A nice and quiet evening had turned into a nice and quiet night at Hogwarts. Just the few echoing sounds of birds and crickets from the forest. As the ground settled into darkness, one solitary light and four travelers trod through the grass toward the cave that was nestled at the edge of the forbidden forest.
“We’re awmaist thare, and th’ wey is clear,” Orlando said to the others as he pulled his wand away from lighting the path ahead, and pointed the tip at the Marauder’s Map.
“It’ll be good tae see the old homestead again,” Dan grinned.
“I hope Wordsworth made it through okay,” Gryffindor’s Gentleman thought out loud as he walked through the darkened grounds his hand holding Céilidh’s.
“Ah wid think sae bein’ a magical safe an aw,” replied the Hufflepuff. “He telt me tae gae… Ah reck we pat him thru iller tossing him aff the touer.”
“You’re worried aboot the safe,” Dan jabbed an elbow into Tommy’s ribs, “A’m worried aboot the barrels.”
“Ah protected thaim as best ah coud,” Orlando nodded, “Ah juist hawp that fire wasn’t tae ill.”
Danny shoved his hands into his pockets and the quartet moved towards the cave entrance in silence.”We’re gauntae need a new couch.”
“Couch nothing,” Tom gave a low whistle as he took in the site of a nearly empty cave, “We’re going to need a new everything.” The depressed sound in Tom’s voice faded as his eyes fell on the safe in the dark back of the room, “Well, at least Wordsworth made it out okay it looks.”
“Sae did the whole cave,” the Ravenclaw whistled. As they walked through the main chamber, not a spot of grime or ash, not a stick of broken furniture was to be seen. “Who cleaned up..?”
Orlando echoed Danny’s thoughts. “Tis lik’ it niver ever happened.” They walked to the back cave, peering into another chamber. “Even th’ distillery is in guid shape.”
Giving off a sickly glow, Wordsworth began to speak. “The p-p-p-place was f-f-f-filled with soot and ash, I sat w-w-waiting just-t-t like old trash, F-f-feeling sorry for mys-s-self, Then c-c-cleaned the place d-d-did the house elf.”
“Ah Gerti,” the quartet of sixth years sighed lovingly.
“But,” Danny grinned, “the fact remains that we’re gonna need a new couch.”
“and coffee table…” Tom started.
…n’ end table, n’ chairs,” Céilidh finished.
“Anyone got a plan on where we can get those things?” Tom leaned up against the cave entrance.”
“Whaur did ye a’ git th’ first set o’ furniture?” The redhead asked as she let go of Tommy’s hand and walked around the empty cave.
“Here an’ there.”
“Naw wunner it leuked in smaws,” Céilidh laughed.
Foozle crossed his arms over his chest and looked about the empty room. “We made dae. It wasnae muckle…” He frowned a bit, crossing back to the barrels in the back. Danny followed along behind him and crouched down in front of one of them.
“But it wis home.”
Tom grinned, “We’ll get it fixed up lads,” Tom threw his arms around the boys, “so where should we get the new stuff from? I hear there is a lovely chair on the third floor.”
A wicked grin crept across Orlando’s face, “Ye ken wha haes really fine plenishins?” The Hufflepuff turned about, propping himself up and onto one of the casks. That scar on his brow rose up with mischief. “Mah neighboors ower in Slytherin. Rumor haes it thay gie Hufflepuff couches a rin fer thair monies.”
Danny’s grin mirrored his Hufflepuff friend’s. “Steal couches from the snakes? But what would Perfesser Snape say?”
“Ahem…” Orlando straightened his back and looked down his nose. His expression fell into a sneer that was quite familiar to all of them. “DuMorne. MacFoozle. You have invaded the sanctity of Slytherin house with your woefully misguided antics for the last time… I will see to it personally that you two- misanthropes are expelled by the end of the hour…”
The others cracked up. “That’s perfect.”
Tom wiped a tear from his eye, “And incredibly scary.”
Foozle grinned. “Awmaist guid enouch tha a No Quills beuk’ll pick it up.”
“As guid o’ an impression ’twas, it doesn’t hulp git us freish furniture. Tis nae lik’ we kin ask Jert tae juist,” she snapped her fingers, the sound echoing sharply in the empty cave, “magic it oot fur us.”
“Actually, she coud. Ye’d be surprised whit a hoose elf can git awey wi on these groonds. But Ah wadna ask the guidwife tae steal like tha.” The Hufflepuff Gentleman replied with a shake of the head. Still, that MacFoozle grin held sway on his face. “Ah wad, houaniver, ask fer a ride intae thair common room… Richt by tha pesky passwird…”
Emerald eyes narrowed, “How come dae ah git th’ feeling that we’re gaun tae lose sleep fur o’ this scheme?”
The two boys on the far side of the cave shared a look then a shrug of the shoulders. “I dunno.” Danny smirked. “I haven’t lost sleep ower any scheme yet.”
Beside him Foozle twirled his wand, “Ah dae ken a guid sleeping speel gif ye need.”
A loud CRACK echoed about the empty common room. The Gentlemanly foursome appeared in a circle with the diminutive house elf in their center and quickly took in their surroundings. The room was dark, lowly lit only by the hunter green lamps gilded in silver. Their gently swaying and dim ocher light cast strange shadows of the trespassers on the almost black stone walls.
Orlando clutched the Marauder’s Map in one hand and his wand in the other. While they at least knew they would not be surprised by unwelcome company, they also knew their arrival would attract unwanted attention. Four sets of eyes were immediately looking for cover.
“Alright, guidwife,” Danny whispered, cupping Gerti by the back of her misshapen “hat” and looking into those massive, glassy eyes. “Time to make yourself scarce.” Their tender caretaker nodded and with another CRACK she was gone.
Now company would definitely on their way. The two Gryffindor’s caught each others eyes, sharing a knowing twinkle. In a turn Tommy spun to the ground into the form of a now familiar large cat and slinked under the low bottom of a chair, curling up into the black shadows. Doing the same Céilidh had shifted into the dark eagle. Granted the low ceilings didn’t give her much to work with but there was enough as she spread her wings and with just a couple flaps she soared up onto a high bookshelf and tucked herself away from view.
“Show affs,” said Foozle with a smirk.
“I could have sworn I heard something,” A far too familiar voice echoed from the hidden corridor. A moment later, the light beneath the door was illuminated by wand light.
Looking around for a place to hide, Danny suddenly shrunk and morphed into the form of a squirrel. Looking as astonished as a squirrel can, he quickly scampered under a nearby couch.
“Och…” Foozle’s eyes flashed between the muffled voices and the door that held them at bay and the couch under which “Daniel DuMorne” had just ducked. “Richt bastards,” he hissed, “Aw o’ ye…”
He looked back around for some place, any place to hide. His eyes locked onto a rather large darkly stained wooden cabinet. Behind its glass doors were several pictures of Slytherin House members over the years hoisting up the House Cup. At its center sat the real thing. The Hufflepuff shot like a dart for it, slipping along its shadowy side as he tore off his hoodie. There was barely enough space behind it. Maybe. The door handle jiggled to open as Foozle kicked his sweatshirt and bag under the legs and, holding his breath in, shimmied his way into the narrow space between the cabinet and the cold stone wall.
The door creaked open. “Lumos,” came the disembodied voice of the Head Boy. The low lamp lights brightened, eating away at the shadows of the room. coming dangerously close to the edges of darkness where the two gentlemen under furniture hid. “Whoever you are, you ought to be in bed.”
From his hiding spot under the chair Tom let out an almost bored sounding meow, stretched and jumped up onto the leather sofa. He curled himself up and pretended to go to sleep.
“Just somebody’s bloody damn cat,” Peter groggily swore under his breath as he stabbed the light from his wand around the room once more before heading back through the door he’d come. “Nox.” The lights fell.
Tommy watched as Peter headed back up the stairs again, and then nodded towards the bird that sat up in the rafters. Céilidh flew down, and when she came within two feet of the ground, changed back to her human form, landing gracefully on the ground. She looked at Tom with a smile. He had already changed back to himself and was sitting relaxed on the couch.
Foozle struggled to get free from his just too small hiding place, groaning a bit. “Shoudna a haed tha extrae helping o bacon…” muttered the Hufflepuff. Eventually he managed to extricate himself and after retrieving his things joined the others in the center of the room where Tom and Céilidh were looking down at the little squirrel with huge smiles.
“Ach,” he said to Danny with an excited whisper, “Ye didnae tell me ye coud cheenge! Whit aboot Dumbledaur? When did… ye…” He paused… “Danny?”
The squirrel had its eyes closed and was hunkered down, as if concentrating. His muscles began to twitch, and he leapt upward, spinning… and landed on the ground, still a squirrel. Looking up at his friends, his eyes large, he held out his little squirrel hands, palms upward and chittered forlornly.
“Um…” Orlando looked from the little squirrel over to Tom and Céilidh. “Ah think he’s stuck.”
The Danny-squirrel nodded vigorously.
“Oh that’s not good,” Tommy grimace, “Anyone remember the spell to change him back?”
Lando and Céilidh both shook their heads, “Nae.”
His jaw dropped, not believing his squirrelly ears. “I’m going to be a rodent until we can get to Dumbledore. Great,” he thought.
“Where did we put the notes?” Tom was trying hard to suppress a grin.
“In the cave,” the corners of their mouths curled as well.
“Welp,” Tom said with fake resignation “I guess he’s stuck.”
Looking up at them, he did the best he could to approximate crossing his arms and began to tap his foot.
“Okay, okay,” Tom pulled his wand and flicked it toward the squirrel. A jet of blue light shot from his wand and hit Danny returning him to normal.
The Ravenclaw scowled at the other three. “Teuk ye lang eneuch.”
“We wis juist playin wi ye, brither.” The Hufflepuff waved his irritation off. For a moment, the concerns and urgency of their setting had taken a backseat. After all, Danny had changed. “Whan did ye feegur it oot?”
The corner Danny’s mouth twitched upward. “Well, probably when you all started grinning like morons,”the Ravenclaw said, not a hint of accent in his voice.
“Hmmm,” Foozle’s eyes narrowed as he stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Sae, ye ken aw the while…”
“You mean the change? No, I just panicked,” Danny laughed. “When Tommy and Céilidh changed I just couldnae think of anyway else to hide.”
Now the others all laughed, probably a little too loud. When that realization dawned on them they all clapped their hands over their mouths, their shoulders shaking as they attempted to contain that laughter. Tommy, still snickering, clapped the Ravenclaw Gentleman on the shoulder. “Brilliant, mate.”
“That’s crakin’ ‘n’ aw, bit shouldn’t we git tae wirk ‘n’ git oot o’ ‘ere?” The fiery haired Lady gave a look around the room, her eyes perusing the furniture as if she were shopping. “Acause this is gonna tak’ a while.”
“No a bit o it, dou.” Foozle smirked running his hand down the back of one of the nice full sized couches. He drew his wand, “Ye juist gat tae ken hou tae pack afore ye muiv.”
He swished his wand over the dark material, “Abhorreo.” With a soft glow of yellow light, the sofa shrunk down to an almost palm sized miniature version. The Scot knelt down and held the tiny sofa up for Céilidh to see. “Juist like tha,” he said, slipping it away into his bag.
“Ahm impressit…” she said with a grin. Over the years she had gotten rather accustomed to the boys working up spells here and there, but this seemed rather complicated even for them. “Abhorreo?” The three gentlemen nodded.
Tom and Danny each did the same thing with two end tables. Céilidh managed a rather impressive first try on the coffee table, and before long, the foursome had collected enough to redecorate their home away from Hogwarts.
His pockets full of furniture and the like, Danny looked at his compatriots. “We about ready?”
“I think so,” Tom nodded.
Foozle nodded, looking about the room. Before it had looked almost homey. Now it just looked like a dark dungeon. “Ah think its a betterment, but…” His eyes fell on the cabinet with the bright and shining House Cup sitting there inside its warmly lit glass doored home. He looked back over his shoulder to the others, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
Céilidh shook her head. “Nae… we canna tak the hoose cup.”
“Nae,” replied the Hufflepuff Gentleman.
“But we can take the cabinet.” Now both boys were full of grins.
“What about the pictures on the walls?” Tom grinned wickedly.
“Wha wad we need thaim?” Céilidh cocked her head to the side as she stared at her boyfriend. “Or e’en want thaim?”
“We dinnae.” Foozle was already strolling back to the cabinet and opening its doors.
Danny was joining him. “But you’ve gotta admit… They’d look pretty good scattered around the castle…”
“I think they’d look better if they were hidden from sight.” Tom grinned, “but I think this conversation would be best back at the cave.”
Danny and Foozle gently took down the Hogwarts House Cup. “Ye gat a nip?” Foozle asked as the two of them maneuvered out of the way so that Céilidh and Tom could retrieve all the photos. “Ah feel like we shoud tak a drink oot o it…”
Danny slid a flask out of his sleeve and handed it to his brother. “Save some fer me.”
“Acoorse.” The two balanced the cup each with one hand each while Foozle held the flask and Dan unscrewed the top. He tilted the open top over the rim of the big silver cup and poured a few fingers worth inside. “Bottoms up!” And with a bit of assistance, Foozle took a pull of the drink.
“Och..” Foozle wiped his damp smile with the back of his sleeve, adjusting the cup more toward Danny.”Whit wis tha?”
“Tha, my brither,”, the Ravenclaw grinned, “wis burbon.”
“Ah likes it,” he replied with smiling approval.
Danny took a sip of the liquid too. “Found it in the States. A lot of the same process as scotch, but it needs some charred oak barrels…” He paused to think a moment. “Which A think we hiv now.”
“Ah think we micht hae twa or three.” Chuckling, he looked over to the others. Céilidh had a stack of photos under one arm and Tommy was tucking the cabinet into his bag. “Beb frae the Hoose Cup ?”
“Och, aye!” the redhead nodded. “At th’ rate we’re gaun, this kin be th’ closest ah ever git.” She handed the stack of photos off to Tommy and crossed the room to the boys. They hefted it up, carefully tipping it too her lips. The amber liquid tingled as it passed over her lips and tongue, and set a comfortable fire as it washed down.
“Och, that’s richt guid, that is.” she said appreciatively, running her tongue over her lips.
“Alright fine,” Tom sighed, “hand it over.” The boys held the cup up to Tom. There was one shot left in the bottom of the cup as he gulped down the rest. Tommy wheezed a little as the bourbon burned his throat, “nice,” he said hoarsely.
Danny and Foozle grinned, and set the cup upside-down in the center of the common room. “Richt. Tha aboot does it.” He turned back to the room and whipped his wand in a wide arc. “Erasum Procer Finxi” he said, as a shimmering wave covered the room, highlighting glowing spots around the common room and then vanishing.
They backed away from the cup toward the door. Foozle pulled the Marauder’s Map back out and gave it a look. “We’re guid… Clear shuit tae the kitchen.”
“Excellent,” Tom took a look back toward the dorms, “then let’s get the hell out of here.”
Despite the late – or rather, early – hour, there was gathered about the four friends a energy that positively crackled and served to sustain them. Laughter rolled as they bantered about ideas for the captive photos and how they had gone from a few pieces of shabby furniture last year to having more than they really needed after their re-allocation efforts. Rugs were laid about to cover most of the dirt floor and their newly acquired finery was scattered about.
“Foremaist thing’s foremaist,” Céilidh said, waving her wand at two of the chairs and one couch. In turn, the green and silver upholstery and appointments bled away and were replaced by Hufflepuff yellow and black, Ravenclaw blue and bronze, and Gryffindor red and gold.
“Thare, muckle better.”
Danny nodded. “Very nice,” the Ravenclaw laughed. He flopped down on a blue couch, sighing contently.”Whit do ye think Wordsworth?”
“The f-furniture is n-n-nice to see, I’d rather you would r-r-repair me…” The safe responded.
“Boy someone’s surly,” Tommy joked, “We do need to get the old man fixed though, any ideas?”
Céilidh tapped her wand to her mouth in contemplation. “Tommy, Lando, shift that buird ower thare by Wirdswirth, please.”
The two boys looked at each other and shrugged, then hefted a square, marble-topped side table to where the redhead had indicated. She gave a little swish and flick with her wand, “Wingardium Leviosa.” The safe floated off the floor under the direction of Céilidh’s wand and settled firmly on the table surface. She gave the lads a look. “Whit dae ye think? A dinnae ken if something as something as simple as Reparo wid wirk.”
Danny shook his head. “Alohamora didn’t open the old boy, why should repairing him be simple?”
“First we have to figure out what kind of magic created him. It has got to be a damn powerful enchantment to give something that size a distinct personality. Potter, Black and the others really knew their stuff.”
“Aye,” Orlando nodded. He reached out, placing a hand on top of the old man. “We’ll figure it oot.”
“Oh I have no doubt about that,” Tom grinned, “I’ll start some research in the library tomorrow.”
“Speaking o’ th’morra, we shuid likelie heid back tae th’ castle. Ah dinnae wantae fall asleep in th’ middle o’ classes.”
Foozle looked up from Wordsworth. “Class?” He looked over to Danny. “Whit day is it?”
Dan pulled his shirtsleeve back, revealing a bare arm. He peered intently at his wrist then looked at Orlando and shrugged, “Yer guess is as good as mine, lad. I wait fer Cass to wake me on school days.”
Céilidh muttered something in Gaelic and shot a narrow-eyed look at the Gentlemen, “Weel, ah suppose we cuid bade ‘ere ‘n’ arrange furniture ’til a’m happy?”
“Alricht, Den Mither,” replied the Hufflepuff, walking over and throwing an arm across her shoulders. “We’ll tuirn in fer the nicht. The Cove’ll keep till the morn’s nicht…”
“Guid,” the redhead’s face split in a bright grin that complimented the twinkle in her eyes. She lifted the stack of Slytherin photographs from the coffee table. “Fur we aye huv a bawherr re-decorating tae dae.”