A/N: This was written for the Triathlon event of the Hogwarts Games 2012 on the HPFC. Our directives were as follows: Write a fic about one central character, in the genre 'mysery' and with the prompts 'evolution' and 'I will grow old or die trying'.
The story is also for ToxicRainfall's Favourite Hogwarts House Boot Camp with the prompt 'five minutes to midnight', owluvr's Character Diversity Boot Camp with the prompt 'opening' and The Original Horcrux' Family Boot Camp for the Longbottom-family with the prompt 'foundation'.
This is written as a script, because I wanted to try out something I've never done before and because it fits the character as I see him.
Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to either the universe of Harry Potter or the book/movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Hogwarts, the Great Hall. Some chairs and tables, but other than that it's empty.
Enter a boy with sandy brown hair.
THE BOY: Hi everyone. Today we start our grand tour of Hogwarts. We will be discovering some secrets along the way, so be sure to take your binoculars. Has everyone got them? (Looks around.) Now, I'm sure you'll be wondering why I picked this location. Well, for one, it is full of mystery. The tales you'd hear if only these walls could speak! But let me introduce myself first. The name is Matthew Longbottom, investigator extraordinaire. I will be your guide for today.
Enter another boy with the same sandy brown hair, slightly older.
THE SECOND BOY: Sweet Merlin, Matthew. You're not playing tour guide again, are you? (Rolls eyes.) Grow up!
MATTHEW: Ah, that would be Frank, my brother. He thinks that just because he's a year older than I am and has been going to Hogwarts for a year, he knows everything better. Don't listen to him. Now, where was I?
FRANK: You were starting your annoying game again.
MATTHEW: It's not a game Frank. Can't you see these people are dying to discover Hogwarts? (Points in the direction of the readers.)
FRANK (smirking): Let's hope they don't die of boredom.
MATTHEW: Like I said, let's just ignore him. So I was telling you about Hogwarts. Even though I'm not a student yet, I already know this castle very well. Every summer, when all the students have gone home, my dad let's us play inside the castle. What's that? You don't know who my father is? (Looks shocked.) All right then. My father is Neville Longbottom, war hero and current Herbology teacher over here at Hogwarts. We live in London, above a pub called The Leaky Cauldron, which is my mother's domain. I don't really like the pub, because it's noisy, but I love Hogwarts.
FRANK: They are not interesting in that.
MATTHEW (slightly disappointed): They aren't? We'd better get going then. As I was saying, our Dad works here as Herbology teacher. He is kinda cool. He recently read this Muggle book called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I don't know if you've heard of it? Apparently it is quite famous. I have not read it yet, but Dad says it's about a father setting out an exploration quest for his son. It reminded him of Hogwarts, he said, and of the many secrets it holds. So he's challenged me…
MATTHEW: …us to discover the secret of Hogwarts' foundation. All we have to start with, is a little note. (Holds up a piece of parchment.) It says (reads out loud): From talking ghosts to statues sound, Hogwarts' history can be found. Which isn't really an awful lot to go by, but it's still a clue. So, where shall we go first?
FRANK: I don't know. Perhaps we should try to find some of the ghosts first? Nearly Headless Nick of Gryffindor is quite okay. As long as you don't call him that.
MATTHEW: What should I call him then?
FRANK: Why, Sir Nicolas of course! Honestly, don't you ever listen to a word Dad says?
MATTHEW: Just because you're a Slytherin doesn't give you the right to be mean to me.
SOMEONE FROM THE AUDIENCE (annoyed): Can we get on with the quest please? I didn't pay to hear you bicker!
MATTHEW: Right. You're right. Let's get going then, shall we?
They exit the Great Hall. The readers have to follow. After a change of scenery we find ourselves at Gryffindor tower.
MATTHEW: Near… Sir Nicolas! Can we ask you something?
Enter Sir Nicolas, the Gryffindor ghost.
SIR NICOLAS: Is it September already? I thought all the students were gone. Hmm, but you seem too young to go to Hogwarts yet.
FRANK: I'm a second year next September!
MATTHEW: And I start next September.
SIR NICOLAS: I do beg your pardon young men. Now who are all these people here? (Eyes the audience suspiciously.)
MATTHEW: They are our readers. They have joined us on a quest to find out the truth about Hogwarts' foundation.
SIR NICOLAS: Ah splendid! I love quests. Tell me, have you got a clue yet?
MATTHEW (folds out the piece of parchment and reads out loud again): From talking ghosts to statues sound, Hogwarts' history can be found.
SIR NICOLAS: That's it?
MATTHEW: Yes. We were just wondering if you could help us. Please.
SIR NICOLAS (pondering): I wonder…yes that might be a good place to start. What do you already know about Hogwarts?
FRANK: There are four Houses, named after the four Founders.
SIR NICOLAS: And those founders are…
MATTHEW: Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor. Everybody knows that.
SIR NICOLAS: Ah, but did you know that they started out with five of them?
FRANK: No way! Shouldn't that be in Hogwarts. A History?
SIR NICOLAS: One would expect so, yes.
MATTHEW: But who was it then?
SIR NICOLAS: Now where would be the fun of the quest if I just told you the answer? But if you look close enough, you'll find that the truth is interwoven with the castle. Good day!
Exit Sir Nicolas.
MATTHEW: Hey wait, what do you mean by that?
FRANK: Stupid ghost.
MATTHEW: So, fellow inquisitors, it appears we have found ourselves a new clue. Hogwarts had a fifth founder and the marks of that person are still present within Hogwarts. Did you know that?
FRANK: I didn't.
MATTHEW: Me neither. I'll just check if any of our readers has ever heard of it. (Puts his hand behind his ear.) None of them seems to have heard of it before. Very strange. Let's go to the library and see if we can find anything.
FRANK: The library is closed during the holidays.
MATTHEW: Surely they'll let us in. We're Professor Longbottom's children after all. It might be a lot more difficult to get our readers in there as well, seeing as they're quite a big group. Say, you wouldn't by any chance know of a spell to reduce someone's size to that of a hamster?
SOMEONE FROM THE AUDIENCE: You're the wizards, you tell us!
SOMEONE ELSE FROM THE AUDIENCE: As long as you don't actually shrink us…
MATTHEW: Right, I think this might be difficult. Frank, will you be so kind to retrieve Hogwarts. A history from the library.
FRANK: Whatever you say, oh magnificent tour guide. (Bows mockingly.)
MATTHEW: Okay, that just leaves us alone with our thoughts. Anyone any ideas that could help us find out about the truth of the Fifth Founder? I'm really happy that this tour is proving to be quite rewarding so far already. I know Frank may seem a bit giddy at times, but he can't help it. I sure hope I don't end up like that one day. I think I'll be put into Hufflepuff, I'd like that. Hufflepuffs are kind and they help people out. My Mum was a Hufflepuff too.
FRANK: Pff I have found it, it was rather harder to get in. I swear that woman was making it hard for me.
MATTHEW: Let me see! I wonder if there's anything in there that can help us.
One and a half hour later…
MATTHEW: Okay, so we've read through the entire chapter on the foundation of Hogwarts. The only remark I could find that might have something to do with is 'Whilst Hogwarts was founded, others sought their fortune elsewhere.' Say, it is rather quiet in here, isn't it?
FRANK (smirking): It's your audience. They've fallen asleep.
MATTHEW: Wake up everybody, we've got ourselves a lead!
Stifled yawns can be heard.
MATTHEW: Ah great, you're awake again. Let's continue our quest again, shall we? So, we know that during the foundation of Hogwarts, someone else went elsewhere. We don't know who they are yet, or where they went, but it is definitely a clue.
FRANK: Hey Matthew, I just thought of something. Didn't Sir Nicolas say that the truth was interwoven with the castle?
MATTHEW: Oh Merlin, the tapestries! Of course, why didn't I think of that sooner? Frank, didn't you tell me there was a tapestry about the foundation of Hogwarts? Surely the Fifth Founder would be on there somewhere.
FRANK: There is! Only I don't exactly remember where it was. I think it was in one of the corridors on the second floor though.
After a search through the castle, the tapestry in question is found.
MATTHEW: Here it is! Now, I'd like to ask the readers to come closer and have a good look at the tapestries. You've all got your binoculars, but have you also got your magnifiers? Just in case. Let's see, this should be Godric Gryffindor, with the wavy brown hair. And there in the back, drawing complicated figures in the air, that ought to be Salazar Slytherin then.
FRANK: Here are Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff, see? Levitating bricks to repair the castle.
MATTHEW: There is someone else on the tapestry. It's really tiny, but it's there nonetheless. Frank, I think you were right! (Pulls out his magnifier and squints through it at the tapestry.) I think it's a woman. She could be one of the fairy folk, but something about her makes me doubt that. It looks like she is looking at Salazar for some reason. I think we can assume that the Fifth Founder was a woman. This is really exciting really. Do you think Mum and Dad knew about this when they went to Hogwarts? Or do you think it's a secret only the teachers know? And there should be other tapestries or pictures with her, don't you think?
FRANK: You really talk too much, you know that?
MATTHEW: Ah well, that's natural evolution: one that wants to become an actor or a tour leader has to be talkative. (Nods his head as if telling a secret.) You on the other hand aren't as talkative, thus you are less suited to be a tour leader. Which is why I'm the tour leader.
FRANK: Whatever. (Rolls eyes.)
MATTHEW: At least we have discovered that we need to start looking for a woman. That narrows it down a bit already. And probably a woman that had something to do with Salazar Slytherin. So I'd say a trip to the dungeons could be interesting? Lead the way brother.
FRANK: I thought I wasn't fit to be the tour leader?
MATTHEW: Well, I'm still the tour leader, but seeing as it's your house, I figured you might wanted to show the way. But if you don't want to, that's perfectly fine. Everybody, this way please!
FRANK: Follow me!
We leave the corridor on the second floor and arrive in the dungeons, where it is damp.
MATTHEW (shivers): Brr, that's a change.
FRANK: I think it's great. In the summer, when it's warm outside and in the castle, the dungeons provide some cooling.
MATTHEW: It probably will, but I'm guessing it's rather cold in the winter, no?
FRANK: I can't deny that.
MATTHEW: Say, isn't Potions down here as well somewhere?
FRANK: It is, look.
A large oak door inscripted with the word 'Potions' blocks the opening to the classroom.
MATTHEW: Can we enter? I'd love to have a look.
FRANK (pulling out his wand): I'll try. (Confidently:) Alohomora!
FRANK: Let's try again. Alohomora!
Still nothing happens.
FRANK (disappointed): It's locked. I can't open it.
MATTHEW: Too bad. Well, at least you tried. Isn't there a Slytherin ghost by the way? It seems so quiet down here.
FRANK: There is. The Bloody Baron. (In an attempt at a scaring voice:) He's dangerous…
MATTHEW: Ha, you don't scare me, Frank. It's just a ghost. Now, where is the Bloody Baron?
Enter Bloody Baron.
BLOODY BARON (booming): Did anyone mention my name?
MATTHEW (whispering): Okay you were right. He is a bit scary. (Straightens up.) We'd like to ask you a question.
BLOODY BARON: Who are you?
MATTHEW: Frank and Matthew Longbottom. And our tour group.
BLOODY BARON: Longbottom, eh? I think there is a Longbottom in my house.
FRANK: That would be me.
BLOODY BARON: Good, good. Are you related to Professor Longbottom?
MATTHEW: He is our father.
BLOODY BARON: Hmm and what exactly are you doing in the castle when all the students are supposedly away?
MATTHEW (proudly): We're on a quest.
BLOODY BARON: A quest? And what, exactly, might this quest be?
MATTHEW: We're looking for the fifth founder of Hogwarts. We think it was a woman. Have you heard of her?
BLOODY BARON: Yes I have. I'm a ghost, what do you think? We know everything that happens or happened in this castle.
MATTHEW: What's her name then? And why is it that no one seems to know of her? Apart from the ghosts of course.
A clash and a sound of tables falling over elsewhere in the castle.
BLOODY BARON: Blast that poltergeist! I've told him time and again not to break anything. Come back tomorrow. (Shouts angrily:) Peeves!
Exit Bloody Baron.
FRANK (slightly sarcastic): Well, that was really helpful.
MATTHEW: We'll just have to keep looking on ourselves then. Are you coming?
FRANK: We can just come back tomorrow. It's getting a bit boring.
MATTHEW (shocked): How can you say that? We've only just started. There is still so much more left to discover.
FRANK: We'll have to go anytime soon anyway. As soon as Dad is finished with his plants, we'll be going home for supper. (Sarcastic) Or were you planning on staying here until midnight?
MATTHEW (casual): Five minutes to midnight actually. No, I suppose you're right. But do you think the readers will come back tomorrow?
FRANK: Why don't you ask them?
MATTHEW: Dear readers, would you mind if we interrupted our quest until tomorrow? I can assure you that we will continue searching for the truth. You must think I'm a terrible tour guide for leaving you like this. But I promise, we'll find out more tomorrow. So what do you say, are you in or are you not?
A READER: Yes of course.
ANOTHER READER: Certainly.
A THIRD READER: Definitely.
MATTHEW: Okay, it isn't going to work if everybody states individually that they will continue the quest. Let's do this another way. Raise your hand if you intend to come back tomorrow to take the rest of the tour. Ah good, practically all of you. To the few of you who haven't raised their hands: we're sorry to see you go, are you sure? You'll miss out on a lot… You're certain? Well, your loss. As for now, we really have to get going. See you all tomorrow, same place, same time!