Fred sat staring at George. His mind wandering back to the question that had been bothering the twins for years. Namely, who were the marauders? They had been after Mum and Dad's time, Fred knew, and obviously before theirs, but that still left quite a few years, and many students. He frowned, it was a question they would probably never find the answer to.
George sat staring back at his twin over the breakfast table. He knew without asking why Fred was frowning like that. There was only one thing that caused Fred to frown like that. He was wondering about the marauders again.
George figured they'd probably never find out. Fred felt the same way, but they just couldn't help but try to figure it out anyway.
They had asked McGonagall, who had looked horrified at the thought of them knowing who the marauders were. "There is no proof that they were anything more than just a bunch of stories." She had answered through lips pressed together thinly. Fred and George had left it at that.
They had, on another occasion, asked Professor Flitwick, but he had squeaked "Where?" and fallen panicked from his seat. When they had explained that they were simply curious, he had given a sigh of relief. "I thought you meant they were back." He had said shortly.
Professor Sprout, when asked, had gone off complaining about a disappearing Devil's Snare reappearing in Filch's closet and what did they think they were doing and someone could have been seriously hurt. When Fred and George had realized she wasn't yelling at them, they had slipped away unnoticed.
The stupidest thing they had done was ask Professor Snape. George still wasn't sure why they had thought it might be a good idea, but at the time, it had seemed to be.
Snape's voice had gone very low, and he had fixed the twins with an icy stare. "I know nothing about any of them." He had hissed. "Get out. Now." And they had fled as quickly as possible.
They really had had no luck in finding out who the marauders were, and probably never would.
Sirius Black sat down next to Fred, breaking into his thoughts.
He seemed to be in an unusually pleasant mood today. In fact, he was almost cheerful as he set upon his breakfast as if he hadn't eaten in years.
"Morning." Said George.
"Mmff." Sirius had mumbled, his mouth full. Breakfast went on in peace for a few moments, then-
"PADFOOT!" Someone was yelling from upstairs, and they did not sound happy. "HAD I NOT SWORN AN OATH SEALED IN BLOOD THAT I WOULD NOT MAIM, MUTILATE, CRIPPLE, INJURE, OR HARM YOU IN ANY WAY, I WOULD KILL YOU HERE AND NOW!"
Fred and George exchanged glances. Someone had just referred to Padfoot, of the marauders. Maybe they would find out who they were, after all.
One thing was for certain. If Padfoot were here, he was certainly going to be in a lot of trouble with somebody.
The sound of someone stomping down the stairs met their ears, but it quickly became a series of rapid thumps, probably someone tripping and falling down the stairs. There was a crash at the bottom of the stairwell.
This, of course, set off the portrait of Mrs. Black, who began screaming at the top of her lungs. Sirius hurried to take care of her, and the twins followed.
"Give me a hand with this, will you?" he asked, and with a lot of effort, the three wrestled the curtains back over the painting. "Whew!" Sirius exclaimed when he was done.
Then he walked over to the bottom of the stairs. Professor Lupin was sitting there, arms folded, glaring straight ahead.
Fred did a double take. Professor Lupin was a lovely shade of lavender. At least, his skin was. His hair was bright orange, and his eyes were (aside from glittering menacingly) bubble gum pink. Aside from his coloration, he looked positively furious.
"You-I-out-can't-like this!" Was all he managed to get out. Fred and George exchanged confused looks, but Sirius seemed to understand him.
"Come, now, you need to have some breakfast!" Sirius said cheerfully. Apparently Professor Lupin's new look seemed to have escaped his notice.
"I'm not hungry." Professor Lupin growled at Sirius.
"Of course you are, you're always hungry." He helped (more like hauled) his friend up from where he was sitting. And escorted him into the kitchen. "Why are you limping?" He asked, concerned.
"It's hard to walk down a flight of stairs when they are enchanted to be darker than night and someone has left a bunch of items lying on the stairs." Professor Lupin replied shortly. "I fell."
"Right." Sirius fetched Professor Lupin a plate of breakfast and a mug of tea. "Here you go, and don't worry, it isn't poisoned or anything."
"Do I have your word on that?" Professor Lupin asked.
"May my become as greasy as Snape's if I'm lying." Professor Lupin seemed satisfied with that answer, and took a sip of the tea Sirius had given him.
Sirius grinned at Fred and George. George did not grin back. Instead he shot Fred a questioning look.
Fred shook his head. He hadn't done this to Professor Lupin. George frowned. He just knew mum was going to blame this on them. She would be furious at them for doing that to poor Professor Lupin, and they hadn't even done it!
Sure enough, Mrs. Weasley walked into the kitchen, looked at Professor Lupin in shock, and turned on the boys.
She was already turning red, and she hadn't even begun yelling at them. "FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY! WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING PULLING ONE OF YOUR TRICKS ON REMUS LUPIN!" Professor Lupin winced and covered his ears.
"Er-" Fred tried to explain.
"I HAVE ABOUT HAD IT WITH ALL YOUR RIDICULOUS PRANKS AND TROUBLE-MAKING!"
"Well-" George tried to tell her they hadn't done it.
"BAD ENOUGH YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO RON AND GINNY AND HARRY, BUT TO AN ADULT? AND TO REMUS NONETHELESS!"
"But-" This time it was Sirius who tried to say something.
"THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS KIND OF-"
"NOW LOOK, WOMAN!" Sirius roared at Mrs. Weasley, who, in shock over being yelled at in the middle of a tirade, stopped. No one had ever dared to shout back at her before.
Professor Lupin gave a sigh of relief and uncovered his ears.
"Sorry." Sirius apologized. "But the yelling needed to stop." He cleared his throat. "And anyway, they didn't do it."
Mrs. Weasley sighed. "Look Sirius, it's nice of you to want to take up for them, but-"
"But, nothing." Sirius interrupted. "They didn't do it."
"Oh, they didn't?" Mrs. Weasley arched an eyebrow.
"No, they didn't."
"And how do you know this?" She demanded, giving Sirius a look that would have sent all eight of the rest of the Weasley family running in terror.
"Because I did it." He announced. Fred looked at George incredulously. Had he? Or was he just taking up for them?
Mrs. Weasley seemed shocked. "You?" She didn't believe him.
"Yeah," he replied, a bit indignantly, "me. Who else? He didn't do it to himself, now did he?"
She still didn't believe him. George figured they were doomed.
"Why would I do this to myself?" Professor Lupin asked Sirius.
"To get me in trouble?" He asked innocently.
"I don't resort to such trickery, now do I?" Professor Lupin replied huffily. He turned to Mrs. Weasley. "Yes, it was Sirius. I can assure you of that, Molly." He said somewhat wearily.
"Well, if you're sure." Mrs. Weasley said uncertainly.
"I am." He said firmly.
"Okay then." She turned to the twins, who cringed. "Sorry, boys. Looks like you actually were innocent for once." She excused herself.
"So, what are you up to today?" Sirius asked Professor Lupin after Mrs. Weasley had left.
"I had planned to go out. Had some things to attend to. But I can't really go out like this, now can I?" At least he no longer seemed angry.
"Then you can stay here and hang out with me!" Sirius said excitedly. "We can play chess, and um, get lost in the attic, and get eaten by the couch and-"
"I suppose I could catch up on my reading." Professor Lupin said thoughtfully. "I've been meaning to finish that book for ages-"
"Awww, come on Moony. All you ever want to do is read!" Sirius whined. George thought it odd to hear a full grown man whining. "Reading is boring. Or at least, the stuff you read is boring."
"It is not!" Professor Lupin protested. Fred was giving George a look of surprise.
"Oh yeah, what is it? Some text on ancient runeology?"
"I don't think runeology is a word, Sirius." Sniffed Professor Lupin. "And runes happen to be interesting."
George was reminded strongly of Percy. Fred was still giving him that look. It very rarely happened, but once in a blue moon, Fred would give George the look. The look that said, "Are you daft?" Usually it was reserved for when George didn't get something, which was almost never. In fact, the last time Fred had given George the look was when he had proudly plopped an old piece of parchment into George's hands, and he had asked what it was.
"Runes aren't interesting unless you're dead." Sirius replied matter-of-factly.
"Really?" Professor Lupin snorted. "You didn't seem to think so when that Ravenclaw sent you a note in Runes."
"Well you wouldn't help me figure it out." Sirius complained.
"I seem to remember something about a rhyming curse the night before." Professor Lupin said thoughtfully.
Sirius sighed. "Look, I'm sorry about that. And I'm sorry about this. And I'm sorry-" he paused to shudder "about the lawnmower incident. Now, can you find it in the goodness and kindness and nobleness of your heart to spend some time with this lowly wretch."
Professor Lupin fought back a smile. "Fine." He said. "Does this have an antidote, or is it like everything else and has to wear off?"
"It has to wear off." Sirius replied. "Sorry."
"You are not."
Sirius shrugged. "You're right. What's your point?"
George really wished Fred would stop giving him that look. "What?" He asked.
Fred rolled his eyes. "Really? You have to ask that?"
"Yes." He said irritably. Today did not promise to be a good day.
Fred sighed then turned to Professor Lupin. "You're Moony." He said.
George just stared at Fred. What was he doing?
"I'm what?" Professor Lupin asked with a chuckle. "Moody?"
"I'll agree with that." Sirius put in.
"No, Moony. M-O-O-N-Y." He spelled it out/
"Moony?" Professor Lupin asked. "Is that even a word?"
"George, what was it Sirius said when Professor Lupin said he had been meaning to finish his book?" Fred asked his twin.
"He said, 'Awww, come on Moony. All you ever want to do is-'" George faltered. This was the famous Moony of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs?
"See?" Said Fred. "You are Moony."
George's brain was catching up, finally. "And you were yelling at Padfoot from the top of the stairs!" He said excitedly to Professor Lupin. He turned to Sirius. "You're Padfoot!"
Sirius and Professor Lupin stared at each other, seemingly having a silent conversation. Finally, Sirius spoke.
"That's us!' He announced cheerfully.
"How do you know about the marauders?" Professor Lupin asked curiously.
"We found the map." Fred replied.
"And figured out how it worked." George added.
"It really is a wicked piece of work." Fred continued.
"We nicked it from Filch's cabinets in our first year."
"Confiscated and highly dangerous read the label."
"And we used it until the year you came to teach."
"And we gave it to Harry because he couldn't go to Hogsmeade and seemed to need some cheering up."
Sirius seemed impressed. "You stole it from Filch's office?"
"Yup." Replied George.
"And figured out how to work it?" Sirius continued. "By yourselves?"
"Yup." Replied Fred.
"And gave it to Harry?" Professor Lupin asked.
"Yup." Said George again.
"Cool!" Said Sirius gleefully. "You guys must be quite the trouble makers, then eh?"
"You have no idea." Professor Lupin said with a laugh. "They're like you and Prongs all over again."
"Who was Prongs?" Fred asked.
Sirius seemed to lose some of his cheer. "James Potter."
"Harry's dad?" George asked.
"Yeah." Sirius replied glumly.
George wondered what it would be like to lose such a close friend. Terrible, he reckoned. "So what about Wormtail?" He asked, trying to change the subject.
Sirius made a "Hmmph!" sort of sound, and Professor Lupin let out a snarl. Both looked furious.
"Wormtail is the reason Harry's parents are dead and Sirius was in Azkaban." Professor Lupin growled.
"Traitor!" Sirius snapped.
"Peter Pettigrew was Wormtail." Professor Lupin said, this time more calmly.
"Oh." Said Fred, uncertain as to what to say.
"So you really think they're marauder worthy?" Sirius asked Professor Lupin.
"I think they could have given you and Prongs a run for your money." He replied.
"They're that good?" Sirius asked.
George was turning red. He looked over at Fred and saw he was doing the same.
"Definitely." Professor Lupin replied.
"So what were you guys like in school?" George asked. "I mean, aside from trouble."
"Well," Sirius began thoughtfully, "I supposed we should tell them all about it. If they return the favor."
"Of course." Fred and George replied.
And the four sat at the table, swapping stories of their days at Hogwarts.