When Two Pieces Become One @nonsensicalrants
4: Scene of the Crime - Part 1

Chapter 4:

Scene of the Crime - Part 1

"When you said we were going into the chamber of secrets, I assumed you actually knew how to enter it."

Tom glowered at Hermione before she even finished the condescending observation. The Weasley trio lead them all the way to the second floor bathroom, thankfully ghost free at the moment. Along the way they made three wrong turns, barely avoided a conflict with Peeves and snatched Colin out of the air just before he fell into the trick step near the astronomy tower corridor.

Ron then proceeded to paint the familiar sink with saliva for nearly five minutes as he tried his hand at parseltongue.

"Don't listen to her Ron. We have faith in you." Colin assured him.

The others had been incredibly patient with his attempts at opening the chamber. He felt foolish just watching the boy and Tom knew he would be embarrassed enough without being told off. Everyone save for Hermione did their best to keep him motivated.

"Maybe you should try inhaling as you hiss." suggested Justin.

"No, that's ridiculous!" spat Hermione. "Snakes hiss by forcibly expelling air from their glottis."

"Their what!?" said Tom, before the others could express the same sentiment.

"Their glottis." she explained. "The opening behind their tongues that they use to breathe. Don't you ever read?"

And thus it came to pass that the air of Slytherin received a lesson in snake anatomy from a Gryffindor mudblood. This day was just full of surprises.

"Maybe that's the secret." Colin suggested. "Maybe you need to use your tongue more."

Tom shared a knowing look with Fred and George at the unintentional innuendo before Justin went on.

"It's called parsel-'tongue' after all."

Ron took this suggestion in stride and came surprisingly close to saying 'open' in snake speak. Tom didn't bother hiding his surprise and allowed his eyebrows to reach his hairline.

Fred and George, clearly unable to recognize the improvement, ushered the others to a counter on the opposite side of the bathroom. They produce a large square of parchment they unfolded to reveal a map with a large, ornate title at the top center declaring it 'The Marauder's Map' with the names of its four creators below it. It wasn't immediately clear what the map was of and so Tom let his eyes drift to where he noticed some dots moving along the parchment.

"Clutter is no good for planning."

Tom looked up to see Fred had pointed his wand at the map as he said the phrase and when Tom looked back at it all of the moving dots and labels were gone.

"This is the Marauder's map." explained George. "It shows all of Hogwarts and its inhabitants. As well as most of the secret passages."

Fred directed their attention to a room on the second floor.

"It doesn't show any on the second floor bathroom, so clearly the Marauder's didn't know about this one."

He touched the map where Ron and the non-compliant sink would have been. It was a rather impressive map.

"You said it showed the inhabitants of Hogwarts too, but we're not showing up." Justin pointed out.

"Well that's what the password about clutter was all about." Fred explained. "It hides all of the names and room labels."

George gave Tom a not so sly wink.

Shit. They knew his name. At least they're keeping it secret from the youngins. He'd have to add that to the growing list of things to pass on to Dumbledore. HE really needed the old man to cover up for him now.

"Okay. But why are you showing this to us?" Colin asked.

The twins shrugged in unison.

"Figured we'd find it more interesting than watching your brother do his best cat impression?" said Tom.

"HEY!" came the easily predicted indignation from the sink.

"You focus on opening the passage Ronniekins!" Fred yelled back. "We'll handle the entertainment."

Fred and George went on to explain some of the places the map didn't show, like the common rooms of each house and the bottom of the lake. Tom asked if the room of requirement showed up and received a series of blank stares.

"I'll show you guys where that one is after we're done here." Tom offered. "It's damned cool."

Before the others could ask for details about the room Hermione made an offhand inquiry of her own.

"Can't we teach the map new secrets?"

As soon as the words left her mouth the map faded to white. Even the normal yellowing of age vanished, making room for a new message to appear.

You've found a new secret passage?

As the large green letters faded in turn a series of four beautifully inked drawings appeared on each corner of the parchment. Each moved in a loop similar to a wizarding photo.

The first was a sleeping rat whose chest heaved with each 'zeta' that floated from its agape mouth.

The second was a dog scratching its' ear. The dark flecks coming off of him with each scratch could only be flees.

The third was a noble stag standing at attention, not moving at all.

The fourth was simply a moon with clouds passing over it.

More lettering appeared, with a line indicating that it was the stag speaking.

"Touch the map with your wand at the location of the new secret passage and say "Mischief discovered."

The images faded and the map reappeared.

George followed the instructions. Upon tapping the second floor bathroom and uttering the incantation the rest of the map faded again as the depiction for the bathroom enlarged to fill most of the parchment.

The four images reappeared on the corners, but this time they were much more attentive. The rat, Wormtail, stood on its hind legs wringing its hands like a miserly merchant. The dog, Padfoot, sat at attention with its tongue lulling and the stag, who they could deduce was Prongs by process of elimination, was now laying down like a relaxed lion. Moony showed no changes, but honestly how would you go about making a moon expressive?

More instructions appeared near Prongs.

Tap the EXACT location of the passage entrance and utter the phrase 'Here be magical mischief makers in need of aid.'

Fred did so and three long horizontal lines appeared near the broken sink stall on the map.

Leads to:

Instructions:

Misc:

Despite being self-explanatory Prongs saw fit to give instructions on what to do.

Do NOT write on the map. Tap the line in question and speak, I will take dictation. In the first line state the name of the room the secret passage leads to.

In the second give step by step instructions on opening it, be certain to say which step number it is before giving instructions. Say the word 'one' for the first step, two for the second and so forth.

In Misc: warn about any dangers beyond the passage, any unique requirements such as time of day, special details about the entrance to help people find it or instructions on opening the passage from the other side if different from above.

If Tom wasn't impressed with the map before he certainly was now. The twins didn't waste any time.

"The Chamber of Secrets." said George, touching the first line with his wand.

"One. Say the word 'open' in parseltongue.' said Fred, tapping the next line.

"Must be able to speak parseltongue." said Hermione, tapping the third line. "Beware of basilisks."

The Weasley twins nodded in approval as she finished.

Their words appeared on the lines in black ink as they said them. The lines faded, along with the instructions and a new line of green text appeared below their instructions.

Is that all?

"Should we add anything else?" Fred asked George.

"There's a snake engraved on the faucet." Ron yelled back.

They added that. Along with the detail that the sink doesn't work to help the particularly mentally impaired find it. Just in case.

Ss the map returned to normal, their changes finalized, Ron seemed to lose his patience.

"Open! Damn you!"

Tom figured that would be the end of their little excursion for the evening and got up, expecting the others to follow him back to the hospital wing. Imagine his shock when he turned around to see the sink obeying Ron's order and fall into the floor amidst uproarious applause from the others.

Ronald Weasley just LEARNED to speak parseltongue. That was supposed to be impossible. Many parseltongues in history have tried to teach it and only ever succeeded in teaching people to understand it. Not speak it. He wasn't sure which revelation was more surprising to him. That Ron had done the impossible, or that he'd mistaken parseltongue for english for the first time in years.

While he was lost in his thoughts the others advanced on Ron.

"Our wittle wonniekin is a parseltongue!" Fred cheered, rustling Ron's hair and ignoring his younger brothers' objections.

"We better watch out. The world isn't ready for a dark lord of the Weasley line." George added.

Tom could only stare as the others awarded Ron a well deserved series of punches to the arm in congratulations.

"But how?" Hermione finally broached.

That put a quick end to the fanfare. The others took up Tom's strategy of staring at one another in silence.

"Maybe the Weasley's actually are descended from Slytherin and just didn't know it?" Colin suggested.

"We are pureblood." Fred said, nodding.

"We don't advertise it but we are. And all pureblood families have mixed somewhere along the line." George added, nodding in turn.

"So maybe it's a recessive gene that just rarely expresses itself?" Hermione rationalised.

Tom shook his head. "But even if that's true there would be so many more parseltongues crawling out of the woodwork."

Hermione shrugged in response. "Not really. How often do people encounter snakes here in the northern isle?"

"Not often since Saint Patrick got rid of them all."

The ear to ear grin Justin showed off as he made the joke went a long way to lightening the mood. That didn't stop Ron from trying to drag it back down.

"But Harry could understand and speak to snakes without any training at all" said the smallest redhead. "Hell, he couldn't even tell it apart from english?"

"And some people are a natural on the broom while others have to practice." Hermione said with crossed arms. It was her 'I win' pose. " So yeah, there probably are tons more parseltongues around, they just never figure it out."

"If that's true then how many more metamorphmagus are out there and don't know it? Or celerimagi?"

"Celery mage eye?" Colin asked. The boy sure knew his phonics.

"Wizards who can move real fast." Tom explained with a dismissive wave. "It's actually much more impressive than it sounds."

"This is all really fascinating but don't we have a job to do?" Ron promoted.

They all turned to stare at the gaping hole Ron had opened up. It slowly dawned on them that their entire conversation of to that point was them stalling the inevitable plunge.

Tom caught George looking at him expectantly and decided to sever that idea at the bud.

"Oh no! No no no! I am NOT going first." He refused. "I don't even have a wand!"

"Doesn't matter." Fred countered. "Against a basilisk we might as well all be going in wandless."

"Yeah, and you're the new guy." said Justin. "We gotta see what you're made of. It's hazing time, newby!"

Thankfully Ron came to his rescue before his peers could

"You guys it's fine. I'll go."

And before anybody could object he leaped into the entrance and vanished into the great pipe. The others went silent again as they stared at the spot where he vanished.

Tom knew they wouldn't get a move on without some incentive. With a shrug he bent down and hooked each arm around his smallest companions chests. With his right he lifted Colin with ease. Hermione was a bit heavier than he expected, but neither managed to squirm out of his grasp before he made the leap into the gaping hole as well, dragging them with him.

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