CARTOGRAPHY AND A TALENT FOR TROUBLE
On the eve of his first day at Hogwarts, Harry learns of the existence of the Marauder’s Map. Can he continue the Marauder legacy and nick it back from Filch?
An “if they lived” AU based on this hc. Happy birthday, James!
They’d been trying to one-up each other, his parents, as to who was more mischievous and would therefore take credit for the first spot of trouble Harry would surely get into. He, Harry, didn’t have any intention of getting into trouble—not in his first week, anyway—but between Mum’s “smart mouth” and Dad’s “talent for trouble” it seemed he might not have much choice in the matter.
“Oi, Harry,” Mum said, grabbing his attention from across the table. “I got into a fair bit of mischief in my Hogwarts days too, you know.”
“Nothing compared to us, though, Evans,” Padfoot said, so sure of himself that Harry didn’t believe anyone would dare contradict him. Except Mum. Uncle Sirius always sounded sure of himself, though, and he always called Harry’s Mum ‘Evans’ when he wanted to get her goat.
“I didn’t have as many detentions as you lot, true,” Mum said, sipping her drink, which Harry was definitely not allowed to sample, “but that only means I was intelligent enough to escape detection.”
Uncle Remus snorted and pointed an accusatory finger at her. “February, sixth year.”
A moment of collective silence, and then his father and uncles burst into laughter. Uncle Pete had tears streaming down his face, and Moony pounded the table with his fist. Padfoot nearly fell backwards off his chair.
He like he’d traveled in a Police Box through a weird time-space rift, and everything was just a little bit…off. They—he, his parents, and his uncles—were gathered ’round the Potters’ kitchen table eating Harry’s going away cake with forks, straight from the pan. Crumbs and bottles littered the table; he’d been allowed three Butterbeers. Mum had sent to bed like usual, along with his sisters, but his Dad had let him come back down, once they were asleep. He’d been allowed to stay up so late, it was nearly tomorrow.
All because he was going to Hogwarts in less than twelve hours.
“That was one incident, thank you very much, Mister Lupin.” She sounded as prim as Aunt Petunia, but saying as much might get him sent to bed.
James looked at Harry gravely. “You’ll be shocked to know, Mate, that your deviant mother served eight detentions in her sixth year for attempting putting fireworks in Greenhouse Four. Nearly cost her her swotty Prefect’s badge.”
“Your dad is telling gross, exaggerated lies, Harry, and he’s neglecting to mention that he the one who landed us knee deep in manure, quite unable to escape.” She grinned at Harry’s dad. “You served those eight detentions right alongside me, no?”
“I did indeed. And that’s where you fell in love with me, isn’t it?” Dad replied, a wide, lazy grin splitting his face.
Harry was grateful for his Uncles’ presence and the table, because that grin usually preceded a snog.
“Ah yes,” she said wistfully, “scrubbing bedpans. Terribly romantic.”
“Not that,” his father said, casting a meaningful look at her, “the other thing—”
“What other thing?” Harry asked loudly, but his mother turned read, and ignored his question.
“Well, I suppose I did fall in love with you then,” she said, and looked around the table. “What about Halloween, then, gentlemen. Seventh year? You’ve got to admit that was impressive, no?”
They did this sometimes—his parents and uncles—the five of them talking at once, or going back and forth faster than Dudley’s computer game. Harry hardly knew what they were going on about, but did his best to keep up, even if it was impossible to get a word in edgewise.
“That—that was you?” Wormy asked.
His mum nodded proudly, as if she were showing off a rare batch of biscuits that hadn’t got the bottoms burnt.
The Marauders—his uncles, and father—stared at each other in stunned silence, recalling whatever it was that had happened on Halloween, seventh year, before starting another round of laughter, even louder than before.
Harry took advantage of their distraction and fetched another Butterbeer.
“That was impressive,” Dad admitted, once they’d calmed down, “but if it’s a matter of being impressive, the Map takes all.”
Mum’s forehead wrinkled. “All right,” she conceded, “the Map was impressive.”
“What map?” Harry asked. The table erupted around him.
“What Map?” Wormy said, disbelieving, “‘What Map?’ he asks.
Dad groaned, “I am a failure as a parent. I have utterly failed you, Mate.”
Moony and Mum both asked, “We’ve never told you?”
Padfoot muttered “sodding fuck” under his breath, but Harry still heard him.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Prongs, calling yourself a Marauder,” Uncle Pete said.
Indignation swelled in Harry on his father’s behalf—impugning a Marauder’s honor was grounds for a duel. But when Harry looked to his dad, to offer his sympathy, and to offer his services as a second, now he had a wand, he was hunched over, his head hung in shame.
“Your father and his mates, Harry,” Mum began, but a chorus of objections cut her off.
“The map was a Marauder endeavor, Evans,” Uncle Sirius said, “and a Marauder legacy, and this is a Marauder disgrace.” He scowled at Dad. “Let Prongs fix it.”
Mum rolled her eyes, but tipped her bottle at Dad.
Dad’s countenance changed immediately as he switched to storyteller mode—Harry’s favorite version of his father. His father leaned back in his chair, relaxing, and draped an arm over the back of Harry’s; the shameful grimace was gone, replaced with another easy grin. Harry settled in for what was sure to be a good story.
“The Marauder’s Map, Harry, Mate, my son, Mini-Marauder-In-Training, was the second-greatest achievement of our school days, and the glory of sixth year—”