Stealing the Items of Mischief
Stealing the Items of Mischief
James Sirius and Albus Severus very quietly tip-toed their way down the steps of their family home. Unfortunately, Grimmauld Place was old, so anyone in the house could barely walk a foot away without hearing some type of creek in the flooring. The hallway was dark and almost gave a haunted feel to the house. It was past midnight so the two boys were confident that their parents would be fast asleep by now.
"Remind me again, why are we breaking into Dad's office?" Albus asked nervously. Both of the boys were marvels of mischief, but while James had a knack for giving teachers grey hairs and causing Peeves to act more chaotic than usual, Albus just liked having fun. He would pull the occasional prank, but he would much rather prefer to leave the mischief-making up to his brother and cousin, James and Fred, especially now that he was eleven.
Albus would be entering his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on September 1st which was only a week away. James, on the other hand, would be entering his third year. So far James' partner in crime at school was his cousin Fred, and after receiving one too many letters from the school's headmistress, Professor McGonagall, their mothers – their fathers were okay with the kid's having a little fun – had decided that they didn't want to see as many detentions this year.
So James came up with a plan. Unfortunately, that plan involved one of the few rules in the house that James and his siblings weren't supposed to break: Don't enter Harry's office unless an adult is in there with you.
"You're gonna get us both grounded for the rest of the summer!" Albus whispered fiercely as he and James stopped at the door closest to the landing.
"Will you relax?" James snapped. "We really are gonna get caught if you keep talking?"
"Just tell me again why breaking into Dad's office is so important?" Albus demanded. "Mom and Dad are going to kill us if they find out what we're doing."
"I told you, mom said any more detentions this year and I won't be allowed to play for the Quidditch team at school," James reminded him.
"Yes, but that doesn't explain why you're dragging me under the Knight Bus with you!" Albus asked incredulously.
"You're the lookout," James said calmly as he bent down to be eye-level with the doorknob.
"You're an idiot," Albus said back just as calmly. James glared at his brother, but said nothing.
"Just watch mom and dad's bedroom door and warn me if you hear them waking up," James ordered, as he brought out a pocket knife.
Albus recognized the pocketknife immediately. James was given that on his twelfth birthday by Uncle George and Aunt Angelina. The pocketknife wasn't any regular pocketknife. It was enchanted to unlock doors when the person is unable to use magic, for instance like during the summer holiday when attempting to break into a restricted home office.
James put a part of the knife that looked suspiciously like a nail file into the lock and began to move it around. He continued to do so for a moment until he heard the successful sound of a click. James smirked and opened the door. He and Albus walked in before closing the door.
The two boys had seen their father's office plenty of times, but this was the first time they were in it without supervision. That fact gave the room more of a creepy feel than usual. The walls were a simple white color with lots of plaques on the walls from their father's many achievements. On one of the many shelves stood proudly was their father's gold Medal of Honor as well as his award for being the youngest ministry worker to be named Head of a Department which of course was the Auror Department.
All over the room were shelves with trinkets and Auror equipment that James and Albus could never quite figure out. There were also things that the two boys were already aware of. For instance, there was a sneakoscope on their father's desk which they were grateful for the fact that it didn't get activated by the fact that they were in here (in the past James has set off more than his fair share of sneakoscopes). There was also a small wardrobe in the room which the boys knew housed their father's many invisibility cloaks. There was also a pensieve behind their father's desk as well as a cauldron. The bookshelves held many books about potions, defense against the dark arts, as well as herbology and transfiguration, which all came in handy as an Auror.
James went straight to his father's large desk and noticed for the first time that he had several pictures on his desk. The first was of the entire Weasley/Potter clan at Christmas last year. Another was of their mom and dad, Aunt Ron and Aunt Hermione, as well as close family friends, Neville (Professor) Longbottom and Luna Scamander. There was a third picture that must have been taken when their dad, Aunt Hermione, and Uncle Ron was about sixteen or seventeen. They seemed to be outside of Hogwarts by the Black Lake. The fourth picture was of the family. In the picture were James' parents as well as James, Albus, Lily, and Teddy. The picture was taken at Teddy's birthday last year.
James smiled at the pictures. It was clear why there were so many pictures on his father's desk. He sees so much bad in his job as Head of the Auror Department that he needs to remind himself that there's still happiness and love in his life. James looked at the pictures one last time before bending down to the drawers.
"I still do not get how this is going to help you," Albus stated. "It seems like this is an even more likely way of getting thrown off the Quidditch team. If we're caught detention will be the least of your worries."
"Do you ever stop being a know-it-all prat?" James asked his younger brother.
"Do you ever stop being an arrogant troublemaker who doesn't care about anyone but himself?" Albus snorted back. "It's no wonder Patricia Silverston won't give you the time of day."
James froze and looked up at his brother. "How would you know about that?" he demanded.
"I may not be going to Hogwarts quite yet, but that doesn't mean the family doesn't keep me in the loop," Albus remarked.
James scowled at him in response.
Unfortunately, when it came to the romantic life of James Potter, his was shockingly similar to his namesakes. Just like his grandfather, James met a young red-headed muggle-born who wanted absolutely nothing to do with him and claimed that he was nothing more than a trouble-making, egotistical sports star. James met Patricia Silverston in Year 1 and she had disliked him since. James tried everything; yet, everything he did seemed to make Patricia hate him even more.
Although, his grandmother Lily did eventually fall in love with his grandfather, so James liked to hope that Patricia would eventually fall in love with him as well, even if he had to wait a century. It would be completely worth it.
James tore his eyes away from his know-it-all brother and continued to open desk drawers left and right until eventually he came to one that was locked.
"Jackpot," he whispered.
As James worked to get the drawer open, Albus opened up a trunk that sat under the window. "Hey, what's this?" Albus held up a large clock.
James looked at it and raised an eyebrow. "Do you really need me to explain to you what that is?"
Albus glared at his older brother. "Of course not," he argued. "I'm just wondering why this isn't with the others. Why is this one invisibility cloak so special?"
"Don't know," James said, yanking the cloak out of his brother's hands, "but it's not getting any use out of it in that trunk."
"You're stealing the cloak!" Albus whispered louder than he should have.
"Quiet, would you!" James glared at his brother. "Do you want to get caught? Besides what's wrong with taking something if it's not getting used?"
"How about the fact that since its apart from the others then it probably means something to dad?" Albus argued.
"He has five others. He'll survive." James rolled his eyes. He finally yanked the draw open with a wide grin. All that laid in the drawer was several pages of old parchment.
"Great," Albus said sarcastically. "Parchment. We did all of this so you could steal parchment. I'm sure that'll keep you out of detention."
"Will you shut up? It must be important for dad to lock it away by itself in a drawer," James suggested. "We're going to Diagon Alley tomorrow. I'm sure Uncle George will know what to make of it. Now, come on, let's get out of here before mom or dad wakes up."
"Seriously," Albus replied. "I'm not sure who I would be more scared of waking up."
Both boys paused and looked at each other for a brief moment. Then at the same time they replied, "Mom."
The next day, the Potter clan traveled the Floo Network into Diagon Alley. Ginny and Lily went off to look at a new dress while Harry took Albus to get his wand and books. So that left James alone to go to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. James' uncle Ron used to work with his father at the Auror Department, but a few months after Rose was born he realized he just wasn't happy. Besides, he wasn't really interested in a job where he could be tore away from his family at any moment. So he quit the Auror Department and now runs and owns half of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes with James' other uncle, George Weasley.
Luckily, it was George's day to run the store so James didn't have to worry about being found out. Surely, if he asked Ron about this then Ron would tell James' Aunt Hermione and she would tell James' dad which James did not want. Uncle George on the other hand basically supported any kind of mischief so he would definitely help him out.
James walked into the family-owned business and quickly spotted his cousin, Fred. "Fred," James called out.
"Hey, James," Fred greeted his cousin. "What's up?"
"Something, hopefully," he said. "Where's your dad at?"
"He's upstairs," Fred said. He and James quickly moved through the crowd to the back of the shop. They pulled back the curtain that separated the main floor to the stairs that led to the apartment upstairs. James' Uncle George used to live up in the apartment when he ran the shop with his Uncle Fred. After Uncle Fred died in the war George moved back to his moms and stayed there until he eventually got his own place with James' Aunt Angelina. Now the upstairs apartment is mostly used for designing, making, and testing new products for the joke shop.
There was a rule when it came to the apartment. Any of the kids who went up there had to have an adult present and before entering the room had to knock three times in case George or Ron had something dangerous out. So Fred did a series of three solid taps against the wood door and waited.
George Weasley opened the door with his signature grin. "Sup, boys," he greeted. "What can I do you for?"
"Hey, Uncle George," James greeted. "I need some help identifying something."
"What type of something?" George asked as he leaned against the old kitchen counter.
"A type of something that you can't tell my parents about because I found it in dad's office and if they find out I'll be grounded for life type of something," James said with a grin.
George grinned. "Fine, I won't tell them directly, but if they ask I'm not going to lie for you."
"I can live with that," James said.
"Cool, so what did you find?" James brought the cloak out of his backpack first. "Well, my god. I can't believe you snatched it?"
"It's just an old invisibility cloak?" Fred said confused.
"Oh, no it is not. Your father, Ron and Hermione used this all the time in school," George said. "It came in quite handy for them. Before your father had this it belonged to your grandfather, James. He used it with his friends to sneak and prank people around the school."
"Sweet," James smirked pleased with himself. He may actually have to give Albus props for this later. "I found something else as well." James pulled out the parchment.
"Now, I am not all surprised that you found that in your father's office," George said taking the parchment from his nephew. "This, boys, is the Marauder's Map. It's a map of Hogwarts. It'll show you the entire castle and everyone inside it."
"Seriously," George grinned at his son and nephew.
"But its blank," James asked.
George laid the map flat against the counter, pulled out his wand and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Ink began to appear instantly. The black marks on the parchment began to form windows, doors, stairs, and walls. Small little footstep marks began to appear on the parchment in front of them.
"Looks like the only people at the castle right now are McGonagall, Hagrid, and the house elves," George told them.
"That's awesome!" Fred said. "How do you know about it?"
George leaned down to his son. "Who do you think gave it to Harry? Your Uncle Fred and I swiped it from the former caretaker's office when we were in school. We gave it to Harry in our fifth year. Just remember not to let anyone else read it. If someone's coming all you have to say is 'mischief managed' or else anyone can read it. Now, make me proud."
Four Months Later . . .
It's been a week since the kids went back to school after the Christmas Holiday. James and Albus have gone back to Hogwarts to finish the rest of the school year so with just Lily in the house it was unusually quiet for Harry and Ginny Potter. Ginny, as well as Hugo and the rest of the Weasley clan that was not yet in Hogwarts spent their summer days at the Burrow while their parents were working.
Harry was working on files in his office while Ginny made dinner. He looked at the photo of his small family on his desk. The picture consisted of himself, Ginny, Teddy, James, Albus, and Lily. Teddy was no longer attending Hogwarts but due to his job at the ministry and training to become an auror like his mother Teddy was quite busy at times. Sometimes, Harry thinks that Teddy takes after his father a little too much.
Harry loved each of his children either way though. He and Ginny both considered Teddy one of their children as well, especially since he spends an equal amount of time between them and his grandmother Andromeda. Whenever, Harry began to miss his children he would pull out the Marauder's map and just look to see what they were doing for a few minutes. However, this time when he opened his desk drawer he was shocked to find this particular drawer unlocked.
He opened it only to find the drawer empty.
"Ginny!" Harry ran downstairs and found his wife in the kitchen with Lily.
She looked up when he entered the room. "Harry, what is it?"
"Have you seen the map?" he asked.
"No, you keep it in your desk don't you?" Ginny said surprised.
"Well, yes, but now it's gone," Harry told her.
Ginny looked at him with a surprised expression. "What do you mean? It can't just vanish from thin air?"
"Well it has."
"Are you sure you didn't just misplace it?"
"Ginny, I think I would know if I misplaced it."
"Yeah, isn't that the same thing you said about James' toy hippogriff. You had to go to five different stores because you couldn't find it," Ginny remembered.
"You are never going to let me live that down are you?" Harry asked.
"Probably not," she saw her husband's expression and sighed. "Okay, okay. Kreacher!"
There was a loud POP and the mangy old house elf appeared in front of the couple. "Hello, Mistress Ginny," he greeted nicely.
"Hi, Kreacher!" Lily giggled at the sight of the house elf.
Their house elf bowed at the little girl. "What can I do for you today?"
"Harry can't find the map he keeps in his desk drawer," Ginny told him. "Have you seen it?"
"Kreacher did not take it, Sir and Madame, but Kreacher does know who did," he told them. "It was Masters James and Albus. They snuck into Master's office late at night and left with it as well as with the cloak of disappearance."
"Cloak of disappearance?" Harry questioned before realizing the truth. "They stole the invisibility cloak out of my old trunk?"
"That is correct master," Kreacher told them.
"Thank you, Kreacher," Ginny told him with a small smile on her face. Kreacher bowed once more before leaving the room with a loud POP.
"Well I guess it's safe to say like grandfather, like grandson," Ginner laughed at the irony.
"That is so not funny," Harry sat down on the stool at the table.
"Oh, lighten up, Harry." Ginny walked over and wrapped her arms around her husband's neck from behind. He gave her hands a light kiss in response. "It's not really the worst thing in the world, is it?"
Harry looked up at his wife with a confused grin, "Okay, who are you and what have you done with my wife?" He asked goofily.
She smiled in response. "Well think about it. Those two things not only helped you have fun and kept you alive while in school, but they also helped your father. Besides I know our sons and I guess I see a bit of their father in them."
Harry stood up and hugged his wife in response. "Thank you. I love you, okay, never forget that."
"I won't believe me," Ginny told him before giving him a light peck on the lips.
"Now I am just wondering, who told them how to work the map?" Harry wondered. "Ron and Hermione would have told me if they were asking about it so that leaves one other person in the family that knows about it."
The couple looked at each other for a brief moment before saying in unison, "George."