In Need of a Map
“There.” Giles set the spoon down in the empty bowl. Now that he had finished feeding his brother, he could eat his own meal. He picked up his bowl, only to find that it had gone cold. “Oh bother.” Giles muttered, weighing the distaste of cold chicken soup with the effort it would take to go back to the microwave.
“You know you didn’t have to help me.” Severus snapped, trying
hard not to apologize for his brother’s cold meal.
“No, but I would hardly want the couch smelling like spilled chicken soup after you leave.” Giles replied, deciding it was worth reheating the bowl.
“It couldn’t possibly make it smell any worse than it already does.” Severus sneered, watching Giles retreat into the kitchen.
“Nonsense. There’s been nothing sordid nor messy on that couch. It’s practically brand new.” Giles replied. In fact the couch was rather new as it was to replace the previous couch that had experienced both the sordid and the messy last Thanksgiving. “I don’t suppose it would be worth my breath to mention that now would be a good time to take your medicine?”
“Are you going out again?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”
“It has everything to do with my response. If the wards were breached and I was in an impaired state, I would be unable to defend myself.”
“Ah.” Giles nodded. “Well, as I have yet to eat my lunch and have some business to attend to here, I think it would be safe for you to rest for awhile.”
“A couple of hours; I really should be back at the shop by three so that Anya doesn’t have to close by herself, but that should be sufficient.”
“I suppose a short nap wouldn’t be too problematic.” Severus muttered but hardly sounded convinced.
“I’ll be sure you’re awake before I leave.” Giles tried to soothe his brother’s concerns while internally griping at how paranoid Severus had become.
“On your word as a Slytherin?”
“Whatever sentimental rubbish that means.” Giles muttered.
“Do you swear you’ll wake me before you leave?”
“Just take the Godric damned medicine.” Giles growled.
“Fine.” Severus grabbed the pills from the bedside table and swallowed them quickly, not even bothering to wash them down with the glass of water.
“There now, was that so hard?” Giles asked, but Severus had already passed out.
The microwave dinged, letting Giles know that his soup was ready. He set his lunch down at the table and began the tedious process of planning out the evening’s patrol route. Between the large obituary section and reported gas leak, Giles had an eerie feeling tonight was going to be a long night for his slayer and him.
“I just want to know how they did it.” Rastaban moaned as the Slytherin boys trudged into the Great Hall.
“What good is that going to do?” Damon shot Rastaban a dirty look, although the real targets of his ire were sitting across the room.
“What we need to know is how we’re going to get back at them.” Lucius answered. “If only I knew how they did it.”
“A gong charm isn’t really that hard. The real trick is to get the …” yawn “… timing right.” Rupert’s head drifted towards the table snapping up just in time to avoid a collision with the potatoes. “We were trying to get it working in choir to replace the frogs, but we couldn’t…. what was I saying?”
“It isn’t even the first month in. They’re starting too early.” Rookie muttered. “They’re Gryffindors; they’re supposed to be all noble and crap.”
“I bet they’ve been planning this all summer.” Lucius sneered. “We can’t let them get away with this.” Lucius slammed his fist down on the table causing the other fourth year boys to wince at the noise.
“Hey boys,” Mafalda took her seat next to Damon, “what’s with all of you today?”
“Well, you see…” Rookie started, but Lucius cut him off with a rough “Nothing’s wrong!”
“Don’t even try that, or I’ll get Narci to find out.” Mafalda threatened. Lucius looked a shade paler at the threat but refused to give in. “Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Mafalda turned her back to the boys. As the girls joined the table, fashionably late as always, they made a point of snubbing the boys.
“Why couldn’t we tell her, Lu?” Rookie whispered.
“Because,” Lucius looked around in a paranoid manner before leaning in to the center of the table. The rest of the boys followed suit, leaning forward to hear. “They couldn’t have made it into our room without inside help. Someone in Slytherin is a spy.”
Several of the boys gasped, and a few actually cast furtive glances at Rupert. “Oh, right. Don’t you think if I was going to charm a gong to sound in our room every twenty minutes all night long, I’d arrange to sleep in the infirmary that night?” Rupert grabbed a roll from the table and leaned back. “It’s nice to know you think so highly of me.”
“Well, you did just admit to studying gong charms in choir.” Severus grumbled.
“Et tu, Severe?” Rupert glanced at his brother.
“I’m not saying you did it. I’m just pointing out that you left yourself open to that accusation.”
“Everyone in choir worked on gong charms.” Rupert pointed out.
“Are you saying it’s a girl?” Evan asked in disbelief.
“Well,” Rupert wasn’t about to mention the other boy in choir if the rest of the boys had forgotten. Besides, he would feel guilty feeding Whimple to the vipers when it was impossible for the Hufflepuff to plan something like that. “It’s just as likely to be you-know-who listening in to the girls talk about the gong charm.” He cast a dirty glance at the Gryffinder table.
“It couldn’t be a girl anyway.” Damon yawned. “The stairs are charmed.”
“It’s not too hard to get around that though.” Evan caught Damon’s contagious yawn.
“I don’t even want to know what you were doing with a girl in our room.” Lucius glared at Evan, letting Rosier know full well that he wanted to know exactly what Evan was up to, just not in the presence of everyone else in case they got ideas.
“I’m just saying, that if a female was determined enough to get into our rooms, it would be feasibly possible.” Evan shrugged.
“Why are we even talking about the girls when we know it’s them?” Rastaban shot a dirty glance at the table across the way. Sirius caught his eye and winked. “Ooh! I don’t care if he’s my cousin; Sirius is going to pay for this.”
“They’re all going to pay for this. We just need to figure out how they got into our room so that we can return the favor.” Lucius tried to take the leadership role again. “Now let’s think, how would we get into a foreign commons room?”
“I don’t suppose there’s an easy way to make yourself invisible, is there?” Rupert asked.
“Well, there’s a disillusionment charm. You wouldn’t be invisible, but people would refrain from noticing you.” Lucius offered. His father had taught him numerous methods of espionage over the summer. While most were necessary for maintaining the Malfoy advantage, the disillusionment charm was one of the few he wouldn’t get in trouble about if one of the professors were listening in.
“Alright. Would they be able to cast it?”
“I suppose.” Lucius frowned. “But not without setting off a few alarms in the Headmaster’s office. That’s one of the charms not allowed on campus for obvious reasons.”
“Too many students sneaking out?”
“Well I think a larger problem were students who accidentally disillusioned themselves, and didn’t know how to change back afterwards. It was bugger all trying to find them in order to fix the problem,” Rookie added, “Or so my uncle told me.”
“Yes, he used to teach flying here, but now he works in the Ministry’s Department of Apparation Licensing- bad knees, you know.”
“As lovely as that story is, it still doesn’t tell us how the Gryffs made it into our commons room.” Lucius interrupted.
“Alright, so other methods of invisibility; is there a magical artifact perhaps?” Rupert thought aloud. “Perhaps there’s a hood or glove that confers invisibility to the wearer?”
“Why would anyone think a glove could make someone invisible?” Damon scoffed. Rupert wasn’t about to expound on all the mystical clothing Quentin had him review over the summer. However, surely if the glove of Myneghon could provide the wearer unlimited power, there ought to be a glove to make someone invisible. “Everyone knows it’s an invisibility cloak.”
“Ah, silly me.” Rupert rolled his eyes.
“But that’s ridiculous. Do you have any idea what one of those things cost?” Lucius gawked.
“No, but I have a fairly good idea you do.” Rupert remarked, not wanting to deal with a Lucius tirade on top of his already pounding headache.
“They’re ridiculously rare and extraordinarily useful. My father forbade from bringing my cloak to school because it would be too expensive to replace.”
“Well, your father is a Slytherin. Maybe a Gryffindor father would encourage their son to take a stupid risk like that.”
“Who would be rich enough to buy an invisibility cloak and stupid enough to let his child bring it to Hogwarts?”
The table of Slytherins came to the same conclusion. “Potter.”
“Alright so they’re invisible, but it still doesn’t explain how they made it through the halls to our commons room, and then made it into the doorway without running into anyone. An invisibility cloak doesn’t reduce your size. They could still run into things.” Damon pointed out what they didn’t want to think about.
“What if they had a map? What if the map was magical and could show them where everyone in the castle was at once? They would know how to avoid people in the halls, and they could anticipate anyone leaving the commons room and follow them in. With a map like that, they could get away with anything.” Rupert pondered.
“Yes, a magical map.” As the Slytherins began thinking of this, Rupert finally felt a bit better. At least he was coming up with suggestions for how to get back at their nemesis.
“Impossible.” Severus finally remarked.
“What? It’s not impossible. They could have a magic map and an invisibility cloak, and use it to terrorize the school.” Rupert defended his theory.
“Fine, it is not impossible, just highly improbable.”
“And what does that mean?”
“It means that there is a much simpler explanation. The Gryffindors never came into our commons room. They simply waited for their opportunity to add a charmed object into our room.”
“How could they do that with out us knowing?”
“Did any of you pick up any strange objects, or let any of your belongings get near the Gryffindors?” Lucius turned to each of the Slytherins in turn. They all shook their heads until he reached Argentius. “Rookie, do you have anything you’d like to share with the class?”
“No, I mean, not really?” Seeing the intrigued look in Lucius’ eyes, he knew he had to keep going. “Well, Potter bumped into me before Transfiguration yesterday, and I dropped my bag. Some of my things scattered and he helped me put them back. He apologized though and said it was an accident. I don’t think he actually did anything with my stuff, would he?”
The group grabbed Rookie’s bag and dumped the contents onto the table, much to the confusion of the rest of the Slytherins. “Rookie, what’s this?” Lucius picked up an odd gadget.
“I… I don’t know?”
“It’s a battery.” Rupert rolled his eyes.
“What’s more, it’s a battery with a noise producing charm on it. Get rid of it.”
“And how am I supposed to do that?”
“You’re clumsy. Run into Pettigrew.” Damon suggested.
“Just leave it in the Great Hall. The house elves will take care of
it.” Lucius suggested.
“But Lu…” Rastaban tried to interrupt but was quickly silenced.
“If they get it back, they’re just going to stick us with it again, and knowing them, it will be even harder to disarm. Leave it for the elves.”
“Okay.” Rookie carefully dropped the battery under the table.
“Now, if my calculations are correct, we have two minutes to eat breakfast and get out of here before that bloody thing goes off again. When we’re in the hall, I want you to tell me more about this map idea of yours.” Lucius addressed Rupert.
As the Slytherins tucked into their food, Severus mumbled. “It’ll never work.”