Foozle sat beneath the yellow stone gargoyle that sat at the corner. Several first and second year Gryffindors shuffled by him, mostly making no notice of him. A good share of them were staring most intently on a rolled up piece of enchanted parchment, their faces contorted in thought. The Hufflepuff smiled and took his wand a folded piece of parchment of his own. As he unfolded it appeared as nothing special, just a blank piece of old paper. With a brief look about him, he tapped the tip of his wand against it.
“A solemnly swear that A am up to nae good.” His lopsided grin drew higher as inky black lines bled out all across the page, connecting to form the intricate halls of Hogwarts castle. He looked down at its center, reading the two words that sat there against the wall. Orlando MacFoozle. His eyes followed along the thin lines of the corner he sat at, up the staircase to the little square that represented the Fat Lady’s portrait and the pair of words that were headed in its direction. Michael Llewelyn. In the moment that he pondered how they could get the map to read “Tom” and not “Michael”, another set of words, this time accompanied by an elegant “P”, slowly strolling up the hallway behind him caught his eye. He tapped the map again. “Mischief managed.” As the ink disappeared, not wholly unlike the manner in which it had arrived, he folded it up and stuffed it back into his robes.
“Hello, Lando!” Foozle turned to find the face that had matched the name on the map beaming back at him.
“Hey, ‘Brosia.” He smiled back at Ambrosia Sheridan, standing there with big fat book pressed against her chest. “How’s classes?”
“Wonderful! I’ve been staying up so late reading and…” She paused, knowing her idea of a fun night was not shared by everyone. “It’s turning out to be a great year already. And we’ve got this ball coming up and even though my date really only asked me to get things over with I still have a great excuse to dress up and dance and not do anything even remotely studious for a night.”
“Aye,” he agreed. He stared a moment,watching her tuck a stray lock of her hair back behind her ear. Foozle had always considered her a rare beauty, not that she’d recognize it herself. “The Dance…”Between getting to school, his and Dan’s prepping the pantry maps and bewitching the key points, and everything else, he’d forgotten about it. She held her book even tighter, no doubt, still thinking about it herself. Ambrosia’s excitement tended to be down right palpable. It was possibly one of her most endearing traits. “So yuir going wit…”
“Tommy,” she said, her eyes rolling ever so slightly. “I’m a safe way out, as you know.”
“Aye,” he smiled as she bit her lip. “But ye canna fault the lad, whit wi Aeryn Wolfstead on the prowl.”
“Foozle!” She gave him a light punch to the shoulder, but her blushing cheeks betrayed her protest.
He feigned the appropriate amount of sarcastic pain. “She’s a man-eater, ‘Brosia, an ye know it.”
“Well… but Tommy’s too smart to let himself be eaten. I mean… you know what I mean.”
“Who’s a man eater?”
Ambrosia’s eyes went wide as saucers. “Tom!”
“The Whompin’ Willow.” Foozle answered his reply, not missing a beat.
Tom Llewelyn smirked. He wrapped his arms around Rose and hugged her. “So you heard about Rufus, then?”
“Aye, Rufus’ ‘accident’,” he said throwing up air quotes on the last word. “Where ye aff tae, brither?”
Tom’s expression soured. “Library. Nic’s got a couple things for me to check out and study. Stupid tutoring.”
“No on ma watch, ye will’na” he said, throwing his arms over Tom and Ambrosia’s shoulders.
“Tutoring is not stupid,” Rose corrected primly, doing her best not to laugh as she looked up at Foozle.”So… where are we going?”
The trio rounded the corner and nearly ran full into Céilidh MacAllister, herself only half paying attention to where she was going, “Oi! Going?” She eyed Foozle. His face remained as impassive as ever, meaning he was up to something. A twinkle came to her eye as she hooked her arm in Tom’s, “Well, whatever it is yer aff tae, count me in.”
At that point Tom turned to Foozle, “You know she has a point, what do you have planned? And what do I tell Nicollette?”
“A’ll tak care of Ainscough.” The brown headed Hufflepuff arched his left eyebrow higher than the other and smiled, “And what would be the fun in tellin’ ya,” he leaned in close to Tommy’s ear and whispered,”but it’ll be mad handy tae hae a bonnie pair o prefects along.” His eye gave a knowing wink. “Now follow me,” He said as he took point in front of Tom and the two girls.
The four fifth years wound their way up the staircase, “Where the hecklebirnie are ye leadin’ us Fooz?”Céilidh said as they reached the fourth floor landing.
Ne’er, ye mind, hen,” he smiled, slipping his hand into his robe, “A winna steer ye wrong.” He looked to Tom. “Tom?” Foozle looked down at the few books Tom had under his arm and then back up to the Gryffendor with a wink.
Hiding his grin Tom suddenly dropped his books. “Dammit!”
The two girls rushed over to help Tom pick up his books. Rose picked up one of the books and read the title, “Oh I didn’t know you were reading Goblin Raids of the Thirteenth Century. I did a report on this book for Professor Binns last year. What do you think of it?”
“That the only reason I’m reading it is to help me with History of Magic,” Tom said with a smile as he took the book back from Rose and placed it in his backpack.
While Tom distracted the girls, Foozle pulled the Marauder’s Map out of his pocket and pressed his wand to it, “A solemnly swear that A am up to nae good,” he whispered as the map sprung to life. Orlando’s eyes scanned the map for signs of faculty or any one else in a position of power besides the two prefects that were with him. Professor Snape was in the dungeons, Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore were both in his office, and Mister Filch and his cat were both on the second floor. Seeing no one near the fourth floor, Foozle smiled and tapped his wand to the map once more, “Mischief managed.” He slipped it back away and called out. “All right this way folks,” he waived over his shoulder, “Times a waistin’.”
The other three followed him to one of several statues that littered the inside of the castle. This one was of an old witch with a humpback and only one good eye. Foozle pointed his wand at the hump,”Dissendium,” as soon as the word escaped his mouth, the hump opened wide enough to admit them passage into the darkness behind it. Foozle stepped aside, “Ladies first,” he smiled broadly.
“In there?” Ambrosia wrinkled her nose and took a step back towards Tom. “Did I mention that I have reading I could be doing? And dirty, spooky tunnels are well… not my idea of fun…”
“Tis nae all dirty, nor spooky, nor tunnely, luv,” Foozle said. “This bit’s juist the how in getting there. A promise. An Tommy will be right beside ye till ye come oot the ither end.” He looked to Tom. “Won’t ye, mate?”
“Ach! A’ll go first Ahmno afraid,” Céilidh smiled as she walked toward the passage she stepped inside, and a second later was gone.
“Go ahead and go next Fooz, we’ll be right behind.”
“Suit ye selves,” Foozle stepped inside and was gone as well.
“Are you sure about this?”
“I trust him. And besides, I’ll be right there with you.”
Rose swallowed hard, then followed Céilidh and Orlando through the hole, followed by Tom.
After what seemed like an eternity of walking through the dark tunnel, they finally came to the end. Orlando put a finger to his mouth for silence as he crept toward a small wooden door just above his head. He slowly opened the trap door and took a peak around before motioning the others to join him above. They were in what looked like a storage cellar.
“Where are we?”
“Hogsmeade, more tae the point, Honeydukes.” The two girls stared at each other in amazement as Tom smiled and nodded in agreement.
“How did you know about this?”
“Trade secret, luv,” Foozle winked, “Now keep it daun a wee while A check tae see if the coast is clear,”Orlando crept up the cellar stairs and peaked through the door. He turned back to them, smiled and motioned for them to join him. The four crept through the door and into a Honeydukes filled with children, some the same age as them.
“Good thing not every magical child goes to Hogwarts,” Rose beamed as they wound their way through the crowd and out of the store. Once they were out, Rose slid her arm around Tom’s and smiled, “Well now what?”
“Well we could always go see if Zonko’s has gotten anything new.”
Rose shook her head”Why is it you always want to go there,” she said with a smile, “Ohhhh, what about tea at Madam Puddifoot’s?”
This time both the boys rolled their eyes,”Oh lord, not that again. I nearly used avada kedavra on myself the last time you dragged me there.”
“A tae party, Tommy?” Céilidh arched an eyebrow, “Oh, ye’ll nae be hearin’ the end of tha’ A promise.”
Rose stuck her nose up in the air, “You could have just said no. Fine do you have any other ideas?”
Foozle beamed wickedly. “Why don’ we nick us a bottle er two of Firewhiskey,” he threw an arm around Cee as they headed down the street, “heid over towards the Shrieking Shack an juis hang oot.”
Ambrosia bit her lower lip, “I don’t know Orlando. What if we get caught, we could get in trouble.”
“A’d never let ye git in trouble, hen.”
“Ah come on ‘Brosia,” Céilidh had a fire in her eye, “This is gonna be fun. An besides, we kin always say that we caught them in the act like proper prefects.”
“Listen Cee, we don’t need to push her. If she doesn’t feel comfortable, then maybe we shouldn’t do it.”
“No, Tom, it’s okay, I’ll do it,” Ambrosia said with what almost sounded like a touch of anger in her voice, she couldn’t suppress a smile, though, when Céilidh stuck her tongue out at Tom, “What do you have in mind.”
“Well there’s two places we kin go, Three Broomsticks o’course, and then there’s Hog’s Head. An ta be honest, the easiest way ta go would be Three Broomsticks. They are usually busier, and it would be easier ta cause a distraction there.”
“What kind of distraction do you have in mind Fooz?”
“All A need from you three is aboot five minutes. Anyone got any bright ideas?”
The quartet fell silent for a moment. Céilidh snapped her fingers as she passed a look over Tom and Ambrosia, “A think A got somethin’.”
“Okay what you got?”
“Carefull me brither, A’ve seen tha look about’er before an’ it’s nae ah good win.”
Céilidh stuck her tongue out at Foozle this time, “Well it all depends on how well Rose kin play the jealous lass,” she smiled wickedly.