Written for HP Improv #3
forge - lure - brutal - false
Author's Notes at the end.
The Marauder's Map.
Lupin willed his hands to stop shaking as he rolled
the parchment and tucked it into his robe. Harry
and Ron were looking at him as if he'd grown another
head, so he scolded Harry for his carelessness and
headed back towards his office. He knew Harry was
oblivious to what this map meant, what it *could* mean.
Lupin sighed heavily, the name that had haunted him
for twelve years now resonating loudly with each
heartbeat. Was it possible, really possible, that
Sirius was lurking around Hogwarts grounds, waiting
for an opportunity to finish what he had started
by betraying James and Lily?
The professorial side of Remus Lupin drained away as
he passed familiar portraits and was greeted merrily
by various ghosts. He wasn't Professor Lupin to many
of them; he was still Remus, little Remus Lupin whose
best friends in the world were James Potter, Peter
Pettigrew.....and Sirius Black. The first day of the
term, Lupin had wandered toward Gryffindor Tower, only
to be greeted by a cheerful cry from the Fat Lady:
"Remus Lupin, I declare! And where are your friends,
It was the first of many such exclamations. Lupin had
taken to holing up in his office as often as he could
that first month, the halls haunting him as he recalled
happier times. Voldemort may have been driven to weakness
and be in hiding, but there were still gaping wounds and
fresh scars on those left in his wake. The security and
comfort of Hogwarts was false; it was a waking nightmare
for this man whose memories were built into the very
Back in his office, Lupin shut the door behind him and
pressed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and
forefinger. The Marauder's Map was still in his pocket,
and the rustle of parchment reminded him of how the map
had come to be.
In a fit of mischief during their seventh year, Sirius
had declared that the Marauders had a duty to the
students who followed them. The four of them were the
only students, at least of their generation, who knew
all of the castle's secrets. Sirius and James came
up with the idea of making a map, and it was Peter who
declared that it be made magical, and it was Remus who
came up with the idea of the map's ability to give
away the locations of people in the castle. Lily had
suggested the part about Invisibility Cloaks being
impervious to the map, much to the amusement of James,
who used his own cloak on several occasions for the
purpose of troublemaking.
Once the map was finished, they set about trying to
decide on a younger student with whom to entrust it.
They settled on a fifth year named Thomas L'Engle,
who tried it out for the first time about three
weeks before classes let out for the summer. And
he'd promptly gotten caught by Filch, and the map
was confiscated. Not that Filch knew what it was,
exactly; Thomas had forgotten to wipe it until the
last second, and when he performed the charm Filch
swiped it from his hands.
Lupin smiled weakly, remembering that night and how
furious Sirius had been with Thomas L'Engle. All
that work! And it was a brilliant idea, too.
But how did Harry Potter come to be in possession
of the Marauder's Map all these years later?
Lupin could only think about Sirius. He wanted to
believe that the map was forged, that it wasn't the
same one, but he'd seen what the map had written to
Snape. He himself had come up with that protective
enchantment, and James had been the one to charm it
particularly against the likes of Slytherin interference.
Could it be that Sirius was trying to use the map to
lure Harry out of the castle?
Lupin pulled the map from his pocket and tapped it with
his wand. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
The words nearly choked him, as he thought about Sirius
Black and how, in the end, he really had been up to
no good. In the worst possible way.
Sprawling script raced across the parchment.
"Mr. Wormtail would like to greet Mr. Moony and wish
him a merry time while using this map."
"Mr. Prongs would like to congratulate Mr. Moony on
his appointment as professor at Hogwarts. May all
your adventures be grand while using this map."
"Mr. Padfoot welcomes Mr. Moony back to Hogwarts and
wishes him the best of times while using this map."
The words stood out on the parchment, blurring a little
as tears sprung to Lupin's eyes. How he missed them
all - James and his wild-eyed ideas, his bravery and
his unassuming nature; Peter and his timidity, his willingness
to take part in every adventure; and Sirius. Sirius with
his unwavering loyalty, his fierce protectiveness of Remus
and the others. How had it all gone wrong? How was it that
Remus Lupin was the only one left standing, left on the
side of light and truly alive?
The parchment changed, the corridors and rooms and secret
places of Hogwarts appearing, the names of various occupants
floating over tiny dots. Lupin saw his own name in his
office; Snape pacing in his; Dumbledore in McGonagall's
office across a desk from the Transfiguration professor.
The names Harry Potter and Ron Weasley appeared in the
Gryffindor common room, and their friend Hermione
Granger appeared to be sitting at a desk, likely studying.
Lupin unwittingly searched the parchment for James, Peter,
and even Sirius. Once, before they gave the map to
Thomas L'Engle, James had told them he was going to the
Quidditch pitch for a little late practice; Sirius
whipped out the map, and he and Remus stood laughing
as the names James Potter and Lily Evans appeared in an
empty classroom on the fourth floor.
But those names were nowhere to be found.
Knowing that he should give the map to Dumbledore, tell him
that these fears, tell him that Sirius Black had been
Padfoot once upon a time, made Lupin a little ill. He
wanted, for so long, to believe Sirius was innocent. The
breakout and the evidence of his presence at Hogwarts made
Lupin's heart ache. For twelve years, when the wolf would
take over and he was shut in dark rooms, often chained
and bound, Moony would howl for his friends, especially
Padfoot. Padfoot who would howl with him, Padfoot who
would wrestle with him, Padfoot who would guard the door
He didn't take the map to Dumbledore. Instead, he wiped
it and rolled it up, locked it in his desk. He was tired,
so tired, and feeling much older than his thirty-four years.
Lupin then made his way back to Snape's office, needing
to take the first goblet of Wolfsbane Potion for the month.
Snape glared at Lupin as he entered the room, clearly still
seething over the map and Harry's escape from punishment.
"Let it go, Severus. He doesn't know any better. He doesn't
know about Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs."
Snape nearly spat out his response. "But I do, Lupin. And
Potter having the map could only mean that Black is here,
waiting to pounce."He took a breath, looking only slightly
calmer afterwards. "I can be a man about this. I won't
get angry at you now for a childhood prank." Lupin stood
quietly, not wanting to point out Snape's obvious grudge
against himself and the Marauders for another, not so
harmless prank. "But the map must be brought to Dumbledore
and used as evidence. If Black's here...."
"He's not, Severus," Lupin said, a heavy sigh following his
words. "The map doesn't lie. And Black's name was nowhere
to be found."
"Where is the map now?" The snarl was back in Snape's voice.
"I burned it. The past is past, and we have to learn to move on."
The men stared each other down, one too tired for an argument,
the other too wound up.
"I suppose you came for your potion, then?"
"Yes, if it's ready."
"Of course." Snape handed Lupin a steaming goblet, the foul
smell drifting between them. The taste was brutal, and a
shiver went down Lupin's spine.
"Thank you, Severus."
Snape didn't answer. He took the goblet and turned his back,
busying himself with something at his desk. Lupin turned to
"Lupin, if I find out you are in league with that criminal,
I will see to it that you burn for it."
The threat was voiced in a harsh whisper, the voice of a man
driven to carry it out. Lupin left the room, and the halls
greeted him with the same rush of memories as they always did.
And Moony retreated to his room for the night, haunted by the
ghosts of Wormtail, Prongs, and Padfoot.
A/N: Many thanks to Twinkledru J. for running the
HP Improv and offering up such great challenges. This
is the first HP I've actually finished. Whew!
Also HUGE thanks to Zsenya for her suggestions and thoughts.
You are a darling of a beta-reader, and I'm glad to have you.
Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org