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“Potter! Black!”

“Mischief Managed!” James said quickly and the parchment which they had been looking at went blank.

“What do you want Filch? We’re not doing anything wrong,” Sirius scowled as the caretaker came up to them.

“Had a complaint about you two,” he said menacingly as he looked over their shoulders to see what they were doing, “gonna be keeping an eye on you.”

“You’re always keeping an eye on us, what’s new?” James asked casually as he folded up the parchment and placed it safely in his pocket.

He went to reply but could think of nothing clever so he just stalked away. “Always that same stupid parchment…must be important…” he muttered to himself as he went.

Every time he caught them doing something wrong, every time he saw them for that matter, they always had that same old piece of parchment. He had never been able to catch them in the act of using whatever it was, but he knew it had to be something against the rules.

Three years he’d seen them fiddle with it, three years he’d never had an excuse to take it. But now, with the end of their seventh year coming up, he knew the ‘marauders’ would be planning something big. Hopefully, it would be something big enough for him to get his hands on that parchment.

So he waited. Two more months and they would be gone; he had already planned a small celebration of his own. Once they were gone he would never have that much trouble again. No more tricks in the halls, no more jokes in class…no more detentions. That was the one thing he would miss.

Yet, rather than dwell on the loss of being able to partake in his favorite past time; he tried to think of what the parchment could be.

“List of things to do? No…a way to talk in class? No, there’s only one…I think…” he went over several options but nothing came to him. He knew the marauders were smart and that the parchment was a keystone in all their adventures, he just couldn’t figure out how.

Lucky for him, he got his chance to examine the parchment only days later as the marauders set off an explosion of fireworks by the lake that shook the whole castle. It had all been to celebrate the end of their school days they had told him, but he knew better. He knew they were just trying to disrupt the end of year exams and he took great pleasure in confiscating the parchment from them.

Now it was his and he spread it out on his desk to examine it closely. Even Mrs. Norris sniffed it curiously.

“What do you think my sweet?” he asked with a stroke of her fur; she mewed her response.

He looked it over, turned it this way and that, yet after hours of searching he was left with nothing more than an old piece of parchment spread out on his desk. He had even tried a few simple spells on it but nothing had worked.

“Stupid kids, probably having a laugh right now. Think they tricked me good don’t they!” he threw his wand onto his desk and started pacing. “Darn marauders… always causing mischief, always up to no good!”

Something moved on his desk and Mrs. Norris hissed her discontent. He turned to find the parchment had revealed some text across the top where his wand had landed and was slowly exposing more as he read.

“Mr. Wormtail would like to congratulate Mr. Filch on actually having some intelligence. Now if he only knew how to put it to use…”

“Mr. Prongs is surprised that Mr. Filch has yet to show any signs of being anything more than a nuisance.”

“Mr. Moony acknowledges the right of Mr. Filch to punish the students for wrong doing but wonders why he has to also punish them by looking so slimy.”

“Mr. Padfoot asks kindly that Mr. Filch forgo his attempts to best those smarter than himself and use the time to do something he might actually be good at. Like loving that mangy cat of his…”

The words faded, but his bitterness did not and he cursed in frustration, “think you’re so funny! Think your better than everyone!”

He folded up the parchment so quickly and so forcefully that it didn’t lay flat and shoved it into a drawer so he wouldn’t have to look at it anymore.

And there it stayed for nearly eleven years.

He had forgotten about the parchment by then, it just collected dust like everything else he pulled off the students. It wasn’t like he had any real use for any of it anyway; he just didn’t want to have to deal with the mess the stuff would cause.

But there were others who didn’t care about the mess. All they cared about was a good laugh.

“Hey Fred, how long do you reckon he’s had some of this stuff?” asked one fiery haired boy to another as he picked up an old looking box marked ‘pixie fragments.’

“Don’t know George, probably since he got here I suppose. Some of this stuff sure is old…” said the other boy as he pulled open another drawer.

They had pillaged through several cabinets in Filch’s office looking for random intrigue, just for fun, when they heard a familiar warning sound. Mrs. Norris was standing in the doorway growling at them angrily. She even took a few swipes at them when they leaped over her to run off.

They didn’t get far however, as Filch walked around the corner as they came to it. “What’s this? You boys causing trouble again?” he asked inquisitively.

“No sir, just taking a brisk walk,” one of the boys said casually, hoping to justify their shortness of breath.

“Well you’re coming with me anyway, just to be sure,” he snickered and grabbed them both by the arm, leading them back to his office.

As he came to the open door his grip tightened, “someone’s been in here.”

“Really? We just figured you left the door open,” one of the boys shrug.

“Think you’re pretty funny don’t you?” he said angrily and pulled them into his office, “I used to know a pair like you, always swearing they were up to no good… You two better behave yourselves.”

“Yes sir!” they both said in unison and then silently backed out of the room while he looked over the damage.

They walked as quickly as they could back to the common room and only let themselves relax when they were inside. “That old codger’s gonna be a lot of trouble,” said one of the boys as he fell into an armchair.

“Yeah but he’s got a lot of great stuff,” commented the other as they began to empty their pockets.

“Hang on, what’s that?” A crumpled old piece of parchment lay at the bottom of their pile.

“Why would Filch have a blank piece of old parchment stored with all the other stuff?” they asked themselves as they looked it over, curiosity filling them as they imagined what it could be.

Black ink erupted under their finger tips and collected in the middle to form the words:

Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs wondered the same thing for ages. But they reckon it was to hear a new generation say…

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!

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