The Marauder's Map
Disclaimer: Recognizable sections of this chapter come directly from Chapter 10 of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling. I do not take claim for these, only my own additions.
Monday, December 28th, 1992 – Afternoon
Lunchtime in the Great Hall, after his lessons with Professor McGonagall and Dora, was the first time Harry had seen any of the Weasleys since Ron had left with his father the previous day. He might have missed them entirely, if he had opted to go to the Hospital Wing to see Hermione before he had lunch. However, both Professor McGonagall and Dora had told him he needed to eat to regain his energy from constant use of Morphing for nearly three hours. So he had gone straight to lunch.
Fred and George Weasley both sat down across from him when they entered the Great Hall. Harry looked at them, rather cautiously. While he thought they were pretty good blokes, he wasn't sure if that was just the influence under the Compulsions over the past year and a half.
"Harry?" Fred asked, "Can George and I speak to you?"
"That would depend," Harry said, "Is the topic on your minds something that should be said in the hearing range of possible eavesdroppers?"
Dumbledore wasn't present, nor was Professor Snape, but Harry was still cautious about who the Headmaster might be using to spy on him.
"We'll be careful," George said. "Basically, Harry, we wanted to apologize to you for our git of a younger brother. Our father explained to us what Ron was doing."
"Frankly neither of us would be surprised if Ron was either suspended, or expelled for what he did," Fred said. "Percy is quite disgusted with our youngest brother. If Ron returns, Percy promised our Dad that he would watch Ron like a hawk from now on, and he won't let Ron come anywhere near you and Hermione."
"Percy's actually pretty disgusted with himself too," George said. "He says he should have noticed something. He's seriously thinking of resigning as Prefect for his failure in protecting you and Hermione. He's also threatening to tell Professor McGonagall to take his name out of the candidacy for Head Boy."
"Wow," Harry said, "That's pretty surprising, from what I know about Percy."
"Shocked us too," Fred and George said in unison.
"How's Ginny taking the whole thing?" Harry asked.
"Can't really tell with her," Fred said. "But every time we've seen her since Dad's visit, she's been writing in that diary of hers."
"Which is pretty strange," George said, "She's never had a diary until this year. We're not entirely sure how she got it."
"We figured that Mum gave it to her," Fred said.
"Have you talked to her about it?" Harry asked.
"Yeah," Fred said, "Not the smartest thing to do. She gets highly defensive when we mention it."
George shrugged. "We just figured it was girl issues. She's probably been writing all about how she fancies you, Harry, and doesn't want us to find out."
"Pretty obvious, though," Fred said.
"Yeah, well, I'm unavailable in the romance department," Harry said.
"Really?" Fred asked.
"Come on now, Harry," George said, "Tell us the juicy gossip. Who is the lucky girl? Wait... it is Hermione, right?"
Harry merely smiled.
"Right on, mate!" Fred said.
"A good match, that is," George said. "Does this new romance have anything to do with your recent disappearance from the Gryffindor Tower?"
"I'm afraid I can't speak about that yet," Harry said. "Professor McGonagall knows about it. Ask her. If she refuses to tell you, then I can't tell you either."
"Does it have something to do with you spending much of your time in the Hospital Wing since Christmas?" George asked.
"Or the fourth floor last night?" Fred asked.
"Exactly how do you know that?" Harry replied.
"We'll tell you," George said.
"After lunch," Fred said.
"Better be quick," Harry said, "I am headed back to the Hospital Wing after lunch."
"Is Hermione in the Hospital Wing?" Fred asked.
"That's also on the topic of something I can't speak about yet," Harry said.
Fred and George exchanged glances, looking fairly intrigued. After lunch, Fred and George led Harry toward a broom closet. Harry looked at them with raised eyebrows.
"Harry, mate," Fred said, "Now that you have a girlfriend, you should know one of the greatest Hogwarts worst-kept secrets."
"Broom closets are the best place for privacy," George said.
It took all of Harry's training from that morning to keep his hair from turning pink. He had realized what Fred and George were implying.
"Er... that's not why we're here, right?" Harry said.
Fred and George snickered.
"Harry, you're a very handsome bloke," Fred said, grinning.
"But you're not that handsome," George said, matching his brother's grin.
The twins laughed as they led Harry into the broom closet.
"We're in here, Harry," Fred said, "Because what we're about to reveal needs the utmost privacy."
"You can reveal it to your girlfriend," George said, "if you're one of those sappy blokes who don't like keeping secrets from those you love. But otherwise... nobody else!"
"Alright," Harry said, "What's up?"
"We're giving you a Christmas present," Fred said.
"We also decided it was the best way to show you that we're nothing like that git of a brother of ours," George said.
Fred pulled something from inside his cloak with a flourish and laid it on a nearby small table. It was a large, square, very worn piece of parchment with nothing written on it. Harry, suspecting one of Fred and George's jokes, stared at it.
"What's that supposed to be?" he asked.
"This, Harry, is the secret of our success," George said, patting the parchment fondly.
"It's a wrench, giving it to you," said Fred, "but like my dear brother said, we're showing that we're better blokes than Ron."
"Anyway, we know it by heart," George said. "We bequeath it to you. We don't really need it anymore."
"And what do I need with a bit of old parchment?" Harry asked.
"A bit of old parchment!" Fred said, closing his eyes with a grimace as though Harry had mortally offended him. "Explain, George."
"Well," George said, "when we were in our first year, Harry — young, carefree, and innocent —"
Harry snorted. He doubted whether Fred and George had ever been innocent.
"— well, more innocent than we are now," Fred said, "we got into a spot of bother with Filch."
"We let off a Dungbomb in the corridor." George said, "and it upset him for some reason —"
"So he hauled us off to his office," Fred said, "and started threatening us with the usual —"
"Detention," George said.
"Disembowelment," Fred supplied.
"And we couldn't help noticing a drawer in one of his filing cabinets," George said, "marked Confiscated and Highly Dangerous."
"Don't tell me, " said Harry, starting to grin.
"Well, what would you've done?" said Fred. "George caused a diversion by dropping another Dungbomb, I whipped the drawer open, and grabbed — this."
"It's not as bad as it sounds, you know," said George. "We don't reckon Filch ever found out how to work it. He probably suspected what it was, though, or he wouldn't have confiscated it."
"And you know how to work it?" Harry asked.
"Oh yes," said Fred, smirking. "This little beauty's taught us more than all the teachers in this school."
"You're winding me up," said Harry, looking at the ragged old bit of parchment.
"Oh, are we?" said George. He took out his wand, touched the parchment lightly, and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
And at once, thin ink lines began to spread like a spider's web from the point that George's wand had touched. They joined each other, they crisscrossed, they fanned into every corner of the parchment; then words began to blossom across the top, great, curly green words, that proclaimed:
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present
THE MARAUDER'S MAP
It was a map showing every detail of the Hogwarts castle and grounds. But the truly remarkable thing were the tiny ink dots moving around it, each labeled with a name in minuscule writing.
"Do you want to see your girlfriend?" Fred asked.
He rearranged that Map, and found the Hospital Wing. Hermione's dot was near Poppy Pomfrey's.
"Ah," Fred said, "Looks like she is speaking to Madam Pomfrey at this moment."
"What about Dumbledore?" Harry asked.
"In his office," George said, pointing to the area that showed Dumbledore's office.
"Pacing," Fred said.
"He does that," George said.
"So if I wanted to watch Dumbledore's movements around the castle," Harry said. "Whenever I wanted..."
"Sounds fairly boring to me, mate," Fred said.
"But you could do it," George said.
"But there are better ways to use the map," Fred said, "Secret passages around the school. There are seven total. Filch knows about three or four. Now, Filch knows about these four" — he pointed them out — "but we're sure we're the only ones who know about these. We don't reckon anyone's ever used this one, because the Whomping Willow's planted right over the entrance. But this one here, this one leads right into the cellar of Honeydukes. To Hogsmeade."
"So that is how you get butterbeer and stuff from Hogsmeade," Harry said.
"Yes, indeed," Fred said.
"All you have to do," Fred said, "Is go up to the statue of the one-eyed old crone, and say Dissendium. If you forget, just look at the map, and it will tell you."
"So it is like a password," Harry said, "What about other passwords? Dumbledore's office? Other Houses?"
"Self-updating for every password," Fred said.
"Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs," sighed George, patting the heading of the map. "We owe them so much."
"Noble men, working tirelessly to help a new generation of lawbreakers," said Fred solemnly.
"Right," said George briskly. "Don't forget to wipe it after you've used it —"
"— or anyone can read it," Fred said warningly.
"Just tap it again," George said, "and say, 'Mischief managed!' And it'll go blank."
"So, young Harry," said Fred, in an uncanny impersonation of Percy, "mind you behave yourself."
Harry grinned. "Thanks, guys. I'll definitely be able to put some use in this."
Fred and George grinned, then left the broom closet. Harry searched the map. Dumbledore was still pacing in his office. Nymphadora Tonks was settling in to her temporary Private Quarters near Harry's and Hermione's own Quarters. As he stared at his own name on the map, Harry wondered what would happen when he became Rose Potter. Would her name show up on the map? Had Fred and George noticed a Rose Potter on the map? What did they think if they had? He shrugged, deciding he would investigate this later.
Smiling at Hermione's name on the map, Harry gave the password to wipe the map blank, and that was exactly what it did. Then he pocketed it in his robes, and headed out of the broom closet, and toward the Hospital Wing.
He arrived at the Hospital Wing fifteen minutes later. The curtains which were usually closed around Hermione's bed, were now opened, and Hermione was relaxing in bed, reading one of the school-books that Harry had brought her from her trunk. Harry grinned when he saw that Hermione's face was no longer furry. Hermione echoed his grin as she saw him approach.
"There you are!" Hermione said, "I was starting to miss you."
"Had a spot of lunch after my first Metamorph lessons," Harry said, "I would have come back right away, but Professor McGonagall advised me to eat some lunch right away, to get back my energy."
"Probably a good idea if you were doing so much Morphing in so little time," Hermione said, "So, tell me about it! How did it go?"
"I will, I promise," Harry said. "But first I want to know something. Is the rest of your body fur-less like your face? Did it work?"
"It did!" Hermione said, grinning, "I have no fur left on my body. Well, except my tail."
"I can see that," Harry said, glancing at Hermione's happily waving tail, "Would it be rude of me to say that I am really happy you look... relatively normal again. You were kind of cute with a furry face, but I missed seeing your normal face."
"No, it isn't rude at all," Hermione said, "I wouldn't have even been upset if you said you didn't like the fur at all, because I would probably agree with you. I'm okay with my ears and my tail... the extra nipples will take some time to get used to... but the fur was just terrible! And I bet kissing me will feel so much better."
Harry grinned, knowing she had said that on purpose. "I'm not sure. I might have to test that for myself."
Hermione grinned, and waved at him with her tail in a 'come-over-here' manner. Harry did as was told. He cupped her smooth pink cheek with one of his hands, leaned toward her, then kissed her softly. Hermione hummed against his lips and returned the kiss. They kissed for about half-a-minute before Harry backed away.
"As much as I liked kissing you before," Harry said, "That was the best kiss yet."
"I completely agree," Hermione said, grinning. "So! Tell me about your lesson!"
"Well," Harry said, "My Metamorph tutor wasn't there when I arrived. So Professor McGonagall gave me a crash course in my family history and my House while we waited."
"Finally," Hermione said.
Harry raised his eyebrows at this unexpected reply.
"Oh," Hermione said; Harry saw her blushing for the first time since she had her furry face, "McGonagall might have mentioned a few things about that to me. But she said I couldn't tell you until she gave you the information. I'm sorry."
"It is alright," Harry said, "What did she tell you?"
"She said you could be the Lord of several Houses," Hermione said, "And to continue the bloodlines of those Houses, you would have to marry – er – more than one girl. She said Polygamy is legal in wizarding society. She said you might have a couple Betrothal Contracts, but she said it wouldn't interfere if – you know – you and I were to marry."
"She told me much of that and more," Harry said. "She even has an idea about who one of my Betrothed could be. Daphne Greengrass. A Slytherin in our year."
"I know who she is," Hermione said, nodding. "She, and her friend, Tracey Davis – also in our year – are a lot nicer than Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode. She could be your Betrothed? Really?"
"Yeah," Harry said, "Her father's sister – so her Aunt – was actually Betrothed to my father. I could have had Daphne's Aunt as my second mother. Dad could have married her and Mum. But Daphne's Aunt died a few months after Dad and Mum finished their education here."
"So the Betrothal Contract might have moved on to you," Hermione said, nodding, "Could you get along with a Slytherin? Could you learn to love her?"
"Maybe not a Slytherin, per se," Harry said, "But a daughter of a House allied with my own House, I might. The Greengrass House is one of several Houses allied with mine. Neville, Parvati and her sister, Padma, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, their Houses are also Allied to mine."
"So if your father penned Betrothal Contracts," Hermione said, "It could be daughters of Houses allied with yours. So Parvati or Padma Patil, or Susan Bones could be Betrothed to you."
"Yeah," Harry said.
"But why would your father pen an additional Betrothal Contract for you," Hermione said, "if you were in a Contract with his late Betrothed's niece?"
"Because I'm first-in-line for the Lordship of two Houses," Harry said, "and second-in-line for a third House."
Hermione nodded. "In case you didn't marry someone of your choice."
"Could you participate in Polygamy?" Harry asked, "I-I mean I'm not asking you to marry me right now! Oh, bother. Forget it."
"No, I'm okay with answering that question, Harry," Hermione said. "It needs to be something we'll talk about sooner or later. I'm a Neko now. You're my mate. We're probably mates for life."
"Oh... right," Harry said, "So marriage is... pretty likely."
"Yeah," Hermione said, smiling. "Which I am okay with, Harry. I can't see myself marrying any other boy. To answer your question... I suppose I could see myself being one of multiple wives. It depends on if I am friendly with those who you'll also marry. But, I think... if you discover any Betrothal Contracts soon, and we do find out they are with girls we already know... then we can form friendships with them soon enough and we'd be great friends by the time for the wedding. Maybe even more than friends."
"More than friends?" Harry asked.
"You could have multiple girlfriends, Harry," Hermione said, grinning.
Harry coughed. "You'd be okay with that?"
"It would be good practice for marriage, Harry," Hermione said.
"Oh... right," Harry said.
"I figured we'll judge all future friendship on – you know – how they act around me," Hermione said. "Now that I look this way. I know that sounds kind of mean, but there is no point in trying to be friendly with someone if they tease me for being a Neko."
"If I have any Betrothed," Harry said, "And they tease you, I'll – well, I don't know what I'll do."
"Harry, if you're in an Alliance with the Houses of your Betrothed," Hermione said, "I think their parents will likely lecture them if they make fun of me."
"If their parents support you too," Harry said.
"If they want to continue to be Allied with your House," Hermione said, "They're pretty much going to have to support me, because I'm your mate and girlfriend. Plus, it sounds as if getting out of Betrothal Contracts is a very messy business."
Harry nodded. "True."
"So!" Hermione said, "Tell me about your first Metamorph lesson!"
"Well," Harry said, "First I met Nymphadora Tonks, who doesn't like to be called by her full first name – she let me call her 'Dora'. She finished her education here last year. As you can probably guess, she's a Metamorphmagus like me. I haven't really told her about you yet, only mentioned you as my 'friend'. I figured the whole 'girlfriend' and 'Neko' thing can be explained when you meet her."
"I'll get to meet her?" Hermione asked.
"Yep!" Harry said, "She's going with us to Diagon Alley tomorrow. She wants to meet Rose, and tomorrow is a good opportunity for that."
"I'll get to meet Rose too," Hermione said, "Or rather, reunite with her. I haven't had the opportunity yet."
Harry nodded. "Dora is going to be here until after our last meeting next Sunday. She's going to stay in one of the Private Quarters near ours."
"Really?" Hermione said.
"Yeah," Harry said, "That way if I want, I can do some bonus Metamorph lessons with her when Professor McGonagall can't be there."
Hermione nodded. "Maybe I can watch – if I ever get out of here. Madam Pomfrey says I'm here until my first experience of being 'in heat'. But she says I do get to go to Diagon Alley with you tomorrow."
"Has she said when that first experience could be?" Harry asked.
"Could be anytime between now and and a week from now," Hermione said, then grinned, "You looking forward to it?"
"I just want to know what it feels like – I-I mean, not the – you know, well that too," Harry stammered.
"Wow," Hermione said, "You're blushing, but your hair didn't turn pink."
"Yeah," Harry said, "Dora helped me with that. I don't want to get embarrassed in front of someone who doesn't know I'm a Metamorph. My hair would turn colors and -"
"- and there goes the secret," Hermione said. "Yeah. So you want to know what it feels like to be lured in when I'm 'in heat'."
"Yeah," Harry said, "Would it feel like a Compulsion? Would I not remember anything? I don't like that feeling."
"Or maybe it will just feel like you're really attracted to me at a certain time of each month," Hermione said.
"That would be so much better," Harry said, grinning. "Guess we'll find out soon."
"Guess so," Hermione said, "Continue with your story."
Harry did, giving her a detailed summary of his first Metamorph lesson. Hermione made a few comments every now and then, and asked questions too. Harry answered all the questions she had to the best of his ability. He knew she wanted to be a part of it, since it was a part of him. He also knew she was feeling bored and isolated because she had been in the Hospital Wing since she had turned into a Neko. She missed learning new things, even though being a Neko was a great learning experience. So he was quite happy to discuss everything with her.
Also, at times, Hermione wanted him to show off his new talents. Hermione loved it when Harry Morphed his eyes to match her own.
The whole explanation took twenty minutes due to Hermione's welcomed interruptions making some of the topic conversations longer, as well as Harry showing off whenever Hermione wanted him to.
"Dora said that by the time we're done this week," Harry said, "she wouldn't be surprised if I mastered my talents."
"That's brilliant!" Hermione said. "I wouldn't be surprised, especially if she thinks you're a natural."
Harry smiled. "I like being a Metamorph. It is pretty fun. I guess that is why it feels so natural."
At that moment, Madam Pomfrey bustled her way over to them.
"Welcome back, Mr. Potter," she said, "I hope you had a wonderful first day of Metamorph training."
"Yes, ma'am," Harry said.
"I trust you've eaten something?" Madam Pomfrey asked. "Two or three hours of continuous Morphing takes a lot of energy."
"I've had lunch, yes," Harry said.
"I'll bring your lunch soon, Miss Granger," Madam Pomfrey said. "But first, an owl came for you. I believe your parents wrote you a letter."
"Must have written me a letter in addition to replying to Professor McGonagall," Hermione said.
She thanked Madam Pomfrey when the nurse handed her the envelope. Madam Pomfrey said she would return soon, and left the bedside. Hermione frowned as she stared at the envelope.
"What do you think?" she asked Harry.
"Rip it off like a plaster," Harry suggested. "You don't want to keep this anticipation. It could be good... or..."
"Or it could be bad," Hermione said, frowning. "You're right. I need to read this. I need to know how my parents feel."
Hermione inhaled and exhaled, and opened the envelope. She took the letter out and began to read it. By the time she finished the letter, her eyes were shining with tears, and her ears were flat. She said nothing, but handed the letter to Harry, who began to read it:
Your father and I received a very strange letter from Professor McGonagall. She said you had an accident at school, and she mentioned something called a Neko, also known as a Cat-Girl. Your Professor gave us some of the details – though I was sure there were things she wasn't telling us. So your father and I did some research about it for a couple of hours before I wrote this letter. In normal means, a Cat-Girl is simply a costume worn by people who call themselves 'furries'.
But from what your Professor says you have real cat's ears in addition to your own and an actual tail? Is this true, dear? Well, I suppose we'll see for ourselves soon enough. Professor McGonagall told us about the invitation for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. We wrote a reply to her as well, and are accepting the invitation. So we'll see you then.
However... well, I have to be honest Hermione. Your father isn't very happy. He wants to take you out of Hogwarts. He told me that if you have an actual tail and additional ears, that he thinks they are abnormalities, and you should see a doctor and have them removed in a surgery.
I don't know what to think, sweetheart. I understand his point. It would be very difficult for you to live in our world. Think about our business, dear! What would our clients say if they found out about this? We could be ruined!
We'll discuss this more during the meeting. But please think about your father's idea.
I love you,
"They can't be serious," Harry said.
Hermione only sniffled, as her yellow eyes became watery.
"Thinking of their jobs over their own daughter?!" Harry growled.
"Harry, your hair," Hermione said, "It's red – cause you're angry."
"At least my fingernails are normal," Harry muttered. "I only worked on my embarrassment reactions today. Guess I'll have to work on the other emotional reactions later."
Harry closed his eyes, focused on changing his hair back to normal. Hermione gave him a teary smile when he opened his eyes again.
"At least you're good at changing it back to normal," Hermione said.
"You're ignoring the issue at hand, Hermione," Harry said.
"My parents really love being dentists, Harry," Hermione said, "They've had their practice since before Mum was even pregnant with me. They're not entirely comfortable with me being a witch."
"But they seemed okay with it when I met them this summer," Harry said; technically he hadn't officially "met" the Grangers, but he had seen them and how they behaved around Hermione.
"They were coping with it," Hermione said, "But this – this must have been the limit. I think they're serious about this, Harry. About making me have a surgery."
"I don't bloody care, Hermione!" Harry said, "I'm sorry for my language, but it is true. You're a Neko now, this is your life. I am your mate. I swore to defend you, even from your parents. And that is exactly what I'll do tomorrow. I'm sorry, Hermione, but I can't promise I'll be polite to your parents."
"It's alright," Hermione said, "I won't be polite either. But... Harry, they're my parents. I'm thirteen years old, far from legal age. Legally, they make the important decisions for me."
"No," Harry said, "I'm going to be a Lord of at least two Houses. That has to mean something! If your parents threaten to remove you from Hogwarts, or try to make you get a surgery, I'll find some way to stop them. I'll ask Professor McGonagall if there is anything I can do about it."
Hermione smiled, her ears wiggling, and her tail waving around happily. "Thank you, Harry. Best boyfriend ever."
Harry smiled, leaned toward her and kissed her softly. Hermione grinned against his lips and returned the kiss. When Harry backed up, Hermione made to rip up the letter, but Harry stopped her.
"Not yet," Harry said, when Hermione looked at him with a confused expression, "Evidence to show Professor McGonagall."
"Oh," Hermione said, nodding, "Alright."
Harry smiled and relaxed back in his chair. He then realized he had something else to tell Hermione.
"So," Harry said, "At lunch, I met with Fred and George Weasley. They apologized to me for Ron, and think he is a git."
"Glad to see we can still be friendly with some Weasleys," Hermione said.
"Yeah," Harry said, "And they also gave me this really cool gift to make up for it..."
This isn't a cliffhanger. Hermione's reaction about the Marauder's Map will come soon enough. I just decided to end the chapter mid-conversation.
Those who have read Gandalf's Beard's "Hermione's Furry Little Problem" – in which this story is inspired by – will likely notice some similarities to that story, when it comes to Hermione's parents' reactions toward Hermione being a Neko in this and the next chapter. However, BOTH parents will eventually change their views for the better, but not immediately. Admittedly, I'm only doing this so Hermione can live with Harry.