Disclaimer: All characters belong to JK Rowling.
This is a companion piece to my story, Little Lily, chapter twenty four. You should totally read that first though.
The Great Explosion of '72
"Hurry up, Peter!" James Potter hissed as he and his three best friends ran down the darkened corridor. He pushed his glasses back up his nose to his hazel eyes as he ran, though they kept slipping down. The shortest and chubbiest of the four twelve year old boys panted as he tried to keep up. They'd been running since they'd come around the corner and found themselves face to face with a very angry looking Mrs. Norris. Filch's scary cat had hissed at them and then run off, obviously going to get her master. The four boys had looked at one another and booked it, knowing from past experience that they had to get as far away from there as fast as they could.
"I… think… it's… safe… now…" Sirius stated as he slumped down against a wall, clutching a stitch in his side. At twelve, he was impossibly adorable with his shoulder length black hair and grey eyes that set most of the girls in their year and a few third years, into giggles whenever her walked by.
"Possibly, but I think we should at least go down another floor or two before we stop." Remus shook his head, motioning to the nearby stair case, his light brown hair flopping down into his eyes. There were bags under his eyes from last week's full moon, but they were alight with adrenaline.
"Think Filch's noticed the stench of Dungbombs on the fifth floor yet?" Peter asked amusedly, pointing upwards.
"Probably, we sent off at least a hundred. If we're lucky, they'll have to cancel the Charms exam. Where did you get so many anyway, Sirius?" James asked curiously, reaching a hand out to pull his best mate off of the floor. The other boy shook his head, getting his hair out of his face and grinning broadly. The four of them made their way down the stairs, trying to be quiet as they did so, whispering.
"I've been stock piling them since the beginning of the year. You'd be surprised what people are willing to trade their Dungbombs for… Chocolate frog cards are one thing, but supposedly magical rocks are another. I think Xeno Lovegood almost had a heart attack when I told him it brought back the dead, like in that story… the Tale of the Three Brothers. But I got six Dungbombs off him."
"That one where 'Death'…" James made air quotes with his fingers. "Gave those three blokes different things?"
"I still say your Invisibility cloak resembles the one in that story, James." Remus added.
"I know, but that's just a fairy tale, isn't it? I asked my dad, but he said that it was made by one of our ancestors who was one of the greatest wizards in his time… um… Ignotus Peverell, I think he was called. He's buried in Godric's Hallow too. Dad showed me his grave once."
"Neat. But who needs fairy tales when you've got a real invisibility cloak and the whole of Hogwarts in the dead of night?" Sirius asked with a laugh. He climbed up on the banister of the staircase and slide down it backwards. James laughed and he and Remus followed after him, leaving Peter to run down the stairs in order to try and catch up. "You did remember it, right?"
"Of course." James nodded and pulled the silky, silvery piece cloak from under his robes. They only donned it when they needed to though. All four of them under the cloak hindered their ability to move quickly.
A cackling met their ears and they all looked up to find Peeves the Poltergeist doing flips in the air above their head. He shot a wad of gum at them and they ducked.
"What mischief are you up to tonight, Peeves?" James asked curiously. He rather liked the poltergeist after they'd convinced him not to yell out about their being out of bed the year before. It had taken a couple of months to get the poltergeist to see reason. After all, all they wanted to do was wreck havoc upon the school as well.
"Gonna put Spurty Spriggy seedsies in Filch's closet, I is." Peeves cackled, doing another flip around.
"Those things that shoot out that gross black stuff, like Gobstones?" Remus asked curiously and Peeves nodded, rubbing his hands together. He dropped a couple of the seeds from his pocket and James picked them up, rolling them around in his hand. He grinned suddenly, a grin that said he had a brilliant idea.
"What're you thinking, James?" Sirius asked, his own grin broadening.
"These…" James started, holding up one of the seeds between his thumb and forefinger. "Look almost exactly like those purple grapes we get for dinner sometimes, don't they?"
"Yeah, they do! Ooooh…. You're not thinking of…"
"I am." James grinned at them and they burst out laughing. He looked up at Peeves. "Peeves, we need your help. Where can we find tons… and I mean TONS… of these things?"
"Sprouty Sprout has many many in her garden, Potty-head." Peeves laughed and twirled about, already knowing where this was going. "Peevesy will helps you, because Peevesy knows this will make Filchy angry, angry, angry!"
"You bet it will. It'll be the best April Fool's joke ever. Come on…" James gestured for his friends to follow after him and they made their way all the way down to the Entrance Hall. Not wanting anyone to see them in case they were looking out the window, they donned the cloak and slowly made their way outside, James whispering his plan to the others.
The trip down to Sprout's garden didn't take long, though it was a bit chilly outside, being night time during late March. Luckily though, the snow had mostly melted and they could skirt around the bits of it left.
When they reached the garden, they found it completely covered in four foot high weeds made almost completely out of pods. They slipped off the cloak and James looked up at Peeves. The poltergeist floated down and opened up one of the weed's pods. He extracted a large purple seed and held it up gleefully.
"Great. Peeves, we'll need buckets if we're going to carry all of them. Can you find some for us?"
"Aye, Peevsey can." And the poltergeist flew off again, disappearing into the darkness. James motioned to his friends and they all began breaking pods and holding as many seeds as they could until Peeves returned with three large, plastic buckets. Each boy took one and they began filling them up with the seeds, careful not to squish them and get the goo on themselves.
It took them a total of two hours to fill all four buckets, but working together, they managed it. And it would pay off in the end if their plan went accordingly. They then each took a bucket and lugged it back up to the castle. With the buckets, they were unable to wear the cloak, but Peeves kept an eye out for them. He waved them forward at the door and they hurried inside, Peter stumbling slightly over himself and under the weight of his bucket.
Skirting around the great marble staircase, James led them down a corridor beside it, knowing exactly where he was going after all of their excursions the year before. They may be only second years, but at this point, they felt they knew most of the castle inside and out. There were few places they hadn't been, such as the other house's common rooms, but those were off limits anyway. Given the chance though, they would have loved to sneak into the Slytherin's common room and make a great mess of it, but since they couldn't do that, they settled for pulling as many pranks as possible. Sure, they'd been caught out of bed plenty of times, but they were getting better and better at not being found out. The littlest of noises and they would be under the cloak faster than one could blink.
Upon reaching the portrait of a bowl of fruit, James set his bucket down and then rose up on his tip toes. He reached out a hand and gave the pear in the picture a tickle. It laughed and sprouted a handle. He tugged it open, revealing the passageway to the kitchens. He took up his bucket again and led the way inside, making sure to close the portrait behind them.
They were converged upon by at least twenty house elves at once, each squeaking and asking questions.
"Master Potter wishes for some tea?"
"Master Black, would you like an éclair? Yinnig just finished making them sir, still warm!"
"Actually, we're just delivering some of Professor Sprout's most delicious grapes for tomorrow's dinner." James explained, gesturing to the buckets. "They're special, so you musn't use them for anything else or eat them, and be very, extra, super careful not to squish them at all, understood? Just put them out in the bowls like you normally do, and make sure you get all of them out."
"Yes sir!" Yinnig saluted him happily and motioned for his fellows to take the buckets from the boys.
"And it's supposed to be a big surprise, so you musn't tell anyone else about them, alright? Not a single witch, wizard, teacher, student, portrait, caretaker, cat, rat, dog, owl, hag, troll, giant, or ANYONE at all. Got it?"
"We gots it sir! Now please, take an éclair! Yinnig made them special for breakfast tomorrow, but Masters can has one now, while they is still warm and gooey." The house elf grabbed a tray full of the pastries, holding them up proudly.
"Sure thing, Yinnig." The Marauders laughed and each took an éclair, eating away at the delicious treat happily. Peter was on his third before Remus looked at his watch.
"We'd better get going. It's nearly four. Best put on the cloak for the way back as well."
"Right you are, Remus." Sirius nodded, his mouth full of chocolate. "Thanks a lot for the éclairs, they're absolutely delicious." Yinnig beamed. The four boys bid the house elves good bye, getting treats shoved into their pockets as they did so.
Peeves went first, keeping a look out for them. He came flitting back around a corner on the sixth floor, pointing and motioning that Filch was up ahead. He whispered. "Shall Peevsey blow ups a toilet?"
"Yeah. Great idea!" James whispered back and Peeves zoomed off cackling. The boys watched as he flew over Filch's head, pelting the care taker with wads of chewed gum as he did so. The care taker turned on his heels and chased after the poltergeist. The four boys ran down the corridor and up the stairs to the seventh floor, laughing as they heard an explosion in the distance and Filch's angry scream.
The boys woke up around one the next day, having missed breakfast and lunch, but the house elves' shoving of goodies into their pockets kept them tided over until dinner time. They were grinning quite broadly as they made their way downstairs with the rest of the school, knowing what was going to happen.
They took seats at one end of the Gryffindor table, away from a bowl of 'grapes'. Just by looking around, James could tell there were at least three extra bowls of grapes on each table added to the normal five that would have been there had they not been down to the kitchens last night.
And then it happened, the first sound of something going wrong for the rest of the school, and something going right for the Marauders… a squeal from the Hufflepuff table.
Everywhere he looked, James could see black goo exploding out of people's mouths and getting all over the table as they flung their grapes away from themselves. The whole hall was in chaos… the seeds were going all over the place in the panic. Sirius picked up an entire bowl of them and flung them across the room, hitting Severus Snape in face and covering him the goopy black mess. This started the pegging of the seeds… everyone grabbing for them and tossing them at anyone and everyone who crossed their line of sight.
It was better than any food fight could have been, James decided as he was nailed in the face with a particularly large seed that exploded black goo on him. The goo smelt awful and it was so impossibly sticky once it congealed, that cleaning it out of the cracks of the tables was going to be hell for Filch. The fact that the Slytherins were looking quite displeased with the situation was just a bit of icing on the cake.
"Potter! This had better not be you're doing!"
James spun around and laughed. If it hadn't been for the piercing green eyes that were glaring at him and her voice, he wouldn't have known it was Evans. She was so caked with the black goo, that even her dark red hair was indiscernible. "Not me, Evans. Though I would like to thank whoever it was!"
"Oooh I bet it was you and you're friends!" Evans shook her head and James shrugged.
"You haven't any proof." He tossed a handful of seeds at her and she yelped, ducking.
"Quiet! QUIET! Everyone stop!"
"HAULT!" Dumbledore's voice was heard over the din of the hall and everyone stopped, dropping seeds and turning to look at him where he was standing in the doorway. A handful of seeds hit him in the cheek and he burst out laughing, causing the entire room to join him. It took a few minutes before he waved his hands and they all settled down again. "It seems…. We've all been had. A lovely job indeed, but now I think, it is time for some of us, to have a bath."
"Sir?" McGonagall looked at him as though he were mad. "Shouldn't we impose some sort of… punishment?"
"Of course not, Minerva. It is April first after all. A little joke now and then is good for the soul. Besides, I believe the house elves may have something to do with this. Perhaps you could go down to the kitchens and let them know what a good job they did of it? And perhaps for them to send food up to the common rooms… I expect everyone didn't get to eat much before this happened."
"Yes sir." McGonagall nodded and left the room, wincing as one of her boots came out of the congealing good with a loud sucking noise.
"Now then, all of you are to go get washed up and then dinner shall continue in your houses. Ah, Mister Filch…" He turned as Filch came down the stairs to see what all the ruckus was. "I dare say you could use some help in cleaning up this mess?"
"No mess is too big for me, Headmaster." Filch stated, trying to impress the headmaster. He was only in his third year working at the school after all.
"Very well then, I'll leave you to it."
The Marauders left the hall with the rest of the students, laughing at the look on Filch's face as he saw the mess for the first time. James thought he might have fainted if not for the converging crowd to that kept him upright.
"Best prank ever?"
"For now." Sirius agree and they all high fived. "Think anyone will every think to do it again?"
"If they do, it had better be our kids. I don't think I could stand it if it was anyone else's."
"Hear hear." Remus cheered and they all laughed again, heading up the stairs for a much needed shower.
Hope you liked it! Lemme know what you thought!