Thankee, all of you who reviewed! And yes, I know, I know, it's been a while, but… I have a chapter up! That must count for something, right? And yes, I realized that the year should be much earlier, but please forgive me, I wasn't paying much attention when I wrote this. Hope you like the chapter!
Chapter 3 – Breakfast-time
"Well, here's the thing. There's this gang of Slytherins. And nobody will stand up to them, 'cause of course, they're all scared. But you, on the other hand, have no choice but to help us. You see, it's perfect. You get to have a little adventure in your otherwise probably boring lives, and all of Hogwarts gets a break from those slimy gits," Minerva explained patiently.
"What makes you think that you can just drag us here and make us do whatever you want?" Percy was still quite mad.
"Isn't it glaringly obvious? We have the time-turners. Those ones you're wearing right now are charmed especially for our purposes. And of course, we're not going to let you go back unless you follow our orders," Lilliana said.
"Look you two. We don't know what Dumbledore, not you Dumbledore, the present day Dumbledore, will do. I know you said that you probably wouldn't do anything, but still, we don't know! Don't you think we should just let these three go home?" Jon pleaded with the girls.
"He's right. Perfectly right. Couldn't be righter! Oh, you people are all crazy!" Percy was going into a state of nervous breakdown. It was all too much for him. His favorite teacher a prankster, two Dumbledores at Hogwarts, traveling illegally through time, and worst of all, his mortal fear of dueling with Slytherins.
"Look. Professor Binns is right. You three could get in serious trouble. Even if Dumbledore doesn't do something, another teacher could find out. Where are we supposed to stay, anyway?" Remus frowned, kneading his forehead hard with his knuckles. All of this was giving him a headache.
"Why, you'll stay here, of course! It's the Room of Requirement, after all, isn't it?" Minerva waved a hand around the room, and, to their amazement, three beds were materializing as they spoke. "It'll serve as a comfortable enough dormitory for you three. And if we need it to be locked, well, unless anyone else really needs it, it'll stay locked."
"But still! We have to eat! We can't stay cooped up in here forever, you know! And how exactly are we supposed to deal with this gang of yours?" Percy ranted on.
"How should we know?" Lilliana cocked her head. "That's your job. All we're doing is sitting back and watching the whole thing. So, are you doing it, or do we have to lock you up in the dungeons for a couple of centuries?"
At this, Percy became very, very, very agitated. And that was not a good thing. Not at all. "YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST STRUT ABOUT, GET YOURSELVES SOME TIME TURNERS, AND WHISK US AWWAY TO DO YOU BIDDING? WELL, I REFUSE TO DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU SHOW US SOME COMMON COURTESY!" he bellowed, so loudly, and so very much like his mother that all five of the others in the room cowered before him.
Jon, always the peacemaker, tried feebly to calm the prefect down. "Well now, just calm down, please! As you can see, my, er, accomplices are set on making you do this. I've known both of them ever since they came to this school, and, well, they are quite determined. Your temper won't really do much good, I'm afraid," he said, putting a hand on the shaking Percy's shoulder.
Minerva, meanwhile, glared at Percy with a very stern look. "Jon here is quite right. You are not going anywhere until you do your job. It took us months to put this together, and we are most certainly not letting our efforts go to waste," she said, her nostrils flaring in an all too familiar way. Percy was still livid, but Remus, having been at the wrong end of the professor's glares many times with James and Sirius, slowly backed away from them.
Lilliana and Albus had been watching this whole little charade with interest. Both of them were chuckling at this little disagreement. Then Albus spoke up. "I think we can continue this little discussion later. But for now, I believe we are all rather hungry, you know. I haven't had breakfast yet. And it is Christmas Day, it's a day to be happy, everyone! Now, come on!" The others reluctantly agreed, as none of them wanted to miss getting food.
Minerva peered out the door cautiously. That new caretaker, appointed only last year, was absolutely evil. He had immediately taken to doling out gruesome punishments to anyone who dared to be out just a few minutes after curfew. Of course, they hadn't really done anything wrong, but still. Best to be careful around Argus Filch. Some girls even considered the young man handsome, but Minerva…. She shuddered. But it was safe. No sign of him here.
"Come on, come on!" she waved frantically as she ushered everyone out of the Room of Requirement. "We have a long way to go until the kitchens, and we do not want you to be seen. I swear Filch has memorized every student's face in this whole bloody castle!" Lilliana and Jon followed close behind the three time-travelers, making sure they kept up. And so the six students made their way down numerous hallways, through several secret passageways and down countless flights of stairs.
At last, they came to the bowl of fruit.
"So this is the entrance to the kitchens? Quite clever, if you ask me," Albus declared as he examined the painting.
"A bit too clever, if you ask me." Remus muttered darkly. "Tickle the wrong fruit, and… well, I don't think you want to know."
Jon gave a sympathetic nod. "I know, mate. Same thing happened to us. The yellow apple… it's pure evil."
Lilliana got up on tiptoe and tickled the pear. As it turned into the big doorknob, she turned it and was met with a horde of rushing elves. Two of house-elves noticed them and hurriedly ushered them inside.
"Sirs and misses, we is busy with breakfast, but we can serve you anything you wish, anything at all!" one of them, a male, Percy guessed, squeaked.
Minerva grinned at the elf and said, "Breakfast for six, please, Toby."
Toby bowed, and led them over to a small hexagonal table in the corner. "You can sit right here, sirs and misses! Right here!" He bowed again and hurried off to fetch the dishes.
"Well, he seems eager to serve," Percy commented. It seemed he had finally calmed down. "I never knew house-elves did all of this."
"You've never sneaked into the kitchens?" Minerva asked incredulously.
"Of course not! I abide by the rules, thank you very much!" Percy said, extremely miffed.
"Actually, I don't believe it is against the rules to come down here. It is however, against the rules to take food out," Albus said, looking pointedly at Minerva. Remus and Percy both grinned at her.
"Busted," Remus grinned, looking from Albus to Minerva. Minerva simply glared at both of them.
After a few minutes of silent eating, Jon got up and stretched. "Well, I must go, plenty of researching to do, you know."
Remus leapt, up, too. "I think I'll join you. But first, I don't think we ever properly introduced ourselves. I'm Remus Lupin."
"Jonah Binns, at your service," Jon said, pushing in his chair.
"Minerva McGonagall, also at your service, though not literally, most times."
"Lilliana Sprout, I'm sure you know already."
Percy sighed as he looked at his four future professors and one… random person. "Percy Weasley, at your service literally, I suppose."
"And, as you all seem to know already, I am Albus Dumbledore," Albus whispered, glancing warily at the house-elves.
Nodding at the rest of them, Jonah and Remus departed.
"I think I'll go to the Owlery, to visit Athena," Minerva said, also departing.
That left Lilliana to look at the remaining two boys. "Well, I guess I should give you a briefing on this gang. Come on, we'll go out to the greenhouse. Nobody will bother going there today, we'll be quite safe." With that, she departed, Albus and Percy trailing behind.