Main characters: Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Gabriel/Loki
Summary: Convenient escape routes, short cuts when they were late, secret places no one else had ever found... obviously Hogwarts, a cool supernatural being, had a soft spot for them. They were sort of right.
"You two in trouble already?"
George looked up and blinked in surprise at the man who sat on Filch's desk. He turned to the office door and frowned when he saw it was still closed.
"Where did you come from?" Fred asked bluntly.
The grey eyed man chuckled and popped some sort of candy in his mouth. With the candy still in his mouth, he said, "I was always here."
"No, you weren't, it was empty when Filch closed the door," Fred argued.
George nodded in support of his brother but didn't take his eyes off the man Though he seemed harmless enough at the moment, George wished that Filch hadn't taken his wand.
"Doesn't mean I wasn't always here." The man opened his left hand and held out two large colourful lollipops. "So you two rigged a hallway with dungbombs, huh?"
George shared a look with Fred, wondering if this was a teacher that he had forgotten about.
Fred shrugged and shook his head slightly.
"I'm not a teacher, dimwits, I thought you'd be a little bit more perceptive that that." The man snapped his fingers and George glanced down to see his own fingers curled around one of the lollipops.
Fred, always the talkative one, stared at the lollipop that had appeared in his hand too and said, "How did you..."
"I thought you two were wizards." The man chuckled. "If you're surprised by something so simple, then maybe you're in the wrong place."
Fred stared up at the man, knowing just like George did that the man hadn't used magic at all but he said, "You didn't use a wand."
"I didn't." The man agreed. "Does that bother you?"
George knew exactly what Fred was thinking and muttered to himself, "Pranks would be so much easier..."
The man blinked, glanced between both of them and laughed loudly. "Oh you two... you two are utterly precious for humans."
Fred twitched. "That's... creepy. Wait, humans?"
George huddled closer to Fred, ready to pull him to safety if the man turned out to be an actual creep.
But the man just smiled wider at their reaction and stared at them with amused eyes as he snapped his fingers.
George gulped when he felt a wisp of something powerful, not exactly magic but some energy that felt safe, in the air and grabbed Fred's sleeve tightly as one of the room's walls shifted, moved backwards and extended into an exact replica of their bedroom back in the Burrow. He gasped when a loud and familiar voice yelled out, "Ginny, that's cheating. I'm not going to play with you if you cheat like that..."
George turned to the wall as he heard Ginny's shriek of laughter and running footsteps. It was like they were back home for a moment listening to Ron and Ginny run around the house. Fred hesitantly moved closer to the changed wall and their bedroom area. George followed him, keeping a tight grip on Fred's sleeve and not taking his eyes off the smiling stranger who walked beside them.
"Your favourite place in the whole world is home, huh?" The stranger said softly as he looked around the bedroom, watching some of the family photos they had stuck on their walls with an almost lonely look. "Can't go wrong with that."
George shared a look with his brother and let go of Fred's sleeve. He glanced back the way they came and saw part of Filch's office still connected to their bedroom.
"What are you?" Fred asked. "You... didn't use magic to do this."
The stranger turned away from the photographs. "Oh? Are you sure of that?"
"Magic feels different," George said. "It's like a tickle across your skin. Whatever you did feels like..."
"... like having warm chocolate dumped on you."
George nodded. It had felt exactly like that- warm, comfortable and safe- something he could trust.
The stranger tilted his head to the side and chuckled. "I really like you two. So interesting and different." But he didn't seem inclined to explain what he'd used. "I'm surprised you two are just taking this so well."
"You should always be prepared for adventure," George explained simply.
So Fred said, "Is this really the Burrow?"
"Yes, I don't do things half-way. Why, do you want to say hello to your little siblings?"
"Not exactly," Fred said. "It just would be cool if they found packages and letters from us in their rooms mysteriously."
"Getting packages without us sending owls," George said as he emptied his pockets for something to leave in Ron and Ginny's rooms. "We'd totally outclass Charlie and Bill in the favourite and cool brothers category."
Fred sighed as he looked at the contents of both their pockets- tissues, candy wrappers, half-eaten bits of food, lint and a smelly sock- and said, "Of all the days to have dull pocket treasures."
George shrugged and grabbed some parchment from a drawer. "Guess it's just letters then."
"You two... seem to have forgotten about me," the stranger said, looking at them with an unreadable expression.
"Oh, are you getting tired? Do we need to leave soon?" Fred asked.
The stranger twitched. "No. I meant, I gave you those lollipops."
"Yes, you did," Fred said as he grabbed the parchment from George.
"Which means I could help you leave some pretty cool things here," the stranger said. "You did say you wanted to leave packages in their rooms."
"But then it'd be a package from you," George said, wondering why the stranger seemed shocked by his words. "Not us."
Fred nodded as he scribbled on the parchment. George grabbed another quill and added bits and pieces to what Fred had already written. And within minutes they had two nonsensical letters complete with badly drawn doodles.
George was about to roll them up when Fred stopped him and turned to their silent stranger and said, "Do you want to add something to our letter?"
The stranger raised his hand and moved it towards them. Just as it reached them, two large lollipops appeared in his hand.
"It's not mint, is it?" George said, "Mint makes Ginny queasy."
"No mint," the stranger said and smiled softly.
They tucked a lollipop in each letter and tiptoed to their bedroom door. When the stranger didn't immediately follow, Fred huffed in exasperation, "What are you waiting for? Haven't you done this before?"
The stranger's lips twitched as he followed after them, silently making their way through the house.
When they'd delivered both letters and made it back to their bedroom, George said, "We're lucky no one's looked at our family clock and noticed we were home."
"You think I'd forget about something like that?" The stranger said smugly. "Anyway, it's time for you to get back there." he pointed back to the part of Filch's office that was still connected to their bedroom.
Fred looked ready to argue, but George pushed him forward.
Fred sighed but nodded. "Fine. We better go back. Can't have you fainting when you get tired."
The stranger snorted. "You keep telling yourself that, kid."
"I will," Fred stated happily.
"I like your brother better."
"I like him better too," Fred said.
George rolled his eyes and opened the lollipop in his hand as the two traded ridiculous nonsensical banter. By the time they entered Filch's office, and as their bedroom disappeared George finally removed the paper covering and sniffed at the lollipop.
It would be smart not to eat something given to him by a stranger who was probably not even human.
But being cautious seemed like a dull thing to do.
And George couldn't help but trust the stranger after feeling the warm chocolate like not-magic that the stranger had used. The stranger had no intention of hurting them. So it was only right that he eat the lollipop.
He took a tentative lick and gasped as the feeling from before- safe, warm, chocolaty and a new sensation of being home- filled his entire body making his eyes tear up just the slightest bit. He glanced up at the stranger who was still bickering with Fred and realized that the stranger didn't look so lonely any more.
"Well if you're so smart, then I'll tell you something interesting." The stranger pointed to one of the large cabinets and said, "In there, hidden amongst all the confiscated goodies, is something that'll help you be sneaky in this castle."
"What is it?" Fred said eagerly.
"Telling you would make things too easy. If you're really smart, then prove it and get the item yourselves. Of course you'll need to unlock the correct drawer first. And you'll need to find it before Mr. Grumpy returns."
Fred narrowed his eyes. "You're leaving?"
"Do you want me to stay here and hold you hand?" The stranger grinned mockingly. "I have things to do, people to meet... you know."
"Okay then. See you later," George said.
The stranger stared at him. "What makes you think we'll meet again?"
It was Fred who answered. "How can I gloat about my victory if you don't come back?"
"Okay." The stranger chuckled as he waved and walked towards one of the walls. "Then, till next time, annoying Fred. And you too, quiet George." With one final wave, he walked into the wall and disappeared before they could question how he knew their names.
"I don't think we'll be able to find him like this," George said morosely as he stared down at the Marauder's map in Fred's hand and walked beside his brother through the empty hallways.
"But we still need to try."
"What if we never find him?" George said.
"Find whom?" A familiar amused voice said from directly behind them.
They both yelped and turned around wildly.
"Hey boys, looks like you missed me," the being said as he unwrapped something and popped a bright candy in his mouth. "What's so urgent?"
George looked down at the map in his hand, staring at the spot where both their name were. The map didn't show any other spots or names next to them.
"We came to prove how wonderful we are," Fred said, pretending that he hadn't yelped like a scared girl just minutes ago. "See, we got this map from Filch's office and we already know how to use it."
"Interesting," the stranger, no, the being said.
"And what does that tell you?" Fred asked.
"It tells me I need to come up with harder challenges," the being said with a wide grin.
Before Fred could say anything, George held up the box he'd brought. "And we wanted to give you this."
"A present for me?"
"It's not exact payment for the map you know," Fred said. "But eventually we'll give you something bigger and better than mum's toffees."
The being tilted it's head to the side and stared at them with unreadable grey eyes.
George bit his lip unsurely.
"Thanking me properly, huh?" The being grinned. "If you want to thank me properly, then create pranks that no one has ever seen before."
George shared a look with Fred.
"We were going to do that anyway," the both said aloud.
"Good. I better not see any unimaginative mediocre stuff."
Fred leaned forward with a wide grin. "Will you watch our pranks?"
"Every one," he said kindly. Then he narrowed his eyes. "Now hand over the goods and get going. You're wasting prank time with all this talking."
George pushed the box into the being's open hands. "When can we..." George frowned when he saw the empty space in front of him.
"Not showing up on the map," Fred said. "Weird powers, knowing who we were and knowing when we wanted to meet him. You know what this means, don't you?"
George nodded. How could he not? This was the most important things that had happened in their eleven years of life. "We met Hogwarts."
"And more importantly, Hogwarts likes us."
"Why are you two so serious?"
George gasped and Fred cursed out loud as they both turned to the voice.
"Hey boys!" Hogwarts grinned at them and waved a green coloured lollipop in the air. "Whatcha' doing? Are you two planning on getting in trouble? Do you need some help?"
Fred bit his lip and George looked away in embarrassment.
"That's not an expression I imagined finding on you two. What happened?" Hogwarts frowned and tilted his head. "Someone took your money?"
George slumped. "We didn't think he'd..."
"And his name is... Ludo Bagman?"
Wincing at the icy tone, George found himself blurting, "We've got a plan to..."
There was rustling sound in front of them as Hogwarts vanished from their sight.
"Do you think he's planning on doing something?"
"Seemed like it," Fred said slowly.
It didn't take long for them to hear about Bagman being on the run from goblins.
George shook his head and pushed that memory away, frowning as the world around him seemed to slow down. His eyes were drawn to a shadow a little further ahead of Fred.
George gasped as he recognized it as a Death Eater whose wand had just started glowing an omnious sickly green.
But the slowed down world around him blurred into nothingness as yet another memory filled his mind.
"You two have really grown up nicely."
George stifled a scream. "Why do you keep doing that?"
Hogwarts ignored him and looked around with gleeful eyes as firecrackers crackled and exploded in the distance. "This is brilliant. The minute I don't pay attention, you two end up in something huge."
Fred grinned. "You approve?"
"Approve?" Hogwarts' grin turned sinister. "I love this. It's perfect."
George bumped shoulders with Fred in triumph. "Out exit is going to be memorable for sure."
"Exit? What exit?" Hogwarts frowned. "You're leaving? Why are you leaving? What happened to you two this time?"
George shared a look with Fred, trying not to feel guilty.
But Fred just shrugged. "We need more space to make our prank items."
Hogwarts stared at both of them, his clear grey eyes oddly assessing as he said, "What did you think I'd do if you actually told me about her?"
"Something we'd never be able to do probably," Fred replied easily.
"But you don't want me to do anything."
Fred smiled. "We can take care of ourselves, you know."
George didn't know why those these memories had popped up in his head. Especially when he was supposed to be paying attention and telling Fred, who was looking back at Percy instead of paying attention to his surroundings, to duck from that familiar menacing green spell that was headed in his direction.
But even before he could open his mouth, George knew with a horrible certainty that it was already too late.
His voice wouldn't reach in time to make Fred actually duck from the killing curse.
But George raised his wand and yelled desperately anyway, "Get down!"
There was an explosion of light, sound and dust in Fred's spot.
"Fred!" Percy yelled.
George couldn't breathe as he waited for a reply.
He actually sobbed in relief when a familiar voice said, "Well, looks like you two are having some trouble taking care of yourselves."
"I totally had that under control," Fred gasped out as he clutched his chest and leaned against his grinning saviour.
Percy rushed forward to Fred but George was more interested in something else. He glanced at the large translucent wings that seemed to come out of Hogwarts' back in confused awe.
George blinked and turned to Fred and Percy.
Fred stared at him in understanding but said, "You look like you're going to faint."
George smiled and walked forward till he was right next to Fred. "Whose fault is that, idiot?" He gasped when a hand prodded his ear. Or rather the remnants of his damaged ear.
"Always so twitchy, quiet George," the being- who-was-most-probably-not-Hogwarts said.
George stayed still, watching the translucent wings glow and twitch as the being prodded his ear. He winced slightly when he felt an odd prickling pain where his ear was.
"There! Much better. The lopsided look didn't suit you at all."
Percy gasped as he stared at George's ear. Realizing that Percy hadn't even looked at the translucent wings, George had a feeling that only Fred and him could see the large wings.
When it looked like not-Hogwarts was about to leave as usual, George grabbed his sleeve and said, "You should stay. Mum will probably make toffee to celebrate our victory later."
The wings shifted almost hesitantly.
"Maybe he needs to rest. You know how easily he gets tired, George," Fred said sneakily.
The wings glowed and not-Hogwarts grinned at them. "I suppose I could spare some time babysitting Fred for you, George."