albus wasn't sure what Bilius and Ethan would do if they never turned up at the dormitory one night, so they hadn't bothered. Although, Matt did spend the afternoon there sleeping the day of the May full moon, and he reported that the beds were just as comfortable as Gryffindor's beds and more comfortable than the Hospital Wing's beds.
Ever since he and his friends managed to figure out the rest of the map, Albus felt like the school year was definitely winding down. It was almost like figuring out the map signified the end of term. Albus imagined that if they hadn't figured it out, he wouldn't have wanted to go home for the summer.
The signs of the end of the year were very much apparent. The fifth and seventh years were spending all available time in the library studying for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. The seventh year Gryffindor prefects had taken over Victoire's habit of demanding silence in the common room in the evenings, making Albus very happy that they had the Marauders' Den.
On the other side of the spectrum were the students who just didn't want to do anything. Albus's cousin Stanley was the perfect example. Stanley had never been studious, but now that he would be graduating in only a couple weeks, he had no motivation whatsoever. However, his Ravenclaw girlfriend did force him to sit down and study for his N.E.W.T.s every evening. John shared Stanley's mindset. Even though John was no where near graduation, he also had no motivation to study.
"I just don't see the point, Rose," John said as he tossed a chocolate frog up into the air, "If I haven't learned it by now, I'm not going to learn it in time for exams."
"Might I remind you that you said 'I don't need to study it now. I'll just forget it by the end of term anyway. I'll just wait until May to learn it' a few months ago?" Rose sighed and shook her head.
"Exactly," John caught the frog and shoved it in his mouth, "No point in studying ever."
"Do you think anyone else knows about this place?" Albus wondered aloud as he looked up from his Astronomy book.
"I hope no one else knows about it," John replied, "Otherwise it wouldn't be our secret anymore."
"I don't mean other students," Albus said, "I mean, do you think the Marauders brought other people in here when they were in school. And those people would obviously still know about it."
"I'm sure your dad's mum knew about it," Rose commented, "Don't know about anyone else."
"I wonder why Sirius and Remus never told Dad about it," Albus mentioned.
Rose shrugged, "Maybe they would have wanted Uncle Harry to find it on his own, if he was ever going to find it. I mean, it's not like our parents told us everything about Hogwarts either."
"Guess that makes sense."
"You know what doesn't make sense?" Kaden asked loudly.
"What?" Albus asked.
"Transfiguration," Kaden muttered, "I'm going to fail the exam. Why can't it be easy like Potions?"
"I think you're the only one here who finds Potions easy, Kaden," Matt commented.
"And are you good at Transfiguration?" Kaden asked.
"Not really," Matt laughed, "The only thing I'm really good at is Astronomy."
"I'd be willing to bet that you'll be good at Care of Magical Creatures," John smirked.
"Shut up," Matt shook his head and threw a chocolate frog at John.
"Hey, thanks!" John grinned and stuffed the frog in his mouth.
"Found that one underneath that nasty old cauldron," Matt burst out laughing.
"Ew! Gross!" John jumped up and spat the frog out onto the floor. "I'll get you for that one."
"That is disgusting, John," Amanda screwed up her face and glanced at the floor.
"Yeah, clean it up," Rose agreed.
"It's his fault," John pointed at Matt.
"Is not," Matt grinned. "You ate it."
"You've known me for two years. You should realize that I'll eat anything your throw at me."
"Anything?" Matt raised his eyebrow and grinned mischievously.
"Anything that resembles food!"
"There's charms to make stuff resemble food," Matt commented.
"I'm not eating anything you give me anymore," John replied.
"We'll see how long that lasts."
"Will you both shut it and do your homework?" Rose shouted, "You're giving me a headache."
"You could always go to the common room," John pointed out, "I hear that the prefects have made it a mandatory quiet zone until exams are over."
"Just wait until I'm a prefect," Rose muttered, "It'll be quiet all year."
"No it won't, cause I'll be a prefect with you," John grinned.
"Yeah, right," Rose laughed, "Albus is going to be a prefect."
Albus looked up from his reading. "Er, I'm not sure I want to be a prefect."
"Then Matt can be a prefect," Rose said, "If he is, then you'll be even more like the Marauders."
"Teddy's dad was a prefect?" Matt asked.
"Yeah," Rose answered, "I'd bet on either you or Albus for prefect. Or perhaps Bilius or Ethan."
"What about me?" John put on a look of fake sadness, "That hurts, Rose, it does."
"You?" Rose smirked, "The boy who never does his homework?"
"I'll do it, I'll do it," John muttered and picked up his quill.
Albus laughed to himself and continued his Astronomy homework. He hadn't really thought about who was going to be a prefect. Albus wasn't entirely sure he wanted to be a prefect, even if Kendrick picked him. Prefects had an awful lot of responsibility. Responsibility that Albus wasn't sure he wanted. But prefect decisions were still over two years away. Albus pushed the thought of prefects out of his head and concentrated on his studying.
A/N: First, I'm sorry about the late update! I lost track of what day it was, something that happens quite often during the summer.
Second, I have been working on a collaboration with a few people from The Golden Snitches forum (link in my fan fic website). The first chapter (one that I wrote) has been validated! The story is called 'Remember the Cannons' and can be found under the name 'The Golden Snitches'. I'd love it if you guys read it!
Third, thanks so much to Moonylupin for nominating this for a Dobby Award on the forums!
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to Moonylupin, sinwillys822, uniquevampire12, XDNLxtlz99, Luke, wolverine83, EvilChaos, Denas, h91, Jen, tranc3rooney, Liana, and ngayonatkailanman.
After suffering an embarrassing defeat to Hufflepuff the previous month, Ravenclaw was out of the running for the Quidditch cup. Everybody, students, teachers, and staff alike, had been shocked by that turn of events. The captain of the Ravenclaw team actually spent a full three days holed up in his common room following the devastating loss.
Due to this, Gryffindor was set to face Slytherin in the final match of the year. Albus overheard Georgia say that if Hufflepuf had managed to score a few more goals in their match against Ravenclaw, they would have been in the final. Albus actually would have preferred to play Hufflepuff, but there wasn't anything he could do about it.
The Slytherins were extremely pleased about their place in the Quidditch final and spent the entire week leading up to the match strutting around the corridors with an air of smugness about them. Albus personally thought they were being rather cocky and should wait until after the match was over to show off.
"Listen up, everyone!" Georgia shouted in the changing room a few minutes before the match was set to begin.
Albus sat down next to James and placed his broom on his lap. He was feeling more than a little bit nervous. This was his first Quidditch final and he was determined to do well.
"I know we've been preparing for playing Ravenclaw in this match," Georgia said as she paced in front of the team, "But we all know Slytherin has a worse team than Ravenclaw! We can do this, I know we can! Just remember that the Slytherins play dirtier. Watch yourselves out there. If we just play like we've been playing all year, we're sure to win. Remember that we've already beat Slytherin once this year. We can do it again! Now let's get out there and kick some snake arses!"
"Do snakes even have butts?" James whispered to Albus as they walked out onto the pitch.
"I heard that James," Georgia shouted.
"Welcome, Hogwarts students and staff to the final Quidditch match of the year! Will Slytherin be able to score enough goals to steal the Quidditch Cup away from Gryffindor? Let's hope not!" Todd Smith shouted.
"Smith!" Patil scolded him.
"Sorry, Professor," Todd replied, "And here we have the Gryffindor team! Captain Georgia Weasley, followed by an entire clan of Weasleys including Fred, Heather, and Bradley. We also have two pseudo-Weasleys, James and Albus Potter. Then there's Ryan O'Malley, who isn't a Weasley at all, but plays Quidditch well enough that he might as well be adopted by them!"
"And here come the Slytherins. They're probably all related, too, although they won't admit it-"
"Smith!" Patil yelled, "Enough genealogy and get on with the commentary!"
"Sorry, Professor," Todd continued, "I guess you'll want to know the names of the Slytherin players. They are Ferris Fielding, Talan Flint, Captain Lance Goyle, Peyton Hughes, Garth Octavius, Hailey Odele, and Jackson Naiser!"
"I want a clean game," Professor Oteski said sternly as Goyle crushed Georgia's hand. Oteski released the Bludgers and the Snitch as Albus and the other players rose into the air.
Oteski threw the Quaffle into the air and it was immediately taken by Haines. Albus sped up and tried to catch up to Haines as he soared towards Georgia.
Albus was ahead of both Fred and Heather as he flew towards the Gryffindor goal posts. He saw Ryan send a Bludger at Haines, but Haines dodged it. Albus had to admit that Slytherin did have decent Chasers.
Haines threw the Quaffle at the goal posts, but Georgia caught it and tossed it back into play. Albus caught it by his fingertips and turned around to fly towards the Slytherin posts.
"Heather!" Albus shouted as all three Slytherin Chasers converged onto him.
Two of the Slytherin Chasers immediately flew to block Heather, and Albus threw the Quaffle to Fred. Fred caught it with a grin and took the rest of the way down the pitch. Albus smiled as the Slytherin Chasers glared at him. Classic Weasley Fake. Albus and his cousins used that tactic all the time when they played over the holidays.
"Gryffindor scores the first goal of the game!" Todd exclaimed after Fred easily tossed the Quaffle into one of the Slytherin goals.
Gryffindor scored five more goals over the next ten minutes. Albus scored two of those and assisted two others. Slytherin hadn't scored at all and Heather currently had possession of the Quaffle.
Fielding and Odele were currently flying on either side of Heather. Flint was behind them and hit one of the Bludgers straight at Heather.
"Heather, look out!" Albus shouted as he flew straight towards her.
Heather turned to look just as the Bludger hit her in the head and knocked her from her broom.
Oteski blew his whistle as Albus, Fred, and James caught Heather before she hit the ground. The rest of the Gryffindor players landed and ran towards Heather.
"She's unconscious," Fred announced, "She'll need to go to the Hospital Wing."
"We'll take her," Stanley emerged from the stands with Neville following him. "Damn Slytherins," he muttered as he watched Neville conjure a stretcher for his sister.
"We'll just have to play with two Chasers," Georgia announced after Stanley and Neville left with Heather, "She wouldn't want us to dwell on this. She'll be fine."
With only two Chasers, Gryffindor's performance drastically declined. Albus managed to score another goal, but Slytherin somehow scored eight right in a row. The Slytherin Beaters were ruthless and had managed to injure Georgia's left hand only fifteen minutes after they knocked Heather out. Albus easily made the penalty shot Oteski had given them, but Georgia's ability to protect the goal went down.
Albus was getting quite discouraged and exhausted as he and Fred frantically tried to make up for the fact that Slytherin was now winning 190-70.
"Why don't you just forfeit, Potter?" Naiser sneered as Albus flew the Quaffle towards the Slytherin goal posts.
"Why doesn't your Seeker just catch the Snitch?" Albus smirked. The Slytherin Chasers were quite skilled, but it would be useless for them unless Octavius caught the Snitch anytime soon.
"Shut up, Potter," Naiser growled and hit a nearby Bludger at Albus.
Albus, who hadn't even noticed the Bludger, tried to dodge it, but instead got hit hard in the arm. He groaned and dropped the Quaffle, which Fielding grabbed and flew in the opposite direction.
Albus winced and held his arm towards his chest. It felt like it was broken. He turned and flew towards the Gryffindor side, trying to get Georgia's attention.
Georgia noticed Albus, but not before Fielding managed to score yet another goal. "Time out!" she shouted.
Oteski blew his whistle and the Gryffindor players huddled below their goal posts.
"What's up, Al?" Georgia asked.
"Naiser broke my arm," Albus groaned, "Hit a Bludger right at it."
Georgia sighed, "Can you play anymore?"
"I'll try," Albus said. Hopefully the game wouldn't last much longer. Albus had lost all hope of winning, and since getting his arm broken, he didn't really care who caught the Snitch.
"Good," Georgia said and turned to James, "Listen, I know we're too far behind to win even if you catch the Snitch, but if you catch it before Slytherin gets anymore goals, we might still be able to get the Cup. Slytherin's really far behind us in points for the Cup. So just catch it soon, James."
"Ok," James nodded, "I've seen it a few times, but haven't bothered to catch it. Just been trying to keep Octavius away from it, which isn't difficult."
"Are we ready, then?" Georgia asked. Everyone nodded. Georgia signaled to Oteski that they were ready and he blew the whistle.
Albus flew back into the air, trying to ignore the growing pain in his arm. He was going to concentrate on keeping everyone away from Fred, who was the only uninjured Chaser left. Albus didn't think he'd actually be able to catch or throw the Quaffle and stay on his broom with only one arm.
Fred did manage to get the Quaffle, but was quickly overtaken by the Slytherin Chasers and dropped it. Odele grabbed it and scored another goal for Slytherin.
Albus groaned partially due to this goal and partially due to his arm. He flew high into the air and noticed that James was making a dive towards the ground. Albus breathed a sigh of relief. James had seen the Snitch. Octavius saw what James was doing, but he was at least ten feet behind James. James pulled out of the dive with the struggling Snitch in his hand.
"Slytherin wins," Smith muttered, "350-320."
Albus immediately flew towards the ground and dismounted as the entire school descended onto the pitch.
"But wait!" Smith shouted, "Apparently, Slytherin did not score enough goals to win the Cup! The Quidditch Cup goes to Gryffindor!"
The majority of the school burst into loud applause and cheering. Oteski gave Georgia the Quidditch Cup and she held it high into the air.
"C'mon, Al," Georgia said, "We're going to see Heather in the Hospital Wing. You ought to get that arm checked out."
Albus nodded and he followed the rest of the team up to the castle. They lost most of their entourage as they ascended the stairs to the Hospital Wing. Georgia pushed open the doors and led the team inside.
Madam Pomfrey bustled over to the door and gaped at the large group of people who had walked in. "What's going on?"
"We've won the Cup," Georgia grinned, "Is Heather awake?"
"I'm awake!" Heather shouted.
"We won the Cup!" Georgia shouted back and ran past Madam Pomfrey over to Heather's bed, "But we lost the match."
"Ugh, we lost to Slytherin," Heather groaned, "But at least we won the Cup. How bad was it?"
"350 to 320," Georgia sighed.
"That's not as bad as I thought, but still horrible," Heather sighed.
"You can talk about it later," Madam Pomfrey announced, "This is the Hospital Wing, not your common room!"
"But Albus and I broke our arms," Georgia said, holding out her arm.
Madam Pomfrey sighed, "Of course you did. Quidditch. Will it ever stop?"
"Nope," Georgia grinned.
"Sit down on the bed, both of you."
Albus sat down next to his cousin and held out his arm for the nurse to heal. She muttered a spell and pointed her wand at Albus's arm. It immediately felt better.
"There," Madam Pomfrey said after she healed Georgia's arm, "Now you can go to your-"
The doors burst open and Rose, Matt, John, Amanda, and Kaden came bursting in.
"Are you ok, Albus?" Rose shouted.
"Of course, it's you lot," Madam Pomfrey sighed, "Any of you break anything?"
"Not today," Matt laughed.
"Good, now you can all go back to your common room," the nurse announced, "This is not the place to celebrate or complain or whatever it is you want to do after this match!"
The excitement about Gryffindor winning the Quidditch Cup was short-lived. By the time the weekend was over, everyone was concentrating on studying for exams. Those who hadn't studied much over the year were now frantically trying to learn an entire year's worth of material in a few short days.
Albus's first few exams went well. He was especially happy that his Charms exam was relatively easy since he failed the previous year's one miserably.
"I wonder where Kaden is," John said as he tossed his book down on the table and leaned back in his chair.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged as he furiously scribbled down the properties of mandrakes onto a piece of parchment. Albus and his friends were spending the evening in the common room studying for their Herbology exam the next day.
"Makes for a nice quiet time to study, though," Rose commented.
"I think he was studying for Transfiguration with his tutoring group in the library," Amanda said.
"But it's after curfew now," John pointed out, "He should be back."
"Why do you care so much if he breaks curfew?" Rose raised her eyebrow, "Perhaps you would make a good prefect."
"Why thank you, Rose," John grinned, "But I actually wanted to take a break from studying and play chess or something. And I'm sure you lot would rather study."
"I'll play with you," Matt said, "I'm sick of studying."
"Excellent," John replied and the two of them ran up to the dormitory to get their chessmen.
Albus alternated between reading his Herbology book and watching the game of chess for the next few minutes. He had been cramming his brain with everything there is to know about magical plants for the past few hours and was becoming increasingly distracted by John and Matt's game.
Albus closed his book and glanced at his watch. It was already 9:30 and Kaden still wasn't back. It was a bit strange since Kaden never missed curfew. He was surely going to get caught by a teacher or a prefect if he didn't hurry up.
"Yes!" John shouted as his queen smashed Matt's bishop, "Another one of your pieces destroyed!"
"At least I still have my knights," Matt smirked.
"At least I've got my queen," John pointed out.
Albus grinned to himself and settled down to watch the rest of the game. One of Matt's knights was in the process of killing John's queen when he heard a faint tapping on the window behind him.
"Is that an owl?" Rose asked, looking up from her book.
Albus turned around and looked out the glass. There was an owl out there. Albus opened the window and the owl flew inside and landed on top of John and Matt's game.
"Not a very well trained one," Rose smirked, "Guess your game's over."
"Oh, well," John shrugged and untied a piece of parchment from the owl's leg. The owl took off as John examined the envelope. "It's addressed to you, Albus."
Albus stared questioningly at the letter. He took it from John and slowly turned it over. It was addressed to him. But why in the name of Merlin would it be delivered now? He only ever got mail in the morning with everyone else.
"Open it," John said excitedly.
Albus tore it open and unfolded a rumpled piece of parchment. His face turned pale and he gasped as he read what it said.
"What is it?" Rose asked anxiously.
Albus wordlessly tossed the parchment onto the table, where it landed face up. Glued onto the parchment was a variety of letters that appeared to be cut out from a copy of the Prophet.
To Baby Potty-
I have your idiotic cousin.
Bring the Cloak to Hogsmeade,
in front of the Shrieking Shack,
if you don't want any harm to
come to him. Don't tell anyone.
"He's the only one who ever called me 'Baby Potty'."
"And you're sure it's Kaden?" Rose asked.
"Look around, Rose," Albus snapped, "All my other cousins are here!"
"I'm just trying to make sure," Rose said, "There's no need to get angry at me."
"I've got to go find him," Albus stood up and started to run to the portrait hole.
Rose grabbed his robes. "Albus, wait. You've got to think this through. You can't just go storming into Hogsmeade with Willinson there!"
"And what do you suppose I do? Just let him torture Kaden?"
"No, I mean we should go tell Uncle Harry!" Rose insisted.
"But we don't have much time!"
"Aurors have ways of dealing with these situations, Albus," Rose explained, "What do you suppose Willinson would have done if you went to go rescue Kaden? I'm guessing you wouldn't be handing him over the Cloak."
"Albus, listen," Rose said sternly, "We're going to show this to Uncle Harry. Go get the Cloak and the Map-"
"The Map!" Albus exclaimed, "It'll show us exactly where both Willinson and Kaden are!"
"And then we can tell Uncle Harry where they are."
Albus ran up to his dormitory with John and Matt following quickly.
"What are we going to do?" Matt asked.
"Find my dad, I guess," Albus replied as he grabbed the Invisibility Cloak and the Map.
"It's the right thing to do, Albus," Matt said, "The five of us couldn't have saved Kaden from Willinson by ourselves. Remember last year?"
Albus nodded. He certainly did remember last year and he did not want this year to be a repeat of it. Albus ran out of the dormitory without saying a word and the three boys met up with Rose and Amanda near the portrait hole.
"No point in bothering with the Cloak," Albus muttered, "We can't all fit."
Nobody argued and the five Gryffindors ran through the quiet corridor. They completely ignored Peeves and his boisterous cackling. Albus wasn't in the mood for the poltergeist's joking around. Kaden was in trouble and possibly being tortured. Albus picked up his pace at the thought of torture.
John was the only one keeping up with Albus, and even he was starting to lag behind. Rose, Matt, and Amanda were far behind as far as Albus could tell, but he wasn't pausing to find out. He turned a corner and ran smack into someone who was quite a few inches taller than Albus.
"Ouch!" a girl shouted.
"Sorry," Albus muttered and tried to go around her.
"And just what are you doing, Al?" the girl grabbed his robes.
Albus looked up and noticed that the girl was his cousin, Gabriella. "Er, nothing."
"Albus, as a Prefect, I have to report you for wandering the corridors at night," Gabriella sighed, "As well as your friends." She gestured to John, Rose, Matt, and Amanda, who had caught up. "Unless you've got a good reason."
Albus thought for a moment. He didn't really want to tell Gabriella what was going on, but he realized that he couldn't get past his cousin unless he told her.
"Listen," Albus said quickly, "Kaden's in trouble. We were going to find my dad."
"What kind of trouble?" Gabriella asked.
"Hard to explain," Albus said impatiently, "But we're losing time. Can you please let us go?"
"Tell you what, I'll just go with you and make sure you really are going to find Uncle Harry."
"Fine, but let's go!" Albus replied and took off running again.
The group didn't run into anymore trouble on their way to Harry's office. Albus was in the lead and skidded to a stop in front of his dad's study. He pulled out his wand and shouted 'Alohomora' at the doorknob. He wrenched it open as the rest of the group came up behind him.
Harry had been sitting on his couch, wearing only a pair of boxers and a t-shirt with a Gryffindor lion on it, reading the Prophet when Albus burst into the room. He jumped and threw the paper down when he saw the large group of people in the doorway.
"Al?" Harry asked, "What's going on?"
"Kaden's in trouble," Albus said breathlessly, "He's been kidnapped by Willinson."
"What?" Harry shouted, "How did you find this out?"
"Willinson sent me a note," Albus handed his dad the parchment.
Harry quickly read the letter and looked up at Albus and everyone else. "How do you know it's Kaden and how do you know Willinson sent this?"
"The rest of my cousins are in the common room," Albus said quickly, "And Willinson's the only one who ever called me 'Baby Potty'."
"All right," Harry sighed, "Let me contact your Uncle Ron and then we'll head down to Hogsmeade. Gabriella, go inform the headmaster and Neville, then return to Gryffindor and make sure nobody leaves the tower."
Gabriella nodded and left the room. Harry pulled out his wand and whispered an incantation. An enormous silvery stag burst from the end of his wand. Harry said something to it and a few seconds later it disappeared out the window.
A/N: The queue is closing on the 24th until September 1st and this time trusted authors can't submit new chapters either. I might be able to squeeze in an extra update before, but I can't guarantee it.
If anyone is looking for another story to read, Dancer_of_Starlight has a new one that was recently posted. It's called Some Secrets and you can find it on her Author Page or in my Favorites. It's quite good!
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, tranc3rooney, EvilChaos, XDNLxtlz99, michael, sinwillys822, Denas, Luke, Jen, ngayonatkailanman, and Liana for their reviews!
Harry went into his bedroom to put on robes and left Albus and the others in his sitting room. Albus tapped his foot impatiently and stared at his dad's bedroom door.
"We're going to find him, Albus," Rose said quietly.
"I know, I know," Albus mumbled.
"Look at the Map," John suggested, "We should find out exactly where they are."
Albus nodded and pulled out the Map. He watched as the ink slowly formed Hogsmeade and then bent down over it, looking for Kaden.
"You don't think he's in the Shrieking Shack, do you?" Amanda asked.
"Only way you can get into that is the Whomping Willow," Matt reminded her.
"And what if Willinson did that?" Amanda said.
"He didn't," Albus cut in, "He's not in there."
Albus gazed intently at the Map, keeping his eyes peeled for the dots labeled 'Kaden Dursley' and 'Quinton Willinson'. Finally, he spotted them.
"There!" Albus pointed, "Inside that house that's closest to the Shrieking Shack."
"Can you tell what's going on?" Rose asked.
"No," Albus said, "Willinson's on the opposite side of the house as Kaden."
The bedroom door burst open and Harry came running out. Albus hastily put away the Map.
"Dad," Albus said as he followed Harry out into the corridor, "I know where they are. They're in the house closest to the Shrieking Shack."
"How do you know?" Harry asked without turning around or stopping.
"I just do. Trust me. You've got to burst in there and save Kaden!"
"Albus," Harry said as they ran through the darkened corridors, "I can't just send people into a house without any proof that Willinson and Kaden are in there."
"But I have proof!" Albus sighed.
"Then you've got to tell me what it is."
Albus groaned inwardly and turned his head around to meet John and Matt's gaze. They had agreed not to tell anyone about the Map until the following year. But the looks on John and Matt's faces told Albus that both of them agreed that they should tell Harry in order to help Kaden.
"It's hard to explain," Albus began, "But the point is, is that I have a Map of Hogsmeade that works the same way as the Marauder's Map."
That stopped Harry in his tracks. He whirled around and stared at Albus with a mingled look of confusion and awe on his face.
"Did you make it?" Harry asked.
"No," Albus said, "The Marauders did."
"But-but," Harry spluttered, "I thought they just made one of Hogwarts. Where did you find it? How did you find it?"
"It's a long story, Dad," Albus sighed, "I'll tell you later, but we've got to go find Kaden."
"Right," Harry agreed and started running again.
Albus followed him, thinking about how after tonight, the new Map would no longer be a secret.
By the time Harry and Albus left the Hogwarts grounds and entered Hogsmeade, they were far ahead of Albus's friends. Harry paused in front of The Three Broomsticks and waited for them to catch up.
It was an unusually warm night for the beginning of June. There wasn't a hint of wind, nor a cloud in the sky. The stars were all out and the almost full moon illuminated Hogsmeade enough that they didn't need to light their wands. Albus wondered for a quick second if Matt should have just stayed in the school due to the phase of the moon, but didn't linger on the thought. Albus was much too focused on Kaden to think about much else.
Albus waited impatiently with his dad, but was startled at the sound of a loud crack. He turned around to see his Uncle Ron.
"What's going on, Harry?" Ron asked.
"Kaden's been kidnapped by Quinton Willinson," Harry whispered, and explained about the note Albus had received, but he left the part about the map out.
John and Amanda skidded to a halt behind Harry and Albus and looked around nervously. "Rose...and...Matt...are far...behind," John panted.
"You...lot run...fast," Amanda commented.
"They'll catch up," Harry said and then turned to Albus, "Do you have the Cloak?"
"Yeah," Albus nodded.
"Good. But don't give it to him. Listen, I let you lot come along because I figured if I didn't, you'd sneak out anyway. But I don't want you getting involved. Stay behind me at all times and obey whatever I tell you," Harry said sternly. "I don't want a repeat of last year."
Albus nodded reluctantly. "All right."
"Good," Harry replied.
Rose and Matt ran up behind John and Amanda a few minutes later. "Did...we...miss...anything?" Matt asked.
"No," Harry said, "Now, I want you all to follow me. Wands out. If someone tries to attack you, you've got my permission to use whatever jinx or hex comes to your mind."
Albus drew his wand and followed his dad down the quiet street. He had to admit that despite the fact that he was worried about Kaden, it was kind of exciting to go on a mission with his dad and Uncle Ron. The only time he'd ever seen them in Auror mode was the previous spring, and Albus missed much of his dad's duel since he was dueling Quinton Willinson at the time.
The group continued down the street, past the deserted shops and silent houses. Albus had never been in Hogsmeade at night before. It was kind of spooky, especially as they left the more populated area and approached the Shrieking Shack.
"Ooo, spooky," John whispered.
"You've got to be quiet," Harry said.
"Sorry," John muttered.
Harry and Ron stopped in front of the house that was closest to the Shrieking Shack. It was a one-level building, that looked in dire need of repairs. The shutters were falling off, the paint was chipped, and parts of the siding were missing. It looked like it hadn't been lived in in years. The grass was vastly overgrown and Albus spotted a few gnome holes near the bushes that were along the road. All in all, it looked almost creepier than the Shrieking Shack. Harry and Ron stooped down and squatted behind the bushes. Albus and his friends did the same.
"Stay here with them, Ron," Harry whispered, "I don't want Willinson to know they're here. I'm going to negotiate with him."
"All right," Ron agreed.
Albus watched as his dad got up and crept up the walkway to the house. He stopped when he was halfway up it.
"Quinton Willinson!" Harry called in what must have been a magically amplified voice, "Are you there?"
"Who's there?" Willinson's voice called. Albus peeked through the bushes, but he couldn't tell if Willinson was in the window or not.
"This is Harry Potter," Harry replied, "I think we should talk about what's going on."
"What's there to talk about?"
"You captured my cousin," Harry said, "You've made demands in order for us to get him back. I think we need to come to an agreement."
"You know what I want! If you give it to me, you can have your cousin back!"
"What the ruddy hell is going on out here?" a voice shouted from behind Albus.
Albus turned around quickly and saw an old wizard ambling down the road in a dressing robe, with his wand held out in front of him.
Ron stood up and pointed his wand at the man. He motioned for Albus and his friends to stay behind the bushes.
"Can I help you, sir?" Ron asked.
"I want to know what's going on in that house," the man demanded.
Ron pulled out his Auror badge and flashed it to the man. "I can't tell you that, but I assure you that the situation is under control. Please stay behind this line." Ron waved his wand and a blue line appeared where the grass met the road.
"Fine, fine," the man muttered and crossed his arms, but made no move to go back to his house, "Never any peace around here. Whether it's those bloody ghosts in that decrepit old shack or Aurors screaming in the dead of night...."
"If you'll come out of that house, we can talk about your demands," Harry said.
"I'll come out when you give me the Cloak!"
"I'm afraid that's not possible," Harry replied.
"I've got my wand! I'll hex him, I'm not afraid to do it!"
"Is someone captured in there?" a woman shrieked.
Albus turned around again. There was now a small crowd of Hogsmeade residents clad in a variety of pajamas, dressing robes, and cloaks, standing just behind the line Ron had drawn.
"Calm down, ma'am," Ron said, "We have everything under control."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Willinson," Harry said, "You'll get a long stint in Azkaban for that."
"I don't care! If you don't give me that damn cloak I'll curse this kid to next century!"
"He's got a kid in there?" the woman shouted, "And you think you've got everything under control?"
"All he wants is a cloak?" a man shouted, "Why don't you just give it to him? Get the kid out alive!"
"Listen, folks!" Ron shouted, "You don't understand the circumstances. If you continue to question our actions, I'll have to ask you to return to your houses."
"I don't think you will, Willinson," Harry said.
"And why's that, Potter?"
"That's Harry Potter?" another woman shouted, "Let me through! I want to meet him!"
"Ma'am," Ron held up his hand, "As I said before, if you don't stay back, I'll have to ask you to leave."
"Because I taught you, Quinton," Harry said a little quieter, "I don't think you're like your father. If you come out now, we can overcome this."
"No. You're wrong, Potter. I am like my father. We want the same things. And to do that, we need that cloak!"
"Just let Kaden leave, and we'll talk."
"No! Are you going to give me the bloody cloak or not, Potter?!"
"I am not."
"Then I'm going to hex the kid!"
"That would be a bad idea, Willinson," Harry said.
"Somebody do something!" another woman shouted.
Ron whispered an incantation and a silvery terrier appeared out of his wand. He talked to it and it disappeared into the night. Moments later, a witch and a wizard Apparated next to Ron.
"We've got a 230," Ron muttered, "Lewster, stay here and keep the crowd back. They've been pushy. Newman, follow me." Ron turned to Albus, "Rose and Al, stay here. Under no circumstances are you or your friends to come into the house."
Lewster, the wizard, took Ron's place in front of the crowd and scowled at them. Ron and Newman walked up the concrete and stood behind Harry.
"You asked for it, Potter!" Willinson shouted. A few moments later, Albus heard a shriek coming from the house.
"Go get that kid!" someone in the crowd shouted.
Albus watched as Harry, Ron, and the other Auror ran up to the door and blasted it open.
"C'mon," Albus stood up.
"What?" Rose exclaimed, "My dad said to stay out of the house!"
"We're not going in the house. We're going to watch through the window. You think I can just sit here and not know what's going on?"
"I figure we'd better wear the Cloak, so only two of you can come with me."
"I'll go," John and Matt said at the same time.
"Then let's go," Albus replied.
"But Albus-" Rose stammered.
"You're not talking me out of this, Rose."
John and Matt stood up and Albus threw the Cloak over the three of them. They walked quietly up to the house, leaving Rose with her mouth gaped open and Amanda shaking her head. The other Auror, Lewster, didn't even seem to notice them leave and Albus had a feeling he wouldn't have cared anyway.
Albus crouched down in front of a window and peeked inside. He was glad that Willinson had been keeping Kaden in the front room, and they were able to see. Kaden was cowering in a corner while Willinson stood in front of him. Willinson had his wand pointed right at Harry, who was standing directly in front of him. Ron and Newman were slightly behind Harry, their wands pointed at Willinson.
"Merlin," Albus whispered.
"Bloody hell," John said.
"We should go in there and help," Albus said.
"No," Matt grabbed the back of Albus's robes, "They're Aurors, they can handle it. Plus, your dad said to stay away, we'd be in huge trouble if we went in the house."
Albus sighed and crouched back down. Matt was right. There wasn't anything Albus could do. His dad had it under control. He turned to the window and watched what was going on.
Kaden looked up and saw Harry and the other Aurors. He immediately stood up and started to run over to them. Willinson turned around and pointed his wand at Kaden.
"Don't even think about it, kid," Willinson growled, "Stay where you are, or I'll curse you."
Kaden sat back down with a look of terror on his face. Albus was surprised they were able to hear what everyone was saying. The old house must have had a bunch of cracks around the window.
"Willinson," Harry began, "We're going to need you to let Kaden come with us. Then we can talk about this."
"No," Willinson growled, "Not unless you give me the Cloak. You got it on you? I told your son to bring it. I see he didn't follow my orders. He told you about it."
"Yes, he did," Harry replied, "And I don't have the Cloak on me."
"I don't believe you. Accio Cloak!" Willinson pointed his wand at Harry, but nothing happened.
"See? No cloak," Harry said, "Now release Kaden and we'll talk. If you come now, your time in Azkaban will be reduced."
"I'm not going to Azkaban."
"You kidnapped and attacked a child. You're going to Azkaban," Harry said.
"I don't think so," Willinson growled and pointed his wand at Harry, "Expelliarmus!"
But Harry was too quick for Willinson. He dodged the spell and sent one back at Willinson. Willinson and Harry broke out in a duel, with spells flying everywhere.
"This won't last long," Albus muttered, "He's an awful dueler."
Ron ran from behind Harry and over to Kaden. He pulled Kaden up and made a dash for the door. Willinson spotted them and sent a spell, but Newman blocked it. Ron and Kaden burst through the door and were greeted by clapping from the crowd.
"Should we go back?" Matt asked.
"No," Albus muttered, "I want to see what happens to Willinson."
Harry was still dueling with Willinson, and Newman had joined in as well. None of Willinson's spells were actually making contact with Harry or Newman, and most of Harry and Newman's spells were blasting apart furniture as Willinson dodged them.
Newman sent a trip jinx at Willinson and caused him to fall over a broken chair. Harry immediately disarmed him and caught his wand. Newman conjured ropes and bound Willinson's hands. The two Aurors then lifted him to his feet and started to drag him out of the house.
"Now we leave," Albus announced. The three boys stood up and walked as fast as they could back to the bush.
"I'm surprised you didn't get caught," Rose muttered when they sat back down.
"Kind of sounds like you're disappointed," John smirked.
"What happens now?" Matt asked.
Albus looked out at the crowd. Now that Willinson had been caught, Lewster was trying to disperse them. Most were going back to their homes, but a few stubborn ones had to be shouted at a bit before they would leave.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged.
"You lot are going back to school," Ron said.
Albus stood up and saw his Uncle Ron, standing with Kaden just beyond the bushes. Kaden still looked scared out of his mind and stood shaking with Ron's arm around his shoulder. Albus walked over to them, followed by the rest of his friends.
"What's going to happen to Willinson?" John asked.
"Harry will take him to the Ministry, where he will have charges put against him. Then he'll go to Azkaban."
"Good," Albus said.
"Now, let's get back to Hogwarts," Ron said, and began to walk up the road, back into the main part of Hogsmeade.
Ron decided that Kaden should go to the Hospital Wing, and Madam Pomfrey reluctantly let Albus and his friends stay with him. Ron left shortly after he explained what had gone on. He had to go speak to Kendrick and then go to the Ministry to help Harry with the paperwork.
"You know," Madam Pomfrey said as she handed Kaden a potion, "You lot are beginning to remind me a lot of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Two years now, you have gotten into trouble at the end of the year."
"It's not our fault," Albus shrugged.
"I know it's not," Madam Pomfrey said, "Now, I'll let you stay for a half hour or so and then you've got to get back to your common room. Especially you, Matt, you look a bit peaky."
"I'm fine," Matt shrugged. He did look exhausted, most likely due to the fact that the full moon was two days away.
"Nonsense," Madam Pomfrey muttered, "Were you outside with the rest of them tonight?"
The nurse sighed, "You know you're not supposed to. I'm getting you a potion." She ran off to a cabinet and returned with a goblet of steaming liquid. She thrust it to Matt and he downed it, wincing at the disgusting taste.
Once Madam Pomfrey returned to her study, Albus turned to Kaden. "Ok, explain what happened." Albus was dying to know how Willinson had captured him.
"It was Felix Willinson," Kaden said quietly, "I was on my way back from the library and he snuck up behind me and Stunned me. I was stuck, couldn't move. Felix pulled me into a nearby classroom, where Willinson was waiting. Except he wasn't Willinson. He was a seventh year girl, or what looked like a seventh year girl. He must have taken Polyjuice Potion. Anyway, he somehow found an Invisibility Cloak. Which kind of makes me wonder why he wanted yours. But he threw it over me and levitated me to Hogsmeade and to that old house. And well, you know the rest."
"Wow," Ablus replied, "You're ok, though, right? He didn't perform any really bad curses on you, did he?"
"No, mainly he just tried to scare me, and it worked," Kaden whispered, "I don't see how I'm in Gryffindor, Albus. I wasn't brave at all."
"Yes you were," Albus assured him, "Don't say that. I dueled Willinson last year. We all did. And we were all scared."
Matt, John, Rose, and Amanda all nodded.
"See?" Albus said, "Being brave isn't about not being scared. I bet even my dad was scared tonight. I'm sure you were brave. Did you try to hex Willinson at some point?"
"So you were brave. You tried to duel him. Someone who wasn't brave wouldn't have tried to duel him."
"I'm serious. You're brave, Kaden," Albus said, "You do belong in Gryffindor."
"All right. Thanks, Albus."
"No problem," Albus smiled, "You're officially one of us now. You've dueled Willinson."
Kaden laughed a little, "Just so long as it doesn't become a habit."
"I don't think it will," Albus grinned, "He's going to Azkaban."
"Good," Kaden said, "But Albus, why did he want your cloak? Do you know why?"
Albus exchanged glances with Rose and then sighed. "Yes, I do know. It's really, really complicated. I'd have to explain my entire first year of school for you to understand properly."
"Well, I've got nothing better to do," Kaden grinned, "I'll be bored out of my mind in this place."
"The thing is, Kaden," Albus sighed, "That I really can't tell you. It's got a lot to do with my dad defeating Voldemort. He, my mum, my Uncle Ron, and my Aunt Hermione kept a secret from me, Rose, James, Lily, and Hugo for years. I'm not even sure if Lily and Hugo know about it yet. But anyway, James, Rose, and I found out last year, and it's got everything to do with why Willinson wants my cloak.
"My dad didn't want us knowing because he doesn't want a whole lot of people to know. He thought we'd tell people. He made us promise not tell after he explained everything last year. So I really can't tell you. My dad's got to. I think he will, though, after tonight."
"I never get to know anything," Kaden sighed, "I'm guessing all of you know about it?"
"Er, yeah, they do," Albus said, "But only because they were involved in dueling Willinson last year. That's why I think my dad will tell you soon."
"All right, I'll try and be patient," Kaden said.
"Your half hour's up!" Madam Pomfrey announced, "Off to your dormitories. I want you all to get some rest! Honestly, it's almost midnight!"
There was a page long article on the front of the Prophet the next morning that detailed every aspect of the previous night's incident in Hogsmeade. Well, it did not explain what exactly Willinson was after, but everything else was mentioned. Kaden became an instant celebrity as soon as he left the Hospital Wing after breakfast. Almost the entire school, including a few Slytherins, wanted a first hand account of how he got kidnapped. Kaden didn't show any of the fears he had the previous night as he greatly embellished what went on in the old abandoned house.
Harry still hadn't returned from the Ministry. Albus figured he was still busy with sentencing Willinson to Azkaban. Albus didn't have long to dwell on it, though, because they had the last of their examinations that day.
"I am so glad those are over!" John exclaimed at dinner that night, "I say we party in the common room tonight!"
"Some of us," Gabriella leaned over the table, "Still have O.W.L.s to take."
"Oh, er, right," John muttered, "Never mind."
"We can still party," Albus whispered, "Just not in the common room."
"Oh, yeah," John grinned.
"And then I tried to kick his wand out of his hand, but he grabbed my leg instead," Kaden explained to a few over-excited Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs who had wandered over, "So, I bit him. He shrieked like a little girl."
Albus rolled his eyes. "This just gets crazier and crazier."
"Aw, come on, Albus. You've gotta admit that he's making it sound better," John said.
"But biting Willinson?" Albus raised his eyebrow, "That's disgusting."
"You've got an owl, Albus," Rose pointed to an owl that was soaring down towards Albus. It was Harry's.
Albus took the letter and opened it. John and Matt read it over his shoulder.
Things are pretty much taken care of at
the Ministry. I'll be back around seven.
Meet me in the Entrance Hall then. Bring
Rose, Kaden, Matt, John, and Amanda. I'd
like to talk to you about last night.
Matt looked at his watch. "That's in a half hour."
"Half hour to drag Kaden away from his fans," John smirked.
A half hour later Albus and his friends were standing around the Entrance Hall, waiting for Harry. Kaden had reluctantly left his gaggle of girls, only after Albus had told him that Harry was going to explain about the Cloak.
"Well, well, what have we here?" a wheezy voice said from behind them.
Albus spun around and saw Filch limping towards them with a smirk on his face.
"Loitering in the Entrance Hall," Filch muttered, "What are you up to, I wonder...."
"Er," Albus said.
"Another detention, before the year's up...."
"They're with me, Filch," Harry shouted from the doorway, "And it's not curfew yet."
"Right, right..." Filch muttered and shuffled off in the opposite direction.
"So, Room of Requirement sound good?" Harry asked.
Everyone nodded and followed Harry up the stairs. They were stopped no less than three times by various students wanting to talk to Kaden. Albus and John broke out in hysterical laughter after the third person asked for his autograph. Eventually, they did manage to make it to the Room.
Everybody settled themselves onto the various comfy armchairs and couches that were in the room.
"Are you going to tell me why Willinson wanted Albus's cloak?" Kaden asked immediately.
Harry laughed, "Yes, don't worry, Kaden. I'm going to explain everything."
"Excellent," Kaden grinned.
Harry launched into the long story about the Hallows, beginning with how he, Ron, and Hermione first learned about the Hallows, including the Tale of the Three Brothers, and ending with the incident that happened the last spring. By the time he finished, Kaden was staring at him open mouthed and a look of awe on his face.
"Blimey, that's amazing," Kaden grinned.
"I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell anyone about this, Kaden," Harry said seriously.
Albus tried to stifle his laughter as he turned to look at Rose.
"What's so funny?" Kaden asked.
"You. Keeping a secret," John grinned.
"Oh, shut it. I've kept secrets."
"I'm sure Kaden will be able to keep it a secret," Harry said.
"So," Albus began, changing the subject, "What's going to happen to Willinson?"
"He's in Azkaban right now," Harry explained, "He has a minimum ten years sentence, maximum twenty years. He's not too happy about it, but too bad for him."
"Good," Albus said, "What about Felix Willinson?"
"Well, all he really did was hex Kaden, which happens all the time here. I've assigned him a few detentions."
"What about those other blokes?" Kaden asked, "Washburn and Willinson's dad?"
"They're still on the run," Harry sighed, "But we're looking for them. Quinton wouldn't give us any information when we questioned him."
"Hope you find them soon," Kaden replied.
"Me, too," Harry said and turned to Albus, "Now, Al, could you explain about this new map you showed me last night?"
Albus looked at his dad and then slowly got the map out of his bag. He unfolded it and held it up. "Er, yeah."
"Where did you find it?" Harry asked quietly.
"Attic of the house. It was hidden in an old photo album of the Marauders."
"Do you still have the album?"
"Yeah, it's up in my trunk."
"I'd like to see it over the summer," Harry said, "But what I'd like now is for you to explain exactly how this map works. I promise you won't get in trouble."
"All right," Albus glanced at his friends and then back at his dad, "At first, we had no idea what to do with it. So we tried random stuff like spells and the phrase for the Marauder's Map. Eventually we figured it out, but it turns out this map was more complicated than the Marauder's Map.
"For it to work, four Gryffindors have to be 'the next Marauders."
"Wait, what?" Harry asked.
"The Marauders somehow made it so you could only get the map to reveal itself if you were one of four boys who are like the Marauders."
"That is impressive magic," Harry said quietly.
"So, somehow the map recognized that I was related to one of the Marauders and thought I might be one of the new Marauders," Albus explained, "And, it's true. I am the new Prongs."
Harry stared at Albus. "Merlin. That is incredible, Albus."
Albus smiled. "And Matt, John, and Kaden are the other new Marauders. It wouldn't have worked without them."
"Want to guess who's who?" John grinned.
Harry smirked, "You're Padfoot."
"Is it that obvious?"
"Yes," Harry, Albus, and Rose said at the same time.
"Well, guess who Matt and Kaden are," John said.
"I think I'm even more obvious than you are," Matt muttered from the couch he was laying on.
"You're Moony," Harry said, "Which leaves Kaden to be Wormtail. You kind of got the worst end of the deal."
Kaden shrugged, "I don't have to be exactly like him."
"Of course not," Harry agreed. "So, how did you prove to the map that you were the new Marauders?"
"Er," Albus shrugged, "We had to do some, well, some stuff."
"What kind of stuff, Al?" Harry smiled, "I promise you won't get in trouble."
Albus sighed and quickly explained what they had spent the entire year doing. Harry was shaking his head and laughing by the time Albus had finished.
"I can't say I'm happy that you snuck out of the castle and spent the night in the Shrieking Shack or that you Stunned deer in the forest near Rose's house, but nothing bad happened. Just don't do anything like that again."
"All right," Albus shrugged.
"Ok, now I want to see this map of Hogsmeade."
"Sure," Albus pulled out his wand, "Only the four of us can get it to show up, though."
Albus revealed the map and handed it to his dad. He only hoped that Harry wouldn't notice the third page. Albus didn't want to tell his dad about the secret room yet.
Harry spent about ten minutes looking at the map and then handed it back to Albus. "Al, I'm really glad you managed to find that. It means a lot that the four of you can be the next generation of Marauders. Now, I've got to go speak with the headmaster. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Night, Dad," Albus got up.
"Night, Al," Harry stood up and gave his son a hug, "Love you."
"Love you, too."
John stood up as soon as Harry left. "Ok, you lot, let's go celebrate the end of exams!"
Albus, Rose, and Amanda got up as well. "Good idea!" Albus grinned.
"Are you sleeping?" John poked Matt.
"I was," Matt groaned.
"Aw, come on, we want to go celebrate in the other room."
"Ugh, all right, I'm coming," Matt sat up, "Aren't you lot tired? We got almost no sleep last night and then had to be up early for exams."
"Not really," John shrugged, "But I know you are. I saw you fall asleep on your History of Magic exam."
"It would be hard not to," Matt yawned, "The class is bad enough, but a test?"
"I agree with you there," John said.
Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden wound up spending the night in the Marauder's Den. Matt fell asleep in his bed as soon as they got there, and no one had the heart to wake him up. Well, John did, but Rose convinced him not to. The girls left shortly before curfew, after a few rounds of Exploding Snap and Wizard's chess, as well as the eating of numerous Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Beans.
The remaining week of school went by incredibly fast. Albus and his friends spent most of it outside, once Matt was out of the hospital wing that is, playing Quidditch and goofing off. Kaden's many admirers slowly trickled away and soon he was just a regular student again. Ravenclaw won the House Cup yet again. Albus and Rose went to yet another Hogwarts graduation, this time for their cousin Stanley. Albus had a feeling he'd be going to every single Hogwarts graduation for at least the next ten years. He would probably be so sick of them by the time he graduated that he wouldn't even want to attend. Stanley's graduation was much the same as Victoire's had been, and Teddy's the year before.
"I can't believe my first year is over," Kaden sighed as they were riding the train back to London, "It's definitely been the best year of school ever."
"Never a dull moment at Hogwarts, that's for sure," Albus laughed.
"I'll say. Wonder what'll happen next spring?"
"Hopefully, nothing," Albus replied. He had had enough of the duels with Willinson. All Albus wanted was a school year that did not involve anything Kaden would consider exciting.
"I think I'm going to be bored this summer," Kaden announced, "Not being able to do magic."
"Oh, I forgot to tell you," Matt began, "My mum said you lot could come spend a few days at my house this summer, if you want."
"Yeah!" Kaden shouted excitedly, "Your house has got to be more exciting than mine."
"If you want exciting, you ought to see my Uncle Jack's house," Matt said, "You want to come over, Albus and John?"
"Definitely," Albus grinned.
"Count me in," John said, "I'll be up for getting away from my sisters. Ashtyn's going to be unbearable this summer, what with her going to Hogwarts in the fall."
"Lily, too," Albus said.
"And Hugo," Rose added.
"Well, I haven't got any younger siblings, so we'll have the house to ourselves. Besides my parents, that is," Matt pointed out.
"Excellent," John grinned. "So, anyone doing anything exciting this summer? Anymore cool trips, Amanda?"
"I don't think so," Amanda said, "I wish we'd go back to Ireland, though."
"My parents said we might to to the States to see my uncle," Matt said, "Depends on their work schedules, though. And Amy's."
"Nothing exciting for me," Albus said.
"Me either," Rose said.
"Or me," John laughed, "We're pretty boring, aren't we? We'll just have to raise the ruckus at Matt's house."
"Good luck with that with my mum around," Matt smirked, "I swear she's got eyes on the back of her head."
"I think all mums do," John shook his head, "So, when did your parents say we could come over?"
"Dunno," Matt shrugged, "Depends on when we're visiting Uncle Jack, I suppose. I'll owl you."
The remainder of the train ride passed quickly. Albus dozed off towards the end of it, only to be shaken awake by Rose. Albus sat up and looked around the compartment. Matt and Amanda were yawning and sitting up as well. John and Kaden were both completely covered in soot and were cleaning up what looked to be a rather vicious round of Exploding Snap.
"You two ought to practice that over the summer," Rose said cheerfully, "And perhaps learn a cleaning charm or two." She pointed her wand at each of their faces in turn and restored them to their usual clean state.
"Yeah, yeah," John muttered.
"Just you wait," Kaden grinned as he opened the door and walked out into the corridor, "Come September, we'll wipe the floor with you."
"I'll believe it when I see it," Rose smiled.
Albus laughed to himself as he followed his friends out into the corridor. He joined the throngs of students emerging onto the platform. Albus spotted his parents and Lily, standing next to Rose's parents and Hugo. He pushed through the crowd of students and made his way over to them. Albus was happy to be going home, but at the same time he was excited about the next school year. He would be a third year, which meant he could visit Hogsmeade. Albus grinned to himself as he thought about all the possibilities that Hogsmeade would hold with the new Marauder's Map in his pocket.
A/N: Well, that's it! I really hope you all enjoyed it. To answer the question that a lot of people will probably ask in reviews, I am writing a sequel to this! It's nearly finished and quite different than this one. I do have some major editing to do and am going to try and start that soon, but I don't anticipate posting the first chapter for another days. Not to mention the fact that it is still currently being called Albus Potter and the Unnamed Sequel and I need to come up with a permanent title. School has started, so my writing time is limited. I will probably post updates about how the editing is coming along on my blog on the HPFF forums, so feel free to check it out!
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to phoenixy_friend, ngayonatkailanman, Luke, sinwillys822, 1OldHPFan, Jen, Moonylupin, Denas, Liana, tranc3rooney, potterfan296, and EvilChaos for their reviews, as well as anyone who has read/reviewed the previous chapters!