Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
On Christmas Eve the Potters went to Godric's Hollow, like usual. It was completely dark by the time they Apparated to the Burrow, but there was plenty of light streaming out of the tall house's windows. As they walked closer to the place, Albus could hear the roars of laughter coming from inside.
"Harry!" the door to the Burrow flew open and George stood in the doorway to greet them, a mug of eggnog in his hand. "How are ya, mate?"
"I'm great, George. I see you're already drunk," Harry grinned at him.
"A drunkness only Mum's eggnog can bring," George went back into the house and Albus and his family followed.
Albus smiled to himself as he saw the usual chaos that was Christmas Eve at his grandparents' house. His sea of redheaded cousins were milling around eating and laughing with each other. This was what Albus loved about Christmas at the Burrow. He grabbed a couple biscuits from the nearby table and went to find Rose. She was sitting on the floor near the fireplace with Hugo, Victoire, and Teddy.
"Albus!" she shouted over the noise, "Over here!"
Albus pushed his way past Georgia and Gabriella who were laughing at something Fred was saying. "Hi Rose! What's been going on?"
"Not much. Uncle George, Uncle Bill, and Uncle Charlie are drunk. My dad's on his way and so is Aunt Alicia."
"Wouldn't be Christmas Eve if they weren't," Albus laughed.
"Gran's been refilling the biscuit platters and talking with my mum and Aunt Fleur. I think she's about to put on Celestina Warbeck," Rose gestured to the nearby wireless that Molly, Hermione, and Fleur were looking at. Fleur threw her hands up in the air and glared at Molly. "Yup, here comes Celestina."
"Mum hates her," Victoire shook her head, "She'll be heading for the eggnog now."
Sure enough, Fleur poured herself a large mug of eggnog as Molly settled down to listen to the wireless. She was the only one listening, though. Albus could hear bits and pieces of a heated Quidditch discussion going on between his Uncle Charlie, Uncle George, Aunt Alicia, and Heather. Harry was making his way over to them now. It amazed Albus that his uncles and aunt could carry on a fully understandable Quidditch discussion while drunk.
"How long are you staying, Victoire?" Albus asked.
"Just until after Christmas. I've got to get back to St. Mungo's in a couple days. But I've been here since yesterday when Amy left for Australia. I didn't want to be alone in the apartment, it would've gotten awfully boring."
"You wouldn't have had to be alone," Teddy winked, "And it wouldn't have been boring."
Victoire playfully slapped him. "Teddy! Don't let Mum hear you say that."
"Oh, Albus," Rose began, "Both John and Amanda can come to my house on the 28th. Well, they can only come over for the day, but that should be enough time. Matt's still not sure. He said he won't know until after he gets back from Australia."
"Ok. Great, we can play Quidditch!"
"Quidditch?" Hugo snapped his head away from his chocolate frog cards, "Can I play?"
"Sure," Albus replied.
"The 28th?" Teddy commented, "I'll come over, too. I don't have to be back at the Ministry until the 29th. I'm up for some Quidditch."
"Excellent," Albus grinned, "We can get a real game going. I'll just tell my dad I'm going home with you." Albus looked around the room and saw Harry in the midst of a Quidditch discussion. "Hey, Dad!"
"What is it, Al?" Harry got up and squeezed his way through the crowd over to Albus.
"It's all right if I go to Rose's house on the 28th, right? And stay a couple days?"
"That would be fine," Harry said, "But we're actually going to Dudley's house for New Year's Eve, so we'll come get you on the 31st before we leave."
"We're going to Dudley's?" Albus stared at his dad.
"Er, yeah," Harry gave Albus a half smile, "Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon will be there as well...."
"Dudley thought it would be a good idea, considering that Kaden is a wizard," Harry explained.
"All right," Albus shrugged. He didn't really want to see Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, but he didn't really have a choice.
"I'm sure they'll be...civilized, at least," Harry gave Albus a hug before leaving to rejoin his Quidditch discussion.
"Well, at least I can come over for a few days," Albus said.
"Yeah, but you've got to go see the Dursleys," Teddy screwed up his face in disgust.
"It's definitely going to be an interesting day," Albus replied.
"I'm sure it'll be fine," Rose assured him. "Plus, Kaden will be there."
"That'll make it even more interesting," Albus grinned.
"You know, he'd fit right in with this lot," Rose gestured to the loud and boisterous Weasley family around them. "Except without the red hair."
"Hey, I haven't got red hair!"
"Neither do I," Victoire agreed.
"I do," Teddy laughed as he changed his hair from its usual blue to red.
"You're not technically a Weasley," Rose commented.
"Close enough. And anyway, who knows what'll happen in the next few years," Teddy winked at Victoire, who giggled. Teddy threw his arms around Victoire and kissed her.
"Better not let Gran see you doing that," Rose warned.
"Always a stickler for the rules, huh Rosie?" Teddy laughed and lengthened his hair until it was the perfect replica of Rose's.
"Don't do that!" Rose groaned, "And I do break rules. Just ask Albus."
Teddy shortened his hair again and turned to Albus. "Really?"
"She does," Albus confirmed, "Quite a few times, actually."
"This I've got to hear."
"Maybe another time," Albus glanced at Rose. Albus hadn't really decided whether or not to tell Teddy about the new map. Most of Rose's and Albus's most recent rule breaking was done in order to decipher it. Albus knew he wasn't going to tell his cousins about it, but he wasn't sure about Teddy and James. One part of him thought they deserved to know, considering that their father and grandfather were both Marauders, but on the other hand he kind of liked keeping it a secret.
"Aw, come on, tell me."
"Another time," Rose said adamantly.
"Oh, fine," Teddy huffed, "But I will find out."
Albus spent the rest of the evening talking and playing games with Rose, Teddy, and Victoire. He was really enjoying the time off from school and getting to spend time with his entire family at once. By the time he climbed up to the attic bedroom that he shared with James and a few of their cousins, he was tired and stuffed from all the biscuits.
"James! Albus!" Albus snapped his eyes open at the sound of his name the next morning. He immediately recognized the voice as belonging to Lily. He heard her footsteps bounding into the room. "Albus, James! It's Christmas! Wake up!"
"Hi Lily," Albus yawned.
"Good, you're up! James! Get up!"
"I'm up, I'm up!" James mumbled.
"We've got presents, James!" Lily grinned.
"Right!" James said excitedly and Albus heard him crawling to the end of the top bunk to his pile of presents.
"I'm going to open mine!" Lily shouted as she ran out of the room.
After Lily's early wake-up call, everyone in Albus's room was up. Albus settled down to open his own pile of presents with the other boys. The first few boxes were filled with sweets and various Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products. The next was this year's Weasley jumper. It had a red quaffle stitched onto the front with a navy blue background. "Opened your jumper yet, James?"
"Sure did," James replied, "Red with a green dragon on it."
"Mine's blue with a red quaffle."
Albus opened the next few presents, which consisted of numerous books and other clothing items. He also got a Broomstick Servicing Kit, which would be useful since his Firebolt 2000 had a few twigs that needed to be plucked. Albus saved the present from his parents for last and was about to open it when James gave an excited shout from the bed above.
"What is it?" Cedric asked and jumped off his bed. Ben followed and the two of them ran over to James's bed.
Albus crawled out of his bed and joined his cousins. "What?" he asked.
James had a huge grin on his face as he held up a blank piece of parchment. "Look what I got."
Albus stared at the parchment. "You're kidding! Dad gave you the Marauder's Map?"
"He sure did!" James shouted.
"This is perfect!" Cedric exclaimed.
"I can't believe he gave it to you," Ben grinned.
"That's great, James," Albus smiled, "But why you and not me?" Albus couldn't help but feel a little left out, even though he now had his own Marauder's Map that would potentially be better than the original. But his dad didn't know about that, so why did he give the Map to James?
"Dunno," James shrugged. "What did they get you?"
"Haven't opened it yet," Albus picked up the package from his parents and tore off the wrapping.
What he saw made his mouth fall open in shock. This would explain why James got the Map! Sitting in the middle of the torn wrapping, was the Invisibility Cloak. "He, he gave me the Cloak," Albus whispered.
"Well, that's why you didn't get the map," James replied, "This is brilliant!"
"Yeah," Albus agreed, pulling the cloak out of the wrapping. He laughed to himself as he thought of how he and Rose went through all that trouble of stealing it earlier in the month and now he got it for Christmas. "Guess this is why Dad wanted the Map back."
James laughed, "We gave it back only for him to give it to me. I think we ought to share them."
"That's a good idea," Albus agreed, not mentioning that hopefully he would have his own map working soon.
"And share them with us, too," Cedric gestured to himself and Ben.
"Of course we will," James assured them. "We just have to be sneaky about it. We can't let all of Hogwarts know we've got these."
"I'm going to go tell Rose," Albus wrapped the Cloak around himself and left the room. He had never worn the Cloak at the Burrow before and he thought it was really funny that he passed Eddie on the stairs and Eddie didn't even notice him. He pushed open the door to the room that Rose shared with Victoire, Georgia, Gabriella, and Heather and waited for the girls' reactions.
Heather jumped when she heard the door open and saw that no one was there. Victoire and Gabriella laughed and then shrugged. Rose got up from her bed and walked cautiously over to the door.
"Boo," Albus pulled the Cloak off and grinned.
All five girls shrieked as they saw Albus emerge from the Cloak, then they all started laughing. "Where did you get that?" Rose demanded.
"Dad gave it to me!"
"He did?" Victoire stared in amazement. "Wow, that is really great."
"I just can't believe he gave you that," Rose grinned, "I'll bet James is jealous."
"He got the Marauder's Map, so he's fine."
"Wow!" Rose shouted, "That's incredible. And you can share them."
"That's the plan," Albus grinned. "Well, I'll see you lot downstairs." He wrapped the Cloak around himself once more and left the room. Albus couldn't believe that his dad had actually given him the Cloak! He didn't think Harry would ever give it up. The best part was that he was now even more like his grandfather had been at Hogwarts. Albus was even more of a Marauder now that he had the Cloak.
Albus continued down the stairs and into the kitchen of the Burrow. A few of his cousins, aunts, and uncles were already up and starting to eat breakfast. Harry and Ginny were there as well, along with Lily. His grandmother was tending to multiple cauldrons at once, while simultaneously bringing various items to the table. Albus watched them all for a few moments before pulling the Cloak off and shouting, "Happy Christmas!"
Bill choked on his coffee and spat it across the table at George, who had started laughing. Harry, who had probably been expecting this, grinned and looked at Ginny, who was smiling back. Lily was staring at Albus with her mouth wide open. Molly dropped the bowl of oatmeal she had been bringing to the table. Everyone else looked at Albus with various looks of shock and amusement.
"Albus!" Molly shrieked as she cleaned up the spilled oatmeal with a wave of her wand, "Don't do that!"
"You gave him the Cloak?" George asked.
"Yep," Harry replied, "I take it you're enjoying it, Al?"
"Sure am!" Albus went over to where his parents were sitting and gave them each a huge hug, "Thanks!"
"You're welcome," Harry smiled, "I figured you should be able to enjoy it while you're at Hogwarts, like I did. Although I expect you to use it more responsibly than I did."
"I'll try," Albus said, thinking of when he snuck down to the Whomping Willow with it only two weeks ago. "James and I are going to share it. Same with the Map."
"Wait, you gave him the Marauder's Map, too?" George stared at Harry.
"No, James got that."
"I didn't think you'd ever give that away," George laughed.
"Well, I can wander the castle whenever I want and it won't matter who's around," Harry explained, "The boys can't. Plus, I didn't want to deny them the fun of it."
"Are you sure that's safe, Harry?" Molly asked anxiously.
"The castle is perfectly safe, even at night. I'm not saying I approve of you wandering around at night," Harry gave Albus a stern gaze, "But there are more enchantments than ever protecting it."
"That won't protect them from wizards already in the castle!" Molly commented, "Remember that Willinson kid last year?"
"How could I forget? Sometimes, you just have to take risks in order to live a little. I trust the boys enough to know they won't go wandering around late at night very often. And if you see anything suspicious on the Map," Harry turned to Albus, "Tell me about it right away."
Albus nodded. "Sure." He took a seat at the table, with the Cloak on his lap, just as James ran into the room holding the Map in his hands.
"Thanks, Dad!" James shouted, "This is brilliant!"
"I'll tell you what I told Al. Don't use that to break too many rules and if you see anything abnormal on it, tell me right away."
"Hello, Weasleys!" Teddy strolled into the room, his hair half green and half red. He sat down next to Albus and pulled a platter of eggs towards him. "Happy Christmas."
"I know your hair is Christmas colored, but those two colors just shouldn't be paired together," James shuddered as he noticed Teddy's hair. "I mean, Gryffindor and Slytherin at the same time?"
"It's festive," Teddy grinned. "You want me to charm yours to be red and green, too? Just learned some excellent charms for that sort of thing in training. Not that I'll need them."
"No thanks," James had a look of disgust on his face. "I'll keep the plain red."
"Is that..." Teddy looked at the parchment James was holding, "The Marauder's Map?"
"Oh, yeah! Sure is!" James handed it to Teddy, "Got it for Christmas!"
"That's great!" Teddy grinned. "What did you get Albus? Don't think Harry could top that."
"I got the Cloak."
Teddy turned to Albus, "Really? That's great, too! Wish I had an Invisibility Cloak."
"But you can cast those Disillusionment charms," Albus pointed out.
"Not nearly as fun as that Cloak, though," Teddy commented.
"Oh, boys," Harry began, "You're going to have to share those with Lily once she gets to Hogwarts."
"Aw, come on," James groaned.
"If you don't I'll just steal them," Lily smirked, "And hide them in my dormitory, which you two won't be able to get into."
"She's got a point," Ginny grinned.
"We'll share," Albus assured them. He wouldn't mind sharing with Lily, just as long as she kept the Cloak secret. The last thing they needed was the entire castle knowing about it.
"Good," Harry smiled, "Now who's up for a little winter Quidditch?"
"Me!" Albus, James, Teddy, and mostly everyone else shouted at the same time.
Albus spent most of the day playing Quidditch outside with his family. Eventually they all had to come in because they were too cold to play any longer. Plus, it started snowing pretty hard and nobody wanted to lose the Snitch. Albus spent the rest of the day with Rose and reading a few of his new books. The Cloak was passed around between his cousins, and most of them were amazed Harry had given it to him, and a little jealous as well. James passed the Map around and everyone had fun watching the few dots that were left in the castle.
Christmas dinner came and went in its usual chaotic state. It was loud and funny and Albus enjoyed every minute of it. He went to bed feeling very full and very content. The next day Albus's aunts, uncles, and cousins all started to leave. Albus and Rose's families stayed for a couple more days, but they soon had to leave so Albus's grandparents could go on holiday for New Year's. Albus was actually excited to leave because he would be going to Rose's house and hopefully getting the stag print.
Albus landed in Rose's living room after Flooing from the Burrow. His Uncle Ron, Rose, and Hugo had already arrived and his Aunt Hermione was right behind him. There was an owl waiting next to the window and Hermione ran over to let it in.
"That's Matt's owl," Albus announced as he and Rose went over to retrieve the letter. Albus opened the envelope and scanned the letter, "He can come, but only for tomorrow. We're supposed to meet him at the Leaky Cauldron at eleven."
"Sure," Hermione smiled, "Tell him that will work."
Albus found a quill and quickly scribbled a response on the back of the letter and sent it off with the owl. He and Rose ran up the stairs and into Rose's room to talk about plans for getting the print.
"I hope you've got some ideas," Albus said as he shut Rose's door.
"Of course I do," Rose grinned. "We'll tell my parents that we're going to go exploring in the forest and we'll look for a stag while we're in there. Once we find one, we'll all try and stun it-"
"What about the underage magic laws?" Albus definitely didn't want someone from the Ministry showing up shortly after they stunned a stag. The last thing he wanted to do was explain why he had done it.
Rose laughed, "Haven't you figured it out yet? They can't tell who's done the magic, only that magic's been done. The Ministry has no way to tell if it was us or my parents who performed the magic."
Albus hadn't thought of that. All last summer he could have done magic and the Ministry wouldn't have found out. "Really?"
"Yes, really. The Ministry just relies on parents to not let their kids use magic outside school. So I wouldn't suggest doing it a lot. I'm sure we'd get in big trouble with our parents. I wouldn't even be suggesting we do this if there was another way to get the print."
Albus nodded. He didn't really want to break the law either, but what could they do? There was no way to get a stag print if the stag wasn't stunned. "I just hope we actually find one tomorrow."
"Me, too. But we do have a couple days. You'll be here until the 31st, so that's four days to get it."
"Yeah, but John and Matt want to help, too."
"I know and we'll try. Hey, I'll bet Amanda's gotten the dog print by now!"
"Oh, yeah!" Albus said excitedly, "So we're pretty much halfway there."
"Yup," Rose grinned.
"Now we've just got to find the charm to keep Kaden quiet," Albus replied.
"You're going to tell him everything after I find that charm?" Rose asked.
"I think so. I mean, as long as the charm works he can't tell anyone about it. It's obvious now that he's Wormtail, although I'm sure he'll be a better one. But it's up to Matt whether he wants to tell Kaden he's a werewolf."
"Isn't it kind of necessary for this?"
"Probably, but I can't exactly tell Kaden that."
"Yeah, you definitely can't," Rose agreed.
"Let's just try and get the stag print first," Albus suggested, "Then we'll figure out the Kaden thing."
A/N: J.K. Rowling did state in an interview that Harry wasn't going to give the map and the cloak to James & Al, but it fits the plot so I'm just ignoring that for this series. Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to sinwillys822, Denas, Miguel, Johanne, Luke, Slytherinlover, wolverine83, Moonylupin, XDNLxtlz99, maraudersfan a_w, and Jen for the reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Albus, Rose, and Hermione went to the Leaky Cauldron the next day to meet Matt and Amanda, who was also being dropped off there. John had arrived earlier by Floo and went with them as well. When they got there, both Matt and Amanda were already there.
"Hi!" Albus greeted them as he stepped out of the Floo.
"Hi Albus," Matt grinned, "How was your Christmas?"
"It was brilliant," Albus replied, "Wait till you see what I got."
"What?" Amanda asked.
"Can't show you here," Albus whispered. "I'll show you when we get back."
"Let's go now," Matt said impatiently.
"You kids go ahead," Hermione told them, "I've got a bit of shopping to do."
Albus bade goodbye to his aunt and turned back to the Floo. Within seconds he was back in Rose's living room. A few minutes later all his friends were back as well.
Matt and Amanda stared around the room. "Nice house," Amanda smiled.
"Yeah," Matt agreed, "Kind of looks like mine."
"Thanks," Rose replied.
"So, Albus, what did you get for Christmas?" Matt asked.
"This," Albus pulled the Invisibility Cloak out of his cloak pocket. He had been carrying it around with him ever since Christmas.
Matt let out a gasp. "Whoa! You really got the Cloak? That's completely amazing!"
"I love that cloak," Amanda grinned.
"And to think we stole it just a few weeks ago," John snorted.
"Shush!" Albus hissed, "Uncle Ron and Hugo are here."
"But this isn't all," Albus continued, "James got the Marauder's Map."
"He didn't!" John shouted.
"You two are so lucky," Matt replied.
"But we'll have our own Map soon anyway," Amanda pointed out as she dug around in the bag she brought. She produced a crumpled piece of parchment with a paw print on it that was slightly smaller than the werewolf print.
"You got it!" Albus took it from her. "We're halfway there now."
"I hope it'll work. Newton wouldn't stay still and the parchment is kind of wrinkled."
"I'm sure it will work," Albus said.
"Good thing we didn't have the prints go directly on the map," Matt replied.
"So today we get the stag print," Albus announced. "Right after lunch."
Everyone agreed and headed into the kitchen to scrounge up some food. Ron had already created an enormous sandwich and was eating it when Albus and the others walked in. They all liked the idea of making giant sandwiches and were soon eating alongside Ron. Albus thought John's sandwich looked disgusting because it was piled high with turkey, pickles, and peanut butter. Rose shuddered as she saw him bite into it, but he thought it tasted delicious.
"I can't believe you ate that entire thing," Rose screwed up her face in disgust after John ate the last bite of his lunch.
"It was good," he shrugged.
"Hey, Uncle Ron," Albus began, "We're going to go explore the forest."
"All right. Have fun. But try and be back by three. Teddy's coming over and so are James and your dad. We're all going to play Quidditch."
"Sure, we'll be back by then," Albus was excited about playing Quidditch. It was always better when Teddy was there.
Once they were all done with lunch, Rose and Albus led the way outside and over to the forest. The forest was situated next to the large open field that was next to the house. Albus and Rose went exploring in it quite a bit and knew their way around it well. The group crunched across the snow laden field until they came to the forest's edge. Rose found the path they usually took and lead the group down it. "Keep your eyes pealed for a stag," she told everyone.
"This reminds me of the forest near my old house in Australia," Matt commented after a few minutes of walking.
"How was Australia this year?" Albus asked, remembering that his friend just returned to Britain the previous day.
"It was all right. No different than usual. It was boring of course, and my grandmother kept telling us how we should visit more often."
"You're not going to, are you?" John asked.
"Don't think so. Mum and Dad don't really want to. Plus they want to go visit my Uncle Jack in New York this summer."
"That would be fun," Amanda replied.
"Yeah, I hope we get to go."
The group continued walking into the forest until Rose announced that it would be better if they sat completely still and waited for a stag to walk by. She said their movement would scare the creatures away. Albus sat down in the snow behind a shrub with his friends and watched and listened for animals. After a half hour of waiting, Albus was bored. How long was it going to take for a stag to cross their path? He would much rather just walk around to find one. Rose seemed perfectly content to sit still, as did Matt. John had made a large pile of snow balls, along with a snow wizard. Amanda was busy creating a snow witch to go along with his wizard.
"I'm bored," John sighed as he made yet another snow ball. "How long is this going to take?"
"I don't know," Rose shrugged, "We don't see stags that often in here, so it might be a while."
Albus glanced at his watch, "Well it's just after two, so if we don't find one soon, we'll have to go back." He stared into the forest and willed a stag to come. Albus was getting frustrated by this point. They needed that stag print for the map! There was no place else to find one. What if they couldn't find a stag before the end of the holiday? They would have to wait until the summer to search again. Albus couldn't wait that long. He wanted the map now.
"Wait," Matt stood up and turned around, "I think I hear something over there." He pointed to a cluster of bushes a couple meters away.
"I don't hear it," John replied.
"Shush!" Matt whispered, "You know I can hear things you can't."
Matt started slowly making his way towards the cluster of bushes. Albus and the others followed behind, nobody saying a word. "Wands ready," Matt whispered.
Albus pulled out his wand and pointed it towards the bushes, his mind racing with excitement as he went. This was it! They were going to get the stag print! Part of Albus's mind knew that this wasn't necessarily a stag, but he didn't pay attention to that. What else could it be? Most of the animals in the forest were too small to be rustling the bushes this much. As Albus got closer to it, he could distinctly hear the footprints of the animal, and they were much too loud to be a rabbit or a squirrel. There weren't many large animals in the forest, stags being some of the few. It could be a doe, but Albus hoped it wasn't.
The group was now only a couple feet away from the bushes. Everyone had their wand pointed at them, waiting for the animal to make its appearance. The moment Albus saw the leaves part, he shouted, "Stupefy!"
"Stupefy!" Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda all shouted at once.
Whatever was in the bushes jumped to the side and missed all five stunning spells. "Whoa! What the bloody hell do you lot think you're doing!"
It was Teddy. The noise Matt had heard in the bushes was Teddy. Albus lowered his wand and sighed. So much for finding a stag. Now that Teddy was with them, they would no longer be able to look. Albus turned to his friends and saw them all put their wands away.
Teddy fully emerged from the bush and walked over to where Albus was with a bewildered look on his face. "Do I even want to know what you're up to?"
"Er," Albus began, trying to think up an excuse fast.
"We're just taking a walk in the forest and you scared us!" Rose announced, "Sneaking up on us like that, what did you think we'd do?"
"Shriek, maybe?" Teddy gave them a lopsided grin, "But not attack me."
"So you were trying to scare us?" Rose said exasperatingly
"A bit, yeah," Teddy laughed. "Worked, didn't it?"
"I'll say," Rose muttered. Albus listened to the two of them but didn't add anything. He was forever grateful that his cousin was a better liar than he was.
"It's kind of cold to be going for a hike," Teddy commented, "But Ron said you were here, so I figured I'd see if I could find you." He eyed John's pile of snowballs and grinned, "Planning on having a snow ball fight?"
Teddy didn't wait for an answer and picked up a few of John's snowballs. He threw one at Albus and the other at Rose.
"Watch it!" Albus shouted as the snowball made contact with his face. He spat out the snow and bent down to make his own snow ball. He aimed it at Teddy but Teddy jumped out of the way and it hit Matt instead.
"Hey!" Matt shouted as he picked up one of John's snowballs and threw it at Albus. It landed square on Albus's chest.
A few moments later, a huge snowball fight broke out. It was every man for himself for a while and Albus was getting pummeled by Teddy's snowballs. He tried to get Teddy back, but Teddy was too quick for him. Instead, Albus decided to focus on Matt, who was trying to get Albus back for the snowball that had hit him instead of Teddy. Rose eventually joined Albus in his attempt to get Matt, while Amanda evened out the odds by joining Matt's side. John, who seemed to be the only one with enough skill to hit Teddy, was having a one-on-one fight with the blue haired boy and was actually doing well.
The six of them were completely soaked by the time the fight ended. Matt and Amanda surrendered to Rose and Albus after the cousins decided to create about twenty snowballs and lob them constantly at their two friends. John surrendered to Teddy a few minutes later, once Teddy decided to charm a pile of snow to turn itself into snowballs, resulting in a never-ending supply of ammunition for Teddy. John didn't know that spell and was stuck hand making his snow balls while Teddy continuously sent snowballs at him.
"Who's up for Quidditch?" Teddy asked as they were walking back through the forest to Rose's house.
"M-maybe after I d-dry off," Albus shivered. The snow had completely penetrated his cloak and was now freezing it into an icicle. His friends nodded in agreement.
"Sounds good," Teddy replied, "Harry and James should be at the house by now.
A little while later, Albus found himself back at Rose's house, where everyone was waiting for the Quidditch match to start. Albus, along with his friends, ran upstairs to dry off and change quickly.
"Ready?" Teddy jumped up from the chair he was sitting on once Albus and his friends descended the stairs. "Who hasn't got a broom with them?"
"Me," Amanda said. She was the only one. John and Matt, who both had brooms, had brought them knowing they would play Quidditch.
"We've got spares," Ron announced, holding a couple brooms in his hand.
Once everyone had a broom to use, Teddy started to take charge of creating teams. "All right. Let's see, we've got Me, Harry, Ron, James, Albus, John, Matt, Amanda, Hugo, and Rose, are you playing?"
"Sure, why not?" Rose shrugged.
"Good, then we've got ten players. That's five per team. So each team will have a Seeker, a beater, a Keeper, and two chasers, that'll work. I'll be one of the Seekers," he turned to Harry and James, "Which one of you will be the other?"
"You can, James," Harry offered, "I'll do whatever is needed."
After a few minutes of organizing, the two teams were created. Albus's team consisted of Teddy as Seeker, Ron as Keeper, Hugo as the only Beater, and Matt and himself as the two Chasers. On the other team, James was Seeker, Amanda was Keeper, John was the Beater, and Rose and Harry as Chasers.
The two teams trooped outside into the cold winter day. It was just starting to snow a little, but Albus didn't mind. He would keep warm while he was playing anyway. Harry and Ron conjured goal hoops and everyone flew into the air. Hermione released the balls (only one Bludger, since there were only two beaters) and threw the Quaffle into the air, then conjured herself a chair to watch.
The match was nothing like the ones at Hogwarts. It was much more informal, and in a way, Albus enjoyed it more. There was only friendly competition between the two teams and no one got angry when someone dropped the Quaffle, which happened a lot. The two teams were pretty evenly matched in terms of Chasing skills. Albus, who was the only real Chaser on either team, was easily the best. Harry was a decent Chaser, but it was clear that Seeking was his real skill. Rose was absolutely dreadful and was the first to admit it. She wasn't a big fan of flying in the first place and didn't like to take her hands off her broom in order to catch and throw the Quaffle. Matt was better than Rose, but dropped the Quaffle numerous times. Albus and Matt scored more points than Harry and Rose did.
Ron, of course, was a very good Keeper and Amanda was as well. Albus was kind of surprised at this, because she never really played Quidditch before. Maybe she could try out for the Gryffindor team once Georgia left. John was an amazing Beater and Albus already knew that he'd be trying out for the team after Bradley and Ryan left. Hugo was also a very good Beater and it was obvious he had received all the Quidditch genes in his family. Then, of course, there were the Seekers. Both Teddy and James were amazing Seekers and by far the two best players on either team.
After about an hour of playing, during which Albus was sure both Teddy and James had seen the Snitch but ignored it in order to drag the game on longer, both Seekers flew directly up into the air. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch. A few seconds later, they both came flying back down and James had the Snitch clutched in his hand.
"I got it!" he shouted.
"That puts your team ahead," Hermione announced, "You won 270 to 210."
"Yes!" James exclaimed, landing on the ground. Albus and the rest of the players landed after him and congratulated him and his team for winning. "Ha! I beat you at Quidditch, Teddy!" James gloated.
"Yeah, yeah, good job," Teddy sighed, "Knew I shouldn't have trained you that well."
"You'll be saying otherwise when we win the Cup this year!" James grinned, "We already beat Slytherin."
"I know, I was there," Teddy laughed, "Anyway, I'm just joking."
Despite the fact that his team didn't win, Albus was happy. He loved playing Quidditch with his family, even more than playing on his House team. It was even better with his friends there, too. He walked back into the house with his friends and family, cold but very content. Hermione had made a plate of sandwiches for them, which everyone ate enthusiastically once they had dried off.
After all the food had been eaten, John Flooed back to his house and Albus, Rose, and Hermione went with Matt and Amanda back to the Leaky Cauldron to meet their families. It had been a short visit, but a fun one nonetheless. Albus only wished that they had managed to get the stag print. He and Rose were planning on trying again the next day, and the next if it was necessary. They had three more days to do it and Albus was determined to succeed.
Albus and Rose spent as much time as they could in the forest looking for stags the next day. When they weren't in the forest, they spent their time in the library in Rose's house, looking for a charm to keep Kaden quiet.
"There's books in here that aren't in the school library," Rose announced as they walked into the room after a particularly cold jaunt in the forest.
"I'm still not sure we should take a break from looking for a stag," Albus replied.
"It's too cold out there now. Plus there's a storm coming and it won't do us any good if we get lost out there." Rose went over to a book shelf and Albus followed. He had been in this room plenty of times before, just never to look for a specific charm.
"How are we supposed to find one charm hidden in all these books?" Albus sighed, "We don't even know what it's called."
"That's what this is for," Rose slammed a heavy book down on the table nearest to the shelf she pulled it off of.
Albus looked at the book, "An Encyclopedia of Charms by Filius Flitwick. That's who Mum and Dad had for Charms, isn't it?"
"Yes," Rose confirmed as she opened the cover, "It's a rather ingenious idea, really. All I've got to do is take my wand, point it at the book, and say 'I need a charm to keep someone quiet' and it will flip to the right page."
"That would certainly speed things along," Albus replied. "Try it."
"All right," Rose pointed her wand at the book, "I need a charm to keep someone quiet." The book's pages immediately started turning until they stopped about a quarter of the way into the book. Rose peered at it and then shook her head. "Nope, that's not it. This one's just a silencing charm."
"Maybe you've got to be more specific," Albus suggested.
Rose nodded. "I need a charm to prevent someone from talking about something." The pages started turning again and stopped a few seconds later. Rose sighed after she read the description. "This one charms a person's mouth shut."
Albus laughed, "Well that would definitely keep Kaden from talking about the map!"
"People might notice, though," Rose smirked, "Although it does have it's advantages. I'll try something else."
"I think you'd better tell the book exactly what we need the charm to do. Tell it that Kaden has to not talk about a specific thing."
"Good idea," Rose poised her wand above the book, "I need to keep Kaden Durlsey from revealing secrets about Matt Eckerton and about a map. He must only be able to talk about these secrets with five other people and not mention them to anyone else. He should be able to converse normally about other topics."
"That ought to be specific enough." Albus watched as the book hesitated for a few moments and then turn its pages to one of the last ones. Both Rose and Albus leaned over the book while Rose read aloud.
"'The Sileo Altus Charm is the most complex and intricate of the silencing charms. This charm has the ability to keep a person from revealing one specific piece of information to others, unlike other silencing charms which prevent a person from speaking at all. The charm also has the ability to involve others, which will result in the person the charm is cast on to be able to converse about the secret with those specific people. When done correctly, this charm will last forever or until the counter charm is performed. The Sileo Altus Charm keeps a person's secret safe much like the Fidelius Charm keeps a person's location secret and is said to be just as safe.'
"Then there's a whole bunch of spells that are required," Rose scanned the remainder of the entry. "There's a spell that has to be performed on each person who is involved, one on Kaden, one on the secret-keeper-"
"There's a secret keeper?" Albus asked.
"Yeah, I guess so. Then there's the overall charm," Rose continued, "It sounds complicated. But I'm up for it. This doesn't really tell me how to do it, though. There's just a list of spells."
Albus glanced at the entry, "Oh, it says there's more information in Charms of Protection by Natalia Journo."
"You're right, I hadn't noticed that," Rose leaned over the book again and read the title of the recommended book. "I think we might actually have that one." Rose jumped up from her seat and ran across the room. Albus sat back and watched her. He had no idea how she could possibly know if she had that book or not. The entire room was filled with shelves and shelves of books. Albus wouldn't even know where to look to find the book they needed.
Rose returned a few minutes later with a book in her arms and a smile on her face. "We do have it! This was easier than I thought it would be."
"I think doing the actual charm is going to off-set the ease of finding it," Albus pointed out.
Rose shrugged, "I think I can figure it out within a few weeks." She sat back down and opened the book.
Albus watched as his cousin flipped through the pages of the book until she found the charm they were looking for. He was very happy that Rose was so eager to learn new charms. It certainly helped that she was good at it, too. Albus had made a lot of progress in charms ever since Professor Cedonia arrived, but he was still average. Rose was easily the best in their class. That and her eagerness to learn would certainly help if she was going to master this charm.
Rose read in silence for a few minutes and then turned to Albus. "All right. This explains it pretty well. First, of course, we've got to tell Kaden the secrets. Then we've got to pick the secret keeper. I'm thinking that I'll have to be the secret keeper since the secret keeper is the one to perform the charms."
Albus nodded, "I'm fine with that. We've just got to make sure Matt is. What does the secret keeper do?"
"Just perform the charms. And the secret keeper is the only one who can perform the counter charm on Kaden. Normally the secret keeper would be the only one the person could talk about the secret with as well. But we'll use another charm to ensure that Kaden can talk about the secrets with you, John, Matt, and Amanda as well."
"That sounds good," Albus replied. "What else?"
"Well, the secret keeper performs a charm on themselves, which turns them into the secret keeper. Then they perform a charm on Kaden. Then Kaden will recite the secrets in detail. After that, the secret keeper performs another charm on Kaden. Then charms are performed on the rest of the people involved. Then a final sealing charm on everyone, including Kaden and the secret keeper, and it's done."
The idea of all those different spells made Albus's brain hurt. "Wow, that's a lot of charms. We've never done ones that are a combination of multiple charms."
"The transference charm is one of those, but it only uses two. This one is five."
"What's the counter charm involve?" Albus asked, thinking that maybe there would be a time when Kaden would mature and they wouldn't have to rely on magic to keep him from spilling secrets to Malfoy.
"Erm, it seems pretty much like the actual charm," Rose looked back at the book, "You pretty much go backwards, using different charms."
"I'll start practicing as soon as we're back at school," Rose shut the book and got up. "I'll bring the book. Mum'll never know, she's got way too many to keep track of."
"All right," Albus got up and followed her to the door, "Now we've just got to find that stag."
"It's going to have to wait until tomorrow, Albus," Rose pointed to the window. It was white with swirling snow and the wind was howling. "Mum and Dad'll never let us out in that."
Albus was getting quite fed up with the stag search by the time late afternoon arrived the next day. He and Rose spent the entire morning in the forest, taking a break for lunch, and then returning in the afternoon. Albus looked at his watch and saw that they would have to be starting to return to the house soon. "We're never going to find a stag!" he groaned.
Rose, who had brought the charm book they had found the previous day, looked up. "You've just got to be patient. I told you one won't come if we're noisy."
"We've been quiet for the past two hours," Albus said flatly.
"You're not being quiet now," Rose whispered and returned to her book.
Albus sighed and stared out into the forest. So far Albus had seen no less than ten rabbits and four owls, but no stags. He was getting very cold sitting in the snow and his cloak had long since soaked through. Albus was determined, however, and refused to go back to Rose's house until they found a stag.
It had seemed so simple at first, to stun a stag in the forest and get its footprint. This was not supposed to be the hardest print to get. Looking back, even the werewolf one seemed easier. Sure, they got locked out of Hogwarts, but they never got in trouble for it. The dog print had been the easiest, since Amanda had a dog. The rat would be easy, too, once John managed to catch one.
Albus pulled out his wand and started to poke at the snow wizard he had constructed earlier. The wand melted holes into the snow wizard until it started to resemble a piece of snow swiss cheese. Albus was just beginning to do the same to the snow hippogriff that had been formed after the wizard when Rose poked him and hissed, "Albus, look!"
Albus raised his head and looked in the direction Rose was pointing. Directly in front of them was a majestic looking doe, standing completely still and staring just to the left of where the two cousins were sitting. "It's just a doe," Albus whispered back, "It won't work."
"I know, but there's usually a stag around when there's a doe."
Albus sat completely still with his wand facing towards the doe. Rose did the same and the two of them didn't move for a good five minutes. The doe inched slowly ahead, walking to the left of Albus and Rose. Then Albus heard a rustling behind the doe and excitement washed over him as he saw a huge stag appear from behind a cluster of trees. "This is it," he whispered to Rose. She nodded but didn't say anything. The stag walked towards the doe, who had turned around to look at her mate. "On the count of three. One...two...three. Stupefy!" Albus shouted.
"Stupefy!" Rose shouted at the same time.
The doe shot off like a rocket as soon as the cousins shouted the spell. The stag started to follow but was hit by Albus's stunner. Rose's spell hit a nearby tree and burned a small hole into the bark.
"Excellent shot, Albus!" Rose grinned at him as they ran towards the stag.
"Let's hurry. We won't have much time before he wakes up," Rose reached into her robes and pulled out a piece of parchment, a bottle of ink, and a paint brush.
The stag was even bigger up close. Its eyes darted around nervously as Rose painted the ink onto its front hoof. Albus quickly pressed the parchment onto the hoof and pulled it away. A perfect hoof print appeared on the parchment. "This one's good," Albus showed it to Rose.
"Good," she put the stopper on her ink and stowed both it and the brush back in her cloak, "Now let's go. He won't be happy when he wakes up."
Albus didn't need telling twice. He blew onto the parchment a few times to dry the ink and then put it in his cloak. The two cousins ran through the trees and back to the house. It only took them a few minutes as they weren't very far. Albus was thrilled that they had actually managed to get the print. The only print left was the rat one and then they would be able to try out the map.
A/N: Extra long chapter and an early update! Just to let everyone know, I'll be away at a Harry Potter convention from tomorrow (hence the early update) until Sunday and although I'll have my laptop with me, I might not have a chance to respond to your reviews. I'll get to them afterwards, though.
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Denas, XDNLxtlz99, Luke, sinwillys822, Slytherinlover, maraudersfan a_w, Miguel, Moonylupin, and drownzer for the reveiws!
isclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, Barbie, or Wii.
Albus's family came to pick him up from Rose's house the next afternoon. They were all dressed in Muggle clothing, although Harry looked a little uncomfortable in his Muggle suit. Probably due to the tie, Albus thought. He could never understand why Muggles wore those.
"Ready, Al?" Harry asked after a few minutes of visiting with Rose's family.
"Yeah," Albus replied. He had to admit that he was a bit nervous about this dinner, but there was nothing he could do about it now. "See you at school, Rose."
"Bye," Rose smiled.
The rest of the Potters and Weasleys said goodbye to each other and then Albus disapparated with his family. They appeared in a dark alley near a deserted street. Harry motioned for them to follow him and the family started down the street. They made a few more turns until they came upon a neighborhood of average sized houses. The houses all looked different, but seemed to be well cared for. It was a very quiet neighborhood with few people out and about. There were a couple people outside shoveling the newly fallen snow off their driveways, but none of them seemed to notice Albus and his family.
Eventually, Harry led them up a driveway towards a gray house Albus recognized as Kaden's. Before they could even reach the door, it was thrown open and Kaden came running out. "Albus!" he shouted.
"Hi, Kaden," Albus greeted him. "How are you?"
"Great!" Kaden grinned, "I can't tell you how much I've missed school. It seems so boring here compared to school."
"I haven't missed it. I like being on holiday," Albus said.
"Yeah, but it's so boring without," Kaden whispered in Albus's ear, "Magic."
Albus stifled a laugh and followed Kaden into the house. Kaden led them to the living room, where Dudley was fidgeting with his tie. Christina was setting out bowls of grapes and nuts and Bethany was helping.
"Get anything good for Christmas?" Kaden asked Albus once they sat down on the couch. "I got a few new games for my Wii, a new football, a skateboard, and a bunch of clothes."
"What's a Wii?" Albus asked.
"Video game system," Kaden explained, "It's really fun. I'll show you sometime."
"Oh," Albus nodded, "I got some clothes, books, a load of sweets, stuff from my Uncle George's shop, and my dad's Invisibility Cloak."
Kaden's mouth fell open, "He gave it to you?!"
"Yup," Albus grinned. He had told Kaden about the Cloak a while ago, although Kaden had never seen it. He pulled it out of his bag and handed it to Kaden.
"Whoa, that's brilliant!" Kaden threw the cloak around himself, "Look, I'm invisible!"
All the adults looked over at him. "Albus, you'd better put that away before Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia get here," Harry warned. Albus nodded and took the cloak back from Kaden. He knew Uncle Vernon would be less than enthusiastic about any sort of magical object.
"Er, speaking of my parents," Dudley shifted uncomfortably, "They don't, well, they aren't aware that you're, er, here tonight."
Albus watched as his parents looked at each other and then back at Dudley. "What do you mean, Dudley?" Harry asked nervously.
"I knew they wouldn't come if they knew you were here, so I didn't tell them," Dudley confessed.
Harry groaned, "Dudley... You know this could go horribly wrong."
"Well, I was kind of hoping you would all make up," Dudley mumbled.
Harry shook his head and looked back at Ginny, who looked worried. Then the doorbell rang and Harry turned to Dudley. Dudley gave him a small smile and turned to get the door.
Albus gulped and looked at James. Albus could only ever recall seeing his Uncle Vernon once. Albus was only five or six at the time and the only thing he remembered was Vernon asking Harry if Albus was 'a freak like you are'. Albus had no desire to ever see the man again, and now he had to spend the evening with him.
The voices of Dudley greeting his parents started to become louder as they came into the living room. Albus got up from the couch and stood next to James, who was hiding behind Harry. Vernon and Petunia followed Dudley into the room and their faces visibly paled as they saw the Potters.
"Wha-wha, Dudley?" Vernon gaped at Harry and then looked at his son.
Albus watched as pandemonium broke out amongst the adults. Vernon's face turned various shades of red and purple as he tried to grasp what was happening. Petunia clung to her husband with a combined look of dislike and fear on her face.
"Vernon, Vernon! Did you know they would be here?" Petunia asked shrilly.
Once Vernon regained his ability to speak coherently, he started yelling at Harry, who yelled back.
"You!" Vernon pointed at Harry, "Why are you here, boy?"
Christina stood near the entrance to the kitchen, looking uncomfortable. Bethany clung to her leg and hid her face, clearly afraid of her grandfather's shouting. Albus, James, Lily, and Kaden glanced around at the adults, paying rapt attention to the unfolding argument, but not saying a word. Ginny pursed her lips and watched her husband with a disapproving look. Albus had to admit that his Uncle Vernon was a bit scary right now and Albus had no desire to cross paths with him. Dudley looked nervous as he tried to make peace between his relatives. His voice was drowned out amongst Vernon and Harry's yelling, and Petunia's shrieking.
"Mum, Dad," Dudley stood in front of his parents, "I invited them here, so we could all get reacquainted."
"Why would you do that?" Vernon demanded.
"Kaden's a wizard, Dad, so Harry's a part of his life now. You know he's one of Kaden's teachers."
Vernon's face turned from ghostly white to a deep shade of purple. "What could he possibly teach? Abnormalness?"
"Magic, Dad, it's called magic," Dudley sighed.
Vernon's eyes narrowed and he glared at Harry. "You're filling his head with all that junk you learned as a child! Don't stand for it, Dudley! He's got you tricked or something! Send him to Smeltings!"
"Dad, Harry didn't trick me. Kaden's a wizard and you're just going to have to live with it," Dudley replied.
"Nothing good will come of this, Dudley! I assure you of that!" Vernon shouted.
"Vernon," Petunia put her hand on her husband's arm, "Let it go."
"You do realize that this kind of abnormality is what got your sister killed!"
"I'm fully aware of what happened to my sister," Petunia snapped. "This doesn't have anything to do with that. It's about accepting your grandson for who he is." Vernon continued glaring at Harry, but he didn't say anything.
"Let's all sit down," Dudley suggested.
"And I'll get us some drinks!" Christina announced eagerly. She rushed into the kitchen and came back with a bottle of brandy, a bottle of wine, and a some glasses, along with fizzy drinks for the kids.
Vernon and Petunia regained their composure and Petunia gave Dudley a bone crunching hug and smothered him with kisses. She then moved on and did the same with both her grandchildren, making sure to completely ignore Albus, James, and Lily. Albus sat down on the couch and to his dislike, Vernon chose to sit next to him. After a few moments of awkward silence, Vernon turned to Albus. "So," he began, causing Albus to jump, "You go to this, school, too?"
"Er, yeah," Albus replied quickly, not looking at Vernon.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you," Vernon spat, "I see manners aren't high on their priority list. What classes do you take there?"
Albus forced himself to look at Vernon. "I'm taking Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Herbology, Astronomy, History of Magic, and Defense Against the Dark Arts," he mumbled quietly.
Vernon seemed to flinch at the sound of those names. "I see. And are you any good at them?"
"Um, I guess so," Albus replied. He was wishing more and more that he could have just stayed at Rose's house instead of coming here. Why was Vernon questioning him? Why not James or Kaden?
"What subject does your father teach?" Vernon barked.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts," Albus muttered.
"And what is that, exactly?"
"Defensive spells, dueling, stuff you use to defeat Dark wizards like Voldemort."
"Yeah, and Professor Potter defeated Voldemort!" Kaden interrupted and for once Albus was grateful for his cousin's big mouth.
"So I've heard," Vernon replied.
"He's a great teacher, Grandpa! I love my new school. It's much better than Muggle school," Kaden grinned. "I'll be right back." He ran up the stairs and came back a few seconds later with his wand. "Look at this!"
Vernon narrowed his eyes and gazed at his grandson. "You've got one, too."
"Of course I do!" Kaden laughed, "I wish I could show you some magic, though. I can't do it outside school. Hey, Professor Potter can show you!"
"No! I ruddy hell think not!" Vernon shouted.
"No thanks!" Petunia shouted at the same time.
Kaden looked disappointed. "Sorry, Kaden," Harry with an apologetic look, "Maybe another day."
"Or never," Vernon muttered.
Nobody said much after that. Albus preferred it that way. He was very happy that Uncle Vernon appeared to have given up his question and answer session. Christina announced that dinner was ready a few minutes later, and everyone eagerly went into the dining room. Albus made sure that he wasn't sitting next to Vernon and relaxed a little as he began to eat.
The Dursleys dominated most of the dinner conversation, with Vernon and Petunia asking Dudley and Christina about what was new in their lives. They wanted to know every last detail, down to what grade Bethany had gotten on her latest book report in school. Eventually they had exhausted this topic and the table descended into an awkward silence before Vernon started drilling Harry about his life.
"So, boy, what exactly do you do for a living?" Vernon barked.
"I'm the Head of the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic," Harry smiled.
"Auror?" Vernon repeated, "What would that be?"
"A Dark wizard catcher," Harry explained.
"Oh, like a policeman. Wouldn't have guessed you'd be in law enforcement, what with all the trouble you caused as a child."
Harry sighed, "You know most of that wasn't my fault."
"Like hell it wasn't. It was all due to your abnormality," Vernon replied.
"Dad, can't you just drop it?" Dudley asked.
"No, Duddy, I won't! Vernon slammed his fist on the table, "He's obviously done something to Kaden to make him abnormal!"
That had to be the most ridiculous thing Albus had ever heard. A wizard could not turn a Muggle into a wizard. If they could, there wouldn't be any Squibs in the world, and there would certainly be more wizards.
"Oh come off it, Dad!" Dudley shouted. "Harry didn't do this! Kaden was born a wizard!"
"No he wasn't!" Vernon yelled, his face turning purple again. "And I want the boy to change him back!"
"Uncle Vernon, listen to me," Harry announced, "You can't turn someone into a wizard, it just doesn't work. Kaden was born a wizard, which doesn't surprise me at all. There is magic in his blood, the same magic that was in my mother's and is in mine."
"Wonderful," Vernon spat, "And I suppose you're going to tell me that Bethany will be abnormal, too?"
"There's a chance she'll be a witch, yes," Harry told him.
"I am not going to stand for anymore abonormalness in this family!" Vernon roared.
"Vernon, there's nothing we can do!" Petunia shrieked, "I don't like it either, but the boy did not do this!"
"How do you know?"
"Because my freak of a sister told me it's not possible, that's how!"
"Don't call her a freak!" Harry glared at both of them.
Petunia ignored him. "I asked her, when I was an arrogant child. I asked her if someone could turn me into a witch before I knew any better. She said no. There is not one thing we can do to change Kaden. We just have to hope that he's going to be smarter than my sister was and not get killed just out of school."
"Fine," Vernon snapped, "But I don't like it. I don't like it one bit."
"Neither do I, neither do I," Petunia agree.
Albus glanced nervously from one adult to the next, hoping that the fight was over. He realized now how much Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia hated magic now. The two of them were still going on about how Albus's grandmother had been killed, thirty-some years later. Albus was still amazed that Vernon had actually blamed Harry for Kaden being a wizard. Albus knew Vernon disliked Harry, but he didn't think Vernon would still blame Harry for things he didn't like, this many years later.
"You'd be better off just keeping him out of that school," Vernon announced after a few minutes of silence. "There's no law requiring him to go, is there?"
"No," Dudley replied. "But he likes it there, so he's staying."
"This is utterly ridiculous," Vernon muttered, "Wait till Marge hears about it."
"I hate Aunt Marge," Kaden said loudly, causing Albus to snort into his juice. "All she talks about is breeding dogs."
"Don't say that about your aunt," Vernon scolded.
"What?" Kaden shrugged, "Professor Potter must not like her either."
Harry, who had been laughing behind his glass, immediately stopped and looked at Kaden. "Really, Kaden, it's not nice to say you hate people." He turned to Vernon, "You haven't told her?"
"Of course I haven't!" Vernon raised his voice, "Can you imagine what she is going to think? That someone, like, like you is actually related to her? She takes comfort in the fact that you aren't actually related to her! But to have Kaden be one of your lot, she'll be horrified! And I should think so after you blew her up years ago!"
"What?!" Kaden and Bethany shouted at the same time. Kaden spat his juice out and started choking. Albus slapped him on the back, trying to control his own laughter. Harry told them this story a long time ago and just thinking about it made Albus laugh.
"That wasn't his fault!" Ginny came to Harry's defense, "He couldn't control it! What your sister said about his parents was absolutely rotten and you know it!"
"It was the truth!" Vernon shouted, rising to his feet.
"No it wasn't!" Ginny stood up as well.
"What do you mean, blew her up?" Kaden asked.
"His parents were idiots and that's why they were killed!" Vernon continued.
"No they weren't!" Harry stood and stared at his uncle. Albus had rarely ever seen his father so angry before. "They were working against Voldemort."
"Another one of your lot who went on a killing rampage!" Vernon yelled.
"They should have just ignored him and minded their own business," Petunia announced. Albus didn't really think she should be telling someone to mind their own business, when she thrived off of gossip.
"You couldn't ignore Voldemort!" Harry and Ginny said at the same time.
"Can someone please tell me how Aunt Marge got blown up?!" Kaden shouted again.
"Dad, just forget about it, all right? Harry's parents weren't lazy," Dudley pleaded.
"Leave this to me, Dudley. You're obviously under a bad influence right now."
Dudley heaved a huge sigh, "Dad... You're forgetting that Harry saved my life once!"
"Oh, from those dementy things? They wouldn't have even been around if it weren't for the boy!"
"The point is that they were! And Harry saved me from them! He also kept us all safe while he was hunting down that Voldemort bloke. He didn't have to do that, you know."
"What's a dementy thing?" Kaden asked loudly.
"Dementors," Albus corrected, "They're these cloaked creatures that suck out your soul."
Kaden stared at Albus, "They what?"
"Suck out your soul," Albus repeated, "They feed on happy thoughts, until you're only left with the sad ones."
Kaden shuddered, "They sound bloody horrible. Professor Potter saved Dad from one?"
"Yeah, when they were 15. There's a charm, the Patronus Charm, that drives them away. It's really advanced magic not taught until seventh year, but Dad learned in his third year."
"Wow, your dad's brilliant," Kaden grinned. "But I don't fancy running into one of those dementors. Have you ever seen one?"
"No and I hope never to," Albus replied.
"We would have been fine without those weirdos 'protecting' us!" Vernon raged.
"No we wouldn't! We'd all be dead!" Dudley insisted.
"What would that Voldemort bloke have wanted with us anyway?" Vernon bellowed, "It's not like we're weirdos like him."
"Don't you get it?" Harry sighed, "He didn't care about anyone! He would've killed anyone to get to me, including you."
"Everybody, just shut it!" The five adults who were arguing turned to the source of the new voice that rang out louder than theirs. It was Christina. Everyone stopped arguing and stared at her. "Thank you. Now I only understand parts of this row, but everything you're rowing about has happened in the past. Can't you just put it behind you and try to get along? Look at you, you're standing there arguing about stuff you can't change, in front of your children. What kind of example are you setting? Put aside your differences, if not for yourselves, do it for the kids."
The adults said nothing for a few moments while Christina glared at every one of them. Eventually, Harry spoke, "She's right. We should just try and get along." Ginny nodded in agreement.
"That's what I was trying to tell you," Dudley commented.
"Fine," Vernon spat, "I'll tolerate the boy. But you are making a grave mistake with Kaden, Dudley."
"Good," Christina replied and stood up. "I'll go get the pudding."
The rest of the dinner was much more enjoyable. Harry quickly told the story of when he blew up Marge to douse Kaden and Bethany's curiosity, but there was no more mention of magic throughout the rest of the meal. The conversation centered on topics that could be equally relative to Muggles and wizards, such as the weather. Albus didn't say anything, choosing instead to quietly eat his pudding while listening to the adults' strained conversations. He was just happy that they were no longer arguing with each other.
After dinner, Albus, James, and Kaden escaped to Kaden's bedroom, which he was eager to show off. The entire thing was decorated with various football paraphernalia, with a lot of emphasis on Manchester United. James found this highly entertaining and spent quite a few minutes laughing at the posters, in which the players remained completely still. Kaden spent a while showing off his Christmas presents to Albus and James and soon wanted to show them how to play his Wii.
Kaden led Albus and James back downstairs, where the adults were discussing cars over coffee. Albus was very happy that he did not have to sit through that discussion. Albus followed as Kaden went down another flight of stairs and they descended into the basement. The basement was clearly the playroom of the house, as it was cluttered with all sorts of Muggle toys. Lily and Bethany were playing with Bethany's Barbies in one corner and neither of them paid much attention as the boys entered the room.
The Wii was set up in the middle of the room and attached to a television that was against the wall. Albus had never played a Wii before and was kind of curious about it. James was as well, although he got sidetracked by a remote control car. He drove it all over the room, completely amazed at how the car seemed to move by magic.
"The things Muggles come up with," James grinned as he joined Albus and Kaden in front of the television.
Kaden spent the next hour teaching James and Albus how to play the Wii. They started with Kaden's new racing game, which was actually pretty complicated. It took Albus the better part of an hour to figure out how to play it. James caught on a bit faster, but neither of them could top Kaden in skill. Albus found that the game was incredibly fun and almost wished he had one at his house. Once they successfully learned the racing game, Kaden went on to teach them how to play a couple more games. Lily eventually wandered over and wanted to learn, too. By the time midnight came around, all five of them were taking turns playing games and Albus was having a great time.
Albus was kind of disappointed when his dad called them back upstairs to count down to the new year and hoped that everyone was still acting civilly. They were, as Albus found when he entered the living room. It didn't really look like the adults were enjoying themselves, but they were at least acting polite, which was good enough for Albus.
Shortly after they rang in the new year, Albus's parents decided it was time to leave. Albus had no arguments against this because he was tired and didn't really want to spend anymore time in the same house as Uncle Vernon. Harry politely shook hands with Vernon, said goodbye to Petunia, and told Dudley he would owl him soon. Vernon kind of flinched at the mention of the word 'owl.' Albus completely ignored Vernon and Petunia, and told Kaden he would see him on the train ride back to school. Once the obligatory goodbyes were said, Albus and his family left the house, only to Apparate back to Grimmauld Place a few streets away.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to XDNLxtlz99, sinwillys822, Miguel, Moonylupin, Denas, Ginny, Luke, and drownzer for their reviews!
isclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Albus had to admit that he was happy to be going back to Hogwarts. After the nearly disastrous dinner with the Dursleys, Albus spent his time working on homework or goofing off with James and Lily. By the end of the holiday he was actually kind of bored and happy to be seeing his friends again. Plus, the sooner he got back to school, the sooner he could try out the new map.
The Potters met the Weasleys and the Dursleys at King's Cross and entered Platform 9 3/4 together. Both families were running late again and Albus, Rose, James, and Kaden only just made it onto the train before it left. James immediately left to find his friends while Albus, Rose, and Kaden wandered around trying to find their friends.
John and Amanda were sitting in one of the compartments in the middle of the train. Albus opened the door and walked in, followed by Rose and Kaden.
"Hey!" John greeted them.
"There you are," Amanda smirked, "Almost miss the train again?"
"Yeah," Albus laughed and sat down next to her. He wished more than anything that Kaden would leave so he could tell John and Amanda that he and Rose managed to get the stag print. All the prints were currently residing in Albus's bag, just waiting to be transferred onto the map.
"So how was your family dinner?" John grinned and looked from Albus to Kaden.
Albus and Kaden exchanged glances. Rose stifled a laugh. She had already heard about the dinner shortly after it happened.
"It was...eventful," Albus said. "Not something I want to do again."
"What happened?" John asked eagerly.
"My grandpa went mad," Kaden shook his head. "And my grandma sort of did."
"What did they do?" Amanda asked.
"Well, they kind of didn't know we were coming," Albus began, "So they started off by yelling about that."
"Then they started shouting about how my dad shouldn't let me go to school here," Kaden continued.
"And Uncle Vernon wound up claiming that Dad had somehow used a charm to turn Kaden into a wizard," Albus explained.
John and Amanda burst out laughing. "You're kidding!" John exclaimed. "He actually thought that?!"
"Sure did," Albus grinned. Now that the dinner was behind him, he was able to laugh about it. Looking back, his Uncle Vernon did seem mad, and not nearly as scary as Albus first thought.
"And my grandma of all people told him it wasn't possible," Kaden laughed. "Apparently she wanted to be a witch when she was a kid. But the best part was when Grandpa brought up Aunt Marge."
"Who's that?" Amanda asked.
"My grandpa's sister," Kaden explained, "I can't stand her. But apparently Professor Potter blew her up when he was 13!"
John and Amanda started howling with laughter. "That is absolutely brilliant!" John shouted.
"This I've got to hear!" Amanda grinned.
Albus smiled at them and told the story of his Aunt Marge. John and Amanda laughed even harder when they had heard the whole thing.
"What happened next?" John asked once he had calmed down.
"Well, we went down to the basement and played with Kaden's Muggle video games, which was a lot of fun."
"And the adults stayed upstairs," Kaden added. "Which was probably bloody awkward."
"Then we left shortly after midnight," Albus told them. "Hey, Kaden, what happened after we left?"
"Oh, yeah. Grandpa tried to convince Dad to not let me go back to Hogwarts. He thought Dad would be more likely to agree without you lot there. Dad told him to stop and eventually he gave up and left."
"You going to do that again anytime soon?" John asked.
"Hopefully not," Albus replied.
"Let's do it at your house next," Kaden grinned, "I want to see a wizard house."
"I doubt Dad will let Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia in the house," Albus told him, "But you're welcome to come."
"Over the summer, then," Kaden said.
"We'll come, too," Rose announced. John and Amanda nodded. "And Matt."
Kaden looked around the compartment and then back at Albus. "Where is he, anyway?"
"Er, he had some, er, Healer appointments," Albus said quickly. Hopefully that would satisfy Kaden's curiosity.
"Oh, for that disease he's got?"
"Yeah, the one you can't say a thing about to anybody," Albus glared at him, "And that includes this. Don't tell anyone where he is."
Kaden nodded. "I won't. I'll keep away from Malfoy and Willinson."
"Good," Albus said.
Over the next few days, Albus kept trying to find some time to tell John and Amanda about the stag print, but it was hard to shake Kaden off. It seemed the only times they were away from him was when they were in class or in their dormitory at night. Neither were good opportunities to talk about the map.
In the meantime, Malfoy was trying to figure out why Matt wasn't in school. The full moon wasn't until the following week, so Albus was going to have to endure Malfoy's questioning for a while longer. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. Albus was also preoccupied with what was going to happen this full moon. He was kind of worried about Matt taking the new wolfsbane potion.
All the students and teachers seemed to be falling into their usual routines. Dueling and Quidditch practices started up again. Both Kate and Georgia were working their teams hard and Albus was feeling the effects. Between that and the increased amount of homework the teachers were intent on assigning, he had hardly any time for anything else.
A couple days into the term, Kaden finally had one of his tutoring sessions. Albus and his friends seized the opportunity and ran to the Room of Requirement as soon as Kaden left the common room.
"Finally!" John exclaimed as he threw himself onto one of the couches in the room. "I thought I was going to die of curiosity!"
"I never thought we'd get away from him!" Amanda said as she sat down next to him.
"It'll be easier once Rose figures out the charm to keep him quiet," Albus replied.
"You found one!" John sat up and stared at Rose.
"Sure did," Rose grinned and pulled the book of charms from her house out of her bag. She opened it to the proper page and handed it to John and Amanda.
The two of them read it for a few minutes. "This is incredible," Amanda smiled, "You think you can do it?"
"Given a bit of practice, sure," Rose replied. "We just have to make sure Matt agrees to it."
"I'm sure he will," John said, "I mean, this charm will definitely keep Kaden from telling anyone."
"I'll start working on it now," Rose took the book back, "I haven't started yet because I don't want anyone to ask why I'm trying to learn it."
"So, did you get the stag print?" John asked eagerly.
"Sure did!" Albus reached into his bag and pulled out the three prints. "We just need the rat now."
John picked them up and looked at him. "Excellent! I'll try and get the rat soon. Then we can transfer them."
"We should wait for Matt," Albus told him, "He's a part of this as much as we are."
"Oh, yeah, that's a good idea," John set the prints down on a nearby table. "You know, I think this is the first time we've been in here without him."
"I think you're right," Albus commented. It was kind of strange, really. All the other times they had been in the Room, Matt had been the one to ask for it. Nobody said anything for a few minutes. Albus could tell that everyone was thinking the same thing he was, what would happen with Matt's new potion.
"Well, he'll be back soon," John said after a while.
"As long as nothing goes wrong," Albus said quietly.
"Yeah, but just think if this potion works. That would be great, wouldn't it?"
"Definitely," Albus agreed, but he couldn't help but think the new potion wouldn't work any better than the old one. Why should it? If Matt was resistant to Wolfsbane potion, why should a different variety of it work?
The four of them spent the remainder of the evening in the Room. Rose worked steadily on figuring out the charm, but didn't really get anywhere. It was an extremely difficult charm, after all. Albus, John, and Amanda worked on their homework and talked about what they thought the new map would have on it.
Albus became more and more anxious as the full moon approached. His friends seemed to as well, and John especially developed a very short fuse. Kaden seemed to get the brunt of this but he took it in stride. The night of the actual full moon, Albus had Quidditch practice. He became so distracted during it that Georgia called for a break during practice and demanded to know why Albus was dropping so many Quaffles. He lied and told her he was worried about a Transfiguration exam the next day. Luckily she seemed to accept this and wished him luck on his exam. Albus tried extra hard during the second half of practice but still missed a lot of easy passes.
Albus entered the common room after practice feeling incredibly sore but not at all tired. He had been hit with numerous bludgers due to his lack of concentration. Normally Albus would have been exhausted after such a practice but he was too anxious to be tired tonight.
His friends were sitting at their usual table which was covered in homework. Not that much of it was being done. Kaden was the only one feverishly working away at an essay. John, Amanda, and even Rose were staring off into nothing with their untouched homework in front of them. Albus quickly stowed his broom in his dormitory and joined his friends at the table.
"Hey," Albus said as he sat down next to Rose.
"Hi," Rose mumbled. John and Amanda gave equally unenthusiastic greetings.
"Hi Albus!" Kaden looked up, "I'm glad you're back. This lot has been incredibly dull."
Even at a time like this, Albus couldn't help but laugh at Kaden's cluelessness. "Hi, Kaden."
"How was practice?" Kaden asked.
"Not that great. I got hit with a couple bludgers."
"Ouch," Kaden winced.
"Yeah, my arm hurts pretty bad," Albus commented.
"Just go see Madam Pomfrey," Rose suggested, "Your arm looks nasty."
Albus glanced at his arm. It had turned a lovely purplish blue color in the time since he had received the blow. "All right," he stood up. "I'll see you in a bit."
Kaden stood up as well. "I'll come with you."
Albus didn't feel like telling Kaden not to bother, so he nodded and Kaden followed him out of the common room. Albus didn't talk much on the way to the hospital wing, but Kaden kept up a streaming commentary about what went on in his classes that day. Kaden must have felt the need to share it even though nothing particularly exciting had happened that day. The corridors were utterly deserted and Kaden's voice seemed awfully loud. Albus glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost curfew. He wished he had brought his Invisibility Cloak. Of course, none of the teachers could give him detention for being out of his common room in order to go see Madam Pomfrey, could they?
Albus pushed the door to the hospital wing open slowly and saw that Madam Pomfrey was sitting at her desk, writing something, and glancing out the window every few seconds. The moonlight was streaming through and illuminating one of the beds. There weren't any patients in the ward, which Albus thought was kind of strange. Albus rarely ever saw the place empty. He walked quietly up to Madam Pomfrey and Kaden followed. The nurse didn't even seem to have noticed them come in.
"Er, excuse me, Madam Pomfrey?" Albus said once he was a couple feet in front of the desk.
The nurse jumped and looked up, clutching her heart. "Oh, Albus! You scared me. What are you doing here?"
It suddenly occurred to Albus that Madam Pomfrey was probably thinking about Matt as well, since she usually took care of him after the full moon. "I got hit with a couple bludgers at practice tonight. I was, er, kind of distracted."
Madam Pomfrey stood up and gave him a sympathetic look. "I understand. Let me see."
Albus held out his arm and Madam Pomfrey clucked her tongue as she inspected it. She pulled out her wand and touched it to his arm, muttering a spell as she did so. Albus's arm felt warm and tingly, and then normal again. The pain was gone.
"Thanks," Albus replied.
"No problem. Anywhere else?"
"I got hit on my back too and it kind of hurts. I've got no idea if it's bruised or not."
Madam Pomfrey looked at Albus's back and performed the same healing charm. It felt immensely better.
"I think that's it," Albus said once she was done.
"You'd better be off to bed, then," she said. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon."
Albus nodded and turned to leave. He and Kaden were soon back in the empty corridor.
"Why were you distracted during practice?" Kaden asked loudly.
"Oh, that's probably why John, Rose, and Amanda were so quiet."
"Yeah, that was it."
The two of them continued their trek to the common room until they practically bumped into two other people as they turned a corner.
"Watch it!" a cold voice shouted and shoved Albus aside.
Albus pulled out his wand and lit it, shoving the light in the faces of the two strangers. They were Malfoy and Willinson. "You watch it," Albus muttered.
"Get your wand out of my face," Malfoy seethed. "What are you doing here anyway?"
"What are you doing here?" Albus asked.
"None of your business."
"You just answered your own question, then."
Malfoy turned to Kaden. "Ah, it's the Mudblood cousin."
"Don't call him that!" Albus shouted.
Malfoy ignored him and continued to glare at Kaden. "Maybe you know where Eckerton is these days?"
Kaden glanced nervously at Albus before answering. "Uh, no, I don't."
"Fine," Malfoy snapped. "I know you won't say anything with Potter around anyway. I'll just wait until you're alone. C'mon, Willinson, we're leaving."
"You'll do no such thing, Mr. Malfoy," someone said from behind Albus.
Albus jumped in fright and turned around to see Professor Patil. Great, he thought, now they were going to wind up in detention. Why did they always wind up in detention with Malfoy?
"What are you four doing out of bed?" Patil asked briskly, "You know you're not allowed to be wandering around after hours."
"Uh," Malfoy stammered, "We were, er, uh, well we just wanted to, um-"
"Don't bother, Mr. Maloy," Patil cut him off. "Whatever lie you come up with is not going to convince me." She turned to Albus and Kaden, "I'm assuming you were not out for a stroll with Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Willinson?"
"No," Albus confirmed, "I was actually just in the hospital wing. I got hurt at Quidditch practice. Kaden was with me."
Patil looked at Kaden. "Is that true, Mr. Dursley?"
"Yes, ma'am," Kaden replied quietly.
"We were there, too, Professor!" Malfoy shouted out, "Willinson stabbed himself with his quill while we were doing homework."
Patil glanced at him skeptically. "Well, we'll just go see Madam Pomfrey and confirm all your stories."
Any color that had been in Malfoy's face drained. The four boys quietly followed Professor Patil to the hospital wing. Albus was very relieved. Madam Pomfrey would tell Patil that he and Kaden had been there, and then she wouldn't give them detention.
Patil opened the doors to the hospital wing, but Madam Pomfrey was no longer there. Patil motioned for the boys to stay there and she strode over to the nurse's office. She knocked lightly and waited for Madam Pomfrey to appear.
"I hope I'm not bothering you," Patil said once Madam Pomfrey came out.
"Not at all, Padma," Madam Pomfrey smiled, "I wasn't asleep. Is there something you need?"
"I was wondering if any of these four boys," she gestured to Albus, Kaden, and the two Slytherins, "Were here recently? I caught them all out of bed and all of them insist they were here."
Madam Pomfrey gazed at the boys. "Well, Albus and Kaden were here about fifteen minutes ago, but I haven't seen the other two in quite a while."
"That's what I thought," Patil nodded, "Thank you."
"Not a problem," the nurse replied.
"I'll take you two back to your common room," Patil said to Albus and Kaden. "As for you," she glared at Malfoy and Willinson, "You will come back to my office and we shall arrange for detention."
Malfoy and Willinson sulked and muttered under their breath as the five of them exited the ward. Albus laughed to himself on their way back to Gryffindor Tower. Malfoy and Willinson were glaring daggers at Albus and Kaden the whole way back, but Albus just smirked at them. They couldn't do anything now anyway, not with Patil around. But surely they would blame Albus and Kaden for their detention and Albus would have to watch out the next few days.
Albus didn't sleep very well that night, despite his fatigue from Quidditch practice. He fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning and woke up only a few hours later. John was just as exhausted and the two of them stumbled down into the common room, only to find Rose slumped over a book at their usual table.
"Rose!" Albus shook his cousin's shoulder, "Wake up!"
Rose slowly lifted her head and then jumped at the sight of Albus and John. "Wha-what are you two doing?"
"Uh, it's morning, Rose," Albus explained, "We've got to get to Transfiguration in an hour."
"Oh!" Rose jumped up and pushed her bushy hair out of her face.
"What were you doing down here? Did you ever go to bed?" Albus asked.
"No, couldn't sleep," Rose shrugged, "So I came back down and worked on the Sileo Altus Charm. I just can't figure it out. It's driving me mad!"
"That's a really high level charm, Rose. You know it's going to take you a while," Albus reminded her.
"I know, I know. I'll get it eventually," Rose sighed, "I guess I'll go change and find Amanda. Then we can go down to breakfast."
A few minutes later, Albus and his friends walked to the Great Hall. Albus noticed Malfoy and Willinson at the Slytherin table as they walked by and both of the Slytherins were shooting daggers at Albus.
Kaden was already at the Gryffindor table and immediately hailed Albus and the others to sit near him.
"Did you see Malfoy this morning?" Kaden asked once Albus had sat down.
"Yeah, he's not too happy."
"Wonder when his detention is?" Kaden asked.
"Who knows," Albus shrugged. He didn't particularly care when Malfoy and Willinson were going to serve detention.
Kaden began to talk about some potion he was going to be brewing that day, but Albus tuned him out. All Albus seemed to be able to think about at the moment was whether the new potion Matt had taken worked.
As if on cue, a large brown owl flew down and landed neatly next to Albus's plate.
"You've got a letter!" Kaden shouted eagerly.
"I know," Albus rolled his eyes and pulled the letter off the owl's leg. He gave the owl a few bits of toast and the large bird flew off.
Rose, who was on Albus's other side, looked over his shoulder as he looked at the envelope. John and Amanda were leaning over the table and Kaden was leaning over Albus's other shoulder.
"Wonder who it's from," Kaden said.
"It's from Matt," Albus told him. "That was his owl."
"Maybe he's telling you when he's coming back!" Kaden shouted.
"Shush!" Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda said at once.
"Well, we'd better be off to Transfiguration," Albus said and gave Rose a significant glance.
"Yes, we'd better," Rose stood up.
"Aren't you going to open it?" Kaden asked.
"On the way," Albus told him.
"I'll come, too!"
Albus sighed and got up from the table. He couldn't open that letter in front of Kaden. Rose, John, and Amanda got up as well and followed Albus out of the Great Hall. Kaden was right behind him, but Albus didn't dare open it yet. Kaden stalled in the Entrance Hall, but eventually gave up and headed down to the dungeons for Potions.
"Well, now we haven't got time to read it," Albus groaned and glanced at his watch. "Why couldn't he have left sooner?"
"'Cause he's Kaden," John shook his head.
"We'll just read it after History of Magic," Rose said as they climbed the stairs, "We've got the whole afternoon off."
The morning dragged by at an extremely slow pace, in Albus's opinion. Transfiguration wasn't too bad, since it was a practical lesson. Malfoy descended upon Albus and the others after the class was over, wanting to know where Matt was. Albus lied and told him Matt was having a late holiday with his grandparents and then took off for History of Magic, ignoring Malfoy's complaints about detention that followed.
History of Magic was as boring as usual. Albus thought he saw the clock's hands go backwards at one point. He passed notes with John and Amanda while Rose took notes. She seemed to have inherited her mother's ability to stay awake during that class. John nodded off at one point and Albus had to prod him awake with his quill. Professor Binns didn't even seem to notice.
After History of Magic finally ended, Albus and his friends went to the Great Hall to grab a quick lunch. Kaden was there when they arrived and immediately launched into an explanation of the potion he had just brewed. Apparently it was so impressive that Slughorn gave him a bar of Honeyduke's chocolate and an invitation to the next Slug Club meeting.
"What?!" Albus choked on his pumpkin juice.
"Yup," Kaden grinned. "The next meeting is this Saturday. He told me that a lot of your cousins go."
"Er, yeah, they do," Albus coughed. He had not been expecting Kaden to get invited to any Slug Club meetings. Albus hadn't even gone to any since the previous year. He just told Slughorn he had Quidditch practice or too much homework to go. Slughorn hadn't even had his Christmas party this year. Albus wasn't sure why, but he was guessing it was because he hadn't been able to find anyone famous to attend.
"But he said you're always too busy to go," Kaden said, "Will you go to this one?"
Albus groaned inwardly, "Oh, I don't know...."
"Please?" Kaden pleaded.
"Fine," Albus sighed. It couldn't be that bad now that Quinton Willinson was gone. And it was just one meeting. "But just this once. And if Georgia calls for Quidditch practice, I won't go to the meeting."
"Yay!" Kaden shouted.
Once Kaden left for his next class, Albus and his friends went straight for the Room of Requirement. Albus and Rose sat on one of the couches while John and Amanda sat on the opposite one. Albus reached into his bag and found the letter.
"Here it goes," Albus whispered.
"That potion better have worked," John said.
Albus tore open the envelope and unfolded the letter. He read it aloud.
Dear Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda,
Last night Matt told me to write you
and tell you what happened if he couldn't.
Since he can't, you have probably guessed
that the potion did not work.
"Damn!" John shouted.
Matt will explain more when he gets back to
Hogwarts. I'll just say that it's not worse
than usual. He's at St. Mungo's right now so
the Healers can observe the after affects of
the potion and the transformation.
He only has to stay in St. Mungo's overnight
and then tomorrow he'll be back at home. I'm
pretty sure he'll be back at Hogwarts on
Sunday, but we're not exactly sure.
Hope you are all doing well. I'll see you
soon, maybe at the next Gryffindor
Albus folded up the letter and looked at his friends. "Well, I guess that's it, then."
"At least it wasn't any worse," Amanda said quietly.
"Yeah," Rose agreed.
Nobody said anything for a few minutes. Albus felt very disappointed that the potion hadn't worked, but he was sure it didn't even come close to what Matt was feeling.
"Maybe he'll let us become Animagi now," John suggested.
Rose glared at him, "He won't. He's still in that study, which means he's still got to take that potion for the next two years or so. Then there'll probably be another one for him to test. And maybe that one will work."
"Well, it would still be cool to become an Animagus."
"Then you can do it when you're older," Rose said, "You couldn't do it now anyway, it's too advanced."
"Albus's grandfather did it."
"When he was in fifth year," Rose reminded him.
"Fine, three more years then," John shrugged.
Rose sighed, "Matt won't let you join him on the full moon, though. And I wouldn't suggest doing it behind his back."
"I won't," John assured her, "I just think it would be a fun thing to do, be an Animagus."
"Definitely," Rose agreed.
Albus and his friends spent the better part of the next hour talking about what they would do if they could transform into animals. They all agreed that listening in on people's conversations and sneaking up on people like Malfoy would be top on the list of stuff to do. Eventually, Rose insisted that they all start their homework, which took them most of the evening to complete.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to sinwillys822, XDNLxtlz99, Luke, Denas, Moonylupin, phoenixy_friend, drownzer, and potterfan296 for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Despite the fact that Quinton Willinson was no longer at Hogwarts, Albus still dreaded the Slug Club meeting on Saturday. His rational side told him that it wouldn't be nearly as bad with Willinson gone, but Albus still wasn't looking forward to it.
Kaden, on the other hand, spent the days leading up to Saturday talking non-stop about the Slug Club meeting. Albus had already explained in detail what they involved, but that didn't stop Kaden from constantly wondering aloud about what the meeting would be like.
Saturday arrived quickly and Albus was still without an excuse to not attend the meeting. Georgia had not called for Quidditch practice that day, mainly due to the fact that the Ravenclaws booked the pitch all morning and the Slytherins had it all afternoon. The two houses were scheduled to play each other the following Saturday.
"It's time for the Slug Club meeting, Albus!" Kaden shouted excitedly a few minutes before eleven.
Albus sighed and got up out of his chair in the common room. "See you lot in a little while," he said to John and Amanda.
"Have loads of fun!" John laughed.
"See you later," Amanda grinned.
Albus, Kaden, and Rose, who had also decided to go, set off for the dungeons. Albus hoped he would only have to stay for a little while, maybe an hour at most. Just long enough for Kaden to see what the meetings were like.
The meeting was held in the Potions classroom and a few students were milling about when Albus, Rose, and Kaden walked into the room. Albus recognized most of them from last year's meetings. A few of his cousins were there as well, but not all of them. James wasn't there, but Albus knew he had dueling practice that day. Albus was also happy to note that Felix Willinson was not there. Of course, after what happened with Quinton and his father, Albus guessed he shouldn't be surprised that Quinton's cousin wouldn't be invited to the Slug Club.
There was a table full of food along one of the side walls and most everyone was crowding around it trying to get some lunch. Slughorn had a plate of food in front of him and was sitting at a large table in the front of the room.
Albus led Rose and Kaden over to the table and picked up a plate.
"What is this stuff?" Kaden pointed to a platter of some sort of meat.
"Pheasant," Albus replied. Slughorn always served pheasant at his meetings. Albus tried it last year and hated it.
Kaden shrugged and piled the pheasant onto his plate. Once Albus and his friends had gotten enough food, they sat down at the table across from Slughorn. Shortly after, everyone else had sat down at the table as well.
"Good to see you all again!" Slughorn greeted them and then turned to Albus. "And Albus and Rose! I'm very happy that you two decided to come! How have classes been going?"
"Good," Albus replied.
"Excellent, excellent," Slughorn nodded, "We also have someone new here today. This is Kaden Dursley," Slughorn gestured to Kaden. "He's Albus's cousin and is turning out to be quite the Potions brewer! Lily's genes must be coming out in you!"
Kaden grinned, "Potions is fun. Loads better than Transfiguration."
Slughorn laughed, "Don't let Professor Patil hear you say that. But I daresay I agree with you."
Kaden laughed as well and then took a large bite of pheasant. Albus watched him as he did so, wondering if he'd like it. Kaden chewed for a few moments before a big smile appeared on his face.
"This stuff is excellent!"
"I'm glad you like it!" Slughorn said.
Albus chuckled to himself. Of course Kaden liked the pheasant. If there was one thing Albus had learned about his cousin over the past six months, it was that he'd eat pretty much anything. This was obviously something he had inherited from his father.
Slughorn soon launched into a lengthy explanation of what he did over his holiday and who he had spent time with. ("Barry Ryan used to play for Ireland, you know.") Albus found the whole thing rather boring but he noticed that Kaden seemed to hang on Slughorn's every word. Rose seemed to be paying attention as well, but probably only out of courtesy.
Albus let his mind wander as Slughorn continued talking about his dinner with Barry Ryan. Matt was supposed to return to Hogwarts the next day, which meant that in as little as twenty-four hours, they could be having the map working. Well, if they could sneak away to the Room of Requirement, that is. Albus hoped Rose would have that charm working soon. Then they could just do all of this with Kaden. It would make it a whole lot easier. Of course, Matt still hadn't said that he agreed to tell Kaden even with the charm. Albus kept forgetting about that part. But why wouldn't he agree? The charm seemed like it would work well.
Albus, Kaden, and Rose wound up staying until the end of the meeting. Kaden was enthralled by the entire thing and Albus knew he would refuse to leave early. Albus was incredibly bored by the time the thing was over and Rose looked as bored as Albus felt. Once the meeting was finally over, the three of them said goodbye to Slughorn and left the dungeons.
"That was so cool," Kaden grinned.
"Boring's more like it," Albus replied.
"How can you think it was boring?" Kaden stared at Albus, "Slughorn knows so many famous people."
"Trust me, it gets old after a while," Albus said.
"Well, are you two going to the next one?"
Albus looked at Rose. She didn't look like she wanted to go to the next one either. "Er, well, I might have Quidditch practice."
"And I'll probably have too much homework," Rose explained.
"I'd go even if I did have too much homework," Kaden told them.
"That really isn't a good idea," Rose warned him. "You'll get behind."
Albus laughed as Rose launched into a discussion about how important time management is and how homework should always come first. The three of them were nearly to the common room by the time Rose finished and Kaden was wearing a blank look on his face, much like the one Albus had worn during the Slug Club meeting.
"Got any idea what time he's coming back?" John asked shortly after lunch the next day in the common room.
"No idea," Albus shrugged.
Albus, John, Kaden, Rose, and Amanda were all sitting around their usual table in the common room. Rose and Kaden were playing chess and it was apparent that Rose was going easy on Kaden. The two of them had been playing the same game for fifteen minutes. If Rose wanted to, she probably could have beat Kaden in five minutes. John and Amanda were both working on the Transfiguration essay that was due the next day. Albus had already finished that particular essay and was watching Rose and Kaden's chess match.
"Queen to D3," Kaden said. The queen gave Kaden a menacing glare and then reluctantly moved to the square.
"Bishop to D3." Rose's bishop smashed Kaden's queen to pieces. "Checkmate," Rose grinned.
"Crap," Kaden muttered as his king dropped its sword in defeat.
"You're getting a bit better," Rose said as she repaired all the pieces with a wave of her wand.
"Do you have Quidditch practice today, Albus?" John asked.
"Yeah. Georgia managed to reserve the pitch for an hour after dinner. The Hufflepuffs weren't too happy, but Georgia got it first."
"I hope Matt gets back before you leave," Amanda said.
"Me, too," Albus agreed. "But Amy didn't say when he'd be coming back."
"He's going to have a load of homework to make up," Kaden announced.
"That sounds like something you'd say, Rose," John laughed.
"How's your essay coming, John?" Rose smirked.
"Yeah, yeah. I've got the first paragraph done," John grumbled.
"I've only got one more to go," Amanda said.
"Want to play again, Rose?" Kaden asked.
Rose shrugged. "Sure, why not."
Rose and Kaden set up their pieces and started to play again. Albus watched them. It was pretty funny to watch the two of them play chess. Kaden would sit there forever figuring out what move to make and once he made it, Rose would smile and move one of her own pieces within seconds. Rose's moves usually involved killing one of Kaden's pieces.
The portrait hole to the common room opened a few minutes later and Albus looked up. Matt was just climbing through and headed straight for Albus's table once he noticed them.
"Hey, Matt!" Albus grinned, "Welcome back!"
"Hi Albus," Matt grinned back. He looked tired, but happy. There was still a yellowish bruise on his forehead, but other than that he looked fine.
John, Rose, Amanda, and Kaden all looked up from what they were doing and greeted Matt as well. Matt grabbed a chair from a nearby table and sat down next to Albus.
"How are you?" Albus asked.
"All right," Matt shrugged.
"Er, Kaden," Albus began, "You know how you said Matt's got a lot of homework to make up?"
"Uh-huh," Kaden nodded as Rose declared checkmate once again, "Crap!"
"Well, it would probably be a good idea for him to go see all the teachers now about it. So, we'll all go with him to do that, since we're in his classes. We'll help. You can stay here since you'd probably be bored."
"Ok, I've got my own homework to start on anyway."
"Good," Albus replied, "John? Amanda, Rose? You can come with us."
"Sure, anything to put off finishing this essay," John closed his book and stood up.
Once they were out of the common room and into the corridor, Matt turned around and looked at Albus. "You're not really making me go collect all my homework are you?"
Albus laughed, "No. Just had to think of an excuse for Kaden to stay there while we went to the Room."
"Good," John said, "I don't really want to go collect your homework with you."
"You won't have to. I've already gotten it. They owled it to me over the holiday. I've already finished it all," Matt explained.
"You're farther along than John, then," Rose laughed.
"Shut it, Rose," John said.
The five friends continued their walk to the Room of Requirement, which manifested itself in its usual form for them. They walked into the Room and settled onto the usual scarlet and gold furniture.
"So," Albus began, "What happened with this new potion?"
"Well, it didn't work the way it was supposed to, but Amy already told you that," Matt said.
"Did it help at all?" Rose asked.
"And you'll still have to keep taking it?" John asked.
"Yeah, that's what stinks," Matt sighed. "It didn't work the way it was supposed to, but it did other stuff."
"I thought it wasn't going to have any bad effects," Albus said.
"They weren't really dangerous side effects. It just made me really tired."
"But you're always tired before the full moon," John pointed out.
"I know, but the potion made it worse. Usually I can at least go to morning classes on the day of the full moon but with the new potion I'll just sleep right through them. It makes me tired as soon as I start taking it, which is a week before the full moon, just like the regular Wolfsbane was."
"So you'll be tired for an entire week?" Amanda asked.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged, "The Healers are trying to find a potion to counteract the fatigue, but I doubt they'll have one in time for next month."
"I don't get why you have to keep taking it if it doesn't even work," John shook his head.
"Because they have to make sure it wasn't just a fluke or something. That's the thing about these studies, they have to do multiple trials to analyze the effects and stuff."
"There's a chance it might work next month?" Amanda asked confusedly.
"I suppose, but I doubt it."
"You don't seem that upset or anything," Rose commented.
"I honestly didn't think it was going to work. My parents told me not to get my hopes up about any of these experimental potions. Plus, this was only the first one I've tried. They'll come up with others."
"I just hope one of them actually works," John replied.
"Me, too," Matt agreed, "You've got no idea how much I wish that.
"Let's not talk about it anymore now, though. You've got to tell me if you got the stag print! It's been driving me mad for weeks now."
"Oh, yeah!" Albus grinned. He had almost forgotten about that. Almost being the key word. The new map was always on Albus's mind now. "We got it. Rose and I did."
"Brilliant!" Matt exclaimed.
"And I've got the transference charm all worked out," Rose told him.
"John's just got to get the rat print," Albus said.
"I'm working on it!" John replied, "It's harder than you'd think to spot a rat during Potions."
"Well, we've got Double Potions tomorrow, so try then. Slughorn'll be having us brew the whole class probably, so just keep your eye out," Albus told him.
"I will. I'll pay more attention to potential rats than to my potion," John grinned.
"I wouldn't suggest that," Rose smirked. "It'll explode or something, since you've got Goyle as a partner."
"Eh, I'll take one failing grade if I can get the rat print," John shrugged.
"Well, try to get the rat without destroying your potion," Rose sighed.
"Just think, this time tomorrow, we may have the map working," Matt commented, "That would be awesome."
"We'll have to get away from Kaden first," Amanda pointed out.
"And I'm not entirely sure the map will work after we do this," Albus said, "It almost seems too simple."
Albus had been thinking this for a few days now. They had had an incredibly easy time getting the prints. Almost too easy a time. Dogs, stags, and rats were quite common and anyone who could cast a simple Petrificus Totalus charm could get those prints. The only one that would be difficult for the average wizard to get was the werewolf print. Even so, Albus didn't think the Marauders would make it this easy to access the map.
"I've been thinking the same thing," Rose agreed.
John groaned, "That would suck."
"We'll get it eventually," Albus assured him. "Plus, the map said we had to be like the Marauders. We haven't done anything that only the Marauders could have done so far. We got a bunch of paw prints. Anyone can do that."
"Not anyone could get a werewolf print," John pointed out.
"I know. But it's not something only the Marauders could have done," Albus told him.
"Speaking of the Marauders," John turned to Rose, "How's the Sileo Altus charm coming?"
"The what?" Matt asked.
"Oh, yeah, we've got to tell you about that," John said. "Want to explain it, Rose?"
"Sure," Rose shrugged, "It's a charm I found in a book at my house. It's a way to make sure someone keeps something a secret. Kind of like the Fidelius Charm, only it's for verbal secrets, not places. Whomever performs the charm is the Secret Keeper and only that person can undo the charm. After the charm is performed, the person can't talk about the secret with anyone except the Secret Keeper and anyone else who was involved in the charm performing. It's a way to keep Kaden from telling anyone that you're a werewolf."
Albus held his breath as Rose explained and hoped that Matt would think it was a good idea. Albus watched as Matt thought about what Rose had said. Albus couldn't really tell what he thought. Matt looked a bit surprised, almost like he didn't think Rose would have ever found a charm to do that.
"Well, what do you think?" Albus asked after a few moments silence.
"I'm not sure," Matt said quietly, "Will it really work?"
"I'm pretty sure it will," Rose said, "The only thing that will overcome it is Veritaserum."
"And what if Kaden drinks Veritaserum?" Matt asked.
"When would he drink that?" John raised his eyebrows.
"I don't know," Matt sighed, "But he could."
"I really don't think he would."
"What if he did? What if he spewed all about me in the middle of the Great Hall or something?"
"I doubt he's ever going to drink any Veritaserum," Rose said, “And even if he did, someone would have to ask him if you were a werewolf. He wouldn't just randomly start telling people.”
"Is there even any of that in the castle?" Amanda asked.
"There's some in Slughorn's private Potions cupboard, but that's it," Albus answered, "But that's locked anyway."
"See? Hardly any chance of Kaden drinking any," John said.
"Yeah, but still... I don't know..." Matt groaned, "I just don't really want to tell him."
"I know. Just think about it, ok?" Albus gave Matt a half smile.
"All right," Matt sighed, "We don't need Kaden yet, do we?"
"No," Albus replied, "I'm not sure when we'll need him. The map just said we had to be like the Marauders, which means we'll need someone to be Wormtail at some point."
"And I want to test that charm out before we use it on Kaden," Matt said.
"We will," Rose assured him, "I've got to practice it anyway."
"So, anyone got any secrets we can practice with?" John grinned mischievously.
"Settle down, settle down," Slughorn barked at his class.
Albus turned around in his seat. He had been talking to John, who was sitting behind him next to Goyle. Albus was sitting next to Limbert and Matt was looking thoroughly miserable next to Maloy in the next row over at the front. Slughorn was still plowing forward with his inter-house partners in class, but Albus didn't think it was helping to decrease the hostility between Gryffindor and Slytherin. So far, the best that had happened was silent loathing during practical lessons and jinxing and hexing at worst. Based on the little duel between Ethan and Garth Octavius the previous week, it was only a matter of time before things really got out of hand.
"Thank you," Slughorn said once everyone was paying attention, "Today you'll be brewing the Confusion Potion I taught you about on Friday. He waved his wand at the blackboard, "Directions are on the board. You have the entire class."
"Light the fire," Limbert grunted as he got up from his chair.
Albus nodded and pulled out his wand. Albus and Limbert had come to an unspoken agreement with brewing potions. Limbert would collect ingredients while Albus lit the fire and unpacked all the various scales and knives. Then, Albus would prepare the ingredients while Limbert added them and stirred the cauldron. Albus was fine with this since Limbert was a better Potions brewer than he was.
Limbert returned with the ingredients and Albus started chopping them. He never said anything to Limbert while they worked and Limbert never said anything to Albus besides the occasional 'pass the asphodel' or something of the like.
Albus listened to everyone else in the class as he chopped up ingredients. He thought it was especially amusing to listen to John and Goyle.
"No, that's not clockwise," John groaned, "You're stirring counter-clockwise."
"Stir it the other way!" John shouted.
Albus stifled a laugh and glanced to his left, where Rose and Leigh Montague were having a similar conversation.
"They've got to be chopped finer than that. It says minced, not diced," Rose instructed.
"They look fine to me," Leigh snapped.
"No, they won't work like that. Let me do it," Rose grabbed a knife and started mincing the shrivelfig.
"Fine. You do the whole thing if you're so smart," Leigh huffed.
"You can stir the cauldron. Clockwise," Rose replied.
Albus wasn't close enough to either Amanda or Matt to hear what was going on at their tables. It looked like Amanda and Dalila Avish were working much the same way Albus and Limbert were, since neither of their mouths were moving. Malfoy appeared to be yelling at Matt for something, but Albus couldn't quite make out what it was. Matt got up from the table with a bowl full of something and then emptied it in the bin. When he returned to his table, he started carefully chopping something up. Albus was guessing it was more of whatever he had thrown away.
Albus continued mincing his shrivelfig and listened mostly to John and Goyle. Limbert kept smirking every so often, which gave Albus the impression he was listening to John and Goyle, too.
"Keep stirring CLOCKWISE for another minute," John said slowly and clearly, "Then switch to COUNTERCLOCKWISE. I've got to go get something. Don't do anything besides the stirring."
Goyle grunted and Albus heard John get up. Albus felt a prod in his side and looked up to see John standing next to him. "What?" Albus whispered.
John pointed to a corner of the room, near the cupboard of ingredients. There was a large rat sitting there. Albus shuddered and looked back at John.
"I'll be back," John winked at him.
Albus tried to concentrate on his shrivelfig, but he couldn't stop glancing up at John. He was almost to the cupboard now, and the rat still hadn't moved. Albus watched as John pointed his wand at the rat, but he couldn't hear what spell John was using due to the noise in the room. Luckily everyone was concentrating on their potions and not paying an ounce of attention to John. Albus grimaced as John picked up the rat and shoved it inside his robes. Albus was incredibly happy that John was willing to do the rat print. The thought of putting a rat in his robes creeped Albus out.
John went into the cupboard for a few moments and came back out carrying a jar of something. Probably a cover story, Albus thought.
"Got it," John whispered to Albus on his way back to his desk.
"Excellent," Albus said.
Suddenly there was a loud explosion from somewhere behind Albus and he felt a hot liquid land on his head and drip down the back of his robes.
"Ouch!" he and Limbert shouted at the same time.
"Boody Hell!" John exclaimed as the orange potion landed on the front of his robes.
Pandemonium erupted in the classroom. Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to stare at the exploded potion. Albus turned around and saw that the explosion had come from John and Goyle's cauldron. Goyle was wearing a stupefied expression on his face and was staring into space while holding his ladle in the air. His face was covered with potion as well as his robes. His hair was singed and there was a small fire on his table.
Albus could feel the potion burning down his back and it hurt like hell. It felt like his skin was on fire. He got up from his chair and felt his back. His robes were burnt straight through. John's and Limbert's were as well.
"What did you do?" Slughorn asked as he strode to John and Goyle's table.
"Uh...," Goyle stared up at the ceiling.
"You must've gotten potion in your mouth," Slughorn shook his head. "Hospital Wing. Who else got hit?"
"I did," Albus, John, Limbert, as well as Karina and Celeste Yeardly (who had been sitting behind John and Goyle) said at the same time.
"Hospital Wing, all of you," Slughorn replied, "If one of you could please make sure Mr. Goyle arrives there, that would be appreciated."
Limbert immediately dragged Goyle out of the room with Celeste following. Albus and John walked a little ways behind them and Karina behind them.
"Idiot," John muttered as they climbed the stairs out of the dungeons.
"What did he do?" Albus asked.
"Not a clue," John shrugged, "Not what I told him to do."
"I heard you talking to him. It seemed pretty straightforward."
"Well, he's dumber than a troll," John groaned, "Merlin this stuff burns."
"At least we didn't eat any of it," Albus pointed to Goyle, who was stumbling down the corridor like he was drunk.
"True," John laughed and then lowered his voice, "Hey, it was worth it since I got the rat."
"That thing's not still in your robes, is it?" Albus glanced warily at John.
"Er, yeah, haven't had a chance to take it out."
"I just hope it stays stunned."
"It should," John said as they followed Goyle and Limbert into the Hospital Wing.
Madam Pomfrey was already busy taking care of a girl who had gotten bitten by something in Care of Magical Creatures and told them they would have to wait. Once she had finished healing the girl, she moved on to Goyle, since he wasn't able to sit still and was wandering around the room tripping over things. She took care of Limbert, Celeste, and Karina, and then moved on to the bed Albus and John were sitting on.
"You lot again?" she sighed, "I'm surprised it's only the two of you."
"Well, Matt, Rose, and Amanda were all too far away to be hit by the potion," Albus explained.
"I swear the lot of you are exactly like your grandfather and his friends," Madam Pomfrey shook her head as she handed Albus a potion.
John, who had just started drinking his own potion, choked and coughed the potion up onto the bed. He turned and grinned at Albus, who grinned back. Well, Albus thought, that was the general idea of the map.
Madam Pomfrey sighed and with a wave of her wand the potion was cleaned up. "Drink the rest of it," she instructed them.
Madam Pomfrey applied some sort of salve to their burns and a few minutes later they were allowed to leave. The nurse told them to go directly to their dormitory to get new robes and that she didn't want to see them in the Hospital Wing for the next few weeks.
"Fat chance that'll happen," John smirked as they started back to Gryffindor Tower.
"Yeah," Albus agreed. It seemed like one of them was always winding up in the Hospital Wing. Albus himself had already been there twice since returning to school after the Christmas holiday.
"Next Quidditch match is what, in three weeks?" John asked.
"Just about," Albus said.
"Then you might be back there soon," John joked.
"Shut it," Albus replied, "I didn't land myself there last match."
A/N: Extra long chapter! Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, Denas, Miguel, invisiblecloak, potterfan296, Luke, and drownzer for the reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or Frank Sinatra.
Albus and John were immediately bombarded by Kaden when they entered the common room. Rose, Amanda, and Matt were standing just behind Kaden with smirks on their faces.
"Did your cauldron really explode?" Kaden asked excitedly.
"The potion did," John replied, "And it was completely Goyle's fault, really. I gave him directions as to what to do and he screwed it up."
"You know," Rose said, "You're not exactly the best potion brewer either, John."
"So what are you doing tonight, Albus?" Kaden asked excitedly as he followed Albus and John to the dormitory door.
Albus groaned inwardly. He had been planning on grabbing a quick dinner with his friends after he changed robes, and then head to the Room to try out the new map. They had all the paw prints (John had gone up to the dormitory ahead of Albus with the rat and got the print from it. Albus didn't want to know what happened to the rat afterwards) now, so Albus was impatient to try it out. But they wouldn't be able to if Kaden was around.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged.
Kaden spent the entire evening with Albus and his friends. Normally, this really wouldn't have bothered Albus, but that night his cousin was driving him mad. All Albus wanted to do was try out the map, but he couldn't think up a good excuse for them to go somewhere and not let Kaden follow. So they spent the evening in the common room, working on homework.
Albus and his friends were far too busy the next few days to try out the new map. Albus had Quidditch practice on Tuesday and Thursday and dueling practice on Wednesday. Rose had dueling practice on Friday. John normally had his practice on Saturday, but due to the Quidditch match, it had been rescheduled for Sunday. Any bit of time where neither Albus or his friends had any practices, Kaden was around. It wasn't until Saturday, following Slytherin's spectacular loss to Ravenclaw, that they were finally able to try out the map. Kaden had been recruited to tutor a fellow first year in Potions and was going to be spending a few hours in the dungeons after the Quidditch match.
"Come on, let's go try it now," Albus whispered to his friends after Kaden left the common room.
"Got the prints?" Matt asked.
Albus nodded and grabbed his bag. They quickly left the common room and ran for the Room of Requirement. They almost bumped into a Ravenclaw prefect, but luckily he was feeling generous (most likely due to the Quidditch win) and didn't scold them for running in the corridors.
Matt paced three times in front of the empty wall and as soon as the door appeared, the five friends ran inside. Albus set his bag down on the table and everyone crowded around it. Albus pulled out all four prints and the map.
"All right," Albus unfolded the map, "Rose, you're good with the charm, right?"
Rose nodded, "I've practiced it and it works every time."
"Good," Albus stared at the map, unsure of how to begin, "Er, maybe I should do what I did last time to get it to tell us we've got to prove we know the Marauders?"
"Probably," Rose agreed.
"Wait!" John shouted, "Can I do it this time?"
"Sure," Albus shrugged and handed John the map.
"Excellent," John grinned and pointed his wand at the map, "I solemnly swear that I am Messr Padfoot."
Ink appeared on the map, but not nearly as much as when Albus had done it earlier in the year.
'No, you're not.'
The ink disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
"What?" John shouted, "But it worked last time!"
Albus's hopes plummeted. Why wasn't it working now? Was it on some kind of a timer? Like it could only work on a certain day of the month? He had been so excited about getting the new map to work, and now it wouldn't even tell them to prove they knew the Marauders.
"Let me try," Matt grabbed the parchment and pointed his wand at it, "I solemnly swear that I am Messr Moony."
'No, you're not.' The map said once again.
"This sucks," John muttered, "It worked last time."
"Maybe it's got to be Albus," Rose suggested.
Albus wordlessly grabbed the map and pointed his own wand at it, "I solemnly swear that I am Messr Prongs."
The ink he had been expecting to appear rose to the surface of the parchment and formed the familiar words.
'Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs welcome you to the Marauder's Map, Second Edition.'
"Ha!" Albus grinned in excitement, "There it is!"
"But why didn't it work for us?" John asked dejectedly. "Does that mean we can't be Padfoot and Moony?"
"Dunno," Albus sighed. He really hoped his friends would be able to be Padfoot and Moony. Who else could be Padfoot and Moony? The map wouldn't even work without someone to be Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail. Albus couldn't do it alone.
'Mr. Prongs disagrees with you and insists that you are not Prongs. However, you could be the second Prongs.'
"See? Why didn't it say 'However, you could be the second Padfoot' when I did it?"
'When four boys, who are Gryffindors, are linked together through friendship and mischief, they may present themselves as the next generation of Marauders. These four friends must each represent one of the Marauders, for if even one is missing, this map will not work. Before this goes any further, you must prove that you know the secrets of the Marauders. Prove that you know, and you may continue along the path of discovery.'
'The path of discovery? I never knew you were so poetic, Mr. Prongs.'
'Oh, believe me, Mr. Padfoot, I am not. Mr. Moony came up with that whole thing.'
'Then I pay my compliments on the wording to Mr. Moony.'
'Mr. Moony advises that whomever is reading this ignore Mr. Prongs and Mr. Padfoot and start proving that they know the Marauders.'
'Mr. Padfoot agrees with Mr. Moony and also advises that if whomever is reading this has no idea who the Marauders are, that they quit while they're ahead.'
'The Marauders wish you good luck.'
"Well, now what?" John asked.
"I guess we've just got to transfer the paw prints," Albus said tentatively.
Rose picked up the paw prints and the map, setting them down in front of her. She pulled out her wand and muttered an incantation at the werewolf print. Then she muttered another incantation at the map. The werewolf print appeared on the map, just as it had been on the other piece of parchment.
"That, was bloody amazing," John said in awe.
Albus agreed. He was forever grateful that his cousin was so brilliant. Albus didn't think he'd ever be able to pull off something like that. At least not until he was at least in fifth year.
Rose repeated the procedure with the dog, stag, and rat prints, positioning them in the exact same way that the little mark that the Marauders had put on the map.
"There," she said once she was done.
The five friends stared at the map for a few seconds, waiting for something to happen. The paw prints weren't doing anything and neither was the map. No new ink had appeared and the paw prints weren't disappearing or anything.
"Er," Albus began, "Maybe I've got to tell the map that we know the Marauders?"
"Worth a shot," John shrugged.
Albus pulled the map over to him and tapped his wand to it, "I, Albus Severus Potter, the second Prongs, know the Marauders."
The paw prints quickly faded until there was nothing left but a blank parchment. Albus glanced up and looked at his friends before returning his gaze to the new map.
'Prongs agrees that you do know the Marauders, and is especially impressed that you managed to get a werewolf paw print.'
"It worked!" Albus shouted happily.
'Due to your obvious knowledge of the Marauders' secrets, we shall now tell you more about this map. When the Marauders were seventh year, they realized that within a few short months, they would be gone from Hogwarts, and the school would be left without their chief mischief makers.
'Do you always talk about yourself in the third person, Prongs?'
'Only when I have a stroke of brilliance, Padfoot.'
'Not too often then, right?'
'Oh, get on with the explanation, Prongs.'
'Calm yourself, Moony. You're letting your furry self show.'
'Shut it, Prongs.'
'All right. Anyway, I (happy now, Padfoot?) had a stroke of brilliance that the Marauders could find a way to ensure that they would never be gone from Hogwarts.'
"I knew it!" Rose shouted in glee, "I knew that was what this was about!"
'The Marauders decided to create another map. The first map was only the beginning. The Marauders wanted to find a way to put themselves into a map, in order to help the next generation of mischief makers. That is what this map is about.
'However, not just anyone would be able to have access to the map.'
'Yeah, we wouldn't want any old dunderheads stumbling upon it.'
'Right, Padfoot. Or even worse, having Slytherins get their slimy paws on it.'
'I shudder at that thought, Moony. Anyway, the Marauders had to figure out a way to ensure that only those worthy would be able to access this map. The Marauder's Map is actually quite simple to figure out, compared to this one. All you have to do to open that is say a certain phrase. For this map, you have to be a certain person to open it.
'You may or may not have figured out that in order to get the first bit of information out of this map, you have to be a blood relative of one of the Marauders. However, not everyone representing the Marauders must be related. Because, you know, we might not all have kids.'
'Yeah, you wouldn't want to be passing along any genes, Prongs.'
'Better mine than yours, Padfoot.'
"That's why only Albus could do it!" John shouted.
Albus felt immense relief from this. John and Matt would be able to represent Padfoot and Moony.
"So really, only James, Lily, Teddy, my dad, and I could get it open," Albus said.
'The rest of you must be Gryffindor boys, because we want you to be like us.'
'Lily won't like that, Prongs.'
'I know, Moony, but Lily doesn't know about this. I don't plan on telling her, either.'
"Guess that counts out my sister," Albus commented.
'So, now you've proven that you know the Marauders. Your next step is to prove that you are the next Marauders.'
The ink slowly faded once again until the parchment was as blank as before.
Albus stared at it for a few moments, thinking about what he had just found out. The map wasn't going to work yet. He had been so sure that all they'd have to do was prove they knew the Marauders. But now they had yet another thing to do. They had to prove that they were the next Marauders. How were they going to do that?
"That was weird," John said.
"I'll say," Matt agreed, "They didn't even really tell us what it was a map of."
"Yeah, they just said they wanted to make sure they'd never leave Hogwarts. Like the map is a part of them," John replied.
"To be honest, it sounds a bit like a Horcrux," Rose commented.
"Yeah, but it's not like they put their souls in there, Rose," Albus pointed out. "It's like the Marauder's Map. It's just enchanted."
"I still wish we knew what it was a map of," John muttered, "I mean, this isn't fair! We spend weeks getting those paw prints and we still haven't figured the map out."
"I knew you'd have to do something like this," Rose said, "Otherwise it wouldn't matter if there were four of you to represent the Marauders. If it was just this, Albus could have done the whole thing himself."
She made a good point. Albus hadn't really thought about that, but it was true. They had to do something that required each of them to represent one of the Marauders.
"I guess we've got to prove we are the Marauders, then," Albus said, "Wonder what that involves."
"Maybe we've got to do something the Marauders would have done," Matt suggested.
"Like become illegal Animagi?" John grinned mischievously.
"No!" Matt sighed, "I told you, you're not doing that!"
"I don't think that's it," Rose began, "How would you go about proving to a piece of paper that you're illegal Animagi?"
"Maybe we've got to pull a huge prank or something," Albus said.
"Again, how would you prove that to the map?" Rose asked.
"Well, does anyone have any other ideas?" Albus asked.
"We'll think of something," Amanda said, "I mean, there's got to be a way."
"Of course their is!" Rose said, "We've just got to go to the library and see if we can find anything there."
"We can't do anything anyway until you've got that Sileo Altus charm down, Rose," Albus pointed out.
"Right," Rose replied, "It's coming along well. I just need to get some practice. Anyone want to be my tester?"
"I will!" John shouted and jumped up out of his chair.
"Ok, come here," Rose got up and went to the other side of the room.
Albus watched as the two of them worked. First, they had to think up a secret, which took a good bit of time. John finally suggested that the secret be 'Filch likes to dance in the moonlight with a long handle mop with Frank Sinatra music playing in the background.'
Albus burst out laughing at that. "Filch? Dancing?"
"Yes," John said in a serious tone, "I saw him once. He was rubbing the mop head to his face and had on a look of pure joy."
"And soon you won't be able to tell anyone about it," Amanda grinned. "What a shame."
"Yes, it is, isn't it?" John laughed. "You lot can still spread it around, though."
"Ok, John, let's try it," Rose said.
Rose pointed her wand at herself and recited the charm that would make her the secret keeper. Then, she pointed her wand at John and said a slightly different charm.
"Now you say the secret, John."
"Filch likes to dance in the moonlight with a long handle mop with Frank Sinatra music playing in the background," John smirked.
"Good," Rose replied and then performed another charm on John. "I'm not ready to try including other people yet, so John will only be able to talk about Filch's little habit to me."
Rose waved her wand around in an intricate pattern and then said one last incantation. She lowered her wand and stared at John. Then she turned to face Albus.
"There. Now you can try asking him about it, Albus."
Albus grinned, "All right. So, John, heard anything interesting about Filch lately?"
"Yeah!" John shouted, "Actually, just the other night I saw him and he was-" John's mouth continued moving but no sound was coming out of it.
Albus and Amanda burst out laughing. John looked like a fish out of water. "I think it worked!" Albus shouted.
Rose was staring at John with a slight look of disappointment. "Not quite. He wasn't even supposed to be able to move his mouth. You know, in case people can read lips. I guess it's a start, though."
"Definitely. I mean, this is a really advanced charm. You can't have expected to get it on the first try," Albus pointed out. Although, he did kind of think Rose expected to get it on the first try.
"I suppose," Rose sighed, "I'll just undo it."
Rose waved her wand around and muttered some more incantations. "Ok, he should be able to talk about it now."
"Heard anything funny about Filch recently?" Amanda asked.
"Yeah, he likes to dance with a long handle mop by moonlight while Frank Sinatra plays in the background," John told her.
"Looks like the countercharm worked," Albus said.
"But that's not even what we'll need," Rose pointed out, "We're not going to perform the countercharm on Kaden. Not for another few years at least."
"Yeah, but it's lucky for John that it worked," Albus grinned, "Otherwise he wouldn't be able to share Filch's secret joys of life."
Over the next few days, John actually did share that Filch liked to dance with a long handle mop by the moonlight with Frank Sinatra playing in the background. All he had to do was mention it to a few other Gryffindors at meal times and the bit of gossip was soon spreading throughout the school. The reactions from students ranged from hysterical laughter to raised eyebrows to exclamations of 'Who the hell is Frank Sinatra?' Albus couldn't help but smirk every time he heard his fellow students mentioning the story.
Filch, on the other hand, was actively trying to find the culprit. There wasn't really any point, since he wouldn't be able to find who started it, but he tried. He spent the days prowling the halls and listening in on students' conversations, trying to find out any sort of information regarding the false story. Whenever the students noticed him, they would burst out laughing, which would cause Filch to start muttering about 'rotten students' and 'ought to whip them all'.
Filch's main suspect was Kaden, which Albus found kind of funny. Kaden of course had laughed the loudest when he heard the story. Since Filch had developed an intense dislike for Kaden since their detention months ago, he gave Kaden ominous stares every time Kaden passed him in the corridors. Kaden just found this funny, since he knew John had invented the story.
The story about Filch provided a nice break from the intense studying that all the students were occupied with. Like usual, the teachers had increased the homework after the holidays. Albus was happy it wasn't yet his O.W.L. year and he couldn't imagine how he would manage to cope with that in three short years. Along with homework, Albus also had Quidditch and dueling practice. Both Georgia and Kate had increased practice times in order to prepare for the upcoming match and tournament. The third dueling tournament was to take place the first weekend of February and Quidditch on the following weekend. Albus now had Quidditch practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Dueling practices were as usual, not mandatory, but were now not only on Wednesdays, but on Fridays as well. The only day Albus had off was Sunday, which didn't give much time for him to try and figure out how to prove he was like the Marauders to the new map.
The morning of the Dueling Tournament was cold, snowy, and blustery. Albus was very happy the Quidditch match wasn't that day. He got up a few hours before the tournament started and went down to breakfast with his friends.
"I can't wait until I can duel next year," Kaden said in between bites of egg.
"It's not really as cool as it's made out to be," John commented, "A lot of waiting around time during tournaments."
"That's because there's so many of us," Rose explained, "In the regular Dueling Club, the one that you can only be in if you're fifth year or above, not everyone gets on the teams. It's like Quidditch and you have to try out."
"That sounds better," John said, "But I don't know if I'd make the team."
"I know I wouldn't," Amanda replied.
"You're getting better," Albus assured her, "You might make it by the time you're a fifth year."
"Yeah, that's the point of the junior's club," Rose said, "So you can get better. They don't expect us all to be expert duelers."
"Albus is," Amanda grinned, "He's brilliant."
Albus felt his face turn red, "Well, I'm not that great...I mean, there are loads of people who are better than me."
"Not on our team," Amanda continued, "He's beat almost everyone on the team."
"Yeah, everyone except Malfoy," Albus muttered. He still hadn't managed to beat Malfoy during their practice duels.
"That's good, though!" Rose sighed, "You're both excellent duelers, so you've got a good team!"
Albus shrugged. He kind of would rather just be able to beat Malfoy than beat the other teams, but he didn't mention anything about it.
Albus and his friends continued their talk about dueling throughout breakfast and as they sat around the common room afterwards. Soon, it was time for them to go down to the dueling chamber for the tournament.
They passed Filch on their way down the stairs, and he was muttering to himself as usual.
"Damn kids...better when Umbridge was around...wonder if she'll come back...she'd let me whip them..."
"I swear he's gotten more mad over the year," John muttered to Albus as they passed him.
The dueling chamber was packed with students, just like the past two tournaments. Albus and Amanda squeezed their way through the crowd to their usual table, where their team was sitting.
"Hi Albus, Amanda," Kate greeted them. "Ready to win?"
"Definitely," Albus grinned.
The tournament got under way a few minutes later. It was much like the past two tournaments, with a lot of sitting around time. Albus was happy that he and Amanda were on the same team so they were able to talk to each other in between duels.
Albus won both of his duels, just like the last two tournaments. So did Malfoy and once again, Albus found that he was kind of happy and kind of angry about that. Amanda won one of her duels, which Albus was very happy about. He knew half her dueling issues were from nerves and the fact that she thought she wouldn't do well.
Rose, John, and Matt each won one of their duels as well. Albus clapped for them even though they were on other teams, which earned him glares from Malfoy. Albus didn't care, though. Malfoy could sulk as long as he wanted, it wasn't going to stop Albus from cheering for his friends.
The points were tallied after the last duel and John's team was declared the winner. Albus was slightly disappointed, but there were still three more tournaments before the final. Harry announced the point totals for the entire year and Rose's team was in first place so far. In second was the team led by Hufflepuff Paul Galivant and in third was John's team, led by Albus's cousin Bradley.
Albus didn't think that the inter-house dueling was decreasing the rivalry between houses. Albus wasn't anymore fond of the Slytherins than he had been in the beginning of the year. None of the Slytherins really got along with the Gryffindors on his team, and vice versa. He wasn't exactly sure how it was working with the regular dueling club, but he had overheard Stanley complaining about how uncooperative the Slytherins on his team were. But that was months ago and he didn't know what had been going on with it recently.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, Denas, XDNLxtlz99, potterfan296, Miguel, Luke, and mischiefmaker09 for their reviews!
I wrote my first Marauders Era story, Side Effects May Include Gratitude and Feelings of Well Being, which is a one-shot from Madam Pomfrey's point of view. It's on my author page, if you're interested. I'd love it if you read and reviewed it!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Matt's birthday was a few days after the Dueling Tournament. Albus and his friends didn't throw him a party like they had last year. That had mostly been done to cheer him up since he had been in the Hospital Wing at the time. This year they went down to the kitchens and got a cake, and then ate it in their dormitory. Kaden went with him and was amazed by the kitchens, with all the house-elves around. His reaction was funnier to watch than Amanda's the previous year. He stood there with his mouth half open and then ran around grabbing as much food as possible.
By the time the Quidditch match arrived the following Saturday, Albus was utterly exhausted. Between Quidditch practice and homework, he hardly had anytime to sleep. Throw in a trip down to the kitchens for Matt's birthday after Quidditch practice the other night, and Albus was ready to sleep through an entire day.
Albus yawned, got out of bed, and looked out the window. He had been hoping that the raging blizzard would have let up, but it hadn't. Wonderful, he thought, James wouldn't be catching the Snitch quickly in this weather.
A few hours later, Albus bade his friends goodbye and headed down to the changing rooms at the Quidditch pitch. His friends had bundled themselves up in as much scarlet and gold clothing as they owned and were ready to huddle against the howling wind for a few hours of Quidditch. John, Matt, and Amanda didn't seem to mind the weather at all and were excited about the match. Rose, on the other hand, clearly would have rather spent the afternoon in the castle studying. Kaden still liked football better than Quidditch and Albus had a feeling he wouldn't have minded the storm if he was watching a football game.
"Ok!" Georgia shouted a few minutes after Albus entered the changing rooms, "Everyone come over here!"
"I know the weather isn't ideal," Georgia began once everyone was gathered around her, "But we've played in worse than this!"
"Yeah, if you count that flood we played in during third year," Fred muttered, "But other than that...."
Georgia glared at Fred, "Anyway, we're playing Hufflepuff, so we'll win. Harper's still captain, but it's her last year, so she'll be dead set on getting the Cup. That means she'll have trained her team even harder. They've got a new Keeper, though. Someone named Tanner Royce. He's a fifth year. Other than him, the team's the same as last year. So, with that, get out there and kick some badger ass!"
Albus grinned to himself as he picked up his broom and started to walk to the door. Georgia was a great captain, but wasn't much for long winded speeches.
"Albus," Georgia whispered and put her hand on his shoulder.
"You're, er, less nervous this match, right?"
"Oh, yeah," Albus smiled, remembering how he had told her he was extremely nervous the last match. In reality, he'd been too preoccupied with the new map. Sure, he'd been a little nervous, but not as much as Georgia thought he had been. This match, however, he wasn't nearly as distracted, although he still was a bit nervous. "I'm a bit nervous, but not as much."
"Good," Georgia grinned and walked out the door and onto the pitch.
Albus followed his cousin onto the pitch and was immediately hit by the forceful winds that were prevailing.
"Welcome to the Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff match!" Todd Smith's voice sounded over the pitch. It sounded faint and kind of far away in the wind. "It's bloody cold out here so let's make it quick!
"Here are the Gryffindors! Captain Georgia Weasley, followed by Ryan O'Malley, Albus Potter, James Potter, Bradley Weasley, Fred Weasley, and Heather Weasley!
"And the Hufflepuffs! Captain Jessica Harper, followed by Shawn Ames, Lisa Galivant, Andy Kaper, Stacey Manson, Anna Reilly, and Tanner Royce!"
Professor Oteski motioned for Georgia and Harper to shake hands and as soon as they did so, Albus and the rest of the players rose into the air. Oteski released the balls and Heather immediately took possession of the Quaffle.
"And Heather's got the Quaffle! She passes to Fred, then back to Heather, and to Albus."
Albus caught the Quaffle and started flying towards the Hufflepuff goals. He was amazed that he had actually caught it since the weather was so awful. He could hardly see two feet in front of him. His robes were already soaked with snow and ice and he was frigidly cold. Nevertheless, he kept flying towards the goal until he had to stop short and toss the Quaffle back to Heather, since he almost flew straight into an oncoming Hufflepuff chaser.
Heather caught the Quaffle and flew it the rest of the way to the goal. She threw it in and it easily went past Hufflepuff's new Keeper.
"Goal! Ten-zero Gryffindor! Now hurry up and catch that Snitch, James! I'm freezing my bloody-"
"Smith!" Patil shouted, "Watch your language!"
The Quaffle was now back in play and was in Hufflepuff possession. Albus wasn't even sure which Chaser had it, but he knew it was a Hufflepuff. Whichever Hufflepuff had the Quaffle managed to take it to the Gryffindor goals, but Georgia saved it.
Fred took the Quaffle and flew it back to the other end of the pitch, scoring another goal for Gryffindor.
The game continued this way for the next half hour. Hufflepuff managed to score two goals, but Gryffindor scored about eight. Albus currently had the Quaffle and was flying straight at the Hufflepuff goals.
He narrowly avoided a bludger and both Hufflepuff beaters, but soon he was within throwing distance of the goals. He faked to the right and then threw the Quaffle at the left hoop. Royce tried to save it, but he wasn't quick enough.
"Goal! Albus Potter has scored against Hufflepuff! The score is now 90-20 Gryffindor!"
Albus was ecstatic. That was the first goal he had ever scored in a Quidditch match. Up until now, all he'd done were assists. Albus took a victory lap around the pitch and then caught the Quaffle from Heather.
Albus managed to score another goal and Heather scored two more in the next half hour of the match. Hufflepuff scored a few more goals, but were still far behind. By now, Albus was sure he had turned into an icicle and was getting a bit sick of flying around in the cold. He was even getting a bit of a headache from it. Albus wasn't even sure if he'd know if James or Galivant caught the Snitch, due to the increasingly bad visibility and snowfall. The blizzard seemed to be getting worse by the minute. If Hogwarts actually called off Quidditch, they would have called it off a while ago.
A few minutes later, cheers broke out in the stands and Albus was sure someone must have caught the Snitch. He was very happy to land his broom and knew he'd be even happier when he finally got into the warm common room.
The rest of his team was shouting in glee and were surrounding James. He must have caught the Snitch, Albus thought. The rest of the Gryffindors were swarming the pitch and soon James was lifted onto a few people's shoulders. Albus joined the throngs of his house and started his way back to the castle.
On his way back to the common room, numerous people stopped him in order to congratulate him on the win. Albus was thrilled that they had won, but all he really wanted to do was find his friends and get into some warm robes. James loved the attention he got after winning a Quidditch match, but Albus could take it or leave it. Right now, he could leave it since his headache was getting worse.
The party in the common room was just getting started when Albus entered a few minutes later. Someone must have snuck down to the kitchens because there was an entire table filled with food. Someone else had obviously gotten into Hogsmeade because just about everyone had a butterbeer in their hand.
Somebody shoved a butterbeer into Albus's hand as he made his way through the crowd. James was in the thick of it as usual and was rehashing how he caught the Snitch.
"And I saw it lurking near one of the goal posts. Galivant was on the other end of the pitch, so I knew she had no hope..." James was saying to a couple of giggling girls.
The rest of the team was nearby and were digging into the food that was on one of the tables.
"Great job, Albus!" Georgia shouted as he passed, "I knew you could get over those nerves!"
"Thanks," Albus smiled as he went up the stairs to his dormitory.
Albus quickly changed out of his cold, wet robes and felt a bit better afterwards. He went back down to the common room and it was even fuller than before. It looked like all the Gryffindors had returned from the pitch and the party was in full swing.
Albus found his friends sitting at their usual table and they all seemed to be enjoying the party.
"Albus!" John shouted as Albus sat down, "Brilliant playing!"
"Definitely," Matt agreed.
"You're quite a good Chaser, Albus," Rose said, "Although I honestly don't know why they didn't cancel the match with this blizzard..."
"Cancel the match?" John stared at her, "Never!"
"If it was football, it would've been canceled," Kaden commented.
"Yeah, because you wouldn't be able to run around in two feet of snow," John laughed, "But Quidditch is in the air, so it doesn't matter."
"Will you two just quit arguing about football?" Rose sighed.
"Just trying to turn Kaden into a proper wizard," John shrugged.
"Quidditch is hardly the definition of a proper wizard," Rose said, "I believe potion brewing is a bit more important and I'm sure Kaden could teach you a thing about it, Mr. Exploding Potions."
"That was Goyle's fault," John muttered.
"Why don't all three of you just quit arguing?" Albus snapped. His head was pounding and listening to his friends' arguing was not helping.
"What's with you?" John asked, "We're not fighting anymore than normal."
"Maybe it's got to do that he's been flying around in a blizzard for the past two hours?" Rose suggested, "If they'd just have canceled the match-"
"They don't cancel Quidditch!" John shouted and then turned to Matt, "You understand this, don't you?"
"It's true," Matt agreed, "Quidditch isn't ever canceled for trivial things like blizzards."
"I think the weather just makes it more interesting," Amanda commented.
"Not you too!" Rose groaned.
"Football's only played in the warm months anyway," Kaden said, "They wouldn't even schedule an outdoor football match in the winter."
"Well that's boring," John replied.
Albus leaned his head on his hand and closed his eyes while trying to drown out his friends conversation. John, Rose, and Kaden continued to argue about the merits of Quidditch and football. Matt and Amanda stayed out of it for the most part and seemed kind of amused with the entire thing. Albus wasn't, though. He wished they'd just shut up. Albus's head was steadily feeling worse, like he was being hit with a bludger over and over again. Besides that, he still hadn't completely warmed up from the match and was shivering, despite his dry robes.
"I think football would be a decent sport if it were played on brooms," John said.
"Oh come on, John!" Rose sighed, "Be serious! You can't play football on brooms. How would you kick the ball?"
"Not to mention that Muggles play football!" Kaden shouted, "Muggles can't fly!"
"I'm not saying that Muggles should play football on brooms. I meant if football were ever played by wizards, it should be done on brooms."
Football on brooms, Albus thought, what an insane idea. His friends were now trying to merge football and Quidditch.
"Albus, are you all right?" Matt asked.
Albus opened his eyes and lifted his head off his hand. "I dunno."
"You don't look that great," Matt said concernedly.
John, Rose, and Kaden stopped arguing and looked at Albus.
"Yeah, you look worse than Matt does when he gets sick," Kaden said loudly.
"Thanks," Matt muttered.
"Matt's right," Rose said, "You do look awful, Albus."
"I've got a headache," Albus mumbled.
"You should go see Madam Pomfrey," Kaden told him.
"I think I'll just go to bed," Albus got up from his chair, "I haven't really slept much the past few nights. I'm probably just tired."
Albus stumbled over to the dormitory door, feeling worse than he had a few minutes ago. He collapsed into his bed and fell asleep minutes later.
Albus awoke with a start and he wasn't sure how much time had passed since he went to sleep. He still felt extremely tired and his head still hurt. He groaned and closed his eyes again, wanting only to sleep for a few days straight.
Right when he was about to drift off again, someone threw the curtains back and Albus's bed was flooded in light.
"Ugh," Albus groaned and covered his eyes with his hands. "What was that for?"
"You've slept almost an entire day," someone said.
Albus moved his hands and slowly opened his eyes. John was standing over his bed with a look of concern on his face.
"And I'd like to sleep a bit more if you don't mind," Albus mumbled.
"You slept through dinner last night, and breakfast and lunch today. Aren't you hungry?"
"Are you sure you're ok?" John asked, "Rose sent me up here to check on you."
Honestly, Albus wasn't sure he was ok. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept an entire day. But right now all he wanted was for John to go away so he could sleep some more.
"I'll be fine once I sleep some more," Albus replied and rolled over away from John.
"If you're sure," John said quietly and closed the curtains.
It didn't take Albus long to fall back asleep. He had some strange dreams that involved Teddy telling him his broom broke and he'd have to play Quidditch without it by running around on the ground. Then, instead of a Quaffle, the match was played with a football.
Albus woke up briefly after one of these dreams, only to find that the dormitory was dark. He could hear Ethan's muffled snoring and an owl hooting outside. Unfortunately, he didn't feel any better than he had when John woke him up. In fact, he now felt worse. Every one of his muscles were aching, like he had fallen from his broom during the match. But Albus couldn't recall falling from his broom. When had the match been anyway? Yesterday or the day before? Albus couldn't even remember and he didn't even know what day it was currently.
"Albus!" Someone shouted. Albus was dreaming about Quidditch again and someone was hitting him with their beater's bat.
"Quit it," Albus mumbled.
"Albus, are you all right?"
"Go away," Albus said, "And stop smacking me with that beater's bat."
"Beater's bat?" they repeated, "That's it, I'm getting Professor Potter."
"I'll go," someone else said, "You stay here with him."
Whoever had been hitting Albus with the bat had stopped, and he was grateful. Georgia had taken the bat away and was now yelling at its owner. Then she announced that they would be playing football instead of Quidditch. James complained loudly, since there weren't any Seekers in football.
"Albus, wake up!"
"I think Kaden said you'll have to play defense, James," Albus mumbled in his sleep. "There isn't a Snitch in football."
"Hang on, Albus, John's getting your dad."
"My dad? He'll have to play defense, too."
"What's wrong?" someone new shouted.
"He's been sleeping since after the match, Professor Potter. I think he's sick."
"Since after the match?"
"Er, yeah. We thought he was just tired, but he's been sleeping for two days."
"The match?" Albus muttered, "Did we beat Slytherpuff yet?"
Albus felt himself being lifted out of his bed and into someone's arms. He rested his head on their shoulder and shivered as his blanket fell back onto the bed. Albus fell back into a deep sleep and next woke up as he was being laid down on another bed.
Albus heard people talking all around him, but he couldn't make out what they were saying. Someone poured a few disgusting potions down his throat and forced him to swallow them. There was more muttering around him, but Albus soon drifted off to sleep again.
The room was quieter when Albus next woke up. He opened his eyes and looked around. Where was he? Albus was certain he had fallen asleep in his dormitory, but now it looked as if he was in the Hospital Wing. The place was nearly deserted, save for Madam Pomfrey sitting at her desk. Albus yawned and tried to sit up, but he was still dizzy. The good thing was that his head felt much better. However, his body still ached.
Madam Pomfrey looked up from her desk and got up once she saw that Albus was awake. She grabbed a few bottles and put them on a tray, which she then carried over to Albus's bed and set it on the bedside table.
"Good, you're up," Madam Pomfrey said as she poured one of the potions into a cup, "You gave us all quite a fright."
"What time is it?" Albus asked, still confused about what he was doing there.
"Just after six o'clock."
"Er, and what day?"
"Monday," the nurse said as she thrust the cup under Albus's nose, "Drink that."
"Er, what exactly happened? I mean, I went to bed in my dormitory and now I'm here..."
"You're ill," Madam Pomfrey said, "You've caught the flu. Your friends told me you slept for almost two days and then they went to get your father since you weren't getting any better and had started becoming delirious. You've been here since around lunch time."
"Oh. Well, how long do I have to stay?"
"Another two days, probably," Madam Pomfrey told him. "Now I want you to drink these other two potions and eat that bowl of soup."
Albus nodded and Madam Pomfrey strode back over to her desk. Albus thought back and could vaguely remember being taken out of his dormitory, but it was only a foggy memory. The last thing he could really remember well was the Quidditch match. He was very happy he hadn't fallen ill before the match.
No sooner had Albus drank the first potion that the doors to the Hospital Wing swung open and John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda came bursting through. Madam Pomfrey got up quickly from her desk and met them halfway.
"Is Albus awake?" Rose asked.
"Yes, he's only just woken up. I suppose you can visit him for a few minutes. But calmly! He needs to rest!"
"Albus!" Rose shrieked when she ran over to his bed, "Thank Merlin you're all right!"
"How are you?" Amanda asked.
"Doing better?" John asked.
"Well," Matt said with a half smile on his pale face, "This is a switch."
Albus grinned at him, "Yeah, can't really remember a time where it was you visiting me here."
"What exactly have you got anyway?" Amanda asked.
"Flu," Albus answered, "But I'm getting better. Not nearly as tired as before."
"I would hope so," John smirked, "You slept two days."
"I'll probably sleep another two," Albus said, "Pomfrey said I've got to stay another two days."
"We'll be here together, then," Matt replied.
Albus looked at his friend, who was looking a bit exhausted himself. "When's the full moon again?"
"Tomorrow," Matt sighed.
"Did you take that new potion?" Albus asked.
Matt nodded, "Yeah, and I'm more knackered than usual."
"He fell asleep in History of Magic and almost fell asleep in Potions," John said.
"Well, you didn't sleep through two whole days like I did," Albus pointed out.
"I've done it before. I've slept through more than two days actually. I think four is my record."
"All right!" Madam Pomfrey announced, "Time for you lot to be off to bed, especially you, Matt. And Albus needs to rest."
"See you tomorrow," Albus said as his friends left the room.
"Sure will," Matt replied.
Albus slept on and off throughout the night and the next morning. He was still tired, but felt much better when he woke up late the next morning. His dad had stopped by earlier before class, but Albus fell back asleep after he left.
Madam Pomfrey was fussing over him and giving him numerous potions to drink. Albus was the only patient in the entire ward, so the nurse's fussing was all focused on him.
The nurse had been giving Albus what must have been his tenth glass of water that morning when the doors to the ward opened. Matt stumbled inside and walked shakily over to the bed next to Albus's. He collapsed onto it and winced in pain.
Madam Pomfrey immediately put down the water pitcher and descended upon Matt.
"You're here earlier than usual," she said as she felt his head, "And you're burning up."
"Why are you here earlier?" Albus asked once Madam Pomfrey had gone to get another potion.
"Tired," Matt mumbled, "Fell asleep in Defense and your dad told me to come here."
"Is it the new potion?"
"Yeah, it doesn't exactly help much, does it?"
"I thought you said they were going to find something to counteract the part of it that makes you tired," Albus said.
"They are, they just haven't found it yet."
Madam Pomfrey returned a moment later and gave Matt a few potions. He drank them and was asleep minutes later. Albus wasn't really tired, but he fell asleep anyway out of lack of anything else to do.
John, Rose, and Amanda stopped by after dinner to see Albus and Matt, but Madam Pomfrey didn't let them stay long. Matt had been asleep anyway. Shortly after their friends left, Madam Pomfrey woke Matt up and took him down to the Whomping Wilow.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to Moonylupin, potterfan296, Miguel, Luke, and Denas for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
When Albus awoke the next morning, he felt much better. In fact, he felt mostly normal. He wasn't achy anymore and his head felt better as well. He hungrily ate all the breakfast Madam Pomfrey provided.
The same couldn't be said for Matt, who was looking much worse than the previous day. He was either asleep or unconscious, Albus was betting on the latter, and he had numerous cuts and scrapes on his face. His right arm and forehead were covered in a large bandages.
"So when can I leave?" Albus asked as Madam Pomfrey performed some kind of spell on Matt.
"Later today, most likely," she said after she'd finished her incantation.
Albus sighed. He had been hoping he'd be able to leave that morning. He was starting to feel incredibly bored with the Hospital Wing, although not bored enough to start the homework Rose had brought the previous evening.
Albus spent the remainder of the morning drifting in and out of sleep out of lack of anything else to do. Madam Pomfrey gave him a few more nasty tasting potions and lunch, which Albus ate ravenously. After going two days without food, he was starving.
The doors to the Hospital Wing opened just as Albus was finishing his lunch. John, Rose, and Amanda walked inside and immediately headed for Albus's bed. Madam Pomfrey was in her office and didn't seem to notice the visitors.
"Hey, how are you?" Rose asked.
"Bored," Albus replied.
"That's good," Rose grinned.
"Are you better now?" Amanda asked.
"Pretty much. Madam Pomfrey won't let me leave until later, though. Wish she'd let me leave now."
"She just wants to make sure you're completely better," Rose said, "And it's not like you're missing class since this is our afternoon off."
"Exactly!" John sighed, "He could be doing much better stuff on his afternoon off if he wasn't here."
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Like figuring out the new map."
"How are we going to do that anyway?" John asked.
"Go to the library," Albus replied, "We've got to look for ways of proving who we are."
John groaned, "And I doubt there will just be a book titled Prove Who You Are to a Piece of Parchment."
"Probably not," Rose laughed. "But we'll find out somehow."
"Making anymore progress on the charm for Kaden?" Albus asked.
"A bit, yeah. I tried it again last night on John and this time he couldn't even move his mouth like last time. Now I've just got to figure out how to involve other people in the secret."
"And then all we've got to do is convince Matt that the charm is foolproof," John said.
Everyone glanced over at Matt's bed, where he was still sleeping.
"He been asleep all day?" Amanda asked.
"Yeah," Albus said, "Ever since I've been awake."
Matt groaned and opened his eyes, "You lot here?"
"Yeah," John replied, "How are you?"
"Horrible," Matt said flatly, "My head is killing me. Were you talking about me?"
"A bit," John said, "Just about that charm for Kaden. We're going to get working on the map once you two are out of here. Got to find some way to prove to it that we're like the Marauders."
"Sounds good," Matt yawned.
"When do you get to leave?" Amanda asked, "Albus is leaving later today."
"No idea," Matt said, "Not until at least tomorrow night. Might be out in time for Astronomy."
"Can't you not be outside when the moon is close to full?" Amanda asked.
"Only when it's waxing. When it's waning I'm fine."
"So, we'll plan on working on the map this weekend, then," Albus said. "Unless any of you catch what I had."
"Hope not," John said. "Maybe Malfoy will catch it," he added gleefully.
"John, that's not funny," Rose scolded, "He'd be really sick."
"He'd get better. Albus is fine now."
Albus heard a door open and Madam Pomfrey came strolling out of her office. She looked up and saw the crowd around Albus and Matt's beds and made a beeline for them.
"What are you lot doing here?" she demanded.
"Visiting Albus and Matt," Rose answered.
"Oh, you're awake!" the nurse exclaimed and went over to Matt's bed, apparently forgetting that Rose, John, and Amanda had burst in without her permission. "How do you feel?"
"Awful," Matt replied. "My head hurts and so does pretty much everything else."
"You must have hit your head much worse than usual last night," Madam Pomfrey sighed, "You had quite the concussion earlier. I'll go get some pain potions."
She returned a minute later with a potion for Matt, who drank it in one gulp.
"Now, you three have to leave," Madam Pomfrey said to Rose, John, and Matt, "Albus will be out later and you can see him then."
Boredom set in for Albus shortly after his friends left. Matt had fallen back asleep quickly after he took his pain potion. Albus couldn't even sleep anymore because he had already slept so much that day.
"What are we supposed to be looking for anyway?" John sighed as he slammed a book shut.
Albus, John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda were all crowded around a secluded table in the library. It was covered in books that covered all sorts of topics. The five of them had spent the last hour searching for ways to prove to the new map that they were like the Marauders. So far, nobody had found anything useful.
"I don't know," Albus replied, "Anything that might prove that we're like the Marauders."
"That's not very specific," John muttered, "I really don't want to spend an entire Saturday here."
"It'll do you some good," Rose said.
"Wish we could just use that book that you used to find the other charm," Albus said to Rose, thinking of Flitwick's book.
"Me too, but it's in the Restricted Section," Rose said.
"Why can't we just get Professor Potter to give us a note? Bet he would," John said.
"Bet he wouldn't," Albus disagreed, "He'd know we're up to something."
"Besides," Rose interjected, "It might not be a Charm we're looking for."
"We're just going to have to keep looking," Albus said as he opened another book. "But I've got Quidditch practice in a half hour."
"We'll just look every time we can get away from Kaden," Matt suggested.
"Where is he anyway?" Amanda asked.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged. Come to think of it, he hadn't seen Kaden since breakfast. It was kind of strange since Kaden spent every waking moment of his day (when he wasn't in class) no less than four feet away from Albus.
"There he is," Matt pointed to somewhere behind Albus.
Albus turned around and saw his cousin running through the library with a clipboard in his hand.
"Albus!" he shouted.
"Quiet!" Madam Pince shouted even louder, "Or I'll throw you all out!"
"Albus," Kaden said more quietly as he sat down in an empty chair at their table.
Albus eyed Kaden's clipboard but he couldn't read what it said. "Hi Kaden."
"Hi," Kaden replied, "Will you sign my petition?"
"Petition?" Albus asked, "What in the name of Merlin are you petitioning for?"
"TVs in the common rooms," Kaden grinned.
"What?!" John and Matt shouted.
"Quiet!" Madam Pince screeched.
Rose laughed, "What on earth for?"
"I wouldn't mind having a TV in the common room," Amanda commented.
"Exactly," Kaden said, "It's hard enough for us Muggle-borns to adjust to Hogwarts and if we had TVs, it would make it easier."
"You're kidding, right?" John laughed.
"Nope, not kidding," Kaden said, "I've got loads of signatures already. I'm not really sure how many I'll need, though. I figure I'll try and get as many as I can in a few days and then give it to Professor Longbottom."
Albus tried to suppress his grin, but he couldn't. The idea of Kaden trying to get televisions put into the common rooms was just too funny. There would be no way any of the teachers would agree to it even if everyone in Hogwarts signed the petition.
"So will you sign it?" Kaden asked, "If this goes through, I'll try for computers next."
"Computers," Matt laughed, "You're mad."
"I'll sign," Amanda grabbed the clipboard and quill.
"Sure, why not?" Albus shrugged. It couldn't hurt to sign the thing, and he was sure Kaden wouldn't stop bugging them unless they did.
John and Matt signed as well, although they were laughing the whole time. Rose signed a bit reluctantly, but she eventually gave in.
"So what are you doing?" Kaden asked after Rose finished signing.
"Homework," Albus replied automatically.
Kaden stared at the large pile of books, "Second year must be bloody insane."
"Oh, it is," John said, "You won't have any time to watch any TV."
"I'll make time," Kaden said as he stood up, "Well, I'm going to get more signatures."
Albus watched as his cousin went from table to table trying to get people to sign. Some of them liked the idea and signed willingly. Others laughed until Kaden gave up and others looked at him like he was crazy. Eventually, Madam Pince found out what he was doing and threw him out of the library.
"Your cousin is the weirdest bloke I've ever met," John said after Kaden was kicked out.
"Yeah, he is a bit strange," Albus agreed and closed the book he was reading, "Well, I'm off to practice. I'll see you lot later."
After practice, Albus went to the common room and found his friends sitting around their usual table doing homework. Unfortunately, none of them had found anything that would help them to prove that they were like the Marauders. Albus was beginning to wonder if they'd ever get that map working. Even if they did find a way to prove they were like the Marauders, what would they have to do next? How many things would they have to do before they would actually be able to see the map? Albus had no idea, but he knew the Marauders weren't going to make this easy.
The rest of February passed quickly. Albus and his friends continued to scour the library for any sort of charm, spell, or potion that would help them in their quest to reveal the map. None of them found anything. Kaden thought they were all doing homework as they searched the books every weekend. Rose was making progress with the Sileo Altus charm, but it wasn't quite perfected enough to use yet. Rose was sure she'd have it learned by the end of the month. Matt never said much when the charm was brought up and Albus was hoping he would still agree to tell Kaden once Rose perfected the charm.
Kaden's petition to have televisions put into the common room was rejected shortly after he gave it to Neville. Kaden didn't seem in the least bit deterred by this. He insisted it was rejected due to lack of convincing evidence as to how the televisions would benefit the students. He was planning on resubmitting it along with a detailed essay on the subject later on in the term.
"You know, Kaden," Rose said at dinner one night, "Even if the teachers accepted your petition, the televisions wouldn't even work here. There's too much magic."
"Oh, I'm sure there's a charm that would counteract that," Kaden said.
"It won't work," Matt said, "Magic just doesn't agree with electronics. This one time when we were visiting my Uncle Jack in the United States, Amy accidentally broke one of the metal detectors at the airport. It wasn't her fault or anything, the magic just interrupted it or something. The thing started beeping and wouldn't stop until they turned it off."
John laughed, "That would've been hilarious to see."
"Amy didn't think so. She was mortified," Matt said, "It was a while ago, before we even moved here. I think she was fourteen."
"Well, I still say they could find a way," Kaden said.
"Hey, look," Albus pointed to the Head table. Professor Kendrick was standing up.
"Wonder what he's got to say?" John asked.
"Hope it's nothing bad," Rose said.
"He looks happy enough," Amanda commented.
"May I have your attention!" Kendrick announced. The room fell silent. "Thank you. Don't worry, I'm not giving out bad news. In fact, I think you'll find this announcement most exciting."
There was a general murmur of excitement throughout the Great Hall at this. Kendrick waited for everyone to stop talking before he continued.
"If you'll remember at the beginning of the year, when I announced the changes for the Dueling Club, that that would only be one part of the House unity effort. I am announcing today that the other professors and I have organized another unity event. It will be a scavenger hunt, with inter-house teams, of course."
Albus groaned. A scavenger hunt would be fun, but not if he had to do it with Slytherins. Everyone else seemed to be in agreement, because there was a general groaning throughout.
"I know you don't like it, but the school needs to be unified. Now, I will explain the event. It will not be like a regular scavenger hunt. It will take place on the next three Saturdays. This Saturday will be for the first and second years. The following will be for third and fourth years. The last will be for fifth, sixth, and seventh years.
"The other professors and I will be organizing the teams, which will consist of members of other years and other houses. Each team will have about ten members. You will have one hour to complete the tasks given.
"You will receive a list of items to obtain before this hour is up. There are rules, of course. Some of these items will be required to obtain without magic. We will be performing charms on these items and if we find that any of them were spelled, transfigured, conjured, charmed, etc. within the hour they will be disqualified.
"However, the scavenger hunt will not only include a list of items to find. You will also receive multiple trivia sheets. These will include both wizard and Muggle trivia.
"Finally, each team will receive a riddle, which if they deceiver correctly, will lead them on a quest throughout the castle and grounds. When you reach the end, there will be a bit of information that must be returned to me. If you are successful, you'll get a 100 point bonus. However, there is also a false trail that will lead you to worthless information. If that is brought back, you'll receive no bonus.
"I will give you a more detailed list of rules on the day of the event. Until then, keep your brains sharp and don't get rid of anything you would otherwise deem useless," Kendrick smiled and returned to his seat.
Albus turned to his friends, "This sounds, er, interesting."
"It's really an excellent idea," Rose grinned, "I mean, there's no way a single person would be able to achieve all of it alone. It's a great idea for House unity."
"It'd be better if we didn't have to team up with Slytherins," John muttered.
"But what if there's something on that list that's in the Slytherin common room or something?" Rose pointed out.
John groaned, "I guess you're right."
"Sounds fun, though," Amanda said.
"Yeah. Wonder what we get if we win?" Matt asked.
"Hopefully some coupons to get out of homework or something," John said.
"Since when have they given away those?" Albus laughed.
"Now's the perfect time for them to start," John replied.
"I hope I'm on your team, Albus," Kaden piped up.
"That would be great," Albus smiled, and he actually meant it. It sounded like there was going to be a lot of random stuff on that list and if there was anyone in the school that had loads of random stuff, it was Kaden.
The next few days seemed to drag on forever for Albus and the rest of the first and second years. Everyone was getting excited about the scavenger hunt and the teachers were getting a bit annoyed that nobody was paying attention in class.
Soon enough, Saturday arrived and Kendrick announced at lunch for all the first and second years to remain seated after they were done eating. Once all the older students left, Kendrick got to his feet once more.
"Now, the moment you've all been waiting for," Kendrick said, "The Scavenger Hunt will begin shortly. First, I have a few more rules to go over.
"As I said earlier in the week, there are items on this list that are not allowed to be created using magic. You may not conjure, transfigure, spell, or charm any of those items. Asking an older student to do so is also against the rules. We have spells that will detect if any item was magicked during the hour of the scavenger hunt.
"The items must be found within the school and grounds. Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, the Whomping Willow, and Hagrid's hut are all out of bounds and you may not search for items in or around them. You may not ask older students or teachers for help, nor may you owl family members or other people. However, you may ask older students if they have any of the items on the list. It is up to them if they let you borrow them or not. Do not steal anything from anyone or there will be punishment. You are permitted to use the library for help with the trivia."
Rose's face lit up at that and Albus knew she would be the official library researcher for her team.
"There are going to be eight teams of approximately ten students each. Your House prefects have your team assignments. Teams one and two are to gather at the Hufflepuff table, one at each end. Teams three and four at the Gryffindor table, five and six at Ravenclaw, and seven and eight at Slytherin. You will be given a few minutes to get organized in your teams and then the other professors will hand out the appropriate material. Each team is given one set of material, no more. If you lose it, tough luck. Now please see your prefects."
Albus got up from the table and looked around until he spotted Georgia. He and his friends wound their way through the crowd until they managed to get to her.
"Hey, Albus!" Georgia grinned and looked at her clipboard, "Ready?"
"Yeah," Albus smiled, "I'm on a good team, right?"
"Well, there are Slytherins on all the teams, if that's what you mean," Georgia laughed, "Anyway, you're on Team Two."
Albus nodded and waited for his friends to get their team assignments.
Georgia scanned her clipboard again, "Let's see, Rose is on Team One, John is on Team Four, Matt's on Team Two..."
Albus grinned at Matt. He was relieved that one of his friends was on his team. Now all he had to do was hope Malfoy wasn't on his team.
"Amanda's on Team Four, and Kaden's on Team Six," Georgia looked up at them, "Have fun."
"Thanks," Albus said and then turned to his friends, "Guess we'll see you after. Good luck."
Albus and Matt worked their way through the crowds to the Hufflepuff table along with Rose. Albus was a bit disappointed that Kaden wasn't on his team, but there wasn't anything he could do about that. The chances weren't great that he would have two of his friends on his same team. He was just lucky he had one of his friends on the same team.
The Hufflepuff table was already filling with people from teams one and two. Team Two was gathering at the half closest to the staff table, so Albus and Matt made their way there.
There seemed to be a fairly even number of each house at the table. Besides Albus and Matt, there was one other Gryffindor, a first year girl Albus had seen but didn't know her name. There were also two Ravenclaws Albus didn't know, three Hufflepuffs, and two Slytherins. Albus groaned when he saw who the Slytherins were, Felix Willinson and Leigh Montague. Leigh was Rose's potions partner and not the sharpest quill in the box.
Felix Willinson narrowed his eyes when he saw Albus and Matt coming over. Albus found seats far away from him and sat down, waiting for the scavenger hunt to begin.
One of the Ravenclaws stood up a few seconds later, "Hi, I'm Rachel Underwood and I've been assigned as team captain."
Everyone muttered hello to her and Rachel had everyone introduce themselves. So far, Willinson and Montague didn't seem enthused about their team, but Rachel didn't pay any attention to their animosity.
Professor Patil came over a little while later with a handful of parchment. Albus assumed they were the lists of stuff to look for and the trivia.
"The hunt will start in one minute!" Kendrick announced, "The professors will give you your lists as soon as I say go. You'll have one hour to be back here with as much stuff you can possibly get."
A minute later, Kendrick shot out a shower of blue sparks from his wand and Patil handed the stack of parchment to Rachel.
"All right!" Rachel shouted as she leafed through the parchment, "We need someone to decipher the riddle and run around to get the bonus points."
"I'll do it," the other Ravenclaw volunteered. Rachel nodded and handed him the parchment. He ran out of the Great Hall while reading the riddle.
"Ok, here's the trivia," Rachel continued, "We've got Famous Witches and Wizards, Famous Muggles, What Not To Do While Interacting With Muggles, What Do You Know About Quidditch, and What Do You Know About Football."
Albus turned to Matt and laughed. Kaden would surely love the football one.
Rachel handed out the trivia to the people who thought they'd be able to do it. Willinson hadn't taken any of the trivia sheets, but Montague took the Quidditch one. Albus hoped she actually knew something about Quidditch.
"Now we've just got the list of items to find," Rachel announced to the remaining team members, which were Albus, Matt, Willinson, and one of the Hufflepuffs. "You four get started while I work on the trivia. Oh, but I'll take care of the costumes. You'll just have to wear them."
Albus nodded and took the parchment from her. Costumes? He hoped he wouldn't have to wear anything too humiliating. He set it down on the table and began to read it, with everyone else looking over his shoulder.
Items Are To Be Gathered Without Magic
-five vomit flavored Bertie Botts Beans
-Slytherin wearing Gryffindor robes
-Gryffindor wearing Slytherin robes
-Dumbledore Chocolate frog card
-twenty shoelaces tied together
-Quaffle signed by Oliver Wood
-Shooting Star broomstick
-copy of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkein
-a Nintendo DS
-girl dressed up as Godric Gryffindor
-boy dressed up as Helga Hufflepuff
-color changing ink
-Chudley Cannons jersey
-six Extendable Ears
-Muggle playing cards
-receipt from Madam Malkins
-Argus Filch's autograph
-the names of five Hogwarts House Elves
-copy of Hogwarts, A History
-Hogwarts graduation picture
-green empty potions bottle
-Hershey's chocolate bar
-My Little Hippogriff
Albus looked up from the list and waited for everyone else to finish reading.
"What the bloody hell is a CD?" Willinson asked.
"Muggle way of listening to music," Albus explained, "One of my cousins might have one."
"I've got one," the Hufflepuff, who Albus now knew to be Nelson Rodner, said.
"Good," Albus replied, "Anyone else know they've got some of this stuff?"
"Let's go get the stuff we know we've got and then meet back here," Albus said as he got up. "Then we can work on the stuff we don't."
The other three boys agreed and Albus ran out of the Great Hall with Matt. The two of them ran as fast as they could up to Gryffindor Tower.
A/N: I can't take credit for the scavenger hunt idea. There is a resort in Pennsylvania called Woodloch Pines that I go to every summer and they have scavenger hunts like the one in this chapter. Complete with costumes, trivia, and the riddle. It's a lot of fun.
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks as well to Luke, Moonylupin, EvilChaos, potterfan296, XDNLxtlz99, drownzer, Miguel, Denas, and phoenixy_friend for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or the idea for the scavenger hunt.
"Willinson is acting civil," Albus commented as they were running up a flight of stairs.
"Yeah," Matt agreed, "Kind of surprising. Either he really wants to win or he's not as confident without Malfoy."
"Probably both," Albus said, "Whatever the reason, we lucked out."
Everyone stared as Albus and Matt ran into the common room completely out of breath. "Scavenger hunt," Albus muttered to his cousins Ben and Cedric as he ran by.
"Excellent," Ben grinned, "Can't wait until our turn next Saturday."
Bilius was also in their dormitory collecting items when Albus and Matt entered. They nodded to each other, but didn't say anything.
Albus wrenched open his trunk and started rifling through it. He found a bag of Bertie Botts Beans, a Dumbledore chocolate frog card, his copy of Hogwarts, A History, one Extendable Ear, and the photo album he found in the attic of his house. The graduation picture in the back would work for the Hogwarts graduation picture.
"What have you got?" he asked Matt once he emerged from his trunk.
"My wand's holly, a muggle pen, band aids, Chudley Cannons jersey, and a Nintendo DS, although I'm not sure why I still bother to bring it since it doesn't work here."
"Excellent," Albus grinned, "Let's get back to the Great Hall."
When Albus and Matt got back to the Hufflepuff table, Willinson and Rodner had already returned. There was a pile of stuff on the table between them. Albus looked through it and saw that they now had a copy of The Hobbit, color changing ink, a beater's bat, Muggle playing cards, and a sneakoscope.
"All right, we've got a good start," Albus said as he added his and Matt's stuff to the pile. "I guess we'll have to ask the older students to borrow the rest.
"Rodner," Albus began, "You see if you can get a light saber, a Quaffle signed by Oliver Wood, a Shooting Star broomstick, drum sticks, a receipt from Madam Malkin's, foe glass, and a Beatles CD."
"Sure," Rodner said and took off out of the room.
"Willinson," Albus turned to the Slytherin, "Go down to the kitchens and see if you can get a silver goblet, tortilla chips, a tea cozy, the names of five House Elves, and a Hershey bar."
"Why should I?" Willinson grumbled, "Who put you in charge?"
"Someone's got to do it," Albus told him.
"Make Eckerton do it."
"Him and I are getting the rest," Albus replied, "If you want to win, you'll get the stuff."
"Fine," Willinson muttered and left the Great Hall.
"Ok, that leaves the shoe laces, empty green potions bottle, purple gloves, a My Little Hippogriff, a toad, purple parchment, a rubber duck, two batteries, and five more Extendable Ears. Oh, and Filch's autograph."
"We'll do that one last," Matt shuddered. "We can probably just go back to the common room and ask if anyone's got this stuff."
"Good idea," Albus agreed.
The two boys set off at a run back to their common room. Luckily it was still packed with students and some of them grinned as Albus and Matt entered.
"How's it going?" Ben asked.
"Good," Albus grinned back, "But we've got a bunch of stuff to find. Listen up everyone!" he shouted.
The entire common room quieted and turned to Albus. Albus was momentarily shocked that everyone actually stopped what they were doing to pay attention to him.
"Er, we're doing the scavenger hunt and need some stuff. Has anyone got a My Little Hippogriff, purple gloves, a toad, purple parchment, a rubber duck, batteries, or Extandable Ears? Also, we need twenty shoe laces. I promise we'll return it all once we're done."
About half the students got up and went up to their dormitories. A few minutes later they came back down with various items for Albus. He managed to borrow a rubber duck, purple parchment, and a few Extendable Ears. Plus he got at least twenty shoe laces.
"That worked well," Albus said as he and Matt left the room.
"I'd say so," Matt agreed, "Now Filch's autograph. This ought to be fun."
Albus smacked his hand to his forehead, "I should have grabbed the map!"
Albus groaned and ran back to the common room. Everyone laughed as he ran up to his dormitory and back down to the common room. Albus ignored them and pointed his wand to the map. A few seconds later he saw that Filch was lurking near the library.
Albus and Matt took off for the library and spotted Filch a few yards away from the door.
"How are we supposed to ask him?" Albus whispered.
"No idea," Matt said back.
Albus's heart sped up as he got closer to the old caretaker. "Er, Mr. Filch?" he asked.
Filch startled and turned around. He saw Albus and smirked. "Potter. Up to no good again? In need of another detention, perhaps?"
"Uh, no," Albus replied, "Actually, I was just, er, well, we're doing this scavenger hunt. Maybe Kendrick told you about it. It's to promote Inter House Unity and we have to find all this stuff throughout the castle and-"
"We need your autograph," Matt interrupted, holding a piece of parchment and the Muggle pen in his outstretched hand.
Filch stared at them and then started muttering to himself. "Don't see why I should bother... Students never do anything for me..."
Nevertheless, Filch took the pen and scribbled his name onto the purple parchment. He thrust it wordlessly back into Matt's hand and shuffled off down the corridor.
"That went better than expected," Matt said.
"Yeah, thanks. I couldn't really figure out how to ask him."
"I figured," Matt grinned, "Anyway, we still need a few things. Hey, Kendrick never mentioned anything about the Room. Do you think we could just ask it for the rest of this?"
Albus wondered why he hadn't thought of that. It almost seemed like cheating, but Kendrick never said anything. "That's brilliant!"
The two of them set off for the Room, but when they got there, there was a Hufflepuff prefect milling around right in front of the Room. Albus slowly walked back and forth in front of it, keeping an eye on the prefect.
He was about to make his third pass, when the prefect stopped him. "Sorry," he said, "You can't go in there if you're in the scavenger hunt. Kendrick's rule."
Albus sighed, "All right."
"Of course," Matt muttered as they left, "Kendrick couldn't announce that rule because then everyone would find out about the Room. Oh, well. What have we got left?"
Albus handed Matt the list and he looked it over for a few seconds. "Hey, I know Madam Pomfrey's got green potions bottles."
They made it to the Hospital Wing in record time. Albus pushed the door open and walked in, followed by Matt.
"I've got patients to tend to!" Madam Pomfrey was shouting at a Ravenclaw first year, "I haven't got time for this scavenger hunt nonsense! You're the fifth person I've had come in here looking for potions bottles and band aids! I haven't got any!"
The girl nodded and ran quickly out of the room, completely ignoring Albus and Matt as she went.
"Er, she says she hasn't got any," Albus whispered.
"I know she does," Matt whispered back, "Let me just ask her."
Albus shrugged and followed Matt over to the nurse, who was bent over one of the beds.
"Hello, Madam Pomfrey," Matt greeted her.
Madam Pomfrey turned around and her irritated face softened immediately when she saw Matt.
"Hello, Matt, dear. Are you all right? You look a bit flushed," Madam Pomfrey said and put her hand to his forehead.
"I'm fine," Matt assured her, "I've just been running around working on the scavenger hunt."
"Not you, too," Madam Pomfrey sighed and then noticed Albus, "Oh and Albus as well."
"Yeah," Matt said, "We were just wondering if you might have an empty green potions bottle."
The nurse sighed and walked over to her potions cabinet. "I suppose. Just be sure to return it."
Albus watched in shock as she returned with the exact item they were looking for. Matt grinned at Albus and took the bottle.
"Thanks," Matt smiled.
Madam Pomfrey shook her head, "No problem. Have fun, boys."
"We will," Matt said as he turned to leave the room.
Albus followed him out the door, still in shock that the nurse had actually given them the bottle when she had yelled at that first year only minutes ago.
"You're certainly on her good side," Albus muttered after they left the room.
"One of the few perks of being there once a month," Matt said dryly.
"We'd better get back to the Great Hall," Albus said as he looked at his watch.
Albus and Matt ran as fast as they could back to where their team was. The rest of the team was working hard to finish the remaining trivia. Rachel herself was dressed up as Godric Gryffindor, complete with a fake beard. Rodner was dressed up as Helga Hufflepuff.
However, neither was as funny as what Willinson was wearing. He was decked out in Gryffindor finest, with robes, a scarf, and a 'Loyal Gryffindor' hat. Albus could hardly stifle his laughter.
"Don't say a word, Potter," Willinson growled.
"Albus!" Rachel shouted, "You've got to dress up as a Slytherin! The robes I've got are too big for Matt and Abby." Rachel pointed to the other Gryffindor on the team.
Albus groaned and Willinson burst out laughing. Albus reluctantly put on the Slytherin robes, scarf, and 'Slytherins Are Best' hat. It would only be for a few minutes and if it helped them win....
Albus did feel a bit strange in the Slytherin robes. He couldn't help but think back to his sorting and how the hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin at first. If it had, he would be wearing these robes all the time. He might have even been more friendly with Malfoy at first. He probably wouldn't have really befriended John, Matt, or Amanda if he'd been in Slytherin. Albus shook the thought from his head and concentrated on the fact that he was just wearing the robes to help his team win.
Rachel took stock of the items on the list as Matt tied all the shoelaces together. It turns out that the only things they were missing were the light saber, Quaffle signed by Oliver Wood, Shooting Star broomstick, foe glass, Hershey's bar, toad, and one battery. Rachel thought that was pretty good.
The other Ravenclaw returned a minute later and told everyone that he had finished the riddle quest and had managed to get the bonus points.
"Time is up!" Kendrick announced, "The professors will be around soon to check your lists. They will also collect your trivia sheets which will be marked later today. The winner will be announced at dinner tonight."
Patil came over to Albus's team a few moments later and looked over their list. She took a picture of the four people who were dressed up, much to Albus's dismay. Now there would be permanent evidence of his Slytherin moment. As soon as the picture was taken, Albus took off the robes and he noticed Willinson doing the same.
"Ok," Patil announced as she gathered up the pieces of parchment, "You can leave. Please return anything you borrowed."
Albus and Matt gathered up their stuff as well as everything they'd borrowed from various Gryffindors. They stopped by the Hospital Wing to return the bottle and then headed back to their common room.
The two of them passed out everyone's stuff and then went to sit down at their usual table. Rose, John, Amanda, and Kaden joined them shortly.
"That was fun," Rose said as she sat down.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Even though we were with Slytherins. Willinson wasn't too bad."
"That's good," John said, "I caught a glimpse of him in the Gryffindor robes. Priceless."
"Yeah, I thought so. Until I had to put on the Slytherin ones," Albus replied.
John burst out laughing, "I wish I'd seen that!"
"You'll be able to," Albus told him, "Patil took a picture."
"Didn't any of you lot have to dress up?" Albus asked.
"I was Helga Hufflepuff," John said.
"And I was Godric Gryffindor," Amanda added.
"How did everyone do on the list of stuff to find?" Matt asked.
"I'm pretty sure my team was the only one with a light saber!" Kaden said excitedly, "I'm so glad I decided to bring it."
"We did all right," Rose shrugged, "Missed a lot of stuff, but I think we did well in the trivia."
"Of course you did," John grinned. "Hey, did anyone manage to find the potions bottle? Slughorn didn't have any green ones and Madam Pomfrey looked ready to hex me when I asked her. It's not really fair that Kendrick put something on there that was impossible to get."
Albus grinned at Matt, who grinned back.
"What?" John asked.
"We got it," Matt told him.
"How?" Kaden asked, "Madam Pomfrey was downright scary when I asked her. May have been because she was busy fixing someone's broken arm, but still...."
"Matt asked her and she gave him one," Albus explained.
Matt shrugged, "Simple, really."
John sighed, "Well, you're probably the only one in the school who could get it. She'd probably give you whatever you asked for."
"Why?" Kaden asked curiously.
"Sorry, not telling," John replied.
Kaden sighed, "Oh, part of that whole secret I can't know about?"
"Yeah," John said and then changed the subject, "Hey, did any of you do the riddle thing?"
"I did," Rose said, "Want to hear it?"
"Of course," John said.
"Ok, I'll see if you can get it. I thought it was a bit simple, really," Rose said. She pulled a piece of parchment out of her robes and read off of it.
"'In an event known by wizards worldwide
Where good and evil are forced to collide
A terrible force can now no longer reside.
A place where just one part of Voldemort died.'"
Albus looked at John, Matt, and Amanda and shrugged. He didn't think it was simple, but Rose was good at those sorts of things.
"No idea," John announced.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged.
"Hmm," Amanda muttered.
"Don't look at me," Kaden said.
"The Great Hall?" Albus asked, thinking of the place where Voldemort died.
"Nope," Rose grinned, "That was the trick part. It's actually that monument outside, where Professor Longbottom killed Voldemort's snake."
"Oh," Albus groaned, "Of course! Didn't even think of that."
"How long did it take you to figure it out?" Matt asked.
"Not long," Rose smiled, "But then I had to follow the clues to find the bit of information to give Professor Kendrick."
"And where was that?" Amanda asked.
"Library," Rose grinned, "Herbology section."
"Wonder how many teams got it," Albus thought aloud.
"Well, my team did, obviously," Rose said, "And you said your team did, Albus. What about you two?"
"We didn't," John sighed and Amanda shook her head.
"We did," Kaden put in.
"Guess we'll find out tonight how everyone did," Albus said.
"Yeah," Rose agreed, "But I'm not going to think about it now. Might as well get some homework done."
Albus managed to get half an essay done before dinner. Rose wrote an entire essay and did a set of homework questions. Matt helped Amanda with her Astronomy and still got his Herbology done. John and Kaden on the other hand, spent he rest of the afternoon goofing off and playing chess.
The excitement was running high in the Great Hall during dinner that evening. Everyone was comparing what they managed to find during the Scavenger Hunt. Albus kept glancing up to the staff table to see when Kendrick would make the announcement, but he seemed to be waiting until the last minute to do so.
After what seemed like forever, Kendrick got to his feet. "Good evening, everyone. I hope all the first and second years enjoyed the Scavenger Hunt. It was certainly a success and I'm sure the older students will look forward to their turns.
"And, without any further waiting, I shall announce the results. The first, second, and third place teams will all be awarded medals.
"In third place, with 572 points, Team Two!" Kendrick announced, "Will the members of Team Two please come up here."
"Yes!" Albus shouted and jumped up, "Third place, that's not bad!"
"Yeah, I'd say that's pretty good," Matt grinned and followed Albus up to the staff table.
Albus and Matt joined the rest of their team in front of the staff table. Kendrick put a bronze medal over each of their necks and pulled out a camera. He took a few pictures and then told them to return to their seats.
Rose, Amanda, John, and Kaden congratulated Albus and Matt as they sat back down. A few of Albus's cousins patted him on the back and told him good job.
"Excellent, Albus," James grinned, "But my team will get first place next week."
"I'll believe it when I see it," Albus rolled his eyes.
"And in second place, with 580 points, is Team Seven!" Kendrick announced.
The members of Team Seven ran up to the staff table to get their silver medals and have their picture taken.
"And in first place, with 673 points, is Team Six!" Kendrick shouted. "Congratulations to the winning team!"
"Woohoo!" Kaden stood up and started jumping up and down as he ran up to the staff table, "Yes!"
"Wow, who would've thought that," Rose grinned, "Kaden's team won."
"Well, he does have a very large amount of random stuff in his dormitory," Albus commented.
"I'll bet it was the light saber that put his team over the edge," John shook his head, "I mean, I think his team was the only one to get it."
"Probably," Albus shrugged.
"I can't believe I won!" Kaden shouted as he sat back down with his big gold medal a few minutes later.
"Congratulations," Albus grinned, "At least one of us got first place."
"We were so close to second," Matt groaned, "Eight measly points!"
"Well, third's good," John muttered, "Better than not getting a medal at all."
"Oh, John, it's just a game," Amanda said, "The point is that we all had fun."
"Congratulations to our winning teams and everyone else that participated," Kendrick said, "I will be looking forward to the next round, third and fourth years, a week from today!"
Albus hung his bronze medal from his bed post before he went to bed that night. He crawled beneath the covers feeling very content with third place. He hadn't really been expecting to win at all. The Scavenger Hunt had been a lot of fun, and Albus hoped Kendrick would hold it again sometime. It had been so much fun, that Albus hadn't even thought about the new map the entire day. He made a mental note to ask Rose about the Sileo Altus charm the next day. They would have to tell Kaden about everything soon if they wanted to make anymore progress on the map. Plus, they'd have to research more about how to prove to the map that they really were like the Marauders.
A/N: Bit of a shorter chapter, but the previous one was longer, so it evens out. Kaden has proved that it never hurts to have a light saber, a lesson that my brother agrees with since he brought his light saber to LeakyCon and quite a few people told him they wished they'd brought theirs.
I have created a website for my fan fic, where you can find character profiles and a blog about news and updates about my writing. The link is on my profile page here. I'd love for you to check it out and leave comments in the News and Update section.
Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, who had to dress up as the Tin Man in last summer's scavenger hunt. Big thanks to my friend, Rose, for coming up with the riddle. Thanks as well to EvilChaos, XDNLxtlz99, Luke, mischiefmaker92, drownzer, Moonylupin, Miguel, Denas, and Tonks for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Throughout the rest of the month, Rose continued to make progress on the Sileo Altus charm, and by the time April rolled around, she was confident in her ability to perform it. Albus wished the same could be said for the progress with finding out how to prove to the map that he and his friends were like the Marauders. Albus spent every waking moment that he wasn't doing homework, attending Quidditch practice, or dueling practice, in the library trying to find out a spell or charm that would work. His efforts were fruitless, though, because he still hadn't found anything promising.
Albus also had another successful dueling tournament. He won both of his duels as did Malfoy, but their team still hadn't won. Albus was beginning to doubt whether they'd ever win.
Albus's next Quidditch match was the first Saturday in April. He found himself distracted by the map even before he entered the changing room. They were playing Ravenclaw, and it was hard to tell who had the better team, Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Albus pushed thoughts of the map from his head as he walked into the changing room.
Georgia gave the team the usual pep talk, which this time included telling them that if they won this match, they'd be in the final. If Ravenclaw got less than 180 points, then Ravenclaw might not make it to the final. Georgia didn't particularly care who they played in the final, just so long as they won.
The match went smoothly, in Albus's opinion. Much better than the previous match, in which Albus got sick partway through. The weather was better for this match as well. Albus managed to keep from thinking about the map, which was good since it was a very high-scoring match for both sides and Albus was constantly being thrown the Quaffle. After only an hour of play, James went into a dive and caught the Snitch, right out from under one of the Ravenclaw beater's broom.
The usual party in the common room ensued after the students returned to the castle, but Albus wasn't really interested in it. Now that the match was over, all he could think about was trying out the Sileo Altus charm on Kaden. Albus figured the best time to do it would be in the evening and the best place would be the Room.
Shortly after Rose had succeeded in performing the charm on John, Matt had reluctantly given into trying it with Kaden. His only condition was first trying it with a harmless secret, and if that worked, to move onto the bigger one.
"Are we doing it tonight?" John asked as he sipped his butterbeer.
"Yeah," Albus whispered back, "After dinner."
The rest of the afternoon and dinner seemed to go by at an alarmingly slow rate. Time seemed to go by much like it did in History of Magic.
"Kaden," Albus said after they had finished eating, "We're not going to the common room now. We're going to show you a different room in the castle, one you've never seen."
"Excellent," Kaden grinned, "What kind of room?"
"You'll see when we get there," Albus replied. "Let's go."
Kaden followed Albus and his friends through the castle, with a constant stream of questions that Albus ignored.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Matt whispered nervously as they stopped in front of the blank space of wall where the Room of Requirement was.
"Yes," Rose assured him, "It will work."
Matt nodded and started pacing in front of the wall.
"Why did we stop?" Kaden asked, and then his eyes popped out of his head as he saw the door appear from nowhere. "Wicked."
"C'mon," Albus said as he opened the door.
"What is this place?" Kaden asked in awe.
"Room of Requirement," Albus told him, "Room that gives you what you need."
"I can't believe you didn't show me this yet!"
"Well, it's not something we want you to tell anyone about."
"I won't," Kaden said, "So it'll give me anything I ask it for? I think I want an entire cake...."
"It doesn't do food," Rose explained.
"Oh, well, it's still brilliant."
"Kaden, come sit down," Albus told his cousin.
"You're all so quiet," Kaden said as he took a seat on the couch next to Albus, "What's going on?"
"Well," Albus began, "We're going to test something. Rose found a charm that's supposed to make someone not be able to tell other people's secrets. If it works, we're going to tell you a bunch of stuff and you won't be able to tell anyone."
"What are you going to tell me?" Kaden asked excitedly.
"We have to make sure the charm works first," Albus sighed, "Which is why we're here. Rose is going to perform the charm, using your knowledge of this room as the secret. If you haven't told anyone by next Saturday, we'll tell you the rest of it."
"Fine," Kaden sighed, "I can't believe you won't tell me without this charm."
"Um, Kaden, you've told Malfoy stuff I told you not to tell anyone," Albus reminded him.
"That wasn't my fault!"
"I know, but we're not risking this. If you want to know the secrets, you'll have to have Rose do the charm."
"Ok, ok, I'll do it," Kaden said.
"Good," Rose smiled, "Now let's get started."
It took Rose about ten minutes to perform the charm. Kaden was thoroughly amazed by the charm and Rose's ability to perform it.
"Let's test it," Rose decided once they left the Room. She pointed to a girl who was walking towards them. "Go tell her about the Room."
Kaden shrugged and ran up to the girl, who looked to be around Kaden's age and was in Hufflepuff.
"Er," Kaden began, "So there's this place-" Kaden turned around and looked confusedly at Albus, then turned back to the girl. "Anyway, at this place, you can-"
"What's wrong with you?" the girl asked, trying to cover up her giggling. "Are you ok?"
"Fine, fine," Kaden muttered, "Never mind."
Kaden ran back to Albus and the others, blushing furiously. "It worked, but now everyone's going to think I'm an idiot."
Albus laughed, "No they won't. But that's good that it worked."
"Yeah," Kaden grinned, "Definitely worth it."
Albus kept a close eye on Kaden throughout the next week. As far as he could tell, his cousin didn't tell anyone about the Room of Requirement. They tested the charm a few more times, telling Kaden to tell someone about it, but Kaden was never able to. Albus was fully convinced that the Sileo Altus charm was a success.
Kaden was positively beaming by the time Saturday arrived. Albus was kind of excited as well, because they would officially have Wormtail in their group of new Marauders. John, Rose, and Amanda were excited as well. The only thing left to do after this would be to find a way to prove to the map that they were like the Marauders. Matt didn't seem excited at all. He was clearly nervous about telling Kaden that he was a werewolf. It probably didn't help that the full moon was only a few days away. Albus couldn't really blame Matt for his nerves, but Albus was sure the charm would continue to work.
After dinner, Albus led his friends back to the Room of Requirement, with the new Map in his robes.
"Ok, what's the secret?" Kaden said as he bounced around the Room once they were inside.
"You've got to sit down first," Albus told him. "And Matt's going to tell you the first one."
"Oh!" A look of comprehension appeared on Kaden's face. "Is this about how you get sick every month?"
"Yes," Matt sighed.
"And this is what you don't want Malfoy to know about?"
"Yes," Matt said shortly, "Now just let me tell you what it is."
"Sorry," Kaden muttered.
"It's ok," Matt said, "First, you can't tell anyone this. I mean, don't even try to test the charm like we've been doing all week. You can't even try to tell anyone this. Never mention it to anyone except us."
"I won't," Kaden said.
"Good. Now, you know that werewolves are real, right?"
Kaden nodded, "What does that have to do with you getting sick?"
"Everything," Matt said quietly, "I am a werewolf."
"What?!" Kaden shouted, "That is the coolest thing ever!"
"No it's not," Matt sighed, "You don't even really know what happens when I turn into a werewolf."
Kaden shrugged, "I've seen movies."
"It's not like that," Matt told him, "I get sick a few days before the full moon, and then the night of the full moon, I turn into a wolf and bite myself because there's nothing else for me to bite."
"Oh," Kaden deflated, "So where do you go when you turn into a wolf?"
"A shack in Hogsmeade."
"The Shrieking Shack?"
"Yes, that," Matt replied, "I'm the one who does the shrieking."
"Now that is cool," Kaden grinned. "How long have you been a werewolf?"
"Since I was five."
"That's a long time," Kaden said.
"Most of my life," Matt explained, "It's horrible, really."
"And that's the big secret?" Kaden asked, "Why can't anyone know that?"
"Because most wizards don't like werewolves," Matt explained.
"Well that's stupid."
"Yeah, it is, but it's reality."
"But why isn't there a spell to make you not a werewolf anymore? Or a potion?"
"Magic doesn't fix everything," Matt sighed.
"Yeah, that's what I've been trying tell you for the whole year," Albus pointed out.
"Dunno," Matt shrugged, "But there is a potion, called the Wolfsbane Potion, that's supposed to make it so you keep your human mind when you turn into a wolf. So you don't want to attack anyone or yourself."
"Why don't you take that?" Kaden asked.
"I do," Matt told him, "Actually, I take a different variety than most werewolves take. For some reason, Wolfsbane doesn't work for me. I'm in this study at St. Mungo's to figure out why and right now they've got me taking a new kind of Wolfsbane."
"Does it work?"
"Uh, no," Matt replied, "That's kind of why I still bite myself every full moon."
"Oh," Kaden said. "So someday they might find a potion that will work?"
Matt shrugged, "Maybe. But I'm not getting my hopes up."
"So I'll be charmed not to say anything about this?" Kaden asked after a few moments of silence.
"Yes," Albus replied, pulling the new map out of his robes, "And about this."
Albus spent the next half hour showing Kaden the new map. Kaden thought it was the best thing he had seen yet at Hogwarts and couldn't wait for it to completely work.
"So we need you to represent Peter Pettigrew," Albus said after he'd finished explaining about the map.
"Peter Pettigrew?" Kaden raised his eyebrows, "That evil bloke who betrayed your grandparents?"
"Er, yes," Albus sighed.
"You know my mum wanted to name me Peter, but Dad said no because he didn't want me to have the same name as that idiot," Kaden commented, "So it's my middle name."
"Perfect," John grinned, "You even sort of share his name."
"Will you do it?" Albus asked.
"I guess so," Kaden said slowly, "I mean, it's not like I'm going to be like Pettigrew now."
"No," Albus agreed, "But you have to be sort of like him for it to work. And you are because you've sort of got the same name."
Kaden shrugged, "I guess. Anyway, when are you going to get the map to work?"
"Whenever we figure out how to prove to it that we're like the Marauders. Somehow we've got to show the map that we are similar to the Marauders," Albus explained, "Which is taking forever."
"Oh, you mean like a finger print?" Kaden asked.
"What?" Albus asked.
"You know, a finger print. Everyone's is different, but your finger print is similar to your relatives. It's how Muggle cops find people and stuff when they're missing. And how they identify bodies."
"A finger print!" Rose exclaimed, "That's it! I can't believe I didn't think of it!"
"What are you talking about?" John asked. "Kaden just said everyone's is different. So how will ours be like the Marauders'?"
"Not Muggle finger prints," Rose said, "Wizard ones. There's a spell to get your Wizard's Finger Print. It reveals your name, relatives, even your personality."
"That's kind of scary," Albus said, "Anyone can find that stuff out if they've got your finger print?"
"Yeah," Rose shrugged, "But I think it will work for this."
"Hope so," Albus grinned. He couldn't believe that Kaden had actually given Rose an idea about the map. Kaden had helped with it. If this finger print thing worked, they could have the map figured out in no time.
"We'll look for it tomorrow," Rose stood up and drew her wand, "Now let's do the charm."
Albus nodded, feeling more excited than he had in months. They were so close, he could just feel it. The map would be working soon. Of course, there was a nagging doubt in Albus's gut that was telling him that there would be something to figure out even after the finger print thing.
"What are you going to sign up for?" John asked as he glanced over the parchment all the second years had received just a minute earlier.
"Dunno," Albus shrugged, "What about you, Matt?"
"Care of Magical Creatures," Matt replied, "Not sure what else."
"I'll do that one, too," Albus decided and wrote it down on his parchment. "Hagrid teaches it, so it'll be fun."
"Sign me up," John said, "I could use with a fun class."
"You ought to think about what will be useful in your future careers," Rose told them.
"But I've got no idea what I want to do," John said.
Albus had no idea either. He hadn't really thought about it. He thought being an Auror would be a good job, but he wasn't sure that that was what he wanted to do. He still had five years at Hogwarts anyway, why decide now?
"Me either," Amanda agreed, "I think I'll do Care of Magical Creatures, too."
"I'm taking Muggle Studies," Rose announced, "Plus Arithmancy and Ancient Runes."
"All three?" John asked, "But we only have to take two."
"Yeah, but I want to take all of them. I'd really like to take Care of Magical Creatures, too, but there's not enough time."
"Maybe I'll do Divination," John shrugged.
Rose snorted, "Divination? Mum says that shouldn't even be a subject. There's no real learning involved."
"But is it easy?" John asked.
"Uncle Ron said all you've got to do is make up predictions about your death if you've got Trelawney," Albus explained.
"Excellent," John scribbled onto his parchment, "I'll take that and hope I've got Trelawney."
"Fine," Rose sighed, "But I still say it's not really a subject."
"Maybe I'll do Ancient Runes," Albus thought aloud, "I think it's easier than Arithmancy. What about you, Matt? What else do you think you'll take?"
"Ancient Runes sounds good," Matt yawned, "I guess I'll take that. Amy took it. She hated it in Australia, but she said it's better here."
"I'd take everything," Kaden announced, "I couldn't decide."
"You can't take everything," Rose laughed, "You'd have to be in two places at once."
"Oh, well I'm pretty sure that's impossible," Kaden sighed.
Albus turned and grinned at Rose, who grinned back. Albus could only imagine Kaden's reaction to a time-turner.
"Yeah, the most classes you can take is three," Rose explained.
"Then I'll take three," Kaden decided.
"Are you lot done choosing classes?" Rose asked as she stood up, "We'd better get to Transfiguration."
Albus spent the entire Transfiguration class trying to turn his plate into a bowl, and had almost managed to do it by the time the class was over. Rose, of course, did it within ten minutes and spent the remainder of the class helping Albus and the rest of their friends.
History of Magic was as boring as ever. Matt slept the entire class, and Albus felt himself nod off a few times. Matt had seemed very tired in Transfiguration and probably would have fallen asleep in that class if it weren't for the fact that it was a practical lesson. This wasn't surprising considering the fact that the full moon was the next day. The Healers still hadn't found something to counteract the side effect of extreme fatigue of the new Wolfsbane that Matt was on.
Double Potions was after lunch, and Albus felt drowsy as soon as he walked into the room. This was odd since he had felt fine a moment before. He didn't seem to be the only one who felt this either. Both John and Amanda yawned as soon as they sat down, and even Rose's eyes drooped a bit as she pulled out her parchment. Matt laid his head down on the desk and fell asleep immediately.
"Good afternoon, everyone!" Slughorn said, "Now, I'm sure you're all feeling a bit tired, which is perfectly normal.
"This," Slughorn gestured to a smoking cauldron on his desk, "Is Drowsiness Potion. All it takes is one whiff of this potion to put you into a state of fatigue. If you drink it, you'll fall into an almost sleep-like state for about a half hour. Of course, you'd know this if you did the reading that was due today."
Albus remembered being assigned the reading, but he hadn't done it. He had just been too busy with Quidditch practice, dueling practice, and all his other homework.
"You will be trying to brew this today, but you will only do half of it," Slughorn announced, "It needs to simmer for about a week before you can complete it. Instructions are on the board. Work with your usual partners."
Albus yawned and got up from his table. He joined Limbert at his table and lit the fire under the cauldron while Limbert collected ingredients.
The entire class was moving at a slower pace than usual, and everyone was yawning every few minutes. It was kind of strange. Nobody was arguing with their partners either. Albus wondered if Slughorn had picked this particular potion for a reason. The past week, a duel had broken out between John and Goyle, resulting in both of them being sent to the Hospital Wing for burns and then being assigned a week's worth of detention.
Limbert returned wit the ingredients and he and Albus started to prepare them, without exchanging any conversation. No different than usual.
Albus dumped some ingredients into the cauldron and began to stir it. He watched Matt and Malfoy as he did so. Malfoy had returned with ingredients and was prodding Matt with his wand to get him to wake up.
"What are you doing?" Albus whispered to Malfoy.
"Waking him up," Malfoy said.
"Wha-what's going on?" Matt lifted up his head.
"Chop up those cherry roots," Malfoy instructed. Albus was surprised with how calm Malfoy seemed.
Matt nodded and picked up his knife. Albus went back to stirring his potion.
"Professor!" Malfoy said after a few minutes. "He keeps falling asleep."
Albus looked up from the beetle eyes he was mincing. Matt was once again asleep on the table.
"Ah," Slughorn waddled over to Matt and Malfoy's table, "The Drowsiness Potion affects everyone differently." Slughorn shook Matt's shoulder. "Dear boy, you might want to go to the Hospital Wing. I don't think the fumes from this potion are agreeing with you. They're not supposed to put you into a deep sleep."
Matt nodded and stood up. He stumbled and leaned back onto the desk.
"Albus," Slughorn turned to Albus, "Perhaps you could escort him. I'm sure Mr. Limbert can handle your potion."
"All right," Albus laid down his knife and went over to where Matt was standing.
Albus grabbed his arm and led him out of the room. Albus felt immediately better as soon as they shut the door. The drowsiness went away completely.
"I've got to sit down," Matt mumbled and sat down on the floor.
"Are you all right?" Albus asked, sitting down next to him.
"I dunno," Matt shrugged, "I'm guessing that that potion just made me even more tired than I already am."
"Do you feel better now?" Albus asked.
"Not really," Matt replied.
"Then you'd better get to the Hospital Wing."
"Yeah, I suppose."
Madam Pomfrey wanted Matt to stay for the rest of the afternoon. Albus wasn't even sure if she'd let him leave at all before the full moon. Knowing the nurse, she probably wouldn't.
Matt never came back from the Hospital Wing that night, so Albus assumed Madam Pomfrey was keeping him there until after the full moon. Albus and the rest of his friends decided that as soon as Matt was out of the Hospital Wing, they would start looking for the Wizard's Finger Print charm. Rose was pretty sure she had seen it in the library somewhere, but she couldn't remember where. That meant that they would spend hours scouring the entire library for it. This was in addition to all the extra studying they had to do now that the end of term exams were less than two months away. Albus just hoped they'd be able to figure out the map before school was over. It would be pointless to figure it out during the summer, when they wouldn't even be able to use it.
A/N: I hope everyone has enjoyed Half-Blood Prince or do enjoy it if you haven't seen it yet! Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, EvilChaos, phoenixy_friend, XDNLxtlz99, Tears_of_a_Phoenix, Denas, Miguel, Luke, and tranc3rooney for their reviews!