Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Pouring a can of pea soup into the toilet and pretending it was vomit? No, he'd done that the last time. Ketchup on the nose, pretending it was blood? No, that one was just stupid. Faking a headache? Nope, his mum would just turn that around on him and tell him it was his own fault for staying up too late the previous night.
Kaden Dursley sighed and sat up on his bed. He gazed out the window at the overcast sky. It was impossible to tell the time of day since the sun was blocked by clouds, but his clock said it was nearly one o'clock. It would probably rain later, which only worsened Kaden's mood.
Ever since Kaden awoke at noon, he had been trying to think up a good excuse to skip going to dinner at his grandparents' house later that day. His grandparents were possibly the most insufferable people on the face of the planet, save for his Aunt Marge.
Kaden had never liked his grandparents. Sure, they'd showered him with endless gifts on his birthdays and Christmas, but that was the only way they showed their affection. Well, aside from his grandmother's bone shattering hugs, which were surprisingly tight considering her small frame. His grandparents were downright boring, their conversations ranging from the weather to what the next door neighbors were doing that morning.
However, the absolute worst thing Kaden's grandparents had done was ensure that he had to go to Smelting's in the fall. Smelting's was an elite school that his grandfather and his father had both attended. Kaden had visited numerous times and hated everything about it. He hated the awful uniforms, the stuck-up professors, and the kids who constantly argued about whose father had the best job.
Kaden had told his parents that he didn't want to go. At first, his father was willing to consider letting him attend public school with all his friends, but after his grandfather had his say, there was no discussing the matter. Smelting's it was. And after that, he would surely be destined to work for Grunnings, the same drill company that his grandfather and father worked for. What a boring life.
Perhaps if he tried real hard, Kaden would be able to give himself a fever. He'd done it once, a few years ago. His parents had wanted him to attend some sort of work related party for his grandfather, and Kaden had been dreading it. Half hour before they were supposed to leave, his temperature spiked to five degrees above normal and he'd been able to skip the party. The best part was, the fever had been gone within the hour.
He had no idea how he'd done it, though. Kaden concentrated hard, thinking of hot things such as volcanos and the Equator, but even after fifteen minutes of thinking, he still felt perfectly normal. It must have been a fluke, the other time. Must've just been a random fever.
There was a soft knock on his door and Kaden hastily got out of his bed. He opened the door, revealing his mother standing in the doorway. She was a short woman with straight brown hair, the same color as his own, that was level with her chin.
“Kaden, good, you're awake,” she smiled. “Your grandfather wants to see you in your Smelting's uniform tonight. He's gotten a new digital camera and needs to take some pictures of you in it.”
Kaden groaned. “But I wore it last time I saw him.”
“I know,” she said. “But it's really not a big deal, is it?”
“Fine,” Kaden muttered.
His mother left and Kaden shut the door again. She had always been the peacekeeper in the family. Whether dousing arguments between Kaden and his seven-year-old sister, Bethany, or easing the tension between Kaden and his grandparents, she was always keeping the peace.
Not ten minutes later the door burst open and Bethany practically flew into the room. She never knocked, something Kaden would normally yell at her for. However, this time he was too shocked at her appearance to bother shouting.
Bethany was wearing a princess outfit, complete with sparkly shoes and a crown. She was grinning ear to ear and her long blonde hair was curled.
“Why are you wearing that?” Kaden asked. Bethany wasn't normally the girly type and preferred to wear jeans and a t-shirt while kicking a football around with Kaden.
“Grandma Petunia got it for me,” Bethany grinned, “It's so much better than the other princess costumes I've seen. Now Grandpa Vernon can take pictures of me, too.”
“Wish he'd just take pictures of you,” Kaden muttered.
“Mummy did my hair. Do you like it?” Bethany asked.
“Lovely,” Kaden replied.
“I-” Bethany began, but stopped as the doorbell rang. “I'll get it!” she shrieked as she ran out of the room.
Kaden ran after her. She wasn't supposed to get the door, and not only because of the reasons most parents wouldn't let their seven-year-old daughters answer the door. A few weeks ago she had purchased over fifty chocolate bars from a kid who was selling them, with their mum's money.
“Bethany, move!” Kaden shouted as they reached the door.
Kaden pushed her out of the way and peered out the window. There was a man standing on their front porch wearing an outfit even stranger than Bethany's. In fact, it kind of looked like Bethany's. It was a dress. A black robe-like dress. Kaden had to stifle his laughter as he opened the door.
“Hello,” the man greeted them. He was shorter than Kaden's father, but taller than Kaden. His blonde hair looked windswept and he had a happy smile on his face.
“Er, hi,” Kaden said, still trying not to laugh.
“Are your parents in?” the man asked.
“Yeah,” Kaden answered. “Bethany, go get them.”
“Why are you wearing a dress?” Bethany giggled.
“Not a dress,” the man said. “Go get your parents and I'll explain.”
More curious than ever, Kaden glared at Bethany until she turned around and ran into the kitchen. Kaden turned back to the man and watched him. He seemed nice enough, still smiling as he stood on the stoop. Kaden assumed he was selling something, perhaps the strange dress-like outfit he was wearing? If that was the case, then he'd have no luck at the Dursley's house. At least he hadn't showed up at Kaden's grandparents' house, though. He certainly wouldn't be smiling after that. Petunia and Vernon hated anything abnormal and that would certainly include men wearing dresses.
Bethany returned with their parents following behind her. Dudley was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt that was stretched over his rather large belly. His blonde hair was neat and tidy, which Kaden was sure was due to the dinner with his grandparents. Normally Dudley didn't fuss around with his hair.
“Dudley and Christina Dursley?” the strange man asked.
“Yes,” Dudley said as he furrowed his brow. “Can I help you?”
“My name is Professor Neville Longbottom,” the man said as he stuck out his hand. “I have something I wish to discuss with you. May I come in?”
“I suppose,” Dudley said as he shook the professor's hand.
Kaden held the door open and Neville Longbottom stepped inside. Kaden followed as his parents lead them into the living room. Christina ran to fetch drinks while Neville settled himself onto one of the couches. Dudley sat in the chair across from him, looking confused and slightly shocked. Bethany was staring at Neville.
Kaden sat down in a beanbag chair on the floor and waited for the adults to start talking. He was glad his parents hadn't kicked him and Bethany out of the room. He hated when they did that. It was rather pointless anyway since Kaden had become very adept at listening in on his parents' conversations.
Christina returned with drinks and passed them out. Neville took a sip of his, set it down, and then turned to Dudley.
“This may come as a bit of a shock for you,” Neville began. “But I am a professor at Hogwarts.”
Dudley spat out his soda and started coughing. Christina let out a small gasp and turned to look at Dudley, who had gone pale white. The two shared a look and then turned back to Neville.
Kaden was more confused than ever. What was Hogwarts? A school? Why would a professor from a school he'd never heard of show up at his door? His parents had obviously heard of it.
“That's a stupid name,” Bethany announced.
“You don't mean,” Dudley began, ignoring Bethany. “You can't be serious. This has got to be a joke!”
“It's not a joke,” Neville assured him. “I've come to offer Kaden a place at Hogwarts.”
“But, but,” Dudley said faintly. “Oh my God.”
Kaden was fully alert now. What sort of school was Hogwarts? And what had he done to earn a place? He hadn't applied to any other schools besides Smelting's. Of course, if this Hogwarts school really was offering him a place, he wanted to go. Anything was better than Smelting's.
“But what is Hogwarts?” Kaden asked.
“Dudley,” Neville said quietly. “What have you told your children about Harry?”
Harry? What did Harry have to do with this? Kaden had met his dad's cousin, Harry Potter, only a few times. All he knew was that Harry had three kids around his own age and that they lived in London. For whatever reason, Kaden's family rarely visited them. Kaden found this rather odd since his grandparents had raised Harry after Harry's parents were killed in a car crash.
“Not much,” Dudley muttered.
“You told them Harry's parents were killed in a car crash, didn't you,” Neville said, more as a statement than a question.
“What else was I supposed to say?” Dudley groaned.
Kaden stared at his father, who was looking more and more uncomfortable. Had Harry's parents really not died in a car crash? Why would his dad lie about that?
“Well, you're going to have to explain now,” Neville said. “I'll wait. Unless you'd rather I do it-”
“No, no, I'll do it!” Dudley exclaimed. “But only if we decide that Kaden can attend this school.”
“Of course I'm going!” Kaden shouted. “Dad, you know I don't want to go to Smelting's and here's the perfect reason not to!”
“I don't know,” Dudley sighed. “What will my parents say?”
Nobody said anything for a few moments. Kaden continued to glare at his father. He was sick of having to do what his grandparents wanted. Why wouldn't his own father stick up for him?
“Enough,” Christina said loudly. “Look, Dudley, we knew this could happen. It runs in the genes! He's been making odd things happen for years. We tried to ignore the signs, but we knew it might happen. And frankly, I'm happy. You and I both know he wouldn't have been happy going to Smelting's. I also couldn't care less about what your parents think. You're a grown man, Dudley, make decisions regarding your kids based on what you think, not what your parents think.”
What ran in his genes? It couldn't be intelligence. Kaden knew he was average, no better than most of the kids his age. Maybe it was football skills? Kaden was a fair football player, but no one else in his family was particularly good. How would that run in his genes?
“All right,” Dudley said quietly. “He can go.”
“Excellent!” Kaden exclaimed. “Now can somebody tell me what Hogwarts is? And what exactly I've got running through my genes?”
Dudley looked up and his eyes met Kaden's. “Hogwarts is a school. A special school that Harry attended when we were kids. It's a school of magic, for witches and wizards-”
“Wait,” Kaden interrupted. “Magic? Like Abra Kadabra and magic wands and stuff?”
“Wands yes, but Abra Kadabra is not a spell,” Neville said as he pulled out a long stick which Kaden assumed was a wand.
Kaden watched skeptically as Neville pointed his wand at his glass of soda. He muttered something in a different language and the glass began to float. Kaden gaped as he glass floated around the room and then back to Neville. Neville caught it and then pocketed his wand.
“Holy crap,” Kaden gasped. “So I've got magic running through my genes?”
“Apparently so,” Dudley said.
“Then how come I can't do magic, like make my homework magically do itself?” Kaden asked.
“You aren't trained,” Neville said, “but even then you won't be able to make homework do itself. Think, Kaden, has anything ever happened to you that you can't explain?”
Kaden thought, then his eyes opened wide and he stared at Neville. “What if a person really didn't want to go somewhere and they got a fever all of a sudden and then it went away once they didn't have to go where they didn't want to?”
Neville grinned. “Yes, that would be magic. Did that happen to you?”
“Er, yes,” Kaden said, avoiding his father's eyes. “But I didn't do it on purpose. Trust me, I've tried to do it again and it doesn't work.”
“Of course you didn't do it on purpose.” Neville laughed. “Things like that happen to a lot of young witches and wizards.”
“But what about Harry?” Kaden asked. “You said his parents didn't die in a car crash?”
“They didn't,” Dudley said. “They were murdered by an evil wizard, Lord something or the other-”
“Voldemort,” Neville muttered.
“Right,” Dudley said. “Harry was sent to live with my parents and I, who told him his parents died in a car crash. They told him nothing about magic or his parents. They thought if they ignored the magic, they could stamp it out of him. They hate magic. When he turned eleven a man showed up to tell him all about it and offer him a place at Hogwarts.”
“So, do James, Albus, and Lily go to Hogwarts?” Kaden asked. “And is this Voldemort bloke still around?”
“James and Albus are currently attending Hogwarts, but Lily is too young,” Neville explained. “And Voldemort was defeated years ago; no need to worry.”
Kaden nodded. Quite a few questions were going through his head, but he couldn't figure out which to ask first.
“So,” Dudley said. “He's going to have to get a- a wand?” Dudley's face paled a bit when he said 'wand'.
“Yes,” Neville smiled, “Everything you need can be found in Diagon Alley in London.” He rose from his chair and pulled a letter out of his robes, handing it to Kaden. “Your acceptance letter and list of supplies.”
Kaden took the letter and ripped it open. It was printed on thicker paper than what he was used to, almost like the sort of paper he imagined people wrote on centuries ago.
He unfolded it and read it aloud to his parents and Bethany. It told him of his acceptance and was signed by the deputy headmistress, Professor Padma Patil. Then it said that the Hogwarts Express would leave from King's Cross station on September first, from a platform 9 3/4.
“9 ¾?” Kaden asked questioningly. “That's not a real platform, is it?”
“It is,” Neville laughed. “It's hidden from Muggles.”
“Muggles?” Kaden repeated.
“People who can't perform magic, such as your parents,” Neville explained.
“Oh,” Kaden replied as he unfolded the list of supplies. It was full of odd books such as Magical Herbs and Fungi, brass scales, and even a pewter cauldron. If his father hadn't have already known about magic, he would've thought the whole thing was a joke.
“I can take you to London and show you where Diagon Alley is, if you would like,” Neville suggested.
“No, no, I think I'll ask Harry,” Dudley said.
“That's fine,” Neville replied. “Do either of you have anymore questions?”
“Am I a witch?” Bethany asked.
“Well, I'm not sure,” Neville answered. “If you get a letter the summer you're eleven then you're a witch. If not, then you're not a witch.”
“Oh,” Bethany said disappointedly. “I want to be a witch.”
“I'm sure Kaden will tell you all about Hogwarts once he's there,” Neville assured her as he stood up. “I'm going to have to go, but if you've got any questions, just get ahold of Harry.”
“Thanks,” Dudley said as he shook Neville's hand. He still looked in shock and not all the color had returned to his face.
“I'll see you at Hogwarts,” Neville said to Kaden.
“What do you teach?” Kaden asked.
“Herbology,” Neville replied. “Magical plants.”
Kaden watched as Neville left the house and then turned his attention to his parents. Dudley had slowly sat down on the nearest chair and let out a small moan.
The only sound at dinner was the chink of utensils hitting the china plates and the loud burp that Kaden let out after chugging half a glass of soda, earning him a stern gaze from his grandmother. It seemed that nobody could think of anything to talk about. Even the usual topics of the weather, sports, and work had been exhausted.
Kaden and Bethany had been given strict orders by their father not to mention anything about Hogwarts, Harry, or magic whatsoever. Kaden's grandparents hated magic with a passion, something that kind of amused Kaden but seemed to frighten his father. Kaden has also learned that his grandparents did not like Harry due to his being a wizard, which explained why he rarely saw Harry or his children.
Vernon and Petunia were still under the impression that Kaden was going to attend Smelting's and Kaden had just endured an hour of having his photo taken by his grandfather while wearing his Smelting's uniform.
“You should get involved with boxing at Smelting's,” Vernon said in between bites of potatoes. “Your dad was a champion boxer when he was there.”
“I like football,” Kaden muttered while wondering if Hogwarts would have football. Wizards would still play sports, wouldn't they?
“Football...” Vernon muttered. “Better than nothing, I suppose. Smelting's does have an excellent football team. I'll give the coach a ring and let him know you'll be joining.”
“Well I'm not sure yet what I'll be joining,” Kaden said as he pushed his carrots around his plate.
“You'll join a sport, though,” Vernon insisted. “Boys grow into proper men when they play a sport.”
“We'll need to bulk you up, too,” Petunia commented as she placed another pork chop on Kaden's plate.
“I've already been to the school twice,” Vernon said as he took another large gulp of brandy. “Spoke with all your professors and they're quite excited to meet you. Long line of Dursley men who attended Smelting's, you know.”
“Yeah, you've mentioned it five times,” Kaden said under his breath.
“What was that?” Vernon asked.
“Nothing,” Kaden muttered.
Kaden really didn't like lying to his grandparents. His parents had always taught him that lying was wrong, but now he knew that they had been lying to him his whole life about Harry. Now, he had to lie to his grandparents. How long would he have to keep lying?
“Dudley had a wonderful time at Smelting's,” Petunia commented as she refilled Vernon's brandy glass. “Another glass, Dudley?”
“No, no, I'm fine,” Dudley said. His own brandy glass was still half-full.
“Every holiday, coming home with wonderful stories of your friends and all you'd done during the past term...” Petunia smiled as she reminisced.
“And that's where he started his boxing career!” Vernon said proudly. “You'll do us proud, Kaden. You've got the Dursley blood.”
Not really, Kaden thought. More like he had the Potter blood. Or perhaps not. He wasn't technically related to the Potter side of the family, just the Evans side. So he had Evans blood.
“You know what?” Christina said. “That's it. Dudley, we're telling them.”
“Telling us what?” Vernon asked, setting down his brandy glass.
“We can't,” Dudley hissed. “We said we wouldn't tell them tonight.”
“This is ridiculous, Dudley,” Christina said. “It's not fair to the kids.”
“Tell us what?” Vernon asked, more loudly this time.
Christina stood up. “I'd like to talk with you in private, Dudley.”
Dudley got up and followed Christina out of the room. The two of them disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Kaden and Bethany alone with their grandparents. Petunia was sitting straight up, wearing a pinched expression, and staring at the kitchen door. Vernon was sipping on his brandy again. It was all very awkward. Kaden pushed his uneaten food around on his plate and tried to avoid his grandfather's eye.
Christina and Dudley returned a few minutes later, Christina looking triumphant and Dudley looking anxious. They resumed their seats and Christina gave Dudley a knowing look.
Dudley sighed and glanced at Vernon, before staring at his plate. “Mum, Dad, we've got to tell you something. Kaden's not going to Smelting's.”
Vernon dropped his brandy glass and it shattered onto the table. Petunia looked so shocked that she did not even move to clean it up. “He's WHAT?” Vernon exclaimed.
“He's not going,” Dudley said quickly. “It's not for him. He hasn't wanted to go there from the start and we're not going to force him.”
Kaden felt his grandfather staring at him, despite the fact that he was not looking up from his plate. “That's not true, Kaden,” Vernon said.
“It is,” Kaden muttered. Kaden finally looked up and saw that his uncle was staring agape at Dudley. Petunia looked mildly uncomfortable.
“Then where's he going?” Vernon asked. “Not public school. You know the issues that exist with them.”
“Yes, public school,” Dudley said immediately. Christina turned and glared at him.
“Public school?” Vernon roared.
Public school? Kaden thought. Was his dad really going to switch one lie for another?
“He wants to stay with his friends, Dad,” Dudley said. “We just can't force him to go somewhere that he doesn't want to go.”
“Every boy in our family has gone to Smelting's!” Vernon exclaimed as he slammed his fist down on the table. “You can't break that tradition.”
“Vernon...” Petunia said quietly. “Kaden is their son. It's up to them.”
“It's outrageous, Petunia. The boy won't get a proper education in public school,” Vernon insisted.
Kaden wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. Was that the sort of thing he could do with magic? It would be very useful for dinners with his grandparents.
“You'll regret this, Dudley,” Vernon said. “Mark my words. Smelting's is the only suitable school out there. He's going to miss out on a lot.”
Kaden glanced up and glared at his grandfather, who luckily did not notice. Why was he so against any school besides Smelting's? He knew the reason why Dudley didn't want his grandfather to know he was attending Hogwarts, but would it really be that awful if they told him? Did he really hate magic that much? But he, Kaden, was a wizard. A wizard just like Harry, and Vernon hated Harry and all wizards. Did that mean his own grandfather would hate him, Kaden? It gave Kaden a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach and he pushed his plate away.
“May I be excused?” Kaden asked quietly.
“Yes, that's fine,” Christina said as Vernon continued to shout.
Kaden escaped the dining room and ran upstairs to the smallest bedroom. He knew it had been Harry's bedroom, although it no longer contained any remnants of his wizard cousin. It was neat as could be, decorated in pastels and flowers. Kaden sat on the bed and stared out the window.
Earlier in the day he'd felt so excited about finding out that he was a wizard. It explained all the strange things he'd done in the past. The fever was not the only time something inexplicable had happened to him. Once, he had fallen off his bike, landed hard on his wrist, and suffered no more than a scratch. Another time he'd left a library book at home that he had meant to bring back to school, only to find that it had appeared in his backpack during lunch.
Why hadn't his dad told him about Harry being a wizard? Perhaps there was some sort of law preventing wizards telling Muggles about magic? That would explain why most Muggles did not know about magic. But his mother had known. Dudley had clearly told her. Harry must have done strange things as a child and Kaden wondered if his own father had realized what Kaden was when he did strange things.
There was a knock on the door a few minutes later. Christina popped her head into the room and told Kaden they were leaving. She looked angry. Kaden nodded and quickly followed her down the stairs and out the door, without even saying goodbye to his grandparents.
The next few weeks were both exciting and awkward. Kaden put up a calendar on his wall to count down the days until he got to leave for Hogwarts. Harry had said he would take them to Diagon Alley a few weeks before term started and Kaden was very much looking forward to that.
Kaden's parents had a very big row in the days following the dinner at Vernon and Petunia's. Christina insisted that they tell Vernon and Petunia about Kaden attending Hogwarts and Dudley still wanted to keep it a secret. In fact, during those few weeks, they did not see Vernon and Petunia at all, when they normally saw them once a week.
It took a long time for Christina to convince Dudley that he should tell his parents about Kaden attending Hogwarts, but she finally did. In fact, it was the evening before Kaden and his family were to go to Diagon Alley with Harry that they went over to Vernon and Petunia's for dinner once more.
The affair was very quiet at first, with nobody knowing what to say and the only phrases mentioned being “pass the salt” or “could I have some more brandy, please?” Kaden did not say a single word, which even he knew was rare, since he liked to talk a lot.
It was Vernon who finally broke the silence. “Still set on this public school, are you?”
Dudley and Christina exchanged glances. “No, actually, Kaden was never going to attend public school,” Dudley said quietly. “He's been selected to go to a small, private school in Scotland. He didn't apply, but he's been selected to attend.”
“Then why did you tell us-”
“He's going to Hogwarts, Dad,” Dudley interrupted, clearly wanting to get it over with. “There. I told you. He's going to Hogwarts. Kaden is a wizard, just like Harry.”
Kaden watched as both of his grandparents visibly paled. Vernon dropped his brandy glass. Petunia let out what could only be described as a small squeak. Vernon's face then turned the purplish color it did when he got angry.
Petunia squeaked again and Vernon slammed his fist down on the table. “That place! That place where the boy went. Where ABNORMAL people go. You can't honestly be thinking of sending Kaden there?! I won't have it, I won't!”
“It's not up to you,” Christina said shortly. “He's our son.”
“He's going, Dad,” Dudley said quietly. “Christina and I, we had a feeling....”
“A feeling about what?” Petunia asked.
“Kaden's done strange things,” Dudley answered. “Like Harry did when we were kids. We never told him about magic, but we half expected this.” Dudley left out the part about him debating whether or not to let Kaden attend.
Vernon gave Kaden a very strange look, one that made Kaden feel mildly uncomfortable. It was a weird mix of confusion, anger, and the slightest bit of revulsion, as if he could not stand to think that someone actually related to him was a wizard. Vernon had surely prided himself on the fact that he was not actually related to Harry.
“You don't have to send him there,” Vernon said, after he tore his eyes away from Kaden. “It's not required. You're under no obligation-”
“He's going, Dad,” Dudley said. “It's what's best for him.”
“No, it's not!” Vernon exclaimed. “He'll get mixed up that same crowd that your aunt did and you know what happened to her.”
“She was murdered!” Dudley exclaimed. “You can't blame her for being murdered. And the madman who did it is gone.”
“He'd be better off at Smelting's,” Vernon muttered as he poured himself another generous helping of brandy, in a new glass. “Smelting's won't be happy to hear this.”
Kaden couldn't care less about Smelting's. He was just happy he'd never have to set foot in the place again. Anything would be better than Smelting's and what little he knew about Hogwarts was better. He just wished his grandfather would be a little more accepting. Kaden may not have particularly liked his grandfather, but he still loved him and hated feeling as if it was not mutual.
Vernon sighed and stared at Kaden once more. Kaden immediately looked down at his plate of uneaten food.
“Vernon,” Petunia said quietly. “He's still your grandson. You may not like that he's a wizard, but he's still your grandson.”
Vernon chose to ignore this and continued eating. The table settled into uncomfortable silence once more and Kaden managed to choke down a few bites of chicken before Petunia brought out dessert. She served Kaden a very large helping of pudding, but he only ate a few bites before stopping.
Kaden and his family did not linger after pudding was finished. No one seemed inclined to visit any longer. Vernon and Petunia walked them to the door, but Vernon beckoned Kaden into the living room before they left.
“Er,” Vernon began. “Your grandmother's right. You are still my grandson. I can't say that I'm not disappointed you're not going to Smelting's and I absolutely hate that other...school...but you're still my grandson.” Vernon gave Kaden an awkward one-armed hug.
Kaden nodded, smiling. As far as he was concerned, that was as good as an apology from his grandfather. He caught up with his parents and Bethany, gave his grandmother a hug, and they left.
Kaden lay in bed that night feeling very content. His grandparents may not have been happy about his attending Hogwarts, but they did not seem to hate him for being a wizard, and that was as good as he expected. Plus, the following day he would get to go to Diagon Alley with Harry and the rest of his magical cousins. It would be his first taste of the magical world and he could not wait.
A/N: Big thanks to my Skype writing group who helped me come up with a title for this! Especially to Mikayla, who came up with the title I used.
If you enjoyed this, check out Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind, in which Kaden's story is continued in.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Albus Severus Potter stared out his bedroom window and watched as an owl flew closer and closer to Grimmauld Place. The sun was just above the horizon and was already shining brightly into Albus's room. Albus ran a hand through his messy black hair as he waited for the owl. True, he didn't really know if the owl was for him or not, but he was eager to see. He was the only one awake at this hour anyway. His brother James was surely sleeping in, as he had been doing all summer. Albus slept in for the first few weeks, but after a while the novelty wore off and he started rising at an earlier hour. Albus watched the owl through his green eyes as it soared towards his window. Albus leaned over and opened the latch, and the owl landed on his desk.
It was a large brown screech owl that Albus immediately recognized as his friend, Matt Eckerton's. It stood proudly on top of Albus's Transfiguration book with its leg sticking out, waiting for Albus to untie its letter. Albus went over to the owl and retrieved the letter. Once he did so, the owl flapped its wings and flew out the window once more. Albus flopped down onto his bed and ripped open the envelope. It had been weeks since he had last seen his friends from Hogwarts and eagerly anticipated their letters. John Brickston and Matt Eckerton had each written him a couple times. Albus unfolded the letter and silently read it.
My parents said yes! I can go to yours and Rose's birthday party!
I really wasn't sure if they'd actually let me, but they've been
talking to your parents a lot and they finally agreed. They've got
it all arranged. I'm going to go to your house a couple days before
the party, in about three weeks, and I can stay a couple days after,
too. But then I'll have to go home; you know why.
We're going to meet up with you in Diagon Alley, since we're not
on the Floo Network. John tells me he's visiting some of his
cousins right before your party, but that he'll be able to stay at
your house after.
I can't wait until the party. Things at my house are dreadfully
boring. And my parents have been kinda depressed. Amy
moved out last week. You probably already knew that since
Victoire went with her. But Mum's been crying a lot. She's
talking about how her baby is all grown up.
Anyway, I'll see you in a few weeks!
Albus grinned broadly as he set Matt's letter down next to John's most recent one. He was thrilled that both of his best friends would be able to go to his birthday party. John had said yes right away, but Matt's parents were very protective of him and had to be convinced. Both of his friends would wind up spending about a week with Albus and he couldn't wait. Albus wondered what Mrs. Eckerton would do with herself while her son was at Grimmauld Place. Albus had only met the woman twice, but he got the feeling that she was even more protective of her children than his own grandmother was. He could only imagine what Matt's mum was doing now that her daughter had moved out. Only a week before, Matt's sister ,Amy, and Albus's cousin, Victoire, had moved into a flat in London. The two of them were beginning their Healer training in September.
Albus heard footsteps running down the hall that he recognized immediately as his little sister Lily's. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was nearly nine. His mother must be up, too. Albus got up from the bed and got dressed. He opened the door and went down to the kitchen. When he got there, he saw his mother standing near the fire tending to a cauldron. Lily was sitting at the table in her pajamas, playing with her pet pygmy puff.
Albus sat down next to her and watched her as she fed the small creature Wizard O's.
"Hi, Albus!" she said cheerfully, "Wanna feed Martin?"
"Er, no thanks," Albus told her.
"Hi, Al," Ginny looked up from the cauldron and smiled at him, "I'm cooking some oatmeal."
"Sounds good," Albus said as his stomach growled, "I got a letter from Matt just now. He can come to the party and he's coming a few days early."
"That's wonderful," Ginny smiled and went back to stirring the cauldron.
"Would young master like any pumpkin juice?" Kreacher appeared at Albus's side carrying a flagon of juice and a cup.
"Sure, thanks, Kreacher," Albus told the house elf. Albus liked Kreacher. He was always there to help whenever Albus needed him. Harry had told him that Kreacher was not always this nice, but Albus could hardly imagine it.
Albus took the glass of pumpkin juice and grabbed the copy of the morning Prophet that was laying nearby. He immediately opened it to the Quidditch section. "Ha!" he laughed when he saw the headline, "I wonder if Matt's read this!"
Ginny glanced over at Albus's shout and looked at him quizzically. "The Chudley Cannons just lost another game. Their newest Seeker tripped over his own broom as he was kicking off from the ground and gave himself a black eye," Albus laughed. "Matt supports the Cannons."
"Who supports the Cannons?" James came slowly down the stairs, yawning as he rubbed his eyes.
"Matt does," Albus said and he tossed James the paper, "Read that."
James read the paper silently for a few minutes and then burst out laughing. "They're hopeless."
Albus nodded in agreement as he started eating the oatmeal that Ginny had served him. He discussed Quidditch with James and his mother for the next half hour. All of them agreed that the Cannons had no chance of ever making it to the League Cup. When Albus had finished his oatmeal, Harry came stumbling down the stairs in his pajamas.
"There's oatmeal in the cauldron, honey," Ginny smiled warmly at him and got up from the table. She planted a quick kiss on his face as he reached for an empty bowl.
Albus twisted his face up in disgust as James shouted, "Mum! Can't you do that when we're not looking?"
"That's already happened," James muttered quietly so only Albus could hear him, "It's just I'll never want to see my own parents doing that."
"Do you have to go into work today?" Ginny asked as Harry sat down next to her at the table.
"No, thank Merlin," Harry told her, "First Saturday off in a month. I hadn't realized how far I got behind when I was teaching."
"Have you decided if you're teaching yet next year?" James asked. He and Albus had been asking their father this over and over again for the past month, but he had yet to make a decision.
Harry sighed, "I'm still not sure. Professor Kendrick is looking for another teacher, but he hasn't found anyone yet. It would seem as if people think the job's cursed again. If he doesn't find anyone else, I guess I'll do it."
"I hope you do teach, Dad," Albus told him, "I like having you for a teacher."
Harry grinned, "I'm glad you like it. What do you say we have a Wizard's Chess tournament after breakfast?"
"Yeah!" Albus shouted excitedly. "Might actually have a chance at winning since Uncle Ron and Rose aren't here."
The whole Potter family played game after game of chess, until James was declared the champion. By the time lunch rolled around, Albus was sick of the game. "Can we go play Quidditch after lunch?" he asked.
"Maybe," Harry said in between bites. Harry often took them to play Quidditch at Rose's house. Since the Potters lived in London, they really couldn't play Quidditch at their own house. "Rose won't be there, though. They're visiting Aunt Hermione's parents."
"That's all right," Albus said, "Rose doesn't really like Quidditch anyway."
"I'll never understand that," James sighed.
At that moment, Albus heard a high pitched ring coming from the kitchen counter. He looked over and saw the small mobile phone that always sat next on the window sill. The Potters did not have many Muggle devices in their house, but they did have one telephone in case they had to contact any Muggles. Usually the phone was just used when Harry talked to his cousin, Dudley. But James and Albus had given the number to their Muggle born friends. Amanda had called Albus earlier in the summer to tell him that she would be able to go to his party.
Harry glanced at Ginny, who shrugged. It was obvious that neither of them were expecting a call. Harry wordlessly got up from the table and answered the phone. "Hello?" he said. He went quiet for a few moments while whoever was on the other end told him something. Harry's eyes widened in shock and a grin spread cross his face. "What? Are you serious? Dudley, that's brilliant!"
Dudley? Albus thought. Normally, Dudley only called around holidays and birthdays. Even then, the conversations tended to be short and not filled with excitement like this one obviously was. Albus was very curious at this point and he glanced at James, who looked just as curious.
Harry's excitement calmed down a bit as he continued the conversation. "Well, you'll have to tell them sometime. Yes, I know they won't be thrilled," he paused, furrowing his brow as he listened. "No, I'm not going to tell them for you!"
Harry listened for a few moments as he started to pace alongside the counter. "Hmm, well, if you'd like, we'll take him to Diagon Alley with us when we go. You can come, too, of course."
Harry talked for a few more minutes and then hung up the phone. He started laughing as he sat back down at the table. "Just spoken with Dudley...."
"Yes, I'd guessed that!" Ginny said quickly, "What about?"
"You'll never guess...."
"So tell us!" Ginny replied.
"Kaden is a wizard," Harry grinned.
Albus's mouth fell open. Harry's cousin, Dudley, had two kids. The older one, Kaden, was a little younger than Albus. Dudley had never been a fan of magic and Albus could only imagine what he would think of his own son being a wizard.
"You're kidding!" Ginny shouted.
"Nope, he got his letter this morning," Harry told them, "The owl scared the heck out of Christina, but Dudley says Kaden is thrilled." Christina was Dudley's wife. Dudley had told his wife about magic, but had not gone into great detail and neither of the kids knew anything about it. "He's not looking forward to telling Vernon and Petunia."
"I would think not," Ginny said, "Merlin, they're going to flip."
"Dudley actually asked me if I'd tell them," Harry laughed, "I told them definitely not."
"Good," Ginny agreed, "I wouldn't even want to be in the same room as your aunt and uncle the moment they find out about Kaden."
Harry and Ginny continued to talk about Kaden even after James and Albus left the table. The two of them went up to James's room, where they spent a few minutes discussing it themselves.
"Wonder what house he'll be in," Albus said as he tossed around one of James's practice Snitches.
"I'd guess Hufflepuff," James commented. Albus had to agree with that. He had met his cousin, Kaden, before and he'd seemed the Hufflepuff sort. James had managed to pull quite a few pranks on him over the years and he didn't seem to be the sharpest quill in the box. Albus remembered the last time they'd seen Kaden. It had been a couple years ago. Albus and his family tended to visit the Dursleys every couple of years, but the Dursleys had never been to Grimmauld Place. Albus guessed it was probably because Kaden and his sister didn't know about magic. Well, they did now, Albus thought.
"Think he'll be any good at Quidditch?" Albus asked.
"Who knows?" James shrugged, "He's never been on a broom before, but look at Dad."
"I can't wait to see him eat Bertie Bott's Beans for the first time," Albus grinned mischievously, "The first time Amanda had one of those, she spat it out in John's face."
"I guess he's coming to Diagon Alley with us. Dudley, too, probably," James said, "That'll be interesting."
"Yeah, I can't wait to see what Dudley thinks of the place," Albus laughed.
"Just wait until Kaden asks for his first broom," James grinned.
Albus burst out laughing, thinking of the look on Dudley's face when Kaden announced he was going to play Quidditch, "We'll have to teach him how to play Quidditch!"
"Definitely," James agreed. "This is going to be a great year, I can feel it!"
"That's because you get to go to Hogsmeade this year," Albus reminded him.
"I know," James grinned, "I can't wait!"
"Plus, Washburn's gone," Albus commented, "Wonder who they'll get to replace him?"
"Hopefully someone who's not a Slytherin-loving git."
"Or who wants to steal the Hallows."
"Or who's goal in life is to become the next Voldemort."
"Or who stares at you so menacingly you can't even perform the simplest spells."
"Or who gives you detention every other day."
James and Albus continued to list off Washburn's faults, which quickly turned into insulting the way he looked, until they were both laughing so hard they were in tears. They were still laughing hysterically when Harry came into the room a while later.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
Albus stopped laughing and looked up at him, grinning, "We, er, were talking about Washburn."
"Ever notice how he's kind of got a unibrow?" James asked, laughing.
"I guess," Harry smiled. "Anyway, do you two want to go play Quidditch?"
"Yeah!" the boys shouted at the same time. James grabbed his broom off the top of his desk and found a Quaffle, along with a practice Snitch.
Albus ran out of the room and grabbed one of his mother's old brooms from the nearby cupboard. It was old and started vibrating if you flew too fast, but it worked. He was hoping he would get a new broom if he made it onto the Quidditch team this year. "Ready," he said as he rejoined his dad and brother.
"Are Mum and Lily coming?" James asked.
"No, they've got some shopping to do in Diagon Alley," Harry told them as he left the room, "I think we'll Floo."
Albus followed his dad and James down the stairs and into the drawing room. Harry grabbed a handful of Floo powder, threw it into the fire, and shouted, "Ron and Hermione Weasley's house!" James followed after him, and then Albus.
Albus landed in his Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's living room. Their house was a small, cozy place in the middle of a field with a forest nearby. It seemed strangely quiet without anyone else in it. Albus, James, and their dad headed out the door and into the field. Albus watched as Harry pulled out his wand and muttered a few spells that would keep the Snitch from roaming too far.
"Let's do some Quaffle drills," Albus suggested as he mounted his broom, "I need to practice for try-outs."
Harry and James agreed and mounted their brooms as well. The two of them were up in the air before Albus was, due to their superior brooms. Albus saw James release the Snitch and wait a few moments before taking off after it. Harry had the Quaffle in his hand and once Albus was in the air, he passed it to him. Whipping out his wand, Harry conjured a large wooden hoop and suspended it in mid-air.
"There you go, Al," Harry grinned, "Try and put the Quaffle through that. I'll Keep."
"You've got to conjure two more, Dad," Albus told him, "Otherwise it's too easy for you."
Harry laughed and conjured a few more hoops. Albus flew around him for a little while before sending the Quaffle into the left most hoop. Harry was too slow and the Quaffle sailed through.
"Good one!" James shouted as he caught the Quaffle on the other side. He tossed it to Harry, who then tossed it back to Albus.
They continued playing for a couple hours, taking short breaks to rest. Albus managed to score a lot of goals, with Harry only blocking a couple. After a while of catching and releasing the Snitch, James joined Albus and the two of them teamed up against Harry. Harry wasn't able to save many goals with both his sons passing the Quaffle back and forth. Eventually, they all got tired and decided to call it a day. Albus flooed back to Grimmauld Place tired, but happy.
A/N: Well, here it is, the first chapter of the sequel! I hope everyone enjoyed it. Just a note to any new readers out there, I highly recommend you read Albus Potter and the Secrets Within, which can be found on my author page.
Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to my other sister and my brother.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
"Can we go now, Dad?" Albus asked impatiently. He was supposed to meet Matt at the Leaky Cauldron in five minutes, but Harry was on the phone talking to Dudley.
"Dudley, you just have to tell them, all right?" Harry sighed, "You can't keep it from them forever."
"Dad..." Albus tapped his foot. Harry said he would take Albus to Diagon Alley a half hour ago, but then Dudley had called. The two of them had been talking for the past thirty minutes.
"Listen, Dudley," Harry began, "I've got to take Albus to Diagon Alley. Yes, that's the place Kaden will go to get his stuff. Ok, I'll talk to you later. Bye." Harry closed the phone and set it down on the windowsill.
"Finally!" Albus sighed, "Can we go now?"
"Yes," Harry told him, "Sorry about that. Dudley still hasn't told Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia about Kaden. I've told him he's got to do it soon."
Albus followed his dad to the fireplace and the two of them flooed to the Leaky Cauldron. The pub was very crowded since it was a Saturday. Albus tried to peek through the crowd in order to find his friend, but he didn't see Matt.
"Hey, it's Harry Potter!" someone sitting at the bar shouted. He was clearly drunk. "Hi Harry Potter!" he waved lazily.
Everyone else in the pub looked over at the fireplace that Harry and Albus just came through. Harry nodded to the drunken wizard as he and Albus walked past the bar. The crowd parted in order to allow them through. Once they made it through the crowd, Albus spotted Matt and his parents at one of the tables in the back. Albus hurried over to him with Harry following closely behind.
"Matt!" Albus shouted as he sat down, "How are you?"
"I'm great! How are you?"
"Brilliant," Albus grinned, "I'm so glad you could come."
"Me, too. I've been bored out of my mind," Matt told him, "I've even started some of my homework."
"Wow, you must've been bored," Albus laughed.
Harry sat down next to Mr. Eckerton and the two of them shook hands. "Why don't we get some lunch?" Harry suggested. Everyone agreed.
"Hi, Harry!" A pregnant Hannah Longbottom walked over to their table.
"Hannah, how've you been?" Harry asked.
"Fine," Hannah grinned, "Just a couple more months and there will be another Baby Longbottom! So, what can I get you?"
The group ordered their food and a short while later it arrived. Albus and Matt spent the whole time telling each other about their weeks apart while the adults talked quietly with each other.
"So guess what?" Albus said while eating a bit of his sandwich.
"What?" Matt asked.
"You know my cousin, Kaden?" Albus grinned.
"Is he your dad's cousin Dudley's kid?"
"Yeah, and he's a wizard!"
"What?!" Matt spat out a mouthful of pumpkin juice.
"Matthew," Mrs. Eckerton scolded, "Be polite."
"Sorry, Mum," Matt wiped the pumpkin juice up off the table and turned back to Albus, "Are you serious?"
"Yup, he got his letter a couple weeks ago," Albus told him, "Mad, isn't it? Of course, it isn't that surprising. I mean, there's obviously magic in the family."
"Yeah," Matt laughed, "But what did your Uncle Vernon say?"
"Dunno, Dudley hasn't told him yet," Albus said, "That's why we were a little late. Dad was on the phone with Dudley trying to convince him to tell Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia."
"We'd better be getting home," Harry stood up, "See you in a few days, Walter and Julie."
Albus, Matt, and his parents stood up as well, "See you then," Mr. Ecketon replied and turned to Matt, "Have fun, and don't make too much trouble."
Mrs. Eckerton hugged Matt tightly, "I love you, Matthew. Don't hesitate to owl if you need us."
"I'll be fine, Mum," Matt replied once his mother stopped hugging him.
"Don't worry, Julie," Mr. Eckerton put an arm around his wife, "Let's go visit Amy before we go home." Mrs. Eckerton nodded and the two of them left the pub.
"We're flooing home," Harry said as they walked over to the fireplace, "Have you ever done that, Matt?"
"Er, yeah, but not in a couple years," Matt eyed the fireplace nervously.
"You'll be fine," Harry told him, "Just throw the powder in and say 'Number 12 Grimmauld Place.'"
"12 Grimmauld Place," Matt repeated, "Got it."
"You can go first, Al," Harry handed him the bag of floo powder.
Albus threw it into the fire and shouted, "Number 12 Grimmuald Place!" He was whisked away in a swirl of green fire and came out in the drawing room of his house. He quickly stepped away and waited for Matt and his dad to appear.
A few minutes later, Matt fell out of the fire and landed on the floor. He was coughing and sputtering. "I didn't like that," he groaned as he stood up.
"You'd better step away," Albus pulled Matt away from the fire just before Harry appeared.
"Are you all right?" Harry asked when he saw Matt coughing.
"Yeah, I think so," Matt coughed, "But I think I prefer Apparition."
"You get used to it," Albus told him, "Come on, you can drop your stuff in my room."
"Wow, this is a pretty big house," Matt gazed around as he followed Albus up the stairs. "Reminds me of the house we had in Australia."
"Yeah, it used to be Sirius's house," Albus told him, "It was a lot different then. It had a lot of creepy and Dark stuff in it. The Black family was pretty involved in the Dark Arts. Except for Sirius, and his brother Regulus changed his views at the end of his life and tried to destroy a Horcrux. Anyway, my dad managed to get most of the Dark stuff out."
"Well, that's good," Matt said as they entered the next floor.
"My room's the last one on the right, but first I've got to show you something," Albus led Matt into one of the other rooms, "This is James's room. But it used to be Sirius's."
"Your brother's not very neat, is he?" Matt asked as he stepped over a pile of dirty school robes and books.
"Nope, he's not," Albus said and walked over to one of the walls, "Here's what I wanted to show you," he pointed to a picture of four boys, "Sirius put a bunch of pictures up on the wall and no one can get them off. My dad covered up most of them, but he left this one. It's my grandpa, Sirius, Teddy's dad, and Peter Pettigrew."
"Wow," Matt stared at the picture, "So that's Moony, the only other, you know, to have gone to Hogwarts?"
"Yup," Albus told him, "Thought you'd like to see it."
"Yeah, thanks," Matt said, still looking at the picture.
"Well, do you want to go to my room?" Albus asked after a few minutes.
"Sure," Matt replied, turning away from the picture. "Let's go."
A few days later, John arrived at Grimmauld Place. The boys spent their time playing games and talking. John was just as shocked as Matt was that Kaden was a wizard. Harry took them to Rose's house to play Quidditch a few times. Amanda was there and the five of them managed to do a bit of homework after Rose prodded them a few times.
"So, what do you want to do now?" John asked. The three boys were lounging around in Albus's room, tossing a Quaffle back and forth.
"I dunno," Matt threw the Quaffle to Albus, "What do you want to do?"
"Hmm," Albus caught the Quaffle and stopped to think. He had given his friends the grand tour of Grimmauld Place as soon as they'd arrived, but there was one place he had yet to show them. "Want to explore the attic?" he grinned mischievously.
"Yeah!" John jumped up from the bed. "What's in it?"
"All sorts of old stuff," Albus replied. "I don't go up there very often, but it's great for exploring."
"Let's go," Matt agreed and got up.
Albus led his friends down the hall and towards the stairs. They climbed all the way up to the top and opened the door. The attic of Number 12 Grimmauld Place was a very large room, filled with old boxes and furniture. It was dark, cramped, and dusty and hard to move around in. "Here we are," Albus announced and walked into the room.
"Whoa," John exclaimed, "What is all this stuff?"
"Mostly old Black family heirlooms and other stuff that belonged to the Black family. But some of it is my mum and dad's. When they moved in, they moved a lot of the stuff that was here originally into the attic," Albus explained.
"It's not dangerous, is it?" Matt asked as he peered into one of the boxes.
"Nah," Albus assured him, "My parents got rid of all the dangerous and dark stuff."
"Wicked!" John shouted as he pulled out an old silver tea tray, "I'll bet this is worth loads of galleons."
"Probably," Albus agreed and went over to examine the tray, "It's got the Black family crest on it, too."
"What's in there?" Matt had walked over to the only door leading off the room, besides the one they had come in.
Albus jumped over three boxes and threw himself against the door. "Don't go in there!" he shouted.
"Why not?" Matt asked curiously.
"There's a portrait of Sirius's mum in there," Albus told them, "She's horrible. The portrait used to be in the hallway downstairs, but my dad managed to use a relocation charm to get it up here. He couldn't banish it from the house, though. There's some sort of charm on it that keeps it in the house."
"What did she do to make you keep her up here?" John asked.
"She insults everyone who comes into the house. The screaming's awful. My Uncle Percy came up here once looking for some spare kitchen utensils and we hadn't told him not to go in there. It took three hours to shut her up."
"She sounds horrible," Matt agreed.
"I bet she was worse when she was alive," Albus commented. The two of them walked back over to the box John was rifling through.
"Look at all this!" John grinned, "The whole box is filled with fancy stuff. Goblets, silverware." John pulled out a very large candelabra and examined it. "Are those, snakes?" he pointed to the parts of the candelabra that would hold candles. Each of them was a snake's head, and the candle would sit in the snake's mouth.
"I think so," Albus took it from John and stared at it, "That's kind of creepy. No wonder it's up here."
"Not to mention the fact that it's very Slytherin," John commented. Albus and John bent down and continued to look through the box, while Matt watched them. "Funny," John announced as he picked up yet another silver item. It was an old teapot that looked like it went with the tray, "There's not much gold up here. If the Blacks were so rich, why didn't they have any gold?"
"It's too Gryffindor," Albus laughed.
"True," John replied. He examined the teapot more closely. "Hey, Matt, could you hand me that tray?" He pointed to the tea tray that he had set on the floor earlier.
"Erm," Matt glanced from the try and then to John, "Sorry, I can't. I'm allergic to silver."
"Really?" John asked as he picked up the tray himself.
"Uh, yeah, all werewolves are," Matt explained.
"That's interesting," John said.
"How did we go a whole year without knowing that?" Albus asked.
"Well," Matt grinned, "There's not much silver in the Gryffindor common room. It's too Slytherin." The boys all laughed.
"These definitely go together," John announced, holding up the tray and teapot. "I'll bet there's a whole set."
"Probably," Albus agreed and stood up, "Let's find another box, one that doesn't have silver in it."
John agreed and put down the tray and teapot. Matt looked very grateful as they started wandering around the attic. Albus and John peered into the boxes, looking for one that didn't have any silver in it.
"Are there any without silver?" John asked after they'd looked at at least ten different boxes.
"Here!" Albus announced, pointing to a large box at the far end of the room. "This says 'Sirius' on the side. I'm sure there's no silver in it. It would be too Slytherin. Plus, Sirius hated his family."
"Excellent," John sat down and opened the box. Albus and Matt joined him and started pulling stuff out.
"Look at these old robes," Albus held up a very old set of Gryffindor robes.
"And this," John pulled out an old copy of 1000 Magical Herbs and Fungi. "Bet it hasn't changed in the least."
"Broken Snitch," Matt announced, "Broken Sneakoscope, a few dungbombs, broken quills, nothing too exciting."
"Wait, what's that?" Albus pointed to a small, worn out leather book at the bottom. It didn't look much like a text book. Albus reached into the box and pulled it out. He opened it up in silence, while John and Matt looked over his shoulder. On the first page was a picture of four boys. "It's photo album," he murmured. He flipped through the next few pages, noticing that the pictures were always of the same four boys, though occasionally one or two of them were missing.
"Who are they?" John asked.
"I think they're the Marauders," Albus pointed to a picture of a messy haired boy with glasses, "Because that is definitely my grandfather."
"Makes sense, since it was in Sirius's box," John agreed, "Which one is Sirius?"
"Probably him," Albus pointed to the tall, long haired boy. "And the short chubby one has got to be Peter Pettigrew. So, that's Remus," Albus pointed to the skinnier boy.
"Wow," Matt whispered, "Wonder if your dad knows it was here."
"Dunno," Albus replied. He continued to turn the pages, looking at each picture. It was a bit strange looking at all these pictures and seeing the Marauders at Hogwarts. There were pictures of them in their dormitory, in the common room, on the grounds, in Hogsmeade. There was even one of them with the Whomping Willow in the background. There were also a couple of James playing Quidditch. In all the pictures, all four boys waved wildly at Albus, John, and Matt. They all looked so happy. It felt weird to know that only a few years after these pictures had been taken, Peter would betray James and Lily. The Marauders had trusted each other with their lives, literally. Kind of like how Albus trusted his friends. But they would never betray each other. Albus knew that. None of them were rats like Pettigrew was.
Towards the end of the photo album, a girl started appearing in a lot of the pictures. She would have her arms wrapped around James and would kiss him every once in a while.
"Who's that?" Matt asked, pointing to the girl.
"My grandmother," Albus explained. "I think this has all their years of Hogwarts in it." Albus flipped to the very last page and saw that the last picture was of all the Marauders, plus Lily, standing in front of the lake in their school robes, holding diplomas. They all wore huge grins on their faces.
"Graduation," John commented.
"Yup," Albus replied, "They look very happy there."
"What are you going to do with it?" John asked.
"I think I'll keep it," Albus replied. "I mean, no one's going to miss it if it's up here." Albus closed the photo album and a folded up piece of parchment fell out.
"What's this?" Matt picked it up. "Looks blank."
Albus took it from him, unfolded it, and examined it. It was almost blank. In one of the corners were four very small paw prints. "No it's not. Look," Albus pointed to the corner.
John and Matt peered at the parchment and looked at the paw prints. "What's that mean?" John asked.
"I've never seen it before," Albus replied, "But I think it's supposed to represent the Marauders. I'm guessing they're a wolf, dog, stag, and rat prints."
"It's blank, though," John commented, "I mean besides that. Why would Sirius keep an old piece of parchment?"
"Dunno," Albus shrugged. But in his gut, he had a feeling that it wasn't a meaningless piece of parchment. After all, to the average person, the Marauder's Map was just a meaningless piece of parchment. Albus shoved the parchment back in the album, which he then shoved at the bottom of his trunk once the boys returned to Albus's room.
"Are you kids ready to leave?" Harry shouted up the stairs, the day of Albus and Rose's birthday party.
"Yeah!" Albus shouted back. He ran down the stairs with John and Matt following him. They ran into the drawing room, where Albus's parents were, along with James and Lily. "We're ready!"
"Good," Harry replied, "Have you got everything, Ginny?"
"I think so. I took most everything to the Burrow earlier."
"Like my present?" Albus hinted.
"Yes, like your present," Ginny laughed.
"Are we going by floo?" Matt eyed the fireplace warily.
"I thought we would," Harry told him, "Don't worry, it'll be better this time."
Harry was right. This time, Matt did not inhale nearly as much smoke and managed to not fall over as he arrived at the Burrow. When they got there, the house was already crowded with people.
"Albus!" Molly Weasley came running over to them and gave Albus a big hug, "Happy Birthday!"
"Thanks, Grandmum," Albus replied.
"Oh, are these your friends?" Molly asked.
"Yeah, this is John Brickston and Matt Eckerton," Albus gestured to his friends.
"Nice to meet you," Molly smiled, "Now, Ginny, I need your help in the kitchen. Harry, would you help Ron set up the tables in the yard?"
The adults quickly left to set up for the party, leaving Albus and the other kids alone.
"I'm off to find Cedric and Ben," James announced, "See you later."
"Let's go to the yard," Albus suggested.
"Is everyone here related to you?" Matt asked as they walked through the house towards the back door.
"Pretty much," Albus laughed, "If they've got red hair, chances are they're related."
"Wow, I can't imagine having this many cousins," Matt replied, "Well, I haven't got any cousins."
The group managed to make it through the crowd and into the backyard. They saw Harry and Ron setting up the tables magically. A few of Albus's cousins were in the air on brooms and a few others were playing with the gnomes in the garden. Albus spotted Rose and Amanda at a nearby table.
"Rose!" Albus ran over to them, "Amanda!"
"Hello," Rose and Amanda greeted them. "Did you just get here?" Rose asked.
"Yeah, have you been here for a while?" Albus asked as he sat down.
"For about a half hour. We flooed," Rose told them.
"I hate flooing," Amanda groaned, "Took me fifteen minutes to stop coughing."
"It gets better," Matt assured her, "I hadn't done it in years, but I did it to get to Albus's house. Took me forever to stop coughing. But then when we came here, I was fine."
"Did Kaden come with you?" Rose peered around at the yard like she was looking for Albus's cousin.
"Oh, no. Dad invited him, and Dudley, too. But they were having dinner with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia," Albus explained.
"Did Dudley tell them?" Rose asked.
"Sure did. Apparently Uncle Vernon went mad. He was shouting and swearing. Said he wasn't going to have anymore freaks in the family. But Aunt Petunia got him to stop. She's actually ok with it."
"Wow," Rose replied, "Still can't believe it."
"Me, neither," Albus laughed.
"Hi, kids!" Bill had appeared next to the table, holding what appeared to be a gigantic Gryffindor lion. "Everyone's arrived, so I think we're going to do the pinata soon."
"Brilliant!" Albus grinned.
Bill set the pinata down on the table and glanced out across the yard. "Oi! Teddy! Want to do the pinata?"
Teddy, who had turned his hair scarlet and gold for the occasion, came running over to the table. "Sure! We doing it in the middle of the yard?"
"That would probably be best," Bill replied. The two of them set off to clear a place for the pinata.
"There's no trees there," Amanda commented, "What are they planning to hang it on?"
"Hang it on?" Albus asked.
"Well, yeah. That's what you do with pinatas. You hang them on trees so they're in the air," Amanda said.
"Oh! That's how Muggles do it!" Albus realized, "Teddy's just going to levitate it. He'll move it around and it'll be really hard to hit."
"Whoever wants to do the pinata can come over here now!" Teddy shouted. All at once, all of Albus's cousins ran over to Teddy. Albus, Rose, and their friends managed to push their way through the crowd to the front.
"All right!" Bill shouted, "Albus and Rose first, then youngest to oldest."
Rose went first. Bill put a blind-fold charm over her eyes and handed her an old broom. Teddy levitated the pinata and flung it around Rose. After a few poorly aimed hits, her turn was over. Albus was up next. He took the broom from Rose and was blind-folded. He loved this part of his birthday parties, but he was never very good at it.
"To the right!" someone shouted. Albus swung the broom around to his right, but didn't make contact with anything. Teddy always made it difficult.
"I bet you anything that Bradley's going to burst it open," Albus said once his turn was over. "He does at everyone's parties."
"Well, this is the kind of thing a beater would be good at," Rose pointed out.
"I know," Albus replied. The pinata bashing continued for a while and no one had managed to even touch it. Teddy was laughing hysterically as everyone flung the broom around. Soon, all the little kids had finished and Albus's friends were up. Amanda was the first one to actually touch the pinata with the broom, but she didn't make any progress in smashing it open. Matt actually managed to hit himself in the head with the broom, instead of the large Gryffindor lion.
"See, I wasn't exactly lying when I told you I was clumsy last year," he whispered to Albus as he rubbed his head.
John was up next and he hit the pinata with a loud crunch that sounded like it should have smashed the whole thing. "Yes!" he shouted.
"Sorry, it's a magically reinforced pinata since there's so many of us," Teddy grinned, "It'll take a few more of those."
As usual, Bradley was the one to give the final blow to the pinata. Everyone rushed forward to grab the sweets that had fallen out of it. Albus and his friends each got a large bagful of sweets.
"Time for presents!" Molly shouted over the crowd. Albus and Rose sat down at one one of the tables next to two large piles of presents. They alternated opening them, each receiving a lot of books, sweets, Weasley Wizard Wheezes products, and various clothing items. Soon, there was just one present left.
"It's from us, Al," Harry smiled as he handed Albus a long, rectangular box.
Albus took the box and tore the wrappings off. Excitement washed over him as he saw what it was. "A Firebolt 2000!" he shouted, "Wow! This is bloody brilliant! Just like Georgia's! Thanks Mum and Dad!"
"You're welcome," Harry grinned, "It'll be perfect for when you get on the Quidditch team this year."
"If I get on the team," Albus replied.
"You will," James assured him.
"I'm going to try it out now!" Albus grinned. He ran to the middle of the yard with his friends and cousins following. He mounted the broom and took off into the air. The evening breeze felt cool as he soared higher and higher. It flew just like Georgia's did. The acceleration was wonderful and it turned at the slightest touch. Albus flew around the yard for a few minutes, enjoying the thrill that only flying could bring. Albus had loved flying and Quidditch for as long as he could remember. He had received his first toy broom on his first birthday. He promptly crashed into a tree the next day and broke it. Albus had gotten a lot better at flying since then, but he still wasn't nearly as good as James was. After a few more minutes, Albus descended and landed on the ground.
"How is it?" John asked.
"Completely wonderful," Albus grinned, "Want to try?"
"Of course!" John took the broom and flew off into the sky. Albus spent the next half hour lending his broom to his cousins and friends. They all agreed that it was a superb broom and that Albus was sure to make Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
Molly served dinner shortly after everyone had tried out Albus's new broom. The discussion centered mainly around Quidditch, like it often did when all the Weasleys got together. With such a large number of people, there was always a good bit of disagreement about which teams were the best. Matt was thrilled that Albus's Uncle Ron was a Chudley Cannons fan and the two of them defended their team to the rest of the group.
The evening ended with a magnificent Gryffindor lion shaped cake that Molly had made. Hermione had enchanted it to roar realistically when it was first cut. Shortly after everyone finished their cake, they started going home. Albus's family were some of the last to leave.
"I'm going to Apparate home with Lily," Harry said as they walked to the fireplace. Lily was asleep in his arms.
"All right," Ginny replied. Harry turned on the spot and disappeared. "You boys go first," Ginny gestured to the pot of floo powder.
Albus stepped out of the fireplace at Grimmauld Place and waited for John and Matt. They appeared a few minutes later, and the three of them went up to Albus's room.
"That was really fun, Albus," Matt yawned as they lay down to go to sleep, "Your family is fun. Makes me wish I had some cousins."
"You're welcome to share mine," Albus laughed.
"Mine, too," John agreed, "If you think Albus's family is nuts, you should meet mine. You'll meet one of my cousins this year. It's her first year at Hogwarts. All my cousins are younger than me."
"The only one of my cousins coming to Hogwarts this year is Kaden," Albus told them.
"Well, half of Gryffindor is your cousins, Albus," John laughed, "And if you make the Quidditch team, Ryan will be the only non-Weasley and non-Potter on the team."
"Yeah, we're taking over," Albus joked. "Well, good night."
"Night," John replied.
"Night," Matt said.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to XDNLxtlz99, teddysxxgirl, Moonylupin, smirkyhaha, and ginnyweasleypotter87 for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
"Do you see them yet, Dad?" Albus asked.
"No, not yet," Harry replied.
Albus sighed. He, Harry, John, and Matt were all standing outside the Leaky Cauldron. The Muggle side. It was a few days after Albus and Rose's birthday party and Matt was meeting his parents to go home in a couple hours. Harry had agreed to take them a few hours early so they could buy their new books. Harry also decided that it would be a good time to take Dudley and Kaden shopping for Kaden's supplies.
A few minutes later a blue sedan pulled up to the curb. A rather large blond-haired man stepped out, along with a short brunette woman, and two kids. Albus recognized the boy as Kaden. He was short, only an inch or so taller than Matt, and a bit on the chubby side. His hair was brown and looked in need of a cut. Kaden's younger sister, Bethany, had inherited her father's blond hair and was about a head shorter than Kaden. Albus thought she was seven, but he wasn't certain.
"Hello, Dudley," Harry extended his hand to his cousin.
"Hi, Harry," Dudley took his hand and shook it.
"Why don't we go inside the pub and we'll talk more there?" Harry suggested and opened the door to the Leaky Cauldron. Everyone filed inside. The Durlseys stared around, gaping at everything in sight while they followed Harry out the back door. Harry took out his wand, tapped one of the bricks, and Diagon Alley appeared in front of them. "This is Diagon Alley."
"This is where you got all your, your magic stuff?" Dudley gaped.
"Sure is," Harry grinned, "The first thing you'll want to do is set up an account at Gringotts." He pointed to the large white building at the end of the street. "Pounds won't buy much here. You have to use wizard money, Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts."
Albus really didn't want to go to Gringotts and wait while the Durlseys learned about wizard money. "Dad, can me, John, and Matt go look at the shops by ourselves?"
"I suppose so," Harry said after he thought for a moment, "I'll take Dudley and Christina to Gringotts and show them around. Why don't you take Kaden with you?" he suggested. "We can meet you at Flourish and Blotts in an hour."
"Sure," Albus said, happy to not have to go to Gringotts, "Let's go." The boys set off down the street, none of them really sure where to go first. Kaden seemed to be gazing in awe at everything he saw. Albus led them to a bench outside Quality Quidditch Supplies. "Ok, Kaden, these are my friends, John and Matt."
"Are your parents witches and wizards, too?" Kaden asked.
"Yeah," John replied. Matt nodded.
"Oh," Kaden said, "Are there a lot of kids whose parents aren't witches and wizards?"
"A fair few," Albus answered, "Our friend Amanda has Muggle parents."
"I wish I'd known about magic earlier," Kaden told them. "What's a Muggle, anyway?"
"Don't worry, you'll catch up fast. Muggles are people who can't do magic. Like your parents," Albus told him, "Let's go into the Quidditch shop."
"What's Quidditch?" Kaden asked as they walked into the shop, "Whoa! There's brooms in here! Are we going to be clean something?" he asked skeptically.
John burst out laughing, "Clean with brooms? No way. We fly on them!"
Kaden's mouth fell open, "Like witches do in movies?"
John laughed even harder, "Yes, just like that!"
"So what's Quidditch?" Kaden asked again as he inspected a Firebolt 2000.
Albus, John, and Matt spent a good twenty minutes telling Kaden all about Quidditch.
"That sounds very complicated," Kaden announced once they'd finished.
"I suppose," John shrugged, "But it's fun, better than that sport Muggles play. Football or something?"
"Hey! I play football!" Kaden shouted, "And it's fun."
"Well, there's no football at Hogwarts," John told him, "It's Quidditch or nothing. Just wait until you first fly a broom, you'll change your mind about football."
"Do you play Quidditch?" Kaden asked.
"Not on my House team. First years aren't allowed to play. And this year the only opening is for a Chaser. My position is Beater. But Albus is trying out."
"Oh, really?" Kaden looked at Albus.
"Yup. I hope I make it. James is already on the team. He's the Seeker. One of the best Gryffindor has ever had," Albus said.
"Doesn't know much about Hogwarts, does he?" John whispered to Albus.
Albus shook his head. "Gryffindor is one of the Houses at Hogwarts. You get sorted on your first day into one of the four houses. Gryffindor is usually where you go if you're brave, Ravenclaw if you're smart, Hufflepuff if you're loyal, and Slytherin if you're evil."
"Well, technically Slytherins are cunning, but most of the evil witches and wizards were in Slytherin."
"How do you get sorted?"
"Can't tell you," Albus grinned, "It's part of the fun not to know."
"Are you all in Gryffindor?" Kaden asked.
"Yeah," Albus replied, "All my cousins are, too."
"I hope I'm there," Kaden replied. "Can we go somewhere else? I'm sick of looking at brooms.
"Let's go to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," John suggested. Although he looked a little taken aback that Kaden didn't want to look at brooms anymore.
The boys left the shop and made their way to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Kaden kept up a constant stream of questions the whole way there. By the time they made it to the shop, Albus was getting a bit tired of answering them. Albus had remembered Kaden as being rather quiet, but now he seemed to be very hyper. Maybe the excitement of finding out he was a wizard had caused him to be more outgoing.
"Whoa! What is this place?" Kaden gazed around at the inside of George Weasley's shop with a look of awe on his face.
"Joke shop," John told him, "Best shop in Diagon Alley."
"Hi, Uncle George," Albus grinned, "This is my cousin, Kaden. Dudley's son."
"Oh, yeah, Harry told me you're a wizard," George turned to Kaden, "If you're ever in need of any pranking items at Hogwarts, just send me an owl, I'll have what you're looking for."
Kaden nodded and stared at George. After a few moments, he asked, "What on earth happened to your ear?"
"Lost it during the war against Voldemort," George told him, "I'm a bit holey now."
Kaden laughed, "Holey, like a saint!"
George turned to Albus, "You sure he's not a Weasley?"
"Positive; he thinks football's better than Quidditch," Albus told him.
"I'm sure that'll change after he sees Quidditch," George replied. "Well, I've got to get back to work. See you later, Albus."
"Bye," Albus said as George went back behind the counter. Albus started looking around the shop with John and Matt while Kaden bounced from one display to the next, announcing how brilliant everything was and asking the other boys more questions.
"What are these?" Kaden pointed to a few Skiving Snackboxes.
"Skiving Snackboxes, sweets that make you ill," Matt told him.
"Why would you want to do that?" Kaden grimaced.
"To get out of boring classes," Matt explained, "Once you've sat through one of Binns's classes, you'll understand."
"And what are those?" Kaden pointed to a display of Extendable Ears.
"Extendable Ears," Albus told him, remembering when he used them last Christmas only to overhear his dad talking about the Hallows. "You use them to listen in on conversations people are having."
"Wish I had some money," Kaden sighed as he put back a package of Extendable Ears.
"You will soon, once your parents are done at Gringotts," Albus told him, "Speaking of which, we should probably head back to Flourish and Blotts."
The boys waved goodbye to George and left the shop. Albus, Matt, and John listened as Kaden commented on everything they passed on their way to the book store. Albus hoped that his cousin would calm down once he was more used to the Wizarding World. They continued their walk to Flourish and Blotts while explaining about magical forms of transportation to Kaden. He was amazed that wizards could appear and disappear 'just like that', as he put it and snapped his fingers.
When they got to the Flourish and Blotts, Harry and the Dursleys were already waiting for them outside. "Are you having fun?" Harry asked.
"Yeah! Albus has told me about Quidditch and Apparition and Flooing and all sorts of magical practical joke items," Kaden grinned.
"Well, let's go get your books now," Harry said as the group walked into the shop. Flourish and Blotts was quite empty today. There were only a few other people inside, none of whom Albus recognized. Harry and the Dursleys took the boys' lists to a sales person while the boys started looking around.
Albus, John, and Matt had been to this book store numerous times and didn't find anything exciting about it. The three of them would rather have been in Quality Quidditch Supplies. Kaden, on the other hand, seemed as excited there as he had been in George's shop. He ran all over the shop, picking up random books and bringing them back to show the other boys.
"Look at this!" he panted, running back to Albus for what must have been the tenth time, "It's a book about brewing potions! Am I going to get to do that?"
"Er, yeah," Albus replied wearily. He had already given this answer in response to questions about charms, transfiguration, and defensive spells.
"I can't wait!" Kaden shouted and disappeared into another row of books.
Albus turned to his friends and groaned. "I don't think he'll ever run out of excitement."
John stifled a laugh, "Just wait until he gets his first Potions essay. He won't be too thrilled about it then."
"Look at this book!" Kaden came running back a few minutes later with a book entitled, Dark Creatures: How to Protect Yourself. "It's got stuff about vampires and werewolves in it! I didn't know those were real!"
Albus felt Matt stiffen next to him. Albus glanced at him and saw the look of panic on his face. Albus immediately took the book from Kaden, "Yeah, they're real. But they're nothing like the ones in Muggle fairy tales. And you don't want to read this book. It's too advanced. You've got to start out with the basics." Albus quickly stuffed the book onto a nearby shelf. He did not want Kaden to read about the prejudices wizards had about werewolves.
Kaden took off into another section of the store and Matt relaxed. "That was close," he whispered.
"I'm not going to let him buy into that werewolf prejudice," Albus assured him, "Even though he'll probably never find out about you."
"I've got everyone's books!" Harry announced as he, Dudley, Christina, and Bethany walked back to where the boys were standing.
"Can we go get my wand now?" Kaden asked excitedly as he ran back from the other section of the store.
"Sure," Dudley replied, "You lead the way, Harry."
Harry, Kaden, and the rest of the Dursleys walked ahead of Albus and his friends on their way to Ollivander's. Kaden was practically skipping up the street in his excitement about his wand. In contrast, Matt was starting to tire out due to the upcoming full moon. By the time Albus, John, and Matt got to Ollivander's, Kaden was already trying out his first wand. He gave it a wave and one of the empty wand boxes on Ollivander's desk exploded. Kaden thought that the explosion was neat, but Ollivander disagreed. Kaden tried out wands for the next fifteen minutes before finding one that created gold sparks when he waved it. Dudley paid for the wand and the group left the shop. The next stop was the Apothecary and then Madam Malkin's. An hour later, Kaden was all set for his first year at Hogwarts.
Once they were done shopping, the group met Matt's parents at the Leaky Cauldron. Everyone was hungry, so they all decided to eat dinner together. Albus, John, Matt, and Kaden sat at their own table while the adults and Bethany sat at the other.
"Can't believe the summer's almost over," Albus said as he took a swig of butterbeer. "What are you guys doing for the rest of it?"
"I'm going to visit some more of my cousins after I go home," John told them.
"That's probably what I'm doing, too," Albus told them, "And the big party we have at the end of every summer. That's always awesome. What are you doing Matt?"
Matt glanced up from his food, which he was only picking at, and looked at Kaden before answering. Kaden was currently staring as a wizard at the next table cut his steak with his wand. "I've got to go to St. Mungo's," he whispered.
"What's St. Mungo's?" Kaden asked loudly and turned his attention back to the other boys.
"Wizard hospital," Albus replied, hoping that Kaden wouldn't press for more information. Luckily, at that moment, a waitress came walking by while levitating two platters of food. Kaden immediately turned his attention to the levitating trays and didn't mention ask anything about St. Mungo's.
"Why have you got to go there?" Albus asked very quietly, as he leaned in closer to Matt. John leaned over as well.
"I'll explain sometime else, when we're alone," he gave a meaningful glance at Kaden, "Maybe on the train. But don't worry about it, I'm fine."
Albus wasn't very reassured by this. He didn't think people went to St. Mungo's when they were fine. But he didn't press for more information, he knew Matt disliked discussing his condition, especially around so many people.
"We should probably get going," Mr. and Mrs. Eckerton stood up and walked over to Albus's table. Mrs. Eckerton sent a worried look at her son. Matt was resting his head on his hand and had his eyes closed. "Are you all right, dear?" she asked quietly.
Matt lifted his head up and nodded. "I've just got a headache. I'll see you on the train, Albus, John. Nice to meet you, Kaden."
Harry and the Dursleys got up and said their goodbyes to Matt's parents. Mr. Eckerton drew Matt into a tight hug, and the three of them Disapparated.
Kaden gawked at the place that Matt and his parents had been just moments before, "That was brilliant. I want to do that."
"You'll get to," Albus told him, "When you're in your sixth year, you can take lessons. And then when you're seventeen, you take a test to get your license."
Kaden sighed, "That's so far away. But how come Matt got to do it now?"
"He just did side-along Apparition. Someone who's got their Apparition license can take other people with them while they do it."
"Have you done that before?" Kaden asked.
"Yeah, but I prefer Flooing."
"So do I," John told him, "But Matt likes side-along Apparition better."
"Time to go, Kaden," Christina Durlsey came over to the table.
"All right," Kaden sighed and stood up, "I'll see you guys on the train. I can't wait!"
Albus waved goodbye as the Dursleys left the pub to go back into the Muggle world. Albus wasn't sure what to think about Kaden. He hadn't seen him in years, but he'd be seeing a lot of him now. Kaden was definitely a ball of energy, that was for sure. Kaden seemed to think that everything in the wizarding world was great. He was going to be in for a rude awakening when he learned about Voldemort and other evil wizards.
Wealsey-Potter-Dursley Family Tree
Bill-Fleur Charlie-Katherine (witch) Percy-Corrine (Muggle)
Victoire, 18 Stanley, 7th year Georgia, 6th year
Gabriella, 6th year Heather, 5th year Bradley, 4th year
Ben, 3rd year Mark, 4th year Cedric, 3rd year
Eddie, 6 years old Samantha & Lindy (twins), 7 years old
George-Alicia Spinnet Ron-Hermione Ginny-Harry
Fred, 5th year Rose, 2nd year James, 3rd year
Angie, 9 years old Hugo, 10 years old Albus, 2nd year
Lily, 10 years old
Kaden- 1st year
Bethany- 7 years old
*all in Gryffindor*
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to my other sister and my brother. And thanks to ginnyweasley98, smirkyhaha, sinwillys822, Moonylupin, and ladymblack for their reviews!
I also want to invite everyone to check out my Meet the Author page on the forums. There's a link to it in my profile. Feel free to ask about my stories or writiing in general there.
Disclaimer- As always, I do not own Harry Potter.
"Hurry up!" Ginny called back to James and Albus, "It's already quarter to eleven!"
Albus sped up as he pushed his trolley through the crowded King's Cross station. James was right next to him, pushing his own trolley. Their parents and Lily were in front of them, walking as fast as they could without actually running. The Potters were running late, very late. It was September first and the Hogwart's Express would be leaving in exactly fifteen minutes. The whole morning had been very rushed. Albus woke up late and James woke up even later. Albus had stayed up until midnight the night before working on his Transfiguration essay, and James always woke up late. Then, James couldn't find his practice Snitch and refused to leave before he found it. Lily finally found it in a cauldron that was in the kitchen. No one was really sure how it got there.
But because of all this, the Potter family was now practically running through King's Cross, trying to get to Platform 9 3/4 on time. This was earning them many strange looks from the Muggles, especially due to the fact that they had two irritated owls on their trolleys.
"James, you first!" Ginny shouted as they reached the barrier between platforms 9 and 10. Albus watched as his brother disappeared into a seemingly solid wall.
"I'll stay here and wait for the Dursleys," Harry said as he glanced at his watch. It appeared that the Dursleys were even later than the Potters.
"All right," Ginny replied, "Albus, you next."
Albus nodded and ran through the barrier. A few moments later, Albus was standing on platform 9 3/4, and Rose was running up to him.
"Albus!" she shouted, "There you are!"
"Yeah, we're running a bit late."
"A bit?! The train's leaving in seven minutes!"
"I know," Albus said as Ginny and Lily appeared behind him, "But Kaden's even later."
"I'll load your trunks," Ron appeared and took James and Albus's trolleys to the train.
"We're always good, Mum," James grinned and slapped Albus on the back, "Right, Al?"
"'Course we are," Albus grinned back.
Ginny gave them a stern look, "I don't want any owls from Professor Kendrick."
"Aw, don't worry, Mum," James laughed, "You haven't gotten one yet."
"Five minutes until the train leaves!" Hermione told them.
"Kaden better hurry up," Albus replied.
At that moment, Kaden burst through the barrier with a huge grin on his face. Harry was behind him, pushing another trolley. Ron grabbed it and ran it over to the train.
"That was brilliant," Kaden announced as he joined the group.
"You've got to get on the train now!" Ginny shouted as she herded everyone over to one of the train doors. She gave James and Albus a quick hug and kiss. "Bye, kids! Be good, all of you!"
"I'll see you later at the feast," Harry gave each of his sons a hug.
"Bye, Mum, bye Dad, bye Lily!" Albus shouted as he climbed onto the train. Kaden and Rose got on after him. James jumped on just as the train was starting to move.
"That was close," Rose sighed as the train left the station.
"Yeah," James agreed, "But we made it. I'll see you lot later." He ran down the train corridor to find his friends.
"C'mon, Rose," Albus started to walk down the corridor, "Let's go find John, Matt, and Amanda."
"How does that work?" Kaden asked while he followed Albus and Rose, "I mean, how on earth can you go through a solid brick wall?"
"I dunno," Albus shrugged, "It's magic, you know."
"Yeah, but still..." Kaden shrugged.
Albus and Rose continued down the corridor, peeking into compartments as they looked for their friends. Kaden followed close behind, still wanting to talk about the barrier. Anything remotely magical seemed to excite him, and Albus had to stifle a laugh as he thought about what Kaden was going to do when he saw the Sorting Hat.
"There they are," Rose announced when they were halfway down the train. Rose pulled open the door and they walked inside. John, Matt, Amanda, and a girl with long, black, curly hair Albus had never seen before were sitting inside.
"I was wondering when you two would show up," John grinned.
"Barely made it," Albus told him as he sat down next to John.
"I was on time," Rose announced, smirking at Albus.
"Hey! It wasn't my fault. James wouldn't leave until he found his practice Snitch."
"Well, you made it, that's all that matters," Amanda said.
"Yeah, good thing you didn't miss the train. I suppose you could've just Flooed, but the train is better," John told them. "By the way, this is my cousin, Isabelle," he gestured to the girl Albus hadn't recognized. "She's just starting this year."
"Hi," Isabelle said quietly.
"Hello," Albus smiled, "I'm Albus Potter."
Isabelle's eyes opened wide and she stared at him. "Really?"
Albus sighed, he was sick of going through this with everyone he met, "Yes, really."
"Wow," Isabelle replied.
"I'm Rose Weasley," Rose told her, "Albus's cousin." Isabelle nodded, but didn't say anything.
"Oh, Amanda, Isabelle," Albus said, "This is my cousin, Kaden. He's Dudley's son."
"Hi, Kaden," Amanda smiled at him. Isabelle again just nodded.
"Hi," Kaden replied and sat down next to Amanda. "You're, what's the word? Muggle-born, too, right?"
"Weren't you amazed by the barrier, too?" Kaden asked, "I mean, it was just so strange, going through a solid brick wall."
"I suppose. It was kind of scary at first, but it doesn't bother me much now."
"He's been going on about the barrier for the past ten minutes," Albus whispered to John and Matt.
"Just wait until he first gets hexed," John whispered back, "He won't be thinking everything's brilliant then."
"How was your holiday in Ireland, Amanda?" Rose asked.
Amanda grinned, "It was wonderful! We went all over the place, just wandering around and seeing everything. I kissed the Blarney Stone, too."
"I've done that!" Kaden announced.
"I hope we go back sometime, I had a really good time," Amanda told them, "How were the rest of your summers?"
"Mine was good," John said, "Visited Isabelle's family and we all went to Diagon Alley together. Nothing too exciting."
"I love Diagon Alley!" Kaden shouted, "I can't wait to go back there!"
"Yeah, it's a pretty neat place," Albus agreed, "Went back there with James after you left, John. Other than that I spent the rest of my holiday doing homework and playing Quidditch."
"Me, too," Rose said, "Although I mainly watched James and Albus play Quidditch."
"How about you, Matt? Do anything exciting?" Albus asked, looking at his friend. Albus really wanted to know why Matt had been in St. Mungo's, but he knew that Matt would not elaborate on it while Kaden and Isabelle were in the compartment.
"Not really," Matt replied quickly, giving Albus a look that meant he would tell him later. "So, I wonder who the new Charms teacher will be?" Matt asked, changing the subject.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged, "Anyone will be better than Washburn."
"Who's Washburn?" Kaden asked loudly, "And what happened to him?"
"He was the Charms teacher," Albus told him, "He got fired for trying to steal, er, certain things that would help him achieve Voldemort's ideals. And he started a duel with me, John, Amanda, Matt, and Rose. One of his friends dueled with my dad, too. It was pretty bad."
"Who's Voldemort?" Kaden asked, "And what things?"
Albus sighed and looked at Rose, who shrugged. It was going to be a long trip. Albus turned to Kaden and explained all about Voldemort. He left out the part about the Hallows, though, as he wasn't sure if his dad would want him to tell Kaden. "So you see, not all wizards are good," Albus finished.
Kaden stared at his cousin, lost for words for the first time. After a few moments he whispered, "Blimey. So that's why your family's famous? Because my dad said you were, he just didn't tell me why."
"Er, yeah," Albus replied.
The group spent much of the rest of the journey talking about who the next Charms teacher would be, Quidditch, the Dueling Club (which they'd be allowed to join this year, as second years), and a great deal of other stuff. Around lunch time, the witch came around with the trolley and everyone bought large amounts of food. Everyone had a lot of fun watching Kaden try all the wizard sweets. Kaden announced that he liked Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans best, despite the fact that the first one he tried was a vomit flavor. When he opened his first Chocolate Frog, he was shocked that it could hop and even more shocked when he saw the picture of Rowena Ravenclaw disappear from the card that came with it.
After they polished off the rest of the sweets, the conversation turned to which houses Kaden and Isabelle wanted to be in. Apparently John and Isabelle's family consisted of an equal number of Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. Isabelle's dad had been a Gryffindor and her mum had been a Hufflepuff. Isabelle didn't really care if she was in Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, but she knew she didn't want to be in Slytherin. She decided that Ravenclaw wouldn't be bad, but she wanted to be some place where her family had been. Kaden on the other hand, definitely wanted to be in Gryffindor. Albus wasn't too sure he'd wind up there, still thinking that his cousin was more of a Hufflepuff, but he didn't tell Kaden this.
Soon the train made it to Hogsmeade station and it was time for everyone to get off. Albus and his friends joined the large crowd of students exiting onto the platform.
"Firs' years! Firs' years!" Hagrid called out.
Albus lead his group over to him, "Hi, Hagrid!"
"'Ello, Albus!" Hagrid greeted him.
"My cousin Kaden's starting this year, and John's cousin, Isabelle," Albus gestured to the two first years standing near him.
Kaden gaped at Hagrid, "Are you the one who gave my dad a pig's tail?"
"Oh, yer Dudley's son, then," Hagrid turned to Kaden, "Tha' was me."
Kaden started laughing, "I can't wait to learn how to do something like that."
"Soon enough, soon enough," Hagrid told him, "Le's go, then," he said to Kaden and Isabelle. The two of them waved to Albus and the others, and followed Hagrid to the lake.
"Finally," Albus muttered as he lead his friends to the carriages, "I thought he'd never leave us alone." Albus liked Kaden, but found his constant company to be taxing.
"I kinda like him," John laughed, "He's got spunk."
"Well, you're kind of like him, John," Albus laughed and climbed into the nearest empty carriage. "Although you're a bit less annoying," Albus turned around and grinned at his friend.
"Gee, thanks," John laughed and sat down next to Albus. Rose, Amanda, and Matt followed after, and sat down on the seat across from them.
"So, Matt, you were awfully quiet on the train," Albus began, "Something happen during the last part of the summer?"
Matt sighed and glanced around at his friends, "Yeah.... I just didn't want to tell you with Kaden and Isabelle around."
"I figured," Albus replied, "What happened? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, honestly. It's just, remember over the summer when I said I was going to St. Mungo's?"
"Yeah," Albus said.
"And remember that study I told you about? The one I'm in?"
Albus nodded and remembered back to earlier in the year where Matt had briefly explained about a study as to why Wolfsbane Potion had no effect on him and other werewolves.
"I know I didn't tell you a whole lot about it, but it's the reason I was at St. Mungo's. Someone has to observe me after every transformation. Usually Madam Pomfrey or my parents do it, but the Healers like to do it at least twice a year."
"Oh," Albus replied, relieved that Matt being severely injured wasn't the reason he was in the hospital.
"That makes sense," Rose commented.
"Yeah, but that's not all. I figure I should probably tell you a bit more about the study. It started when I was 8. For the first 2 years, I didn't get any Wolfsbane potion. The next 2 years, I got regular Wolfsbane. Not that it made much of a difference."
"I wonder why," Albus said. He had been curious about this study ever since Matt told him about it the previous term, but Albus had been reluctant to ask about it.
"Dunno. No one does, that's why they're doing it," Matt told them, "But anyway, the Healers and Potion brewers that are working on the Wolfsbane have come up with anther variety and I'm going to start trying it out."
"When?" John asked.
"I think in January, because I'll be home on Christmas break. I've got to take it a couple days beforehand and it'll be better if someone can watch closely," Matt told them.
"Has it been tested before?" Rose asked.
"No," Matt said quietly. "That's the point of the study, to test the potions."
Albus glanced at Matt. He looked a bit scared at the prospect of taking an untested potion. No wonder he had been quiet on the train. Albus wasn't sure if he would want to take an untested potion. Of course, if the potion worked, Matt's life would drastically change for the better. But what if it didn't work, what if it had horrible side effects?
"But they've been researching it, right?" Rose asked, "I mean, they're pretty sure it won't do anything bad?"
"Oh, yeah, they don't think it'll hurt me. They're just not sure if it will have the effect it's supposed to," Matt assured them, "But it is a bit scary."
"Yeah," Rose agreed, "I'd say so."
"It's worth it, though, if they ever find one that works for me."
"Brings back memories, doesn't it?" John said as the first years filed into the Great Hall.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, remembering how fearful he'd been of being in Slytherin the previous year. He still hadn't told his friends that the Sorting Hat had considered it, and he wasn't sure if he ever would.
"There's Kaden," Rose pointed to Albus's cousin, who was standing right at the front of the group.
"And Isabelle's right behind him," John told them.
Professor Patil motioned for the room to be quiet and the Sorting Hat burst out in song. Albus had to stifle a laugh as he saw Kaden's mouth open in shock. Albus knew that hat would amaze his cousin. Kaden turned around and whispered something to Isabelle, who nodded. Once the hat stopped singing, Professor Patil started the Sorting. The first two students were both sorted into Ravenclaw.
"Brickston, Isabelle," Patil called, and John's cousin walked over to the stool. Patil dropped the hat on her head and a few moments later, it shouted out, "Hufflepuff!" Isabelle got up and joined her fellow Hufflepuffs.
"Dang," John said, "I thought she'd be here."
"Well, you said there are a lot of Hufflepuffs in your family," Rose pointed out.
"Yeah, I know," John sighed, "Hufflepuff's good, too. But it's not nearly as good as Gryffindor."
"Dursley, Kaden," Patil announced. Kaden ran forward immediately and sat down on the stool, with a big grin on his face.
Patil put the hat on his head and after a few minutes, it opened its brim wide and announced, "Gryffindor!"
Albus turned to look at James, who was sitting a few seats down, wearing an identical look of shock to the one Albus was. "Gryffindor?" he mouthed, shaking his head. He was so sure that Kaden would wind up in Hufflepuff.
"Well, the hat did take an awfully long time to decide," Rose pointed out. "Maybe he's got aspects of all the houses."
Like me, Albus thought to himself. He looked up and saw Kaden running over to the Gryffindor table. Albus didn't think it possible, but his grin was even wider now. A few of the older Gryffindors congratulated him as he wedged his way in between Albus and Matt on the bench. "Good job, Kaden," Albus said.
"Thanks! I still can't believe that hat can talk. Weirdest thing I've ever done, have a conversation with a hat," Kaden laughed.
"Won't be the weirdest thing you'll see here," Albus told him, thinking of Nearly Headless Nick, the portraits on the walls (Sir Cadogan in particular), the Whomping Willow, Moaning Myrtle, and numerous other aspects of the castle that Kaden would have never seen before.
The sorting continued and the group of first years dwindled until there were only a couple students left. Albus hadn't recognized any of the other first years, besides Kaden and Isabelle. He thought this must have been the first year in a long time that a Weasley hadn't been sorted.
"Willinson, Felix," Patil announced. One of the two remaining boys walked sullenly to the stool and waited for the hat to sort him. A few seconds later, the hat shouted, "Slytherin!"
"Willinson?" Albus turned to look at his friends, who were all starting at each other, "You don't think-"
"Must be some relation," John shrugged.
"Maybe a cousin?" Rose suggested, "I remember Slughorn mentioning that Willinson was an only child at one of the Slug Club meetings last year."
"Great," Albus sighed, "I thought we'd be done with Willinson after last year, but now we'll have to deal with his cousin."
"Felix Willinson might not be like his cousin," Rose pointed out.
"But he's in Slytherin," John said adamantly.
"May I have your attention, please!" Albus and his friends stopped talking and looked up to see that Kendrick had stood up. "Thank you. I do have a few start of term announcements, but I think they can wait until after the feast. Enjoy." Kendrick waved his arms and food appeared on the golden platters.
"That's how the food always appears, Kaden," Albus laughed and served himself a large portion of steak and kidney pie.
"I could definitely get used to this," Kaden grinned as he piled his plate high with everything within reach.
"Told you he was like you," Albus whispered to John as John filled his own plate with as much food as he possibly could.
"Wut, is' goob foob," John replied with his mouth full of potatoes.
"That's disgusting, John," Rose screwed up her face in disgust.
"Wut were you wis'ring abo befo?" Kaden asked with part of a roll in his mouth.
"Ugh, he does it too!" Amanda commented.
"What?" Matt asked Kaden.
Kaden swallowed, "I said, what were you whispering about before? You know, when Felix Willinson got sorted."
Matt glanced at Albus, clearly unsure about what to tell Kaden. Albus glanced at his other friends, who all shrugged. "Er," Albus began, "Remember what I said about the Charms teacher on the train?" Kaden nodded, while stuffing his face with the rest of his roll.
"Well, Professor Washburn wasn't the only one in on that duel. Some wizard named Jarett Willinson was fighting alongside Washburn; we think he's the one who was in charge. He has a son, Quinton, who was a seventh year last year. Quinton drove us mad all last year and then fought along with Washburn and his dad. We're all trying to figure out if Felix is related. We think he is, only probably just a cousin because Quinton doesn't have any siblings."
"Oh," Kaden replied and served himself another helping of chicken. He clearly wasn't too worried about Felix Willinson.
Throughout the rest of the feast, Albus talked to his friends about Felix Willinson and whether or not he was anything like Quinton. Rose wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and wait and see if he shared the same views as Quinton. John, on the other hand, was ready to hex him as soon as the feast was over. He figured that Felix must agree with Quinton, since he was in Slytherin. Matt and Amanda both agreed that Felix probably did agree with his cousin, but didn't think they should start hexing him before they really met him. Albus wasn't sure what to think, and he just thought they should avoid Felix, not trying to be friendly with him or hex him.
Kaden received a nice shock when Nearly-Headless Nick decided it would be his plate he would appear out of during the feast. Kaden dropped his roll in surprise, but another one of his huge grins appeared on his face shortly after. He gazed around in amazement and watched all the ghosts circling the room. Albus laughed and told him that they even had a ghost teacher. Kaden was amazed by this and said he couldn't wait for that class.
"It's just History of Magic," Matt told him, "Boringest class in the school. Best one for sleeping, though."
"You'd know, wouldn't you?" John joked.
"Oh, shut it, John," Matt laughed, "But seriously, Binns is the most boring professor here."
Kaden looked a bit disappointed at this, "Really? How can a class be boring if it's taught by a ghost?"
"Trust me, the thrill wears off after the first day," Matt said.
A few minutes later the food disappeared and deserts appeared just moments later. Kaden and John immediately piled their plates with every pudding there was. Albus and his friends informed Kaden about the rest of their professors and they all speculated about the new Charms teacher. Albus had noticed one new teacher sitting at the staff table and assumed she was the new Charms teacher. She was an old witch, with her gray hair pulled back in a tight bun. She was very skinny and Albus was guessing she was quite tall, but it was hard to tell as she was sitting down. Albus thought she had an almost bird-like appearance.
"Your attention, please," Kendrick stood up once again and the students quieted down, "Thank you. I hope everyone had a good summer and are ready to get back to studying. I have a few start-of-term announcements, as well as one rather big announcement."
Whispering immediately erupted in the room, as to what this big announcement could be. Kendrick waited a few moments before continuing, "Anyway, first I'd like to introduce you to our new Charms teacher, Professor Cedonia." The old witch stood up and Albus noticed that she was, indeed, very tall. She gave a small wave and sat back down again. "I also need to remind you that the Forbidden Forest is, as always, out of bounds, as is the Whomping Willow."
Kaden turned to Albus and mouthed, 'Whomping Willow?', with another look of amazement on his face. Albus chose to ignore this and went back to paying attention to the headmaster's speech.
"Mr. Filch has asked me to remind you that dueling in the corridors is forbidden. Also, that the list of forbidden objects now includes the new 'Extra-Strength Dung Bombs' that have just been released at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. All other products available for purchase there are also forbidden and students may inspect the full list on Mr. Filch's door."
Albus, who had experienced the effects of one of his uncle's new dung bombs, could understand why they were banned, but knew the ban wouldn't stop people from using them. He laughed to himself as he remembered the look on his grandmother's face when Uncle George brought one of the dung bombs to the end of summer get together at the Burrow.
"If you want to try out for your house's Quidditch team, please give your name to your head of house. I think those are all the usual announcements. Now, onto the more exciting announcement," Kendrick paused and none of the students said a word, "It has come to my attention that the tensions between the houses have been increasing over the past few years. I know that certain houses have always had rivalries," Kendrick turned to look at the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables before continuing, "But I think the rivalry has gotten too large. I believe we need more unity. A great Muggle man once said 'A house divided against itself cannot stand-'"
"But our house isn't divided," Cedric Weasley shouted out, "Gryffindor is perfectly unified."
"Thank you, Mr. Weasley," Kendrick said sternly, "I was talking about Hogwarts as a whole. I, along with the other professors, believe that their is too much House rivalry. Therefore, we will be taking steps this year to alleviate it."
"This won't be good," John muttered under his breath, "I can see it coming, we're going to have to be friendly with the Slytherins."
"We have decided to change the Dueling Club," Kendrick continued, "This year, unlike past years, we will have inter house teams."
"What!?" Most of the Great Hall erupted into shouts of utter astonishment. The Gryffindors were glaring at the Slytherins, and vice versa.
"No way am I dueling with Gryffindors!" an older Slytherin shouted, "I'm only dueling against them!"
"Well, we don't want any bloody Slytherins on our team either!" Fred Weasley shouted back.
"Thank you for proving my point," Kendrick shouted over the noise. The room quieted down immediately, "As I said, there is too much rivalry. I believe this will help alleviate it. You will have to work together with members of other houses in order to win the dueling championship. There will be more details to follow during the first meeting of the Dueling Club. As always, the club is open to second years and above."
"What?!" Kaden shouted loudly and turned to Albus, "I can't join?"
"No," Albus told him, "Sorry. First years don't know enough spells to join. But you can join next year." Kaden scowled and turned back to the headmaster.
"What about Quidditch?" James asked, "That's not inter house, is it?"
"Of course not, Mr. Potter, don't worry," Kendrick smiled, "I believe I would be run out of the castle if I tried to start inter house Quidditch."
"He probably would," Albus replied quietly, so only his friends could hear him.
"I think those are all the announcements I have for now. I suggest you all get a good night's rest for classes tomorrow morning. First years, please follow a Prefect to your common room. Good night, everyone," Kendrick sat back down.
"Blimey," John sighed and shook his head as he stood up, "Inter house dueling."
"Yeah, this could get messy," Matt agreed, "I'm not sure it's going to have the effect Kendrick wants."
"Oh, I don't know," Rose shrugged, "I kind of think it's a good idea."
"I don't think it'll make us get along with Slytherins," Albus commented as they exited the Great Hall.
"Nothing could do that," John said.
"Are you guys still joining?" Matt asked.
"Definitely," Albus replied. John, Rose, and Amanda all nodded their heads.
"Good, me too," Matt told them, "Just have to hope I'm not with Scorpius Malfoy."
"We've all got to hope that," Albus agreed.
Albus and his friends continued their trek to Gryffindor Tower, and the conversation turned to the new Charms teacher. None of them could guess what Professor Cedonia was like, but they all assumed she was strict. She had a very stern look about her all during the feast. When they got to the common room, they all decided to take Kendrick up on his advice and turn in early. They were all tired from the journey to Hogwarts. Albus got into his warm four-poster bed, and realized that with Professor Washburn gone, he wouldn't have anymore of those Legilimency dreams he had last year. With that happy thought in his head, Albus drifted off into a restful sleep.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to sinwillys822, Moonylupin, TheAlbusPotterCritic, XDNLxtlz99, potterfan89, and Draco_ginger for their reviews!
Quote that Kendrick said in his speech was said by Abraham Lincoln and all credit goes to him.
I've also written a new one-shot, That Night, which is about the night Matt got bitten. If you want to check it out, the link is in my profile.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
"What have we got next?" John asked at lunch the next day. The Gryffindor second years had just gotten back from a particularly boring History of Magic class. Before that, they had Transfiguration, which was almost as boring as History of Magic.
Albus looked at his schedule, "Double Potions. I hope we're not with the Slytherins this year."
"Yeah, we're already with them for Transfiguration," Matt groaned.
"Hi, everyone!" Kaden threw himself onto the bench next to Albus and started piling his plate with food, "The classes are brilliant here! There isn't any maths or English class!"
"English?" John laughed, "Why in the name of Merlin would they teach us to speak English?"
"Muggles take English class in school, John," Amanda sighed, "They learn grammar and punctuation and read literature."
"Oh," John replied, "Sounds boring."
"It is," Kaden announced, "Anyway, I had Uncle Harry for Defense first this morning; it was so neat."
"Glad you liked it," Albus responded.
"I can't wait to use my wand for something," Kaden pulled out his wand and started waving it around.
"Watch it!" Matt shouted as Kaden nearly poked his eye out.
"Sorry," Kaden put his wand back in his robe.
"You'll use it soon," Albus assured him.
"We'd better get going to Potions," Rose stood up and grabbed her bag.
"Potions!" Kaden shouted, "That sounds fun! Like chemistry." He pulled out his own schedule, "I've got it tomorrow, I can't wait!"
Albus stood up, "We'll see you later, Kaden."
Albus and his friends walked out of the Great Hall and towards the stairs that lead to the dungeon.
"Is there anything Kaden isn't excited about?" Matt asked.
"I don't think so," Albus laughed, "We'll see what he's like when exam time comes."
"Oh, Merlin!" John shouted once they reached the dungeons, "We're with the Slytherins again!"
"Of all the classes to have with them," Albus muttered.
The students stood outside the dungeon, in separate groups of Gryffindors and Slytherins, waiting for Slughorn to arrive. He arrived a few minutes later and unlocked the door. Albus went inside with everyone else and sat down at one of the desks, next to Matt.
"Ah, my two favorite Houses together again!" Slughorn grinned and clapped his hands together, "Just let me run through attendance real quick." Slughorn read off the names of all the students, "Excellent, excellent, we're all here!
"Now, seeing as we have a double class today, I thought a little contest would be appropriate! Let's see how much you remember from last year. The partners that brew the best Forgetfullness Potion will each get a large slab of Honeyduke's chocolate!" Slughorn glanced around at his students. The Gryffindors were on one side of the room, Slytherins on the other, much like it had been in the previous year.
"I'm sure you all heard Professor Kendrick's speech last night, about the fact that the school needs to be more unified," Slughorn continued in an uncharacteristically serious tone, "Therefore, I have decided that it would be a good idea to have inter-house partners this year."
Albus turned to Matt and mouthed, Good idea? Matt was looking as shocked as Albus felt. Neither of them wanted to work on Potions with any of the Slytherins. How could Slughorn think this would be a good idea? Albus thought it would most likely cause more explosions than usual.
Once the class stopped groaning, Slughorn continued, "I, for one, agree with the headmaster in that there needs to be less tension between the houses. So, please stop moaning. I'm sure you'll find that you can work together for the afternoon. I will read off the pairs and then you may move."
Slughorn picked up another piece of parchment and started reading off it, "Dalila Avish is with Amanda Tagger, John Brickston is with Xavier Goyle, Janie Creevey is with Nessa Vaisey, Matt Eckerton is with Scorpius Malfoy."
Albus glanced at Matt who had a look of utter horror on his face. He was shaking his head and mouthing the word 'no'. Albus knew that Matt would have rather worked with any Slytherin other than Scorpius. Albus turned his head slightly and saw that Scorpius had a smug look on his face. He probably thought he'd find out Matt's secret now. But he wouldn't, not if Albus could do anything about it.
Slughorn continued reading names, "Celeste Faxon is with Karina Jordan-Bell, Marina Jordan-Bell is with Elle Yeardley, Ethan Kesse is with Garth Octavius, Jackson Limbert is with Albus Potter."
Could be worse, Albus thought. He didn't really know Jackson, although he did know that Jackson was an excellent Potions brewer. Albus was decent with Potions, but not nearly as good as Jackson.
"Bilius Mansfield is with Patrick Parlan and Leigh Montague is with Rose Weasley," Slughorn looked up from his parchment and tapped his wand on the black board. Instructions appeared on it. "There you go!"
Albus gave Matt a half-hearted smile that Matt did not return, and Albus got up to join Jackson Limbert at his desk. Scorpius Malfoy got up and took Albus's vacated seat. "Limbert," Albus nodded as he set his cauldron down on the desk.
"Potter," Limbert nodded back. "I'll get the ingredients, you light a fire."
Albus nodded and lit a fire beneath his cauldron as Limbert joined the queue of students getting ingredients from the cupboard. Limbert returned a few minutes later and he and Albus started to prepare the ingredients. They worked in silence the whole time. Albus didn't know what Slughorn was thinking. The best he could probably hope for was what Albus and Limbert were doing; working civilly with each other, but not talking. Albus dropped a few beetles into the cauldron and looked around at everyone else. It seemed like Albus and Limbert were some of the few who were getting along. Scorpius Malfoy was whispering something to Matt, that Matt was trying hard to ignore. Rose was telling Leigh something and Leigh looked like she was ready to hex Rose. John was correcting Goyle, who was stirring his cauldron in the wrong direction, and John looked like he wanted to scream. Amanda and Delila seemed to be getting along all right, but like Albus and Limbert, weren't talking.
"Time's up!" Slughorn announced a while later. Albus stepped back from his cauldron as Slughorn started to examine the potions. He inspected each one, telling its owner what they could have done to make it better. Slughorn was impressed with Rose and Leigh's potion, but not with any of the others. Finally, he made his way to Albus and Limbert's cauldron.
He leaned over the cauldron and prodded it with his wand. "Excellent! Well done, boys! I think we have a winner!" Slughorn produced two bars of chocolate and gave them to Albus and Limbert. "Please read chapter one of your book and write a six inch summary of it for next class."
Albus and his friends cleaned up their cauldrons as quickly as they could. They met up with each other just outside the dungeon door. "Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," Albus said.
Matt, John, and Rose all stared at him with looks of disgust on their faces. "Speak for yourself," Matt muttered. John and Rose both nodded.
"I think Goyle's actually dumber than a troll," John commented, "Doesn't know the difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise."
"Leigh is a bit smarter than that," Rose replied, "But she won't listen to a word I say, so we were both doing the same instruction over again!"
"At least you weren't with Malfoy," Matt said, "He spent the whole time asking me I would be visiting my gran this year."
"What did you say?" Albus asked.
"That I would be," Matt answered, "What else was I going to say? You know I'll be visiting her this year." He gave Albus a significant look.
"I don't know what Slughorn was thinking," Amanda sighed, "We're never going to all get along. I'm just glad I was with Dalila. She's not that bad. She's very quiet, so we just ignored each other."
"Well, you're quiet too," Albus grinned, "But yeah, that's what Limbert and I did."
"Worked out good," John said, "You got the chocolate."
The next morning, after breakfast, the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw second years found themselves waiting outside the Charms classroom. None of them had met the new teacher and they were all eager to see what she was like. Albus didn't care what she was like, as long as she was nicer than Washburn. Shortly after the bell rang, Professor Cedonia came ambling up the corridor. She didn't say a word to her students as she unlocked the door. Albus filed inside with the others and sat down at a table with John and Matt.
"Gonna set her on fire, too?" John grinned at Albus.
"Only if she tries to read my mind," Albus whispered back.
"Quiet, please," Professor Cedonia said in a quiet, but forceful, voice. "Thank you. I'll just run through the attendance." Cedonia called out all their names and when she was satisfied that everyone was there, she walked out from behind her desk. "Now, I know your last year of instruction in this subject was less than satisfactory, and I hope to change that for this year. I know some of you," her eyes fell upon Albus's table, "Spent more time in detention with Professor Washburn than in class with him. I do not believe that that is a good way of teaching. Now, don't get me wrong, if there is any misbehavior, I will give detentions, but I do not hand them out lightly. I would much rather find out why a student is misbehaving and work to fix it, than just give out detentions like they're free samples."
"I think I'm going to like her," Matt whispered. Albus and John nodded.
"For example, some students cause chaos because they are bored with class. I do not want you to be bored in my classroom. If you are, please feel free to let me know before you start causing any pandemonium.
"Now, with that in mind, I'd like to start off with a review of last year. Please take out your parchment and quills."
The rest of the class was rather enjoyable, Albus thought. They spent half of it taking notes, which Cedonia actually made pretty fun. She kept everyone engaged, but didn't force you to answer a question you didn't know, like Washburn had done. The other half was spent practicing charms they had learned last year. Albus found that he was much better at Charms when he wasn't being watched by a teacher who hated him. He actually managed to levitate his textbook a couple feet in the air and he didn't set anything or anyone on fire.
"I'm going to like Charms this year," John announced as they walked out of the room.
"Me, too," Matt agreed, "I wish we'd had her last year."
"I like her style, too," Rose commented, "She isn't going to be giving out a lot of detentions. I like that."
"Definitely," Albus nodded, "I'm going to have so much more free time this year without all the detentions," he joked.
"You'll just have to do other things to earn detentions," John laughed, "Like pull pranks on the Slytherins."
"It'd be better just to beat them at the Dueling Club," Rose said, "You couldn't get in trouble for that."
"Yeah, but they might be on our team," John said disgustedly, "And we probably won't all be on the same team."
Albus groaned, "Now it's not going to be as fun as I thought it would be. I don't want to duel you lot. I want to duel the Slytherins."
"Oh, you'll get to duel them, too," Rose assured him.
"When's the first meeting, anyway?" Matt asked.
"This Saturday," Albus told him, "Day before Quidditch try-outs. That's not a, er, bad time for you, is it?"
"No, luckily it's not," Matt replied quietly, "The you-know-what isn't until next Thursday."
"Good," Albus said, relieved that Matt would not be missing the first Dueling Club meeting.
The rest of the week passed by quickly. Albus and his friends fell right back into their usual Hogwarts routine. They spent their evenings in the common room either doing homework or just talking and playing games. Kaden usually spent the evenings with him. Kaden seemed to spend time with Albus's group rather than the other Gryffindor first years. Albus was not sure why, and was starting to become a bit annoyed at the fact that Kaden was always around. The only time Albus seemed to get away from Kaden was during classes. Classes were going well so far. Albus was doing much better in Charms with Professor Cedonia, and was doing about the same as the previous year in the rest of his classes.
When Saturday arrived, everyone was talking about the Dueling Club. The first meeting was taking place that afternoon, after lunch. Albus and his friends went immediately to the Dueling room after they finished eating. When they got there, it seemed like everyone in the whole school was joining. Well, everyone except the first years.
"Wow," Albus said as he looked around, "Is everyone joining?"
"Probably," Rose replied, "There aren't many people who don't join."
"Quiet, please!" Harry shouted out over the crowd. Everyone stopped talking and turned to look at him. "Thanks. Now, like past years, we're having Junior Dueling as well as the regular Dueling Club. If you're second, third, or fourth year, you have to join the Junior Club. If you're in fifth year or above, please follow Professor Longbottom to the next room where you will have your meeting."
"Well that's a relief," Matt commented as the older students left the room, "I didn't fancy dueling with seventh years."
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "My cousin Stanley is a brilliant dueler. I wouldn't want to be paired up against him."
"Oh, I don't know," John grinned and pulled out his wand, "I bet I could take on a seventh year."
"Yeah, sure," Rose rolled her eyes.
"Wands away!" Harry shouted, and John quickly stowed his wand. "Now, as you know, Professor Kendrick has decided that we will not have House teams this year. There will be eight teams, just like last year, but they will have members from each house on them."
There was a collective groan from the crowd. Everyone was standing in groups consisting of students of their own house. Albus sighed, he had kind of hoped that Professor Kendrick would change his mind, but it didn't appear that way.
"Yes, I know none of you are happy about it. And frankly, I'm not sure if it will cause less tension between the houses, but it's worth a try. Now, once we get everything organized, this will work much like Quidditch. Each team captain will set up practice times, and there will be competitions throughout the year. Unlike Quidditch, there is no trying out; everyone gets on a team.
"First, I'll tell you who the captains will be. Professor Longbottom and I picked them at the end of last year, based on your performance. All the captains are fourth years. There are two from each house.
"They are Bradley Weasley, Tasha Kasey, Kate Waverly, Leo Davies, April Finch-Fletchley, Paul Galivant, Nadine Neal, and Barty Heath."
There was a large amount of cheering and groaning at the announcement of the captains. Albus didn't know any of the captains besides his cousin, Bradley. He hoped he was on Bradley's team.
The rest of the meeting consisted of Harry putting everyone onto a team. Albus found it rather boring and spent the whole time talking to his friends. Eventually, he was put on a team. He was on Kate Waverly's team, along with Amanda. They were the only two Gryffindor first years on that team. James wasn't on it either. Albus was happy he was on Kate's team. She was a Ravenclaw and on the Quidditch team. Albus was very relieved that his captain was not a Slytherin. However, shortly after Harry told Albus he was on Kate's team, he found out that Scorpius Malfoy was on his team. He was not looking forward to having to cooperate with Malfoy. He had hoped he would be able to duel Malfoy, but it didn't look like that would be happening.
"I'm so glad I'm not on Malfoy's team," Matt said, as they entered the common room after the meeting was over.
"Yeah, well, me and Amanda are," Albus groaned and threw himself into one of the chairs.
"But you aren't his Potions partner," Matt pointed out, "I'd go mad if I had to be on his dueling team, too."
"Good point," Albus sighed, "But you really lucked out. You have my cousin for your captain."
"At least you haven't got a Slytherin for your captain!" John shouted. Rose nodded. She and John both had Slytherin captains, but not the same ones. John's captain was Nadine Neal and Rose's was Barty Heath.
"Oh, you'll survive," Amanda laughed.
"Easy for you to say, with your Ravenclaw captain," John muttered.
"Albus!" Kaden came running out of the door leading to the boys' dormitories, "How was dueling? Was it fun? Did you win? Was the other guy unconscious for a while? Is he still unconscious?" Kaden sat down excitedly in the chair next to Albus's.
Albus sighed; he had yet to see his cousin without his endless amount of energy. Albus was beginning to wonder if Kaden could settle down enough to sleep. "Er, we didn't really duel today, Kaden. It was just an informational meeting. We got assigned teams, though."
"Neat! Who's on your team?"
"Me, Amanda, Cedric, and a bunch of Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and Slytherins that I don't know. Our captain is Kate Waverly, she's a Ravenclaw."
Kaden grinned, "I can't wait to join the Dueling Club next year. I'll beat everyone!" He pulled out his wand and waved it around. It produced a trickle of water that landed on Albus's head.
"Watch it!" Albus shouted and shook the water out of his eyes, "And put your wand away.
"Sorry," Kaden replied and put his wand into his robe. "What are you going to do now?"
"Probably go down to the Quidditch pitch and practice for try-outs tomorrow," Albus told him.
"Ooo! Can I come, please? Flying lessons start next week. I can't wait! Can I try out your broom?" Kaden begged.
Albus did not want Kaden on his new broom. Kaden had never flown before and Albus was sure he would crash it. "You can come watch, I guess. But sorry, you can't try out my broom."
Kaden's face fell a bit, but he still looked excited, "All right, let's go! At least I can watch you play Quidditch. I still don't see how it can be better than football."
"It is," Albus replied adamantly. He stood up and turned to his friends, "You lot want to come?"
"Yeah, definitely!" John stood up. "I'll bring my broom and help you practice."
"I'll come," Matt agreed.
"Don't think so," Rose replied, "I'm going to do some homework. Want to stay here with me, Amanda." Rose gave Amanda a look.
"Sure," Amanda said, "See you later, Albus."
Albus and John grabbed their brooms from their dormitory and the four boys left the common room.
"Rose and Amanda are probably having girl talk," John grinned.
"Yeah, they're probably talking about us," Albus laughed.
Albus, John, Matt, and Kaden spent the rest of the afternoon playing Quidditch. Kaden watched the whole time, amazed that brooms could enable people to fly. He still thought football was better, but Albus assured him that after he saw a match, he would change his mind. John let Matt fly his broom for a little while and Albus practiced his Chaser skills with both of them. By the time night fell, and Albus was exhausted, John and Matt were sure he would get on the team.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to my other sister and my brother. Thanks to ginnyweasley98, XDNLxtlz99, sinwillys822, potterfan89, Moonylupin, and ladymblack for their reviews!
Just to let everyone know, the next chapter might not be up until Friday of next week instead of Thursday. I might have to switch my update day to Friday instead of Thursday from now on, since school is starting and my Thursdays are going to be quite busy.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Albus woke up the next day feeling very nervous. The Quidditch try-outs weren't until the afternoon, but Albus didn't eat much breakfast anyway. He spent most of the morning in the common room with his friends, trying to get some homework done, but found that he couldn't concentrate. Eventually he gave up and played a few rounds of Exploding Snap with John, who was putting off his homework until the last minute.
Harry stopped by the Gryffindor table during lunch and wished Albus good luck. Shortly after lunch, Albus headed down to the Quidditch pitch with his new broom over his shoulder. Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda went with him.
"Albus, hey, Albus!" Albus turned around as he was leaving the castle to see Kaden running out of the Great Hall.
"What?" Albus asked impatiently. He was anxious to get down to the pitch and see how many other people were trying out. He didn't want to be late.
"Are you going to try-outs now?" Kaden asked excitedly.
"Uh, yeah," Albus replied.
"Oh, can I come?" Kaden asked hopefully.
"Sure," Albus answered and stepped out of the castle. The group continued their walk to the pitch, listening to Kaden talk animatedly about his first week at Hogwarts. Albus didn't think Kaden would ever run out of things to say, and found his constant jabbering a bit irritating. Albus wasn't in the mood to hear about how Professor Patil had yelled at half of Kaden's transfiguration class the previous day. Soon, Albus just adopted the policy of smiling and nodding when Kaden paused, like he did with his other younger cousins. Right now, all Albus wanted to do was concentrate on his try-out.
John, Matt, Rose, Amanda, and Kaden went to go sit in the stands while Albus went down to the large crowd of Gryffindors trying out. Albus turned his attention to the other Chaser hopefuls gathered around him. There was a seventh year boy who Albus vaguely recognized as one of Stanley's friends, two burly looking sixth year boys who looked like they'd make better Beaters than Chasers, a couple fifth year girls, quite a few fourth and third years, and even a bunch of first years. After a few more minutes of waiting, the Gryffindor team emerged from the locker room, lead by Albus's cousin, Georgia. Georgia had become the new captain over the summer. Albus distinctly remembered the morning she got the letter informing her of her captaincy. Her head had appeared in the fireplace at Grimmauld Place, where she shouted the news so loudly, Ginny had dropped the ladle she was stirring porridge with.
"Attention, please!" Georgia shouted over the crowd. She had a very loud voice and everyone was quiet immediately. "Thanks. Now, there's only one available spot this year, for Chaser. And I'm not kicking any of last year's players off, so if any of you are seeking a position other than Chaser, clear off now."
There were a few groans from the crowd, and the two sixth year boys stalked off the field. One of the fourth years left as well.
"Also, I'm sorry but the rules have not changed since last year, and first years are not allowed on the team. I encourage you to try out again when we next have available positions." The rather large group of first years scowled and left the pitch in a huff.
"Well, now that that's taken care of," Georgia pulled out a clip board, "First, I'll need to see you all fly around the pitch. Fifth through seventh years first."
Albus watched as the older students flew around the pitch a few times. Georgia watched them carefully and wrote notes on her clip board. Albus thought they all flew remarkably well except for one of the fifth year girls. She kept lurching downwards every time she accelerated, almost falling off her broom. After a few turns around the pitch, the older students landed next to Georgia.
"Good. But I'm sorry, Carrie," Georgia turned to the fifth year who didn't fly very well, "I don't think you're cut out for this." The girl shrugged and went to sit in the stands. She didn't look too disappointed and Albus suspected the only reason she tried out was because the other fifth year girl didn't want to do it alone.
Next, it was Albus's turn to fly around the pitch. He took off along with the third and fourth years. Once in the air, he started feeling better about the try-out. He could do this, he was a good flier. He sped around the pitch, going faster than the other students. Albus noticed that they were great fliers as well, even better than the seventh and fifth years who had flown earlier.
"Excellent," Georgia grinned as Albus landed in front of her. The others landed shortly after. "Now I just have to see how well you work with Quaffles and the rest of the team."
During the next part of the try-outs, all the Chaser hopefuls went up into the air along with the rest of the team and passed the Quaffle back and forth. Albus only dropped it once. The same couldn't be said for everyone else. Everyone else dropped it at least once. The only other person who only dropped it once was one of the fourth years, Gabe Bourne.
"You all did great," Georgia smiled after they finished tossing the Quaffle around, "But I have narrowed it down to Gabe Bourne and Albus Potter." The other hopefuls sighed and left the pitch.
After this, Georgia simulated a real match, in order to find out who fit best with the team. Albus, who had played Chaser with his cousins numerous times, worked quite well with Heather and Fred. Albus already knew the way they played and found that it was very easy to communicate with them while he was flying.
"All right," Georgia announced once everyone had landed, "I've decided on Albus Potter. I'm sorry, Gabe, feel free to try-out again another time."
"Yes!" Albus grinned. The rest of the team clapped him on the shoulder and congratulated him.
"I knew you'd get it, Albus," James grinned.
"Figures," Gabe muttered as he left the pitch, "Had to pick your cousin. Aren't there enough of them on the team?"
"He's just jealous," James commented. "You obviously worked better with Heather and Fred."
"Thanks, James," Albus grinned. He didn't care what Gabe Bourne thought. He was on the team!
"Great job, Albus!" John shouted as he ran onto the pitch. "I knew you'd get it."
"Yeah, congratulations!" Matt agreed. Rose and Amanda grinned.
"Brilliant!" Kaden shouted, "Maybe I'll get to be on the team someday."
"I thought you liked football," Albus laughed.
"I do, football's still better than Quidditch," Kaden assured him, "But flying is brilliant."
"Quidditch is better," Albus replied adamantly, "But I'll see you lot up in the castle. We're going to stay and practice a bit."
Albus and the rest of the team spent the whole afternoon practicing. Albus loved every bit of it. Georgia was very happy that Albus worked so well with Heather and Fred. Usually, when a team got a new Chaser it took a couple weeks for the new Chaser to get used to the team, but Albus fit right in. Georgia was sure they would be ready for the first match, and they might even be able to win the Quidditch Cup again.
Albus climbed through the portrait hole the following Thursday feeling thoroughly worn out. The Quidditch team had just practiced for two hours and Albus just got back from snagging a late supper afterwards. The team was only practicing a couple nights a week, but it was enough that Albus hardly had any time for anything other than homework. He could only imagine what it would be like when they were practicing every night of the week.
Albus immediately spotted John and Matt sitting at their usual table in the back. He looked longingly at the door leading to the dormitories. All he wanted to do was sleep, but they had Astronomy at midnight that night. Albus ran up to the dormitory for a few minutes to deposit his broom and get his school bag, wishing all the while that he could just collapse into bed.
"Hi, guys," Albus said as he sunk into a chair at the table his friends were at.
"Hi, Albus," John greeted him, "You look almost as bad as Matt does."
"Thanks," Albus replied flatly, but he knew he looked exhausted. Although not nearly as exhausted as Matt did. The full moon was that night Matt was sleeping with his head on his transfiguration book.
"How was practice?" John asked, without looking up from her History of Magic notes.
"Exhausting," Albus replied, "And I got hit with two Bludgers."
"Ouch," John said.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, massaging his left arm where both Bludgers had made contact. He heard the portrait open and saw Kaden coming in, looking more subdued than he usually did. He made a beeline for Albus and sat down next to him.
"Hi, Kaden," Albus said.
"Er, is something wrong?" Albus asked. He wasn't used to seeing Kaden so quiet.
"Patil assigned another essay today. A foot long!" Kaden shouted so loudly that Matt woke up. "A whole foot!"
Albus looked at John and both of them burst out laughing.
"What's so funny?" Kaden asked loudly, his voice returning to its usual tone.
"It's just," Albus grinned, "that you seemed so in love with everything magical and it didn't seem like you thought anything was bad in the magical world and here at Hogwarts. You loved every single class and didn't have a complaint. I knew that would change once you'd been assigned a long essay."
"Haha," Kaden replied flatly, "But still! I mean, come on, how can I write a foot long essay about transfiguring matchsticks into needles? It's not that complicated! You mutter an incantation and your match changes, that's all there is to it! There's no way I can stretch that into a foot unless I write as big as Bethany does and I don't think Patil would like it if I wrote like a seven-year-old."
"A foot is nothing," Albus told him, "Eventually, you'll be doing essays that are two rolls of parchment."
"Two rolls!" Kaden shouted, "How is that possible? It's not! I give up!"
"Could you talk quieter?" Matt whispered.
Kaden paused long enough to look at Matt. "You look terrible. You should go see Madam Pomfrey. You know magic fixes everything! It's amazing. I had a cold the other day and she gave me a potion and it was gone in an instant!"
"She can't fix this," Matt muttered.
"Sure she can. I saw her fix this bloke's bone with her wand. It was brilliant. She'll have you better in no time," Kaden assured him.
"No she won't," Matt said quietly.
Albus and John shot Kaden warning looks. Albus willed his cousin to stop talking now. Kaden had absolutely no idea what Matt went through every month. Albus was getting fed up with Kaden's belief that everything about the wizarding world was wonderful and that magic fixed everything.
"Yeah she will," Kaden pressed, "Just go ask her for a potion."
"Just forget it," Matt replied a bit more loudly, and stood up. He turned to Albus and John, "I have to go now. I'll see you tomorrow, right?"
"Of course," Albus assured him.
"Yeah, we'll see you then," John said, "Want me to come?"
"No, I'm fine," Matt replied and left the common room.
"Is he going to see Madam Pomfrey?" Kaden asked, "I don't know why he didn't go right when he got sick. Seems stupid to me."
That was the last straw. Albus had had it with Kaden. He turned to his cousin with a look of rage in his eyes. "Kaden, just shut it!" he shouted. "Don't call him stupid! You've got no idea what illness he's got," Albus whispered so that only Kaden and John could hear him, but his voice was every bit as forceful as it had been when he was shouting. "And get it through your head that magic does not fix everything! There are some things that Madam Pomfrey can't fix with potions. Don't ever tell him to just go see Madam Pomfrey so she can make it all better. Because she can't."
Kaden stared at Albus and didn't say a word. His usual cheery grin faded away and was replaced by a look of shock and hurt. "Sorry," he mumbled and got up from the table. He ran over to the dormitories and went up the stairs without so much as a glance back to Albus.
Albus looked at John, who was wearing a look of shock on his face as well. "I don't think I've ever heard you yell at anyone like that. Besides me, of course, when we were fighting over whether to tell Matt we knew he was a werewolf," John said quietly.
"Yeah, well, he was really starting to get on my nerves," Albus replied, "And this was it. He shouldn't have done that. He should have stopped talking when Matt said Madam Pomfrey couldn't help him."
"But how was he supposed to know?" John asked, "Don't you think you were a bit harsh?"
"No," Albus answered, "Not when it comes to this. He's got to learn not to butt into Matt's illness, especially if he's going to be around us all the time."
"I'm not sure he will anymore," John replied.
The two friends sat in silence for the next few minutes. Albus thought about what John had said. Maybe he had been too harsh. Maybe he should have just told Kaden not to bother Matt. But Kaden had practically called Matt stupid, hadn't he? That was uncalled for. Could what Albus said really been enough to dissuade Kaden from spending time with Albus and the others? Albus wasn't sure. He wasn't even sure if he wanted Kaden to stop spending time with him. As much as Kaden annoyed him, he had grown used to his younger cousin being around.
"You're awfully quiet over here," Rose said as she and Amanda sat down at the table. "Oh, did Matt leave?"
Albus nodded. "How is he?" Rose asked.
"He'd have been better if it wasn't for Kaden," John pointed out.
Rose groaned, "What did he do?"
"I was wondering why Kaden wasn't here," Amanda said, "It's kind of odd seeing you without him around, Albus."
"Kaden insisted that Matt go get a potion from Madam Pomfrey because he looked sick," John told the girls. Albus was perfectly willing to let John tell the story. "And of course he looked sick, considering what tonight is. But Kaden didn't know that, of course, and he wouldn't stop telling Matt how magic can fix everything."
"Oh, did he really?" Rose sighed, "Then what happened?"
"Matt left. I think he really did have to leave then, but I'm sure he was pretty irritated by Kaden," John continued.
"I'll bet," Amanda said quietly, "Your cousin doesn't always know the best thing to say, Albus."
"That's why Albus yelled at him," John announced.
"What?!" both girls shouted at the same time.
"Yup," John replied, "Probably would have turned into a big row if Kaden hadn't have just left. He's in his dormitory right now."
"Oh, Albus, you didn't," Rose sighed.
"I did," Albus said, a little annoyed that Rose seemed disappointed, "And you would have to if you'd been there. I just told him I was tired of him talking about how magic fixes everything. I told him that there are some things that Madam Pomfrey's potions won't fix and not to mention them around Matt. I also yelled at him because he practically called Matt stupid. Kaden said Matt was stupid for not getting a potion when he first got sick."
"I see your point," Rose replied, "But honestly, Albus, you could have said it without yelling. I think Kaden's having a rough time adjusting and making friends. Having you angry with him isn't going to help things."
"Maybe if he learned to be quiet once and a while, he'd make friends," Albus muttered.
"Well, you can apologize in the morning," Rose told him, while taking out her homework.
"Apologize? He's the one who's got to apologize to Matt," Albus said adamantly.
"He doesn't even know why that upset Matt," Rose insisted, "And unless you plan on telling him, he's probably not going to apologize."
Albus hadn't thought of that. There was no way he was going to tell Kaden that Matt was a werewolf. "All right, fine. I'll apologize. But if he does that again, I'll yell at him again and I won't apologize."
"And I'll be right there yelling with you," John assured him.
"Boys," Rose muttered to Amanda, who nodded.
Albus was extremely tired when he trudged down to breakfast with his friends the next morning. Due to Astronomy, he hadn't gotten to bed until 1:30 am, and had had about six hours of sleep. Albus hadn't seen Kaden at all that morning, which was strange because Kaden usually waited for Albus in the common room before breakfast. Albus figured he was probably still upset about the previous night. Albus really didn't want to apologize, but he supposed he would have to.
Albus sat down and poured himself a glass of orange juice. He was glad that it was a relatively easy day. Double Herbology in the morning and then a single class of Potions after lunch. Following Potions, Albus and his friends would go visit Matt in the Hospital Wing. Albus felt like he would rather spend the day in the Hospital Wing sleeping instead of going to class, but he knew that wouldn't happen.
The post owls flew into the room and Albus noticed his mother's owl flying towards him. The owl landed next to Albus, Albus took the letter, and the owl was off again.
"Letter from Aunt Ginny?" Rose asked.
"Yeah," Albus told her and opened the letter.
How are you? I hope your first two weeks have gone well.
I'm glad the new Charms teacher is nice, and I do hope
you'll behave yourself in her class.
Congratulations on making the Quidditch team! I'm so
proud of you. Lily is very excited as well and is
telling me that she is going to become the new
Keeper after Georgia graduates. We'll see about that.
Dudley called last night and told me about the row
you had with Kaden last night. I realize that Kaden
may have been less than sympathetic with Matt, but
please apologize to him. Kaden is having a rough
time adjusting to Hogwarts. I know it seems like
he loves everything magical, but he has not made a
whole lot of friends. He needs you to be kind to
him and include him in your activities.
Albus folded the letter and sighed. Even his mother wanted him to apologize to Kaden. Didn't anyone understand that Kaden had been out of line last night? John seemed to think so, but thought Albus should have been nicer about it.
"Aunt Ginny agrees with me," Rose commented.
"Her and everyone else," Albus muttered. He still didn't really want to apologize to Kaden.
"Well, looks like you'll have to apologize later," Rose announced and stood up, "We've got to get to Herbology."
Relieved that he had an excuse not to apologize now, Albus made his way to the greenhouses with his friends. Neville spent the lesson teaching about Mandrakes and helping the class to re-pot them. Albus found rather easy, but not everyone in the class did. One of the Mandrakes attached itself to Karina's hair and wouldn't let go until Neville stunned it.
Albus didn't see Kaden at lunch and didn't have time to go find him before Potions, not that he minded. He was still mad at Kaden and did not want to apologize. Potions was pretty boring because all Slughorn did was lecture. Albus felt himself nodding off a few times, only to be prodded awake by Rose who was sitting next to him.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to XDNLxtlz99, potterfan89, ginnyweasley98, and Moonylupin for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
After Potions, Albus and his friends went to visit Matt like they usually did after a full moon. Albus was relieved that they didn't run into Kaden on the way there. He wasn't sure what he would say in order to shake off his cousin if Kaden decided to try and visit Matt with them.
"Hello, kids," Madam Pomfrey greeted them as they entered the ward. She was used to them visiting by then and left them alone as long as they weren't too loud.
Albus made a beeline for the bed Matt usually stayed in and pulled back the curtains. Matt was sporting numerous cuts all over his face and arms, a black eye, and bruises all along his arms. He was also asleep.
"Aww, he's sleeping," John grinned mischievously as he shut the curtains behind them.
"Well, that's not really surprising," Rose commented, "Maybe we should come back later."
"No, I'm awake," Matt mumbled hoarsely and opened his eyes a bit. "Is Kaden here?"
"Nope, haven't seen him since last night," Albus told him.
Matt breathed a sigh of relief, "Good. I was trying to come up with a something to tell him as to why I'm here, but now I don't have to."
"I don't think you're going to have to worry about that," John replied.
"Why not? I'm sure he'll ask. He's always hanging around. And last night he was so bloody irritating. I think I would've had a go at him if I hadn't had a splitting headache."
"Albus had a go at him," John told him, and proceeded to tell Matt what had happened after he left.
"Wow, Albus," Matt said quietly when John had finished, "Thanks, I guess."
"No problem. I'm not going to let him butt into why you're sick all the time," Albus said.
"And you haven't seen him since?" Matt asked.
"Nope. He got really upset, I think. And Mum says I've got to apologize to him. I don't really want to, though," Albus answered.
"Well, you probably should. He is your cousin, after all. But I can't say I'd mind if he didn't spend as much time with us," Matt told him.
"I know, me too," Albus responded. "Anyway, how are you?"
"Been better, been worse," Matt replied, "Got a few broken ribs, but Madam Pomfrey fixed them. I'm just a bit sore. And tired, of course."
"When do you get to leave?" Amanda asked.
"Probably Sunday," Matt yawned.
"Do you want us to leave so you can sleep?" Rose asked.
"No, I've got all night to sleep. Tell me what I missed in class."
"Well, a mandrake attached itself to Karina's hair in Herbology," Albus told him.
"Bet she loved that," Matt stifled a laugh.
"And Albus fell asleep in Potions," Rose announced, "I had to wake him up a few times."
"I wasn't asleep. I was just closing my eyes for a bit," Albus insisted. "Slughorn was just talking and it was boring. I had Quidditch practice yesterday and Astronomy. I'm tired."
"What did I miss in Astronomy?"
"Not much. Just review, mostly. Phases of the moon, that kind of thing," Albus replied.
"I think I've got those down pretty well," Matt laughed. Everyone else started laughing, too. Albus was happy that Matt was getting to be more comfortable about talking and joking about his condition with them.
Albus and the others spent the remainder of the time until dinner in the Hospital Wing with Matt. Once dinner time came, Madam Pomfrey chased them out. Albus knew he'd have to talk to Kaden soon, but he didn't get the opportunity to during dinner. After they finished eating, Albus and his friends went up to the common room to get started on their growing pile of homework.
"You should go talk to Kaden now," Rose said as she looked up from her notes.
Albus sighed. He had just gotten started on an essay that he really didn't feel like writing, but he'd rather write it than talk to Kaden. "I don't even see him in here, Rose."
"He's over there, sitting by himself," Rose pointed behind Albus.
"Just get it over with, Albus," John told him as he twirled his quill around his fingers, "You've got to do it sometime. Just apologize and tell him not to bother Matt anymore. Make sure he knows that, because if he does that again I'll yell at him, too. And I'm much louder than you," John grinned.
"He's your cousin, Albus, you've got to at least be polite to him," Amanda said, "Even if you're not best friends."
"That'll never happen," Albus rolled his eyes. "Oh, fine, I'll go talk to him."
Albus got up from the table and squeezed his way through the crowded common room to the chair Kaden was sitting in. Kaden was leafing through his potions text book and writing the occasional note down on a piece of parchment. "Er, hi Kaden," Albus said and sat down in the chair opposite his cousin. "Could I talk to you?"
"Oh, hi Albus," Kaden replied quietly, "I thought you were still mad at me."
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about."
"Oh, well, go ahead," Kaden closed his potions book.
"I guess I just want to say I'm sorry for yelling at you last night," Albus said as he picked at a loose thread on the chair. "I didn't really mean to upset you. I just wanted you to stop telling Matt to go to the Hospital Wing. He told you to stop and you didn't."
"Well, I thought Madam Pomfrey could just give him a potion and he'd be all better, you know, like magic," Kaden gave a half-hearted laugh, "I just don't get why anyone wouldn't go get a potion when they're sick."
Albus sighed. He knew it was time for Kaden to understand that magic didn't fix everything. "Kaden, you've got to understand that magic can't fix everything. I don't think you get that yet. I know it's hard to come into the magical world after living in the Muggle one for eleven years. Well, actually, I guess I don't know that. You'd be better off talking to Amanda about that, or my dad, or my Aunt Hermione-"
"I think magic is bloody brilliant!" Kaden interrupted.
"That's the thing!" Albus stared his cousin in the eye, "Not all magic is brilliant! And it won't fix everything!"
"I don't see why it can't," Kaden shrugged, "It's magic after all."
"This is why most Muggles don't know about magic. Most of them think magic can fix all their problems, just like you do," Albus explained, "But it can't. And I guess you'll just have to learn that for yourself, if you don't believe me."
"I think I do believe you, Albus," Kaden replied, "And I already know that not all magic is good. I remember what you told me about Voldemort."
"Yeah, I think you do know that," Albus agreed, "But back to the other thing. You've got to understand that there are some, er," Albus chose his words carefully so as not to give away Matt's secret, "illnesses, that can't be fixed by magic. They're worse than your average cold or flu, and the Healers, those are magical doctors, haven't found cures yet."
"Oh," Kaden said. Albus could tell he was giving this a good bit of thought. "But why can't you just wave your wand and make it better?"
Albus sighed. This was harder than he thought. He tried to think of a way of putting this in a Muggle perspective. Amanda would be better at this, he thought. Or even Rose. "I'm not sure exactly why. It just won't work. I guess magical healing isn't that different than Muggle medicine. Healers try to find cures just like doctors do. Doctors can't fix everything either, like cancer," Albus remembered a Muggle disease he heard his dad talking about once, one that was very hard to cure. "Doctors try to fix it and sometimes they do, but there's no cure."
Kaden's eyes opened wide and he whispered, "Matt's got cancer?"
"Oh, no!" Albus exclaimed, "Wizards don't get that; it's a Muggle disease. And what he's got isn't the wizard version of it. He's not going to die from it. He just gets sick every once and a while. What you've got to understand is that Madam Pomfrey can't fix it with potions. So, you shouldn't tell him to go get some. Just don't mention anything like that. And definitely don't call him stupid for not going to see Madam Pomfrey," Albus said sternly.
Kaden nodded his head solemnly. Finally he seemed to be getting it, Albus thought. "But what has he got?" Kaden asked curiously.
Albus groaned inwardly. He had hoped this wouldn't come up, but he knew it would. "I can't tell you. That's for him to tell you, if he wants to. And honestly, I don't think he will. So don't ask him, ever."
"You know what it is, right Albus?" Kaden asked.
"Yeah, I do," Albus replied. "Oh, and don't talk about this with anyone else, besides me. Not any of the other first years, or anyone. Don't mention that you know anything whatsoever about him getting sick. Promise me you won't."
Kaden looked questioningly at his cousin. "I won't. But why is it so secretive?"
"It's all part of what it is, and that's all I'm going to say," Albus stood up.
"All right, so you're not mad anymore?"
"No," Albus replied. "I've got to go finish an essay. You want to come sit with us?" Albus wasn't sure what his friends would think of Kaden sitting with them, heck he wasn't really sure if he wanted Kaden to sit with them, but it seemed like the right thing to do.
A huge grin appeared on Kaden's face and he stood up. "Yeah, of course!"
Albus walked back to his friends, Kaden following like a puppy, and he knew things were back to normal.
"Hey, Albus," Kate Waverly sat down next to Albus at breakfast the following Monday.
"Oh, hi Kate," Albus said once he'd swallowed his mouthful of eggs.
"Listen, I've been trying to find a time for dueling practice," she began, "It's been harder than I thought it'd be. I obviously can't do it during Quidditch practice. I don't think the whole team will be able to meet at the same time; it just won't work. But that's all right. The team I was on last year rarely ever met at the same time. I've been talking to everyone and it looks like Wednesday evening will work for a lot of people. Can you make it?"
Albus thought for a moment. He had been wondering when the first dueling practice would take place. John and Rose had already been to their first practices. Matt missed his because it took place while he was in the hospital wing. "I should be able to make it," he told Kate.
Kate grinned, "Great. How about you, Amanda?" she turned to Amanda, who was sitting across from Albus.
"Sure, I'll be there. I haven't gotten anything else to do besides homework," she laughed.
"Perfect. The meeting will be in the dueling room, seven in the evening. I've already talked to Professor Potter and he said it's free. I've got to go talk to the Slytherins now. I've been saving them for last," she groaned and walked over to the Slytherin table.
"Finally, we're having a meeting!" Albus said excitedly. "I can't wait to start dueling people."
"Me too," Amanda grinned.
"It's pretty brilliant," John told them, "We haven't really learned any new spells yet, but I got to disarm a couple people."
"I disarmed a couple third years at my meeting," Rose announced. "I'm excited about learning new spells, though."
"Wish I hadn't missed mine," Matt muttered.
"You'll make it to the next one," Albus assured him, "You heard Kate, not everyone makes it to every meeting."
"Can I go with you to the meeting, Albus? Please?" Kaden begged.
"I don't think you can, sorry," Albus told him, "First years aren't allowed."
Kaden mumbled something that sounded like 'stupid rule' and left to go to his first class.
"We ought to go, too," Rose announced. Albus and his friends left the Great Hall and made their way to Transfiguration.
The next few days seemed to drag on for an eternity. Albus was very excited about the dueling practice and he did not feel like concentrating on anything else. He momentarily forgot about it during Quidditch practice on Tuesday, but once that was finished, he was back to waiting impatiently for dueling.
After dinner on Wednesday, Albus and Amanda said goodbye to their friends and made their way to the dueling room. When they got there, they saw 7 or 8 other students, along with Kate Waverly milling about. Albus noticed that the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs were all talking with each other, but the Slytherins were sulking by themselves in one corner.
A couple more students ran into the room as Albus and Amanda went over to the group of non-Slytherins. Harry walked in a moment later, and stood next to Kate in the front of the room.
Kate looked at the clock and then back at the team. "All right, I think most of us are here. I'm Kate Waverly, 4th year Ravenclaw, as most of you know. I know a lot of you aren't happy about the inter-house teams this year, but we'll have to deal with it. It's not easy for me, either. Last year, captains only had to accommodate one Quidditch team, this year we have to accommodate four.
"Professor Potter, Professor Longbottom, or one of the other professors will supervise the practices, at least for the first few. But if you have an issue, please come to me first because I'm the captain. Now, for our first meeting, I'd just like to assess what dueling skills you've got. So pair off and disarm each other. Disarm only."
Albus and Amanda stepped a few feet apart and faced each other. "Ready?" Amanda asked.
Albus grinned, "You know, if this was a real duel, you wouldn't ask me if I'm ready."
"I know," Amanda laughed, "I'm just used to it."
"It's all right."
A few seconds later, Amanda shouted out, "Expelliarmus!"
Albus felt his wand quiver in his hand, but it stayed there. "That was a good try," he said.
"I've done it in class," Amanda told him.
"I know. I've seen you."
"You try now."
"Ok," Albus pointed his wand at Amanda and shouted, "Exeplliarmus!" Amanda's wand flew out of her hand and it landed at Albus's feet.
"Great job, Albus!" Kate shouted from across the room.
"Nice one," Amanda told him.
"Thanks," Albus replied, "You try again."
Albus and Amanda disarmed each other for the next fifteen minutes. Amanda managed to disarm Albus a couple times, but she wasn't nearly as good at it as Albus was.
"All right!" Kate shouted, "Switch partners, everyone! Preferably someone who's not in your house."
"Potter," Malfoy appeared next to Albus, smirking at him, "Let me show everyone how much of a better dueler I am."
"Bring it on, Malfoy," Albus growled, suddenly wanting to hex Malfoy, rather than just disarm him.
"Too bad we're not on separate teams," Malfoy commented, "Then I could wipe the floor with you in a real duel. Oh, well, this'll have to do."
"Bit full of yourself, aren't you?" Albus muttered, raising his wand.
"Expelliarmus!" Malfoy shouted. Albus's wand flew out of his hand and landed a couple feet away. "Told you," he laughed. "I am a better dueler than you."
"I haven't tried disarming you yet, Malfoy," Albus replied, "Don't count your Snidgets before they hatch."
"Give me your worst, Potter," Malfoy smirked.
"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted with all the force he could muster. Malfoy's wand left his hand and landed a couple feet away, just as Albus's had done. "There, we're even."
"We'll never be even, Potter," Malfoy replied haughtily.
"Great job, everyone!" Kate announced, "That's enough for now. I see we have some great duelers in here. With a little practice, I'm sure we'll beat the other teams. I think for simplicity, I'll hold practice every week this same day and time. It might be in a different room occasionally, and I'll let you know if it is. Don't worry if you can't make all the meetings. Just try and make as many as you can. I'll see everyone next week."
"That was pretty fun," Amanda said as they were getting ready to leave.
"Yeah, although I could do without Malfoy," Albus replied
"Hey, Al," Harry put his arm around his son, "Could I talk to you for a bit?"
"Sure," Albus said and then turned to Amanda, "I'll see you in the common room."
"All right," Amanda left the room.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to you much," Harry said once the room was empty. He walked over to a couple chairs and sat down in one. He patted the one next to him. "How have you been?"
"Great. I love Quidditch," Albus grinned and sat down in the chair next to his dad.
"I'm glad you made the team, although I heard some of the other Gryffindors weren't too happy."
"Yeah, a couple thought I just got on the team because Georgia's captain. And Ryan's the only one who's not a Weasley or a Potter on the team now," Albus explained.
"I'm sure that's not why you made the team," Harry assured him. "You're a great Chaser."
"And I'm already used to working with Heather and Fred."
"Exactly, you were the best one," Harry agreed, "How have classes been?"
"Fine. Charms is much better than last year. I like Professor Cedonia."
"She's very nice. She's definitely not the usual kind of teacher Hogwarts has, but that's not really a bad thing," Harry commented.
"Yeah, she hasn't given out many detentions," Albus told him.
"But she has her classes under control. I think the other teachers could learn a lot from her."
"I'd love it if nobody gave out detention anymore," Albus grinned.
"That's not really what I meant, but anyway," Harry continued, "I heard you had some trouble with Kaden recently. Mum sent me an owl about it."
Albus felt his cheeks turn red. "Er, yeah, but it's all worked out now. I'm not mad at him anymore."
"Glad to hear it," Harry smiled, "If you have anymore problems, feel free to come to me. I know Kaden can be a bit, er, exuberant, to put it nicely."
Albus laughed, "I'll say. He just doesn't know when to quit sometimes."
"Some people are like that," Harry stood up. "It's getting late. You should probably go back to Gryffindor."
"All right," Albus stood up as well and gave his dad a hug. "G'night, Dad."
"'Night, Al," Harry gave his son a hug back and the two of them left the room.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter. Nor do I own 'Bothering Snape' or anything else related to Potter Puppet Pals.
The second half of September passed the same way the first half had. Albus's days were filled with classes, homework, Quidditch practice, and dueling practice. Albus was really enjoying both Quidditch and dueling, although he liked Quidditch better. Kate had begun teaching them new spells in dueling, and it was fun, but Malfoy kept trying to partner up with Albus during practices. Albus suspected that Malfoy was trying to beat Albus in one of the practice duels, but he had yet to succeed. The first dueling meet wasn't until the end of October and Kate felt that the team would be fully prepared by then.
Kaden was quickly becoming a permanent fixture in Albus's group of friends. After Albus apologized and invited Kaden to sit with them in the common room, he just never left. He was always with them whenever they weren't in class and because of this, Albus and his friends were spending much less time in the Room of Requirement than they had the second half of their first year. They seemed to have come to an unspoken agreement not to show Kaden the Room, and Albus was perfectly happy with this. After all, there might eventually come a day when Albus and the others needed to be alone, without Kaden, and the Room might be the only place in Hogwarts where they could go.
The second Sunday of October, Albus found himself looking for his friends after a particularly long Quidditch practice. He shouldered his broom, feeling very worn-out, and headed back to the castle. It was a warm fall day, not a cloud in the sky, and a cool breeze was blowing. It had been the perfect day for Quidditch practice. Albus had gotten his first taste of Quidditch practice in the rain a couple weeks back and he hadn't enjoyed it in the slightest.
On his way back to the castle, Albus noticed John and Matt sitting a couple yards away from the Whomping Willow, beneath another tree. Kaden was wandering around nearby, playing with what appeared to be a round piece of plastic attached to a long string. Albus went over to John and Matt and sat down next to them.
"How was practice?" Matt asked.
"Exhausting," Albus replied, "What have you been up to?"
"Sitting around, putting off doing our homework," John grinned.
"And watching Kaden play with that Muggle toy," Matt laughed.
"What is that thing?" Albus stared at the piece of plastic as it went up and down on the string.
"He calls it a 'yo-yo'," John explained. "Never seen anything like it."
"I think I had one when I was really little," Matt commented, "But I must have lost it ages ago."
"How long has he been playing with it?" Albus asked, amazed that Kaden, who couldn't sit still for fifteen minutes, could have the attention span to play with that toy.
"About fifteen minutes," Matt told him, "But I think he's noticed you, Albus."
Sure enough, Kaden pocketed his yo-yo and ran over to Albus. "Hi Albus! How was Quidditch practice?"
"Good," Albus told him, "Tiring, but good."
"I was watching. I think I'd like to be a Beater, it looks like fun to whack those Bludgers around," Kaden grinned.
Albus, who personally thought Kaden should not be allowed near a Beater's bat after he nearly put someone's eye out with his wand a couple times, laughed. "Well, we won't be needing a new Beater for a while," he turned to John and Matt, "Where are Rose and Amanda?"
"Up in the castle, doing homework, probably," John replied, "They didn't want to come outside."
Kaden stood up and stared at the Whomping Willow. "D'you think that tree could kill someone?"
"Probably," Albus said.
"Wonder why they planted it, then," Kaden started to walk a little closer to the tree.
Albus glanced at his friends and saw a look of panic appear in Matt's eyes. Why was it that Kaden always seemed to question the things that had to do with Matt's being a werewolf?
"Er, Dumbledore probably thought it was funny," Albus lied.
"He was mad, then," Kaden inched even closer to the tree, whose thrashing branches were now just a couple feet away from him.
"A bit, yeah," Albus agreed, "But he was brilliant, too."
"It's so strange, though. I've never seen a tree like this," Kaden started to circle the tree.
"That's because it's magical," Albus told him.
"You should probably step back, Kaden," Matt warned him.
"I'll be careful," Kaden took a few more steps towards the tree. He was now within reach of its branches. "Must be a strong tree." He started to try and touch one of the branches, but the tree got there first and hit him on the leg with one of its branches. "Ouch!" Kaden shrieked.
Albus, Matt, and John all stood up and ran over to him, but not close enough that they could get hit.
"Kaden, I told you not to go near it!" Matt shouted.
"It didn't even break the skin. I'm fine," Kaden assured him and went back to inspecting the tree. But the tree didn't like Kaden around it and started to hit him more forcefully. "Ow!"
Albus rushed forward, dodging branches as he went. "Kaden, move!"
But Kaden didn't move away from the tree. A branch hit him in the head and knocked him over. He stood up a little and peered closer at the tree's base.
"Kaden, get away from there!" Matt screamed in a very shaky tone. "I'm serious, move!"
"I think there's a hole down there!" Kaden shouted excitedly.
Albus saw all the color drain from Matt's face, and he knew that Kaden had just found out how to get into the secret passageway that led to the Shrieking Shack. Albus was about to go grab Kaden away from the tree, when he disappeared from sight.
"Oh, no, oh, no!" Matt shrieked, shaking his head back and forth.
Albus rushed forward towards the tree. It hit him on his shoulder and his head as he tried to dodge the branches. He crept closer, still getting hit, and saw the hole Kaden was talking about. But it didn't seem like there was any way to get into it without being killed. Albus had no idea how Kaden had done it.
Matt ran forward and grabbed a long branch that was on the ground. He wordlessly shoved it into the base of the tree, and the branches stopped. Albus turned to look at him, but he said nothing. Albus quickly jumped into the hole and found Kaden crouching in the entrance of a long tunnel.
"This is amazing!" Kaden grinned, "I've found a secret passageway!"
"Listen, Kaden, we've got to get out of here," Albus said urgently.
"Aw, come on, Albus. Let's follow it!"
"No, Kaden, we can't," Albus insisted.
"You don't seem very excited," Kaden commented and he stared at Albus for a few seconds. "I know, you already know about this, don't you?"
"Er, I," Albus tried to think up something to tell Kaden. He wasn't a very good lier, "Fine, I do already know about it. My dad told me about it. But I haven't been in it. Students aren't supposed to go in it. That's why we've got to leave, we'll be in huge trouble."
"Do you know where it leads?" Kaden asked.
"No," Albus lied. He figured he'd be able to pull that lie off, and he didn't want to tell Kaden where the passage led to. "Now let's go."
Kaden sighed, "Fine. But you're ruining the fun."
Albus didn't say another word. He quickly climbed out of the hole, hoping that whatever Matt had done to stop the branches was still working. Luckily, it was, and Albus was able to climb out without receiving anymore injuries. Kaden climbed out behind him, the huge grin still on his face.
John and Matt were standing nearby, but not near enough to be hit with branches. Matt was looking white as a ghost, clearly worried that Kaden had found the Shrieking Shack. Albus was just about to tell his friends that Kaden hadn't gone down the tunnel when he heard a voice behind him.
"Playing with the Whomping Willow. That is clearly against the rules."
Albus turned around and saw Filch making his way slowly towards them. Great, he thought, this is just what they needed.
Albus turned to look at John and Matt. John was looking pretty calm, but Matt was still as pale as Nearly Headless Nick. Kaden also looked a bit worried, but not nearly as much as Matt. Albus was a little nervous as well. He had never gotten in trouble with the caretaker before. He had heard horror stories about Filch and wasn't sure which ones were true.
Albus followed Filch up to the castle in between John and Matt. Kaden was walking a little ways behind them. None of them said a word. Filch was muttering to himself as he slowly lead the group up to the castle. They continued following Filch through the castle while other students stared at them. The other students were whispering amongst themselves as Albus and the others passed. Albus stared at the ground and tried to ignore them. Why was his trouble making always so publicized? Of course, this wasn't even his fault, Albus thought bitterly. It was all Kaden's fault. Why did he have to keep messing with the tree? He never seemed to want to let anything go. When he got an idea into his head, he never seemed to let go of it until Albus either yelled at him or physically stopped him.
Filch led them into a small, cramped, dark office filled with various Muggle cleaning implements. There were only 3 chairs in the room, one of which was behind Filch's desk and he sat in it immediately. Matt took one of the other chairs, as he appeared so nervous that he might faint. Kaden immediately started snooping around the office, while Albus and John remained standing and watching Filch's every move.
"It's in here somewhere," Filch muttered as he rifled through a cabinet. "Let's see. B. Belligerent towards teachers, bothering house elves, bothering magical creatures, bothering Snape, bothering other students, ah, here it is! Bothering the Whomping Willow." Filch grinned and pulled out a piece of parchment. He set it down on his desk and looked up at Albus and the others.
Albus glanced at John, who shrugged. None of them had ever been in Filch's office before and had no idea what to expect. Albus was prepared for the worse, including being shackled to the wall, as his cousin Fred told him Filch had done.
"Quite the group of trouble makers you are," Filch muttered, "I've got the form right here, already made. Had quite a few others torment that tree in the past, especially after it was first planted."
Albus had his doubts as to whether Filch actually knew why the tree was planted. Matt seemed to be getting more nervous with every mention of the Whomping Willow, and Albus couldn't blame him.
Filch opened his mouth and was about to say something when there was a crash behind Albus. Albus turned around and saw Kaden standing with a few dozen Fanged Frisbees at his feet. He was holding one in his hand and there was an empty box next to him.
"Don't touch anything!" Filch shouted and ran out from behind his desk. He yanked the Frisbee out of Kaden's hand and picked up the others. He shoved the box back on the shelf and went back behind his desk.
"Sorry," Kaden mumbled. Filch ignored him.
"Back to your punishment," Filch continued, picking up a quill. "Full names?"
For a split second, Albus considered giving Filch a fake name, but figured it would do no good with his dad as a teacher. "Albus Severus Potter."
Filch wrote his name down and a grin spread across his face. "Following in your father's footsteps? And your grandfather's? Yes, yes, I have an entire drawer in my filing cabinet dedicated to your grandfather and his delinquent friends. I do believe he once bothered the Whomping Willow as well."
Albus ignored Filch's reminiscing. He had not been bothering that tree. He had been saving Kaden from it. Although what Filch said had sparked his curiosity. Why had his grandfather messed with the tree? He knew his grandfather loved to make trouble, but that tree concealed one of his best friend's secrets. Maybe it had happened before he knew about it, Albus thought.
"What about the rest of you delinquents?" Filch growled.
"John Malcolm Brickston," John replied. Filch wrote it down and glared at Matt.
"Matthew Conan Eckerton," Matt mumbled very softly.
"And you?" Filch glared at Kaden after he wrote down Matt's name.
"Kaden Peter Dursley," Kaden announced.
"Right," Filch finished filling out the form and put it into his very large filing cabinet. "Your punishment. Three nights' detention. Tonight you'll be scrubbing cauldrons, Muggle style of course, in the Potions room. Tomorrow you can do lines. And Monday you'll clean the Astronomy Tower, without magic as well. Meet me in the dungeons 8pm sharp tonight. Now get out of here."
Albus wrenched the door open and ran out of the office as fast as he could. Three nights of detention! Two of which would be spent doing Muggle cleaning! That was harsh. Albus was angry now. Why did Kaden have to go near that tree? None of them would be in this mess if he hadn't. Albus stalked all the way up to Gryffindor Tower, with John and Matt next to him, nobody saying a word. Kaden ran along aside them, trying to get them to talk to him. Albus knew what they had to do now. They had to make sure Kaden did not tell anyone about that tunnel.
When they climbed through the portrait hole, Albus was relieved to see that both Bilius and Ethan were in the common room. That meant the dormitory was free and Albus could talk to Kaden up there. He wordlessly led the group to the dormitory and shut the door behind them.
"Ok, what is wrong with you lot?" Kaden asked loudly, "Why are you so quiet?"
"We just got in trouble because of you!" Albus shouted.
"Well, sorry!" Kaden responded, "But it's not that bad, it's just cleaning."
"Three nights worth!" Matt groaned, "And I didn't even do anything. Neither did John or Albus."
"Albus was in that tunnel with me," Kaden pointed out.
"Only to get you out!" Albus reminded him, "And if you remember, we told you numerous times to leave that tree alone. This is what I was talking about last month, Kaden. You never stop when people ask you to. And I've been in Hogwarts longer than you have, if I tell you to stop doing something, chances are there's a good reason for it! And this one just seemed like common sense to me! 'Don't go near the tree that could kill you.' Why on earth wouldn't you listen to that?"
"Jeesh, Albus," Kaden replied, a little quieter, "I was just curious about it."
"Curiosity killed the kneazle," John muttered.
"What?" Kaden stared at him.
"Kneazle, it's a magical creature," John explained.
"Oh, well, Muggles just say curiosity killed the cat."
"That's strange," John said.
"Anyway," Albus continued, "You can't tell anyone about that tunnel and I mean anyone. Not your mum, not your dad, not your sister, not any of the other first years, no Muggles or Wizards, young or old," Albus turned to John and Matt, "Have I left anything out?"
"Don't tell any animals either," John added, "Or what appear to be inanimate objects either, you never know in this place."
Kaden stared at them with a confused look on his face. "Why not? It looks to be a secret passageway!"
If it was possible, Matt seemed to turn even whiter. "Don't tell anyone," he said forcefully. "And don't go back into it. Ever."
"But you said you didn't know what was beyond it!"
Oh, right, Albus thought. This was why he was a bad lier. He could never keep the lies straight. Now what was he going to say? "Oh, er, well, I kind of do know. But trust me, it's nothing good. It's not even that exciting, pretty boring really."
"And you're not going to tell me what it is, are you?" Kaden looked at all of them.
"Nope," John replied.
"So you all know where it goes?"
"Er, yeah," John answered.
"I just don't get it. You lot seem to be keeping quite a few things secret from me. Are they special secrets only people with wizard parents can know?" Kaden asked darkly.
Albus was shocked. Where had his cousin come up with something like that? "No! Of course not! Why in the name of Merlin's beard would you think that?"
"Certain people here seem to think Muggle-borns shouldn't be taught magic," Kaden explained.
Albus knew this, of course. He just hadn't known that they were bothering Kaden. "Who, Kaden? And are they doing this to you?"
"Um, yeah, a bit," Kaden muttered, "Mainly Felix Willinson."
Albus groaned. He should have known. Felix hadn't bothered Albus at all so far, but apparently he, like his cousin, enjoyed bullying other students. "Just stay away from him. And if he bothers you again, just tell me. I'll get my cousins to set him straight."
"All right," Kaden replied, "And I really am sorry about the Whomping Willow thing."
"It's ok," Albus assured him. "We'll just have you do most of the cleaning these next few nights," he grinned.
A/N: Thanks to my beta and sister, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to sinwillys822, Niki_Lily, drownzer, XDNLxtlz99, Moonylupin, and potterfan89 for their reviews!
Diclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter. Nor do I own Monty Python, Spamalot, or any of their related material.
Albus never thought he would have a worse detention than the one he had cleaning the trophy room the previous year. He thought Washburn had been the worst person to have detention with, but he was wrong. Albus went through his whole first year without getting in trouble with Filch, and he was very happy about that. By the time he finished his second detention on Monday night, he was beginning to wish he was doing detention with Washburn instead. At least Washburn hadn't breathed down his neck the entire time. Filch spent all of Sunday night staring at them while they scrubbed cauldrons, and all of the previous night staring at them as they churned out line after line. Filch seemed to take joy in watching the students rub their hands raw while scrubbing the cauldrons. Of course, the lines could have been considered a nice break in between the two cleaning events.
By the time Albus trudged into the common room on Tuesday evening after Quidditch practice, he was ready to be done with detention. But no such luck; it was their final night and Filch was sure to relish every minute of it. Albus quickly dropped his broom off in his dormitory and went back to the common room to spend the ten minutes they had before they had to leave for detention.
"The last thing I want to do is go clean something," Albus groaned.
"Looks like you need to clean your clothes," John laughed.
Albus shot him a dirty look. "What do you expect? It's raining and it's muddy and I just spent 45 minutes flying around."
"I know," John grinned.
"Georgia wasn't happy about me leaving early," Albus told him. "She's ruthless."
"I'll bet," John agreed.
"Hey, where's Matt?" Albus asked, looking around the common room.
"Room of Requirement," John replied. "Been there since right after you left for practice."
"Oh, right," Albus said, remembering that the full moon was the following evening. "Why aren't you there with him?"
"Wanted to," John sighed, "Couldn't shake Kaden. He's been with me ever since you left. In fact, I think that's why Matt left. He couldn't get any rest with Kaden around."
"But he's not here now," Albus commented, noticing that Kaden wasn't in the common room.
"He went to put his books in his dormitory," John explained, "I'm sure he'll be back at any moment."
As if on cue, Kaden came flying out of the door leading to the dormitories and made a beeline for Albus and John. "Ready? It's the last night!" Kaden announced.
"Yes, we know," John said, "You've been telling us that all day."
"Where's Matt? Haven't seen him since dinner. He'd better hurry up, wherever he is," Kaden peered around the room.
Albus and John exchanged looks. "I'll find him," Albus replied quickly. "You two go on ahead."
This time it was John's turn to give Albus a disgusted look. He clearly didn't want to be the one who had to go to detention with Kaden. "Fine. See you later, Rose, Amanda."
"Enjoy yourselves," Rose replied.
"See you later," Amanda waved.
Albus gave John and Kaden a minute's head start before he left the common room and went to the Room of Requirement. He didn't want Kaden to find out where he was going. Once the coast was clear, he paced three times in front of the blank wall on the seventh floor and waited for the door to appear. It materialized just like always and Albus went quietly inside. The room was dark and Albus could hardly see where he was going. He wished there was some light. Immediately, torches lit up along the walls and revealed a four-poster bed in the middle of the small room.
Albus walked quickly over to the bed and wrenched the hangings open. Once he saw how exhausted Matt looked, he immediately felt guilty about how he had complained about being too tired from Quidditch practice to do detention. His exhaustion was nothing compared to Matt's.
"C'mon, we've got detention," Albus gently poked his friend.
Matt opened his eyes and sat up, wincing. "Already? All right." He slowly got up out of bed and stretched.
Albus led the way out of the room and to the Astronomy Tower. Neither of them said anything for most of the journey, but Albus knew they were both thinking the same thing. They wished they didn't have to do detention that night.
"Where are John and Kaden?" Matt asked, suddenly realizing that they weren't there.
"They went on ahead. Didn't want Kaden to know about the Room."
"Oh, yeah, thanks for that," Matt replied.
Albus and Matt slowly climbed the stairs leading to the Tower, and once they reached the top, Albus opened the door and the two of them arrived. Luckily, it had stopped raining and the clouds had even dissipated. The almost full moon was shedding light upon the Tower, enough that Albus and the others would be able to do their detention with only a couple torches. Albus noticed Matt shudder and screw up his eyes as the moonlight hit him. Albus figured it was probably giving him a splitting headache at best.
"You're late," growled Filch, who gestured to John and Kaden. The two of them were already scrubbing telescopes.
"Sorry, sir," Albus mumbled, not elaborating on why they were late.
"Another night's detention, I think," Filch replied, "Tomorrow night. You can continue cleaning cauldrons. There are still some left."
Albus glanced at Matt who didn't even seem to be paying attention to Filch. He looked too busy trying not to be sick. There was no way that Matt could possibly do detention the following evening. He would just have to tell Professor Longbottom about it the next day. Albus, however, groaned, as he would be capable of doing detention the next night. However, he would have to miss dueling practice. At least Kate wasn't uptight about them missing practice like Georgia was.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Filch growled at Albus and Matt, "Start scrubbing!"
Albus picked up a rag out of the bucket that was standing nearby and ran quickly to where John and Kaden were scrubbing. He was partway there when he realized Matt was still standing near the door. He didn't appeared to have moved since they entered the Tower. Filch was glaring at him, looking like he was ready to explode with fury. Albus grabbed Matt by the arm without looking at Filch and led him over to the telescopes.
"Are you all right?" Albus whispered and started to clean the nearest telescope.
"F-fine," Matt stuttered. Albus looked at him and noticed that he was shivering.
Albus turned to look at John who shrugged with confusion. "It's a lot worse than last night," Albus muttered. During the previous night's detention, Matt had nodded off a few times, but he had been capable of producing a good bit of lines. Tonight, Matt appeared to be frozen in place and definitely wouldn't be getting much cleaning done.
"Well, it is the night before," John whispered so quietly that Albus could barely hear him.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "But he seems sicker than most nights before."
"Dunno why," John replied, "We'd better hide him from Filch, though. Filch will know he's not cleaning." Albus nodded and moved to the other side of Matt.
"What's wrong with him?" Kaden asked loudly, "Is he sick again?"
Albus and John shot Kaden ominous looks and Kaden immediately shut up. "I was just wondering," he muttered a minute later.
"Remember what I told you last time?" Albus asked quietly, "Don't bring it up."
"Quiet!" Filch shouted loudly.
Matt jumped and looked at Albus with a look of confusion on his face. "What're we doing?" he mumbled.
"Detention," Albus replied, "Listen, d'you want to go to the Hospital Wing?"
"No, it's not tonight, it's tomorrow night," he said and slouched onto the telescope he was supposed to be cleaning.
"I said quiet!" Filch yelled and waltzed over to the boys, "Get to work Potter and Eckerton."
Albus and the others worked in silence for the next half hour. John and Albus worked carefully down the row of telescopes, making sure Matt was between them at all times so it would look like he was cleaning. Kaden worked on Albus's other side, looking much more cheery than the other three boys did.
"Finland, Finland, Finland..." he sung quietly, "That's the country for me...."
"What?" Albus whispered. Kaden had been humming that song for the past five minutes and it was driving Albus mad. He had never heard it before and it sounded quite strange.
Kaden stopped singing and looked at Albus. "Oh, come on! You've never heard of Monty Python? Spamalot, the Broadway play?"
"Uh, no," Albus replied, wondering what that song could have to do with a python. There hadn't been any mention of snakes in it.
Kaden sighed. "I love the wizarding world, but you lot are really lacking in high quality entertainment. Would it kill you to watch TV and movies? Monty Python is a movie, and a pretty funny one at that. You can watch it at my house sometime. Spamalot is a Broadway play based on it. They turned it into a movie a few years back."
Albus was still a bit confused about the song, but he figured he'd understand it if he ever watched the movie. He had seen a few Muggle films before, but never Monty Python or Spamalot. His Aunt Hermione had a TV, but she didn't let Albus watch it very often. "You'll rot your brains out!" she always told him, "Now go read a book!"
Albus and Kaden went back to their cleaning, and Kaden started humming a new song. Albus assumed it also was from Monty Python since it sounded just as confusing as the previous one. It had something to do with fish.
"Stop that infernal humming!" Filch screamed.
"Sorry, sir!" Kaden replied. Filch scowled. Clearly he was angry about Kaden talking to him, but he couldn't scold him again since what Kaden had said was polite.
The remainder of the detention was spent in almost complete silence. Every once and a while, Kaden would try to engage the others in conversation, but it was always stopped by Filch. Luckily, Filch never realized that Matt hadn't done an ounce of cleaning. He seemed to busy glaring at Kaden and telling him to shut up. Albus realized that Filch probably had an eternal grudge against Kaden now, which Kaden seemed oblivious to. It would not surprise Albus if Kaden had a file that rivaled his grandfather's by the time he graduated. By the time the detention was over, Matt was leaning against Albus, although he seemed thoroughly unaware of it. Albus had caught Kaden staring at Matt a few times, but as soon as Albus sent him a dirty look, Kaden went back to cleaning.
"All right, you're done," Filch growled, "Get out of here or you'll be out of bed after curfew. Then you'll get another detention." He smirked. Filch picked up the cleaning supplies and ambled down the stairs before Albus and the others.
"We're done now," Albus gently woke Matt up.
"Done with what?" Matt mumbled without opening his eyes.
"Detention, where we've been for the last hour," Albus explained while looking at John. John pulled Matt off of Albus, but he stumbled fell against a telescope.
"Ouch!" Matt shouted and grabbed his head.
"We've got to get back to the common room, and quick," Albus said, more to John than to Matt, "It's almost curfew."
"What're we going to do with him?" John asked. Matt was now leaning on John. "I wish we could levitate him."
"You can't?" Kaden asked loudly.
"No, that's much more advanced than we're able to do," Albus explained, "And lower your voice."
"Let's just each get on one side of him," John threw one of Matt's arms over his shoulder and gestured for Albus to do the same.
Albus followed John's lead and told Kaden to get the door. Albus, John, and Matt hobbled awkwardly down the stairs and back into the main part of the castle. It was slow going and they'd already missed curfew.
"Good thing he's light," Albus commented.
"Yeah," John agreed.
"Ugh," Matt winced and opened his eyes, "I think I'm going to be sick."
Albus and John looked at each other for a split second before Matt retched onto the floor in front of them.
"Ew, gross!" John exclaimed.
"Told you he was sick," Kaden said. He had been walking a few paces ahead of them and kept looking back, wanting to say something but afraid to.
"We knew that," Albus snapped.
Matt retched a second time and Albus felt him collapse onto the floor. Albus and John both grabbed his arms as he went down and slowed the fall. Now what were they going to do?
"Matt?" Albus gently shook him and tried to get him to wake up, but it was no use.
"What happened to him?" Kaden stared as Albus tried to wake Matt up.
"Passed out," Albus said shortly. He was a bit annoyed that Kaden asked that. Wasn't it obvious?
"I know that," Kaden replied, "But why?"
"How should I know?" Albus snapped.
"Will you two stop arguing?" John interrupted. "What are we going to do?"
Albus shrugged and thought. What were they going to do? Panic overtook him as he assessed the situation. They were out of bed after curfew and Matt was passed out on the floor. It couldn't get worse than this. There was no way for them to get Matt to the common room or the hospital wing without levitating him. And none of them could levitate a person. Albus looked at Matt and noticed he had begun shivering again. Albus took off his cloak and laid it over his friend. "Kaden," Albus began, "Go get Madam Pomfrey."
"Why me?" Kaden asked nervously. He looked around at the dark corridor, clearly worried about walking through them alone.
"Just do it!" Albus shouted.
Kaden looked taken aback at Albus's loud tone. "Ok, ok!" he replied and took off down the corridor, towards the stairs.
"He's going to be ok, right?" Albus asked quietly once Kaden was out of sight.
"I dunno," John whispered back. "But it's been bad before and he's always recovered fine."
The boys sat in silence for the next couple minutes, watching for signs of consciousness in their friend. However, Matt remained unresponsive and very pale. Though he was still shivering, his forehead glistened with sweat in the moonlight that was streaming in through a nearby window.
"What's that?" John asked, pointing down the corridor.
Albus looked where John was pointing and saw a figure floating towards him. He stood up and drew his wand and John did the same. The figure came closer and closer, and soon Albus was able to make it out. It was Peeves. Albus groaned inwardly. This was the last thing they needed, Peeves announcing their presence to the whole castle.
"Students out of bed!" Peeves shouted gleefully as he noticed the boys.
"Shut up, Peeves!" Albus replied, very irritated at Peeves's happy tone.
Peeves peered down at Matt and then looked at John and Albus. "Dueling, have we? It seems that you two have won. But Mr. Filch won't like this! No he won't! Students out of bed and dueling, too!"
"We haven't been dueling!" John insisted, "Now get out of here!"
"Ha-ha!" Peeves laughed, "Peeves doesn't listen to students, no he doesn't! Peeves causes trouble when students are around!"
"No, quiet!" Albus whispered.
Peeves cackled even louder and zoomed up and down the corridor. "Students out of bed! Students out of bed!"
Albus and John gave each other panicked looks. Albus had no idea what to do to silence the poltergeist. But if he didn't stop shouting, someone would surely find out that they were there. Albus's fears were soon realized as he heard hurried footsteps coming down the corridor. Albus wished he had his father's invisibility cloak.
Peeves apparently heard them too, because he flew down towards them shouting, "They're over here! Over here! Students out of bed!"
"Go away, Peeves!" a loud stern voice shouted, "Or I'll get the Bloody Baron!"
"Yes, Madam Nurse, mam!" Peeves saluted and sped down the corridor, cackling madly.
Albus breathed a sigh of relief. It was just Madam Pomfrey. Albus watched as the nurse ran the rest of the way down the corridor. She was surprisingly fast for someone her age. Kaden was panting behind her, trying to keep up.
Madam Pomfrey rushed over to Albus, John, and Matt, and immediately bent down and put her hand on Matt's forehead. "What's happened?" she asked briskly.
"He collapsed," Albus told her.
The nurse clicked her tongue and conjured a stretcher. She waved her wand and Matt landed on top of it. "Well, you can explain more once we get to the hospital wing. Quickly now."
Albus, John, and Kaden ran behind Madam Pomfrey all the way to the hospital wing. None of them said a word, although it looked to Albus like Kaden was trying to keep himself from asking more questions. Minutes later, the group arrived at the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey barged through the door and immediately deposited Matt onto a bed. She bustled around the ward, gathering potions while asking the boys more questions.
"Why were you out of your common room?" she asked.
"Detention," Albus responded.
"Where and with whom?"
"Filch had us cleaning the entire Astronomy Tower," John replied with a disgusted tone.
Madam Pomfrey stopped rifling through her potion cabinet and turned to look at John. "Astronomy Tower?"
"Er, yeah," John answered with a look of confusion on his face.
"Filch!" Madam Pomfrey shouted as she ran back to Matt's bed, "I'll have him for this! I thought I made it clear to him last year when he had you scrubbing the bathroom... I'll hex him into next year! Merlin's beard, the Astronomy Tower! And tonight of all nights!" The nurse continued to run back and forth from her office, potion cabinet, and Matt's bed while muttering about Filch.
"What's she going on about?" Kaden whispered. Albus jumped. He'd forgotten Kaden was there. "What's Filch got anything to do with him being sick?" Kaden asked.
"I'll get him for this!" Madam Pomfrey shouted as she waved her wand over Matt. "I swear I will...."
Albus looked at Madam Pomfrey and then back at Kaden. He chose to ignore Kaden's question. The nurse was getting dangerously close to cluing Kaden into why Matt was there. If she wasn't careful, she'd give away everything.
"I thought I'd made it clear to him!" the nurse repeated while she poured a disgusting looking orange potion down Matt's throat. "No detention on these nights and certainly not on the Astronomy Tower! If he'd been out there any longer... Well, I'm not exactly sure what would have happened!"
Kaden looked throughly confused. "What's the Astronomy Tower got to do with this?"
"Of all the nights of the month-"
"Madam Pomfrey!" Albus shouted, suddenly deciding that he had to get the nurse to stop ranting. Madam Pomfrey looked up from what she was doing and glared at Albus. It generally was not a good idea to interrupt her while she was working, but Albus had no choice. He ran over to where the nurse was standing. "Sorry, ma'am," he whispered, "It's just, there are certain, er, things, that Kaden doesn't know." Albus gestured to where his cousin was standing. "And I know Matt would prefer it if he didn't know," Albus gave her a significant look that he hoped would convey his thoughts.
Madam Pomfrey stared at him for a few seconds and then realization came over her. "Oh! Oh, my!" she whispered back, "I can't believe I, well, right. So sorry about that. I'll be a bit quieter."
Albus went back over to where Kaden and John were standing. John gave him a relieved look, but Kaden looked even more confused. "What was that about?" Kaden asked.
"Nothing," Albus gave Kaden another one of his 'shut up now' looks. Kaden immediately closed his mouth. Albus was getting good at conveying those looks now and Kaden seemed to obey right away, which was good.
"All right," Madam Pomfrey walked back to the three boys after a few more minutes, "He's going to be fine. He'll just need to stay here for a couple days." She looked at Albus and John when she said this, and Albus knew she meant that he would be staying until after the full moon.
"Ok," Albus nodded. "We can visit him, right?"
"Of course, dear," Madam Pomfrey's expression softened. "You know what times are good. Now, you three best be off to your dormitories. It's very late. If anyone stops you, just tell them you were with me. And don't worry about seeing Filch. I'm off to find him now, and he's going to be busy for quite a while."
Albus nodded and had to stifle a laugh. He knew the nurse would be seeking out the caretaker and would be giving him a long and loud scolding at best.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Special thanks to my other sister and my brother for help with the Monty Python stuff. Speaking of Monty Python and Spamalot, I took some liberties in deciding that Spamalot was turned into a movie sometime during the present and 2017, when this takes place. Otherwise, Kaden could not have seen it as it sadly closed on Broadway last month (before I got to see it, unfortunately).
Thanks as well to XDNLxtlz99, Luke, Moonylupin, and potterfan89 for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or Spamalot
Albus and John didn't have a chance to tell Rose and Amanda about the detention until after lunch the next day. It was their afternoon off and they were relaxing in the Room of Requirement for a few minutes before they went to visit Matt. It was the first time since the detention that Kaden wasn't around. Kaden had classes all afternoon, so it was an ideal time to talk about what had happened the previous night. No one, not even Rose, seemed to have any idea why Matt seemed so much sicker that night than the other nights before full moons. Their only guess was that he was already worn out from the detentions on the previous two nights. Eventually, they just decided to go to the Hospital Wing and ask Matt. Albus was sure he would tell them. After all, he told them all about that study he was in.
However, when they arrived at the Hospital Wing, Matt was sound asleep. Madam Pomfrey informed them that he had woken up for a short while early that morning, but had fallen asleep soon after. He had been asleep ever since, and the nurse flat out refused to let them wake him up. She insisted that he needed all the rest he could get before nightfall and that they could visit him the following afternoon.
Albus and his friends were very subdued that evening. Albus had just returned to the common room after fulfilling his extra detention with Filch. It was just as miserable as the first cauldron-cleaning detention had been. When he got back to the common room, all his friends were doing homework and not saying much. Amanda was already back from dueling practice. Albus was worried about Matt and he could tell the others were as well. It kind of reminded him of that night of the full moon they stayed up waiting for morning to come after Astronomy class the previous year. Only this year, they had Kaden to fill in the quietness that surrounded them.
"And then Slughorn had to give the whole class antidote!" Kaden laughed as he relayed his most recent potions class. One of the other first years had heated her cauldron too much and caused the potion to explode all over the entire class. Albus and the others nodded their heads, like they had been doing for the past half hour, and continued working on their respective homework.
"Isn't it funny?" Kaden sighed, "What's wrong with you lot? You've been sitting there not saying anything for the past hour! I thought you'd at least laugh at the idea of everyone in my potions class having various parts of their body turn bright pink."
"We're just worried about Matt," Rose explained, not looking up from her Charms book.
"Madam Pomfrey said he'd be fine," Kaden reminded her.
"She doesn't know that," Rose replied.
"Sure she does. She's the nurse," Kaden grinned, "And she can fix anything."
Albus sighed loudly, "Not this again! Listen, you just don't understand. She can't know for sure that he'll be ok."
This time it was Kaden's turn to sigh, "Well, I'm not going to understand unless you tell me what's wrong with him."
"Not going to happen," Albus muttered as he jotted down something on his parchment.
"Someday I'll weasel it out of you," Kaden said. A few seconds later he started to laugh. "Weasel. Get it? Weasley, weasel! And you're half Weasley!"
"Very amusing," Albus murmured.
"Oh, you're no fun," Kaden said, still grinning at his own joke.
The next day after Herbology, Albus and his friends hurried up to their dormitories to deposit their bags. Then they rushed to the Hospital Wing to see how Matt was. Luckily, Kaden was still in class. When they arrived at the hospital wing, Albus saw Matt's usual bed with the curtains pulled around it and made a beeline for it. He was halfway there when Madam Pomfrey came out from behind the curtains and jumped as she saw Albus and the others.
"Oh!" she clutched her chest, "You scared me! I wasn't expecting you until later."
"Sorry," Albus replied, "We decided to come now since I've got Quidditch practice after dinner."
"Is that all right?" Rose asked.
"Yes, that's fine. Just for a few minutes," the nurse regained her composure and bustled into her office.
Albus ran the rest of the way to the bed and wrenched the curtains open. Matt was awake and propped up on his pillows. He looked tired and was covered in various scratches and bites, that looked a bit worse than usual. "Hey! How are you?" Albus asked.
"I've been better," Matt said tiredly. "It was bad."
"It looks it," John commented.
"John!" Rose scolded.
"What?" John shrugged.
"It's not that bad," Rose said to Matt.
"It's fine, really," Matt assured John.
"So," Albus began, "What happened during detention?"
"Honestly, I'm not even sure," Matt sighed, "I don't really remember it."
"Really?" Rose raised her eyebrow, "That's odd."
"Why don't you two tell me what happened?" Matt laughed.
"All right," Albus said, "You kind of froze when we got up to the Astronomy Tower and you wouldn't move. Filch yelled at us for being late and assigned us another detention for last night-"
"L-last night?" Matt interrupted.
"Yeah, scrubbing more cauldrons," Albus explained. "I kinda figured something was wrong when you didn't object to it."
Matt groaned, "I don't even remember him saying that. Great, now I've got another detention once I get out of here. Probably two since I missed it last night."
"Oh, I don't think you'll have to do any detention," Albus assured him, "Filch didn't mention anything about you doing detention the whole time I was scrubbing cauldrons last night. You see, Madam Pomfrey was livid when we told her what we had been doing for detention."
"Yeah," John laughed, "I've never seen her so angry. She was storming around here, muttering and shouting and cursing Filch. It was kind of funny, really."
"Anyway, she said she was going to talk to Filch after we left the other night," Albus continued, "I imagine she yelled at him quite a bit. I'm sure she insisted that you not do anymore detention."
"That's a relief," Matt replied, "So, what happened after Filch gave us another detention?"
"I pulled you over to where John and Kaden were cleaning telescopes and John and I stood on either side of you, so it seemed like you were cleaning too. It was almost like you were in a kind of trance. You didn't seem to know what was going on. So I asked if you wanted to go to the hospital wing and you said no. Then John, Kaden, and I cleaned for about an hour and a half. No one talked much except for Kaden. He kept humming random songs and Filch yelled at him. Then he told me what the songs were from. They were from a movie called Spamalot. Kaden insisted that I watch it sometime," Albus explained.
Matt laughed, "You should, it's a really funny movie."
"You've seen it?" John asked.
"Yeah. We've got a TV at home, since my mum is Muggle-born and she didn't want to give up TV," Matt replied.
"I've never seen it," Amanda commented, "I've heard of it, though. We should all watch it sometime."
"That would be fun," Albus agreed. "Anyway, once we left the Astronomy Tower, we tried to get back to the common room, but you got sick partway there and passed out. I told Kaden to get Madam Pomfrey, and well, that was it."
"And I don't remember any of that," Matt groaned and stared down at the bed.
"It's all right," Albus said quietly, "You weren't really yourself."
"Why'd it happen, though?" John asked after a few seconds, "I mean, you're usually tired the night before, but why was it that bad?"
"Because I was in direct moonlight," Matt whispered, "The reason I get tired and sick beforehand is because the moon is getting fuller. The night we did detention, it was practically full. And I was outside in the moonlight for over an hour."
"That would explain why Madam Pomfrey got so angry," John said.
"Yeah," Matt replied, "Makes the transformation worse, too. Because I'm already worn out from being in the moonlight so long the night before."
"I don't get it, though," Rose said, "Why didn't you just tell Filch you couldn't do detention that night?"
"I don't know," Matt sighed, "I guess I just didn't want any sort of special treatment anymore. It makes people suspicious. I don't want anyone to wonder why I can pick my detention nights. Plus, I didn't really know that would happen anyway. I knew I'd be tired, but I didn't really know I'd go into a trance like that. It had never happened before. My parents always made sure not to let me go outside the night before."
"Well, even so, you shouldn't do anymore detention like that the night before," Rose insisted, "It'll make you sicker."
"I know, Rose," Matt assured her, "And Madam Pomfrey talked to Filch and he's not going to give me anymore detentions at bad times."
"You mean, she told Filch?" Albus asked. He knew Filch didn't know about Matt's condition, but he didn't think Madam Pomfrey would actually tell him.
"Oh, no, he doesn't know. Madam Pomfrey just said that he needed to check with her before assigning me detentions due to 'health issues that will remain private'. And she made him swear not to tell anyone that he was checking detentions with her, or else she'd make sure Kendrick kicked him out."
John let out a low whistle, "Wow, remind me not to get on Madam Pomfrey's bad side."
"She's definitely forceful," Matt yawned and closed his eyes.
"Are you all right?" Rose asked.
"Umm-hmm," Matt mumbled, "I've just got a headache."
At that moment, the curtains opened and Madam Pomfrey appeared with another potion. This one was a deep blue and Albus thought it looked disgusting. The nurse took one look at Matt, shook her head, and turned to Albus and the others. "Time for you lot to leave. You're welcome to visit again tomorrow."
Albus and his friends said goodbye to Matt and left the hospital wing. Albus had just enough time to grab dinner before he had to be at the Quidditch pitch for practice. Georgia thought the team was doing wonderfully and was sure they would beat Slytherin in the fist match in November.
"So, where is my brilliant potions partner today?" Malfoy asked sarcastically as the Gryffindors and Slytherins left Slughorn's dungeon the following afternoon.
"Visiting his sick gran, like usual," John replied shortly while glaring at Malfoy. "Haven't you figured that out by now? Whenever you ask where he is, he's always visiting his gran."
"Funny, that's not what Potter's cousin said," Malfoy smirked. Jackson Limbert and Xavier Goyle nodded on either side of him.
"What?" Albus shouted. His cousins, except for Rose, probably didn't even know Matt left every month, let alone where he went. And Rose obviously wouldn't tell Malfoy anything. "Which cousin?"
"The mud-blood," Malfoy said simply.
Kaden, Albus thought. Of course! Albus had told Kaden that Matt got sick every so often, he just hadn't told him what the illness was. But why on earth was Kaden talking to Malfoy?
"Don't call him that!" Rose shouted, drawing her wand.
"Calm down," Malfoy replied, drawing his own wand. "I mean it in the nicest way."
"You do not!" John shouted as he drew his wand.
"Wait!" Albus stood in between them and stared at Malfoy. "Before anyone hexes anyone, I've got to find out what this is about. What did Kaden say?"
"He mentioned that Eckerton is sick all the time. Apparently he's got some disease that Pomfrey can't cure and you won't tell him what it is," Malfoy replied smugly.
Albus felt the color drain from his face. He told Kaden not to tell anyone about this! And what had Kaden done? He told Malfoy of all people! Malfoy, the one person Matt did not want knowing where he went every month. Albus groaned. Malfoy now had a few more clues as to what was wrong with Matt. With just a bit of research he was sure to find out. "When did he tell you this?" Albus growled. Rage and anger were building up inside of him, and not only towards Malfoy. If Kaden was anywhere near Albus right now, he was sure he'd hex him.
"Last night," Malfoy answered, "Very interesting bit of information, if you ask me."
Albus didn't say another word to Malfoy. He turned and ran towards the stairs and out of the dungeon. The footsteps behind him told him that his friends were following. Albus didn't stop to let them catch up. All he cared about now was finding Kaden. He was angrier than he was the night he yelled at Kaden. Albus knew if he found Kaden now, he'd do more than just yell. He'd hex him into the next century. What in the name of Merlin had possessed Kaden to tell Malfoy that Matt got sick? Why Malfoy of all people? Albus knew Kaden was aware of the Gryffindor/Slytherin rivalry. Heck, Albus knew that Kaden himself didn't like Slytherins. Felix Willinson had made Kaden well aware of the prejudices many Slytherins felt. Yet, Kaden was obviously talking with Slytherins, and telling them things they shouldn't know.
"Albus, where are you going?" Rose shouted, as Albus ran up a flight of stairs.
"To find Kaden," Albus growled.
"I'm going with you," John said. He sounded, if it was possible, even angrier than Albus felt. He sped up and fell into place beside Albus. "I told you before that if he did this again, I'd hex him. I'm keeping my word."
"Wait, Albus, John!" Rose shouted again.
But Albus didn't wait. He continued up flights of stairs towards the Gryffindor common room. Students stared at them as they passed, but Albus didn't care. Rose kept shouting after them, but both Albus and John ignored her. Amanda gave a few half-hearted shouts after them, but Albus could tell she didn't really care if they tried to hex Kaden or not. Eventually, Albus and John made it to the common room. They gave the Fat Lady the password and ran into the room. Albus immediately spotted Kaden sitting in a chair, playing with what looked to be another Muggle toy. It was a cube with numerous colored squares all over it. It looked vaguely familiar. Albus thought he may have seen Rose with one once. Albus ran over to Kaden and grabbed his arm, pulling him towards the dormitories while glaring at him.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Kaden asked. He dropped his cube in surprise. "What's gotten into you, Albus?"
Albus said nothing as he dragged Kaden to his dormitory. John followed without saying a word, and shut the door behind them when they reached the dormitory. Albus let go of Kaden and glared at him for a few moments.
"What is wrong with you, Albus?" Kaden asked, glancing from Albus to John.
"I should be asking you that, Kaden," Albus replied in a low voice. "What were you doing talking to Scorpius Malfoy for?"
"Scorpius Malfoy?" Kaden repeated as if trying to think of who that was. Then a look of realization appeared on his face. "Oh."
"Yeah, 'oh,'" Albus said, "You were talking to him last night!"
"Uh..." Kaden shifted uneasily on his feet.
"I told you not to tell anyone about Matt getting sick!" Albus erupted. "You promised you wouldn't tell! This is exactly why I didn't want to tell you in the first place! You just can't keep your mouth shut! And Malfoy! He's been trying to find out about Matt since the beginning of first year, and let me tell you nothing good will happen when he does find out. And you know what you've done?" Albus paused for effect, but Kaden didn't say anything. "YOU MADE IT EASIER FOR HIM TO FIND OUT!"
"I didn't mean to-" Kaden's voice cracked.
"I don't care," Albus interrupted, "The point is, you did! How can you not mean to tell someone something? Especially someone you never talk to in the fist place!"
"Shut up, Kaden!" Albus shouted and drew his wand. John, who had been letting Albus take the lead, drew his as well.
"Wha-what're you g-going to do?" Kaden shakily drew his own wand.
Suddenly, the door burst open and Rose and Amanda appeared, both of them clutching stitches in their sides and panting. "Expelliarmus!" Rose shouted. Albus's wand left his hand and landed on the floor near Rose. Rose disarmed John and then gathered both wands.
"Give it to me, Rose," Albus growled.
"No," Rose replied, "I'm not going to let you hex your own cousin."
"You heard what he did!" Albus shouted.
"I know, and I'm not happy about it either," Rose replied, "But hexing him isn't going to fix it. You'll just get detention."
On some level, Albus knew Rose was right, but he still wanted to hex Kaden. Albus sighed. There wasn't anything he could do now. All he could do is hope that Malfoy didn't put the clues together. That, and never trust Kaden to keep a secret again. "Just get out of here, Kaden."
"I said, get out of here," Albus growled, "Or I'll resort to Muggle dueling."
Kaden bit his lip and turned towards the door. He looked back at Albus once before running out of the dormitory.
Albus threw himself down onto his bed after Kaden left. "I'm never telling him anything again."
"I don't blame you," John sighed, "Why'd he have to tell Malfoy anyway?"
"I haven't got a clue," Albus replied, "All I know is that this time, I'm not forgiving him as easily."
"I-" Rose started.
"Don't bother, Rose," Albus interrupted, "Nothing you say is going to make me apologize to him."
"I wasn't going to say that!" Rose shouted, "I was going to say that I agree with you. I mean, he doesn't deserve to be friends with you if he's going to go telling half the school things you told him in secret. You told him not to tell, right?"
"Of course I did!" Albus said, "I all but told him I'd hex him if he told anyone."
"Exactly," Rose replied, "What if he tells Malfoy about the Whomping Willow?"
"Merlin!" Albus suddenly sat up, "I hadn't thought of that!"
"What if he already told Malfoy?" John said darkly.
"Then he's already investigated it," Amanda said quietly, "Or at least tried."
"And he'll try again," Albus replied, "I know, I'll check the map a lot." Albus got up from his bed and went to his trunk. He rummaged around in it until he found the Marauder's Map. He took out his wand and tapped it, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Ink appeared all over the map as Albus and the others crowded around it. Albus scanned it quickly for Malfoy. "He's in the Slytherin common room," Albus pointed to Malfoy's dot in the dungeons. "I'll just check it every once and a while."
"Good idea," John said.
"What are we going to tell Matt?" Rose asked quietly. "We've got to tell him about this."
In all the chaos of finding Kaden and trying to hex him, Albus hadn't thought about what they were going to tell Matt. "We'll just have to tell him what happened, that's all. I'm not going to hide that Kaden was the one who told Malfoy. If Matt wants to hex him, he can go right ahead."
"We're not going to let him hex Kaden!" Rose insisted, "He doesn't need anymore detention."
"Good point," Amanda agreed. "We'll tell him it was Kaden, but we won't let him hex him."
"Matt will just have to avoid Malfoy," John commented, "I mean, there's nothing we can do now. What's done is done. We'll all avoid Malfoy."
"That'll be hard," Albus announced, "Malfoy is Matt's potions partner. And he's on mine and Amanda's dueling team."
"We'll just have to try," John sighed, "Besides that, there's not much we can do. That, and never trust Kaden with another secret."
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to XDNLxtlz99, sinwillys822, potterfan89, Luke, Niki_Lily, Moonylupin, Denas, and drownzer for their reviews!