"Okay. I've got it here it says invisible ink can be revealed with a Revealer "
"You don't say! I think I knew that when I was, uh, six."
"Yeah, yeah if you're so smart, what's the trick to this parchment? Filch had it filed under Highly Dangerous for a reason."
George hung off the bed and scrambled amongst the cluttered debris underneath. "I know I've got one here somewhere keep searching through that book. See if you can find out something we didn't know."
"I think we're running out of spells. We might need Percy's help."
Little did Percy know that, of all the Weasleys, he was the one that helped the twins most in their quest for total mayhem and utter destruction. The sheer number of pranks they pulled successfully on Percy made him their favourite and most valued test subject. His academic brilliance also came in dead useful, particularly because the twins usually managed to exploit it without Percy's knowledge.
"Aha, got it!" George pulled himself and the Revealer back up onto the four-poster and they gave the parchment a good rubbing over. Nothing.
"Is it supposed to take a few minutes to work?"
"No, it's supposed to reveal immediately. I thought you knew this when you were, 'uh, six'."
"Ok, so maybe it works when you write something on it." Fred reached for a quill and ink bottle and began to write on the parchment. However, the ink didn't dry like normal ink, and it didn't even fade into the parchment like invisible ink. It stayed wet and slowly reformed into droplets which then levitated a fraction into the air above the parchment and finally evaporated into nothing.
"What the ? Did you see that?
"Yeah, it must be an ink-repelling charm, like Mum puts on our best robes."
"I've never seen that on parchment before. I wonder if invisible ink works." Unfortunately, it didn't.
"I guess a written spell won't work, then."
The grabbed their wands once again. Tap, tap. "What are you hiding?"
Tap, tap. "Please, please show us your secrets."
Tap, tap. "This is Fred and George Weasley. We command you to appear."
Mr Moony presents his compliments to Fred and George Weasley and asks them to give the password.
The boys' mouths dropped open, and they stared at each other with eyes popping out of their heads. Then they started shouting anything they could think at the parchment.
"Godric Gryffindor's great!"
"Salazar Slytherin stinks!"
"Quaffle, bludger, snitch!"
"Percy's a pompous prissy-arse!"
They hooted uproariously and took a few moments to gather themselves before returning to the task at hand. When they finally turned their attention back to the parchment, a new line of writing was appearing under the first.
Mr Prongs heartily endorses the sentiments of the Messrs Weasley but regrets to advise that none of them will reveal the secrets hidden herein.
"Oh please?" It didn't seem at all unreasonable to converse with the parchment, now that they were getting some kind of response. "We filched this from Filch's office "
" when he was giving us detention "
" for dropping a Dungbomb in the corridor "
" and it was under Highly Dangerous "
" so we know it's gotta be abso-bloody-brilliant."
"Please tell us the password. Pleeeaaase?" They weren't above begging: it had often come in useful at home. Bill was sometimes a sucker, and their Dad he was the easiest of the lot.
Mr Padfoot admires the resourcefulness and cunning of the Messrs Weasley and begs to know on what day this act of Gryffindor bravery was undertaken.
"When was it, Gred, Friday night?"
"Yeah." Fred addressed the parchment directly, "Uh, it was Friday the thirteenth of April, 1990."
Mr Wormtail expresses his astonishment that this parchment has survived so long and wishes the Messrs Weasley well in their endeavours to unlock its treasure.
In addition, Mr Moony congratulates the Messrs Weasley on their skillful pranking abilities and happily discloses that this parchment will return to its pristine state once their Mischief has been Managed.
"What in Gringott's name does that mean?"
"Look at the capital letters is it a clue? 'Mischief Managed!'"
The boys watched the words of Moony, Prongs, Padfoot and Wormtail fade into the parchment, leaving it, as Mr Moony had promised, pristine and silent. They waited a few moments, in case there was more, but nothing else happened.
"Blast!" said Fred, giving the parchment a thump with his fist. "Well, we sure could be managing a lot more mischief if this dratted parchment wasn't taking so much of our time."
"Oh, we'll never just guess it," whined George. "There must be some way to unveil secret passwords for magical parchments. It's time for Percy's help. You go and I'll keep looking through these library books."
"Wake up, Terrors, letter from home!" Charlie strode into the dormitory expecting to drag the twelve-year-old twins from their beds, even though it was well after eleven o'clock. It was Sunday morning, after all. Not surprisingly, George's curtains were completely closed around his four-poster. But Fred's bed was empty unusual you didn't often see one of them still in bed and one
"Hey, watch were you're going!" Charlie used his booming voice to intimidate whatever first-year was recklessly running into the dormitory. With a stack of books. That crashed to the floor around his feet.
"Fred! What the hell are you doing with Percy's textbooks?"
"Charlie Old Chap! How corking to see you this fine morning. What brings you to the humble first-years' abode at such an early hour?"
"Letter from home," mumbled a voice from behind the curtains.
"George, what's Fred doing with Percy's books?" Charlie stepped over and yanked open the curtains to rouse George from his mid-morning stupour. He was surprised, however, to see George dressed and sitting on his unmade bed surrounded by several large pieces of parchment, quills, ink bottles of various descriptions, and what seemed to be a few library books.
"And how are the Burrow-bound Weasleys doing?" Fred had gathered the books that he'd sent sprawling across the floor and was quickly shoving them under George's pyjamas. Then he sat on top of them.
Charlie looked from one twin to the other. They were certainly trying hard with the innocent faces, but this must be something big they were hiding; they couldn't quite keep the excitement from their eyes.
"What is all this stuff? What are you two doing?"
"Homework?" George said. He didn't seem too sure of himself, which intrigued Charlie. Usually, their story was well rehearsed long before anyone caught them in the middle of their mischief-making. It must be pretty good if they'd been too preoccupied to prepare for an interruption.
Charlie focussed a penetrating stare on Fred, who had started to speak hurriedly.
"Yes, that's right. See, we've got all our research books here and loads of parchment just ready to write our assignments. Only six weeks till exams, you know, got to be prepared and all that, wouldn't want to let Mum down, would we, want to make her proud and all. How is Mum, by the way? You have a letter, I hear."
Charlie raised an eyebrow skeptically. Seeing George nodding his head vigorously with every word was somewhat amusing as well.
"Is that you, Percy?" Charlie couldn't resist bending down to stare Fred right in the eyes. "Have you taken Polyjuice? What have you done with Fred?"
Fred leant back from his brother's interrogation and let out an offended "Charlie!" The twins were starting to recover. Charlie could see their minds working together, getting their story straight and trying to put him off as quickly as they could. George stood on his bed, the only way he could look down on his older brother. "Why wouldn't we be concerned about our school work?"
"Just 'cause you're always on the Quidditch pitch "
" doesn't mean the rest of us don't care about our marks "
" or take the opportunity for a bit of "
" quiet revision on a "
" Sunday morning."
Yes, there was the twin-double-speak: they were back on form. Charlie knew he'd missed his chance to get anything out of them now. But he couldn't help prodding them a bit further. Just in case.
"So, what subject are you revising?"
"Charms", "Transfiguration", they said simultaneously.
Charlie snorted. "Well? Which is it?"
"Fred's doing Charms and I'm doing Transfiguration."
"Oh, really." He indicated the stack of books that Fred was still sitting on. "And why do you need Percy's third-year books to revise first-year subjects?"
"Gotcha! What are you really doing?"
Fred looked indignant. "We told you, we're doing homework. Now bugger off and leave us in peace."
"What'll Percy say when he finds his books missing?"
"He's not going to know because we'll be finished our homework before he's back from the library." Charlie could have sworn he heard Fred mutter under his breath, "Honestly. What does he think we are suicidal?"
George had jumped off the bed and was waving his wand around in Charlie's direction. "So be a good fellow, Charlie Old Chap, and sod off so we can get on with it."
Charlie was making no move to leave so the twins looked at each other; they didn't make eye contact but they made their decision by consensus just the same. It was time for the 'solemn oath'. Only George could do it; everyone knew that Fred was never, ever serious. Neither was George, but not everyone knew that.
George stood tall, tapped the accumulated stuff on his bed with his wand, and held his left fist against his heart. With a dramatic sigh, as though speaking to a particularly dense great-uncle, he said, "Charles, I solemnly swear that I am "
" up to no good, I'll bet. Save it for Percy, George." Charlie gave up, dismissing the twins' protests and dropping the family letter on the bed. He left the dorm, hoping that whatever they were up to would not have any nasty repercussions for him. He didn't fancy yet another dressing down from his mother for not keeping the twins in check. If only Bill was still here, he wouldn't have to put up with all this oldest-brother-must-set-an-example-and-keep-them-out-of-trouble crap. It just wasn't fair. How come Bill never had to go to school with the Twin Terrors?
Once Charlie was gone George let his breath escape his lips and slumped back onto the bed while Fred wiped his hand across his forehead in exaggerated relief.
"Blimey Merlin's beard! George, look!" Fred pointed to the parchment.
"Bloody brilliant!" George whispered reverently, staring at the creeping lines that were spreading across it. "How did that happen?"
"Quick! Think! What did we do, what did we say?"
"Did you touch it? Did you wave your wand around?"
"No, you did, you git! When you gave Charlie the big oath. You tapped the parchment and what did you say?"
"I said 'Charles, I solemnly swear that I am doing my homework'. Except before I'd finished he said that I was "
" up to no good!"
"I solemnly swear that "
" I AM UP TO NO GOOD!" the twins finished together, jumping up and down on the bed. Parchment and ink bottles went flying and Percy's precious books tumbled to the floor in a messy heap.
"Woo-hoo! 'Up to no good' it was made for us." "We did it! We did it! We did it!"
"So, what is it, anyway?" They sat back down, cross-legged on the bed, facing each other and hunched over the parchment between them. It was now criss-crossed with lines of ink and a grand heading stood out in green:
Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present
THE MARAUDER'S MAP
"Mischief-makers that's us, alright! Oh, wow this is a map of the whole school. Look!"
"Cool. Hey, there's people on it, moving around. Oh Merlin, this is FANTASTIC! I can see who's in the girls' toilets."
"Eeeeww, GRED! Too much information!"
"Now we'll be able to catch Percy in there "
" when he does his hair-curling charms!" They laughed hysterically, rolling around on the bed, clutching their stomachs.
"No more surprise attacks from Mrs Norris "
" no more Sneaky-Slimy-Snape interrupting our experiments "
" wait till Lee sees this."
The boys paused and looked one another in the eye, deadly serious, but unable to wipe the huge grins off their faces.
"This is a Twins-Classified one, right?"
Hogwarts sure was going to be in for some surprises in the next few years.
THE END nearly
When Charlie went to bed that night he found a chocolate frog and a note on his pillow which read:
Charlie Old Chap,
You are our hero.
Charlie shook his head in bewilderment. Who could fathom the minds of the Twin Terrors? He picked up the chocolate frog to examine it. It was still in its wrapper and he couldn't find any evidence of tampering
He rested it on his bedside table, thinking that he would give it to Percy in the morning.
Just in case.
Disclaimer: Well, I bought the books, so now I own it, right?
A/N: All blame goes to gypsy_dragonfly who is responsible for sucking me into the vortex that is Harry Potter Fan Fiction and thanks to my beta Kate for her patience and comments which forced me to go from 'that'll do' to 'let's get this just right'.