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Introduction:

harry potter
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
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Albus managed to sit up right before the hexes started flying. Realizing that he dropped his wand when Lubar and Jarrett hexed him, he groped about for it on the ground. Not finding it, he crawled behind a nearby bush and watched.

Jarrett didn't stick around long. He sent one pathetic Stunner at Harry, who easily deflected it, and disappeared on the spot. Harry immediately disarmed Lubar before he could do the same.

Once Lubar was defenseless, Albus left the safety of the bush and shakily stood up. He reached the fire and was able to see who the other two wizards next to Harry were. What he saw made him dizzy with shock all over again.

The shorter of the two was Matt's dad. He was staring stony faced at Lubar. Albus had never seen anyone glare at anyone else with such hatred and loathing as Matt's dad glared at Lubar. And that included when his Uncle Ron talked about the Malfoys, or his mum when somebody mentioned Vernon and Petunia Dursley.

It was the other wizard that nearly caused Albus to pass out in shock. He was none other than Professor Balladanis. What in the name of Merlin was he doing there? It looked like he was actually with Harry and Matt's dad. But why? Didn't Matt's dad hate Balladanis?

“Eckerton, what a pleasant surprise,” Lubar smirked.

“Lubar, if we weren't in the presence of an Auror and a Presuler I'd rip you limb from limb, Muggle style,” Mr. Eckerton growled.

Albus was slightly stunned by Mr. Eckerton's choice of words, but remembering what Matt had told him at the beginning of the year, all surprise left him.

“Lucky for me Potter and Balladanis are here, then,” Lubar replied and snatched Washburn's wand off the ground.

Harry, Mr. Eckerton, and Balladanis all sent different spells at Lubar at the same time, but it was too late. He was already gone. Mr. Eckerton swore loudly.

“Two ain't bad,” Balladanis muttered as he gestured to Washburn and Quinton, the latter of whom was still conscious but not completely aware of his surroundings.

“That's the glaring difference between you and I,” Mr. Eckerton muttered as he moved swiftly past Quinton and Washburn to reach Matt.

“Dad!” Albus shouted.

Harry looked up from Kaden's unconscious form and raced towards Albus. Albus threw his arms around his dad and the two of them hugged each other tightly.

“Al, thank Merlin,” Harry said.

“Dad, what's Balladanis doing here?” Albus asked immediately, “And Lubar, what's going to happen to him? And Willinson?”

“I'll explain it all once we get you back to Hogwarts,” Harry assured him.

Balladanis had a firm hold on both Washburn and Quinton and was fiddling with a broken plastic cup. A few seconds later, all three of them disappeared.

Harry turned to Mr. Eckerton, who was standing up with Matt in his arms. “Can you take John, too? I'll get Kaden and Al will come with me.”

Mr. Eckerton nodded and grabbed hold of John's arm before pulling his own broken plastic cup out of his pocket. They disappeared.

Harry pulled Kaden up and took Albus's arm. Albus was still thoroughly confused, but did not have time to ask his dad anymore questions before feeling the familiar jerk behind his naval that signified he was traveling by Portkey.

Albus landed with a thud in the middle of the Hospital Wing. The question of how they managed to Portkey inside the Hogwarts grounds was the least pressing question on his mind.

Looking around, Albus saw that the others had arrived as well. Mr. Eckerton was laying both Matt and John on the nearest beds while Madam Pomfrey was shouting and gathering potions.

“Look at the state of them!” the nurse exclaimed, “Always this lot, too! You're a bad influence on them, Harry, I swear!”

Harry looked slightly sheepish as he set Kaden down on the bed next to Matt's and then turned to Albus.

“I've got to speak with Professor Kendrick and go to the Ministry-” he began.

“But Dad!” Albus interrupted, “What was Balladanis doing there?”

“I promise I'll tell you all of that and more,” Harry replied, “But I need to tell everyone you and the others are ok. When I get back, I'm going to need you to tell me everything that happened.”

“But-”

“No buts!” Madam Pomfrey cut in, “Bed, Albus, bed! You need rest!”

Albus, who had barely registered the fact that his head was bleeding and he was still quite dizzy, felt that the last thing he needed was rest. He needed to know what was going on.

“I'll explain once you've gotten some sleep,” Harry assured him.

Albus muttered under his breath and got into bed. Once Madam Pomfrey had given him a Sleeping Draught, Harry left, leaving Albus to unsuccessfully try to fight off the sleep he knew was coming.

******

The ward was quiet when Albus woke up. It was completely dark outside, although Albus didn't have the slightest clue as to what day it was. John, Matt, and Kaden were either still unconscious or sound asleep. Albus was betting on the latter since Madam Pomfrey was no where to be seen.

Mr. Eckerton was still there and he had been joined by his wife. Both of them were nodding off in chairs next to Matt's bed. It didn't look like Mr. Eckerton had even left. He was wearing the same Ministry robes he had been wearing before.

Albus sat up and put his hand to his head. There was a bandage on the back of it. Another bandage was wrapped around his right arm, although he couldn't recall when he had injured it. Besides that, he just felt exhausted.

The door to the ward opened, letting in a small flood of light from the corridor. A figure stepped inside and began walking towards Albus's bed.

“Hey, Al,” they said.

“Dad,” Albus replied, recognizing his father, “Are you going to tell me about Balladanis now?”

“Yes,” Harry chuckled, “Perhaps we ought to go to the Room of Requirement.”

Albus shook his head, remembering something he had been debating for the past year. He had waited long enough. It was time.

“No,” Albus said, “I know someplace better.”

Without saying a word, Albus got out of bed and lead his dad out the door and up to the fifth floor corridor. Harry did not ask a single question as Albus pulled the arm down on the appropriate knight and turned to face the opposite wall.

Albus located the paw prints and touched his hand to them, turning it into a doorknob. He opened the door and stepped inside. Harry followed, letting out a gasp as he did.

“Remember that map from last year?” Albus asked as he shut the door.

Harry nodded, apparently at a loss for words.

“There was more to it. Instructions on how to get into this room. It was theirs, the Marauders'. Their secret common room,” Albus said quietly.

Harry didn't respond. Instead he walked slowly around the room. Albus stood near the door and waited. He wasn't sure how long he stood there, watching as his dad investigated the room that had once belonged to his grandfather.

“This,” Harry began, “This is just incredible, Al. How long have you known about it?”

“About a year,” Albus said quietly.

“And you spend time here?” Harry asked.

“Probably more than we do in the common room,” Albus answered.

“Then it is the perfect place to talk,” Harry said as he sat down on one of the couches.

Albus sat down next to him. “So why was Balladanis there?”

“I'll tell you that,” Harry said, “But first I want you to explain to me what happened.”

Albus took a deep breath and told his dad everything. Starting with when they saw Lubar in the castle and ending with throwing the Resurrection Stone into the Outback. He explained how they had first gone to a forest in Australia, how they had Portkeyed to the Outback, the dementors, the almost Patronus he had managed to make, the duel, the fact that the Resurrection Stone didn't work to bring Voldemort back.

“Why didn't it work?” Albus asked, “I mean, I'm glad it didn't, but why?”

Harry thought for a few minutes and then looked at Albus. “There are a few reasons that might explain it. The Resurrection Stone brings back people we love, but it does not bring them back completely. It's almost as if their soul is coming back.”

“Like a ghost?”

“Not exactly,” Harry said, “But similar. It's possible that since Voldemort split his soul so many times, he can't be brought back with the Stone. The Stone may need the soul to be intact to work.”

Albus nodded. “That makes sense.”

“It could also be that only loved ones can be brought back with the Stone. Washburn and the Willinsons did not love Voldemort; they did not know him. They wanted to bring him back for their own agenda,” Harry explained.

“Is there any way to find out which it is?” Albus asked.

“No, I don't think so,” Harry said, “Especially now that the Stone is once again gone. Which is something I'm very grateful that you did.”

“Well, I figured you left it out in the Forbidden Forest for a reason,” Albus shrugged.

“Yes, yes I did,” Harry replied, “I think it best if nobody had that Stone.”

Albus nodded. “Yeah, that makes sense. But what was Balladanis doing there?”

Harry laughed. “You're not going to let that go, are you?”

“Nope, you said you'd tell me,” Albus said.

“I will,” Harry replied, “Albus, do you know what a Presuler is?”

“Yes,” Albus nodded, “And I know that Balladanis is one.”

“You do?” Harry looked impressed.

“He told me during one of those dueling lessons he gave me,” Albus explained.

“Well, that makes my explanation easier,” Harry said, “A little over a year ago, shortly after Quinton kidnapped Kaden, the Ministry decided to hire a Presuler to help find Washburn and Jarrett Willinson.”

“Seriously?” Albus gaped at him.

“Yes,” Harry muttered, “The Minister believed the Aurors needed some help.”

Albus thought he heard bit of contempt in his dad's voice.

“When I realized that Washburn and the Willinsons were most likely working with Ralph Lubar, I had to contact Balladanis and let him know. He came with us, and I have to admit that he was very helpful. We would not have found you as fast if he wasn't there,” Harry explained.

“But why was he teaching here?” Albus asked.

“The Minister, Professor Kendrick, and I believed it would be good strategy to have him stationed at Hogwarts, where we all believed Washburn and the Willinsons would return to. Balladanis agreed,” Harry said, “Of course, none of us realized that Balladanis would not be able to handle teaching.

“This is all quite secretive, Al. I'd prefer you didn't tell anyone. I will be telling Matt, John, and Kaden, because I feel they have the right to know, but I don't want anyone else knowing about it.”

“What about Rose and Amanda?” Albus asked.

“I suppose I'll tell them as well, otherwise Kaden is sure to tell them,” Harry said.

“What's going to happen to Lubar?” Albus asked, “Is Balladanis going to be after him now?”

“No,” Harry shook his head, “That's going to be tricky situation. Lubar isn't a British citizen. We can't do a thing while he's in Australia. It's up to the Australian Ministry to either put him on trial or give him to us to put on trial. And since he's one of their officials, we're not sure they'll do either.”

“But that's not fair!” Albus stood up angrily, “Look what he did! Look what he's done!”

“I know,” Harry sighed, “I'd like nothing more than to give him a life-long stint in Azkaban, but unfortunately the laws don't work that way.”

“He and Balladanis get along anyway,” Albus said, “Balladanis probably wouldn't want to go after him.”

“I don't know about that,” Harry said, “Balladanis likes people to pay for what they've done. However, being a Presuler and having no Ministry affiliation, he does not have to take a case if he's offered it.”

“He told me I'd make a good Presuler,” Albus said quietly as I sat back down, “Malfoy, too.”

Harry sighed. “What do you think about that?”

“I don't know,” Albus shrugged, “I mean, I like dueling, but I don't really want to decide what I want to do right now.”

“You don't have to,” Harry replied, “And I don't want to tell you what to do, but I am going to tell you something.

“Being a Presuler is a hard job and often a lonely one. You have no coworkers. You work with various Ministries, but rarely get to know anyone. You travel a lot, which can make it difficult to have a family. It's not an easy path to go down. Not one I'd choose for myself.”

Albus hadn't even thought about that. He didn't think he'd want to rarely ever see his friends and family.

“There's plenty of other things you could do that would put your dueling skills to use,” Harry told him, “And you're only 13 so no need to decide now.”

“I know, I don't plan to,” Albus replied.

“Well, you should probably get back to the Hospital Wing before Madam Pomfrey notices you're gone,” Harry smirked, “And thanks again for showing me the room.”

Harry stood up and gave his son a hug. They left the room and walked back to the Hospital Wing, both lost in their thoughts.

******

As it turned out, Madam Pomfrey had already noticed that Albus was missing. When he returned to the Hospital Wing with his dad, she was running about the ward shouting at the top of her lungs. Matt, John, and Kaden were all awake, staring at her.

“There you are!” she shrieked, “Where have you been?”

“Er,” Albus began.

“I had to talk to him in private,” Harry answered for him.

“You should have asked me first!” Madam Pomfrey exclaimed as she ushered Albus back into bed, “He needs rest!”

“I'm his father,” Harry said incredulously.

“I don't care if you're the Minister of Magic!” Madam Pomfrey replied, “I'm the one with the nursing degree!”

“How long has she been shouting?” Albus whispered to Matt as he got back in bed.

“Fifteen minutes or so,” Matt answered.

Madam Pomfrey returned to her desk and Harry strode over to where the Eckertons were sitting.

“Could I have a word in private?” Harry asked Mr. Eckerton and then turned to Madam Pomfrey. “Do I need your permission for that?” he grinned.

“Very amusing,” Madam Pomfrey muttered.

Albus drifted back to sleep a little while later and when he next woke up it was light out and Madam Pomfrey was bringing them all breakfast trays.

“Er, what day is it?” Albus asked as Madam Pomfrey set his tray down.

“It's Sunday, dear, but it's afternoon,” Madam Pomfrey replied, “I figured you'd prefer to have breakfast.”

“Only Sunday?” Albus asked. It felt like it had been far more than twenty-four hours since he had met up with Lubar before the Quidditch match.

“Time zone changes are difficult to adjust to,” Madam Pomfrey explained, “Australia's quite a few hours ahead of us.”

Albus nodded and dug into his breakfast. Suddenly he was ravenous. When he thought about it, it must have been at least a day since he'd eaten anything.

“I wonder how the Quidditch match went,” Kaden mused as he shoved toast in his mouth.

Albus choked on his eggs. He'd forgotten about the match! “I doubt we won,” he sighed.

“Is your dad going to tell us why Balladanis was with him when he came to save us?” John asked, “I mean, he's had plenty of time.”

“He will,” Albus said, “He already told me. You lot were asleep.”

The doors to the Hospital Wing banged open and Rose and Amanda came running in. Madam Pomfrey made a move to get up from her desk, but then sat back down, shaking her head.

“Tell us what happened!” Rose demanded as she skidded to a halt in front of Albus's bed, “When did you get back? Where did you go?”

“Who won the Quidditch match?” Albus asked.

“Quidditch? Quidditch?” Rose groaned, “I'm not saying a word about Quidditch until the four of you tell me what in the name of Merlin's saggy left-”

“Miss Weasley!” Madam Pomfrey shouted, “If you don't lower your voice, you'll have to leave!”

“Sorry,” Rose turned back to Albus, “But you lot have got to tell us what happened!”

Albus launched into the entire tale, which took the better part of a half hour to tell. Neither Rose or Amanda interrupted once during the whole thing. Both of them looked absolutely shocked by the time Albus concluded.

“But, but why was Balladanis there?” Rose asked.

“My dad's going to tell you,” Albus said, “He's already told me. He'll probably tell the rest of you today.”

“Merlin, Albus,” Rose sighed, “How much trouble can you get into?”

“It's not my fault,” Albus shrugged, “Now can you tell us about the match?”

Rose exchanged glances with Amanda, who sighed. “It was quite the match, let me tell you,” Amanda said.

“Nobody won, Al,” Rose said.

“What?” John interrupted, “How can nobody win?”

“About forty-five minutes into the match, Fred and Heather ran onto the pitch-”

“The match lasted that long?” Matt asked.

“Yes,” Rose said, “I don't know why. Anyway, Fred and Heather ran right up to Ludo Bagman and started talking to him. Nobody could hear what they were saying. Then Bagman blew his whistle and they went into a time-out.

“Bagman left the pitch and had a really long talk with all the headmasters and captains. Then Kendrick announced that the match was called off and told everyone to return to their common rooms.

“Everyone was really angry of course. Amanda and I were already worried because you lot hadn't shown up yet. We thought something bad had happened and that was why they called it off.”

“Why did they call it off?” John asked.

“I'm getting to that,” Rose said, “We got back up to Gryffindor and everyone was gathered around Fred and Heather. Linda wasn't there, and neither were any of her teammates who were Gryffindors.

“We pushed our way to the front of the crowd and heard what Fred and Heather were talking about. They were claiming that Australia had been cheating the whole time-”

“Well, they were,” Matt muttered.

“I know,” Rose agreed, “And apparently so did Fred and Heather. I'm sure they figured it out just recently or else they would've told someone sooner. They found out Linda's a vampire and now the entire school knows.”

“How did they figure it out?” Albus asked, completely shocked. Linda hid her secret quite well. Fred and Heather were sixth years, they wouldn't have heard Balladanis's vampire lecture.”

“They've been trying to figure it out all year,” Rose explained, “And since they're smart, they figured it out.”

“But what about the match?” Albus asked.

“I think they're going to cancel the tournament, Albus,” Rose said quietly.

“Cancel the tournament?” Albus gasped, “Cancel the tournament?! They can't do that! We've spent the whole year on that tournament! Do you know how much time I've spent on the Quidditch pitch this year? More time than I've spent in class, probably! And now they're going to cancel the bloody tournament?”

“I don't know, Al,” Rose said shortly, “And if they do it's not my fault.”

“Sorry,” Albus mumbled, “It's just a little aggravating.”

“I know,” Rose replied.

“Where's Linda?” Matt asked.

“Gone,” Rose sighed, “Without a word. I haven't seen her or any of the Australians since the match. Killigan's gone, too.”

“Wow,” Matt replied, “Can't say I blame her, though.”

“I guess,” Rose said, “Anyway, they'll probably make an announcement about the tournament at dinner.”
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A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight as well as all of the awesome people who have read and reviewed this! There is only one more chapter left!

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Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
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Harry returned to tell everyone else about Balladanis later on in the afternoon. Madam Pomfrey flat out refused to let any of them leave the Hospital Wing, so she agreed to lock the door and go to her study while Harry explained. Matt's dad was there as well.

Harry told them everything he had told Albus, although he left out the parts about why it was not all that advisable to become a Presuler. Everyone was completely shocked to learn that Balladanis had been hired to help capture Washburn and the Willinsons.

Unfortunately, Harry also brought news of Lubar. News that was not all that welcome.

“As of right now, he's completely free and in the clear,” Harry sighed, “The Australian Ministry refuses to extradite him, and they won't prosecute him in Australia either. To them, it's like nothing's happened.”

Albus noticed that Mr. Eckerton looked positively furious with this. Harry looked quite angry as well, but it did not come close to how Mr. Eckerton looked.

“We're not going to give up,” Harry said, “We'll keep negotiating with them.”

Mr. Eckerton had also apparently been told about the Hallows. When Harry had spoken with him the previous night, it had been about the Hallows. Albus remembered back to his first year, when Matt had told them about his dad's young adult dream of locating the Hallows. Harry must've trusted him now.

Albus reached over to his bedside table, where Madam Pomfrey had placed the Invisibility Cloak the previous night. He wordlessly handed it to Mr. Eckerton, who carefully took it with a look of awe on his face.

“Merlin's beard,” he muttered, “It's the Cloak.”

“That it is,” Harry said quietly.

“Unbelievable,” Mr. Eckerton whispered as he fingered it.

He spent a few minutes trying the Cloak on before handing it back to Albus. “I cannot believe I've finally solved the case of the Hallows,” he said to Harry, “This is amazing. I would love to share the tale with my brother. Perhaps I could introduce you to him at the World Cup this summer.”

Harry nodded. “That would be fine. Perhaps I will eventually tell him as well.”

******

Albus wanted nothing more than to be allowed out of the Hospital Wing in time to go to dinner that night. He was sure Professor Kendrick would make some sort of announcement about the tournament and he did not want to miss it.

After a full ten minutes of begging on his part (helped out by Matt, John, and Kaden), Madam Pomfrey told him he was in no fit state to leave the ward. Albus thought this was ridiculous because he felt fine. So what if his arm was still bandaged and in a sling? That shouldn't stop him from eating dinner with the rest of the school.

Instead, Albus was forced to eat a quiet meal in the Hospital Wing and wait anxiously for Rose and Amanda to tell him what Kendrick said.

The girls showed up right after dinner ended. Albus immediately asked them what Kendrick had said.

“Tournament's canceled,” Rose sighed as she sat down on the end of Albus's bed, “The kids from New York are staying to finish out the year, but the tournament's canceled. I expect it'll be in the Prophet tomorrow.”

“Merlin!” Albus shouted, “Why'd they have to cancel it? Couldn't they just disqualify Australia?”

“No,” Rose shook her head, “To do that Hogwarts would have to play New York in another final.”

“Why don't they do that?” John asked.

“Too close to exams,” Rose shrugged, “It'll mess up everyone's studying.”

“That's stupid,” Albus fumed.

“If it makes you feel better, I'm pretty sure Hogwarts would've won if Australia hadn't have been here,” Rose pointed out, “And Kendrick gave one hundred house points to everyone who was on the Quidditch and dueling teams.”

“Yeah, well, all the houses had people on the teams, so that doesn't really help,” Albus muttered.

“Well,” Rose grinned, “I know one thing that'll cheer you up.”

“What?” Albus asked, even though there was nothing that could cheer him up.

“There were Quidditch scouts at that match,” Rose told him, “And even though the match was disastrous, they did find someone they wanted to draft.”

“Who?” Albus asked, slightly intrigued.

“Georgia!” Rose exclaimed, “She's been drafted to play for Kenmare Kestrals as soon as she graduates!”

“That's brilliant!” Albus replied. Rose had been right, that did cheer him up. There was no one he thought who belonged on a professional Quidditch team more than Georgia.

“Yup, she's their newest reserve Keeper,” Rose said, “She says Uncle Percy's not impressed. He wanted her to work at the Ministry. She doesn't care what he thinks, though.”

“Uncle Percy's got plenty of other kids to work at the Ministry,” Albus shrugged. He could never see Georgia working in government.

“Kenmare?” John said incredulously.

“Yeah, seriously?” Matt grimaced.

“They're nearly as bad as the Cannons,” John groaned.

“She's just happy to be on a team,” Rose shrugged, “She's always supported Puddlemere, but she thinks if she's on any team, she'll be able to work her way up to a better one.”

“Merlin, I hope so,” John shrugged.

“Is she the only one who got drafted?” Albus asked.

“Only one I know for sure of,” Rose said, “I heard a rumor that Anna Reilly got taken on by the Balycastle Bats, but I don't know for sure.”

Albus nodded, feeling slightly better about the tournament. It wasn't pointless now that he knew his cousin had been taken on by a professional Quidditch team because of it. However, that didn't take all the disappointment away.

******

Madam Pomfrey reluctantly let the boys leave the next day after breakfast. She didn't really have a choice since exams began that day. Albus felt perfectly fine and was quite happy to leave the place.

Rose handed him a copy of the Prophet as soon as he and the other boys reached the common room. Albus took it, happy that he had a few minutes before his first exam to read the article that was inevitably there.

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL CHEATS- TOURNAMENT CANCELED

After a startling discovery made by two Hogwarts
students, the Quidditch and Dueling tournament
involving Hogwarts, the Adirondack Academy of
Magic, and the Australian School of Sorcery
has been canceled.

The tournament's final Quidditch match was
interrupted this past Saturday by two Hogwarts
sixth years, Fred Weasley and Heather Weasley,
both 17, who claimed that the Australian team
had been cheating throughout the entire
tournament.

A few months ago, allegations were brought upon
the Australian team after their Seeker, Linda
Morales, 14, flew at an exceptionally fast speed.
An investigation found nothing. The tournament
continued.

Fred and Heather Weasley accused Linda Morales
of being a vampire. Vampires are outlawed
from playing on professional Quidditch teams due
to the unfair advantage they have.

The match was immediately stopped while all three
headmasters questioned the Weasleys and Morales.

Headmaster Addiar Killigan of the Australian
School of Sorcery admitted to allowing Morales
to be the Seeker of his team in order to win the
tournament. The Australian team was immediately
disqualified from the tournament.

Killigan, Morales, and the rest of the Australians
participating in the tournament left Hogwarts late
on Saturday, declining to speak with any of our
reporters.

Tournament officials as well as the other two
headmasters have decided to cancel the tournament,
and not declaring a winner.

'It is regrettable that the tournament turned out
this way,' Fabius Kendrick told reporters, 'Perhaps
we can try it again in a few years.'

“Killigan is an idiot,” Albus said.

“Look at the next article,” Rose replied.

QUINTON WILLINSON BACK IN AZKABAN, JOINED BY WASHBURN

While the final Quidditch match was ending in disaster
at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry
Potter's middle child, Albus, 13, was dealing with his
own battle.

Albus Potter, as well as cousin Kaden Dursley, 12, and
friends Matthew Eckerton and John Brickston, both 14,
were kidnapped by Quinton and Jarrett Willinson, and
Jameson Washburn. The three convicts were helped by
Ralph Lubar, Head of the Department of the Regulation
and Control of Magical Creatures in Australia.

The four Hogwarts students were taken to Australia
where Harry Potter and Walter Eckerton found them.
It is unclear what the convicts were after, as well as
why Lubar was involved.

Quinton Willinson and Jameson Washburn were caught and
sent to Azkaban. Lubar and Jarrett Willinson escaped.
Aurors are currently looking for Willinson and the
Ministry is negotiating with the Australian Ministry
about what to do with Lubar.

All four boys have recovered from the ordeal and are
currently taking their end of the year examinations
at Hogwarts. Harry Potter has declined comment.

“Well, that's not a very informative article,” Albus said as he tossed the paper onto a nearby table.

“I don't think they can report much,” Rose said, “The Australian Ministry may be asking them to keep quiet about Lubar in return for giving him some sort of punishment.

“It won't matter,” Matt said, “They're not going to do anything to him.”

Albus was forced to push Lubar into the back of his mind as exams began. They were all significantly harder than the previous year's had been, but he was sure he at least passed all of them.

There were short articles in the Prophet about Lubar everyday, but they all said the same thing. Australia refused to extradite him. Matt was not at all surprised by this, but it infuriated Albus to no end.

The week after exams was a strange one for Albus. There was nothing left for them to do. No studying, no homework, no Quidditch. Rose and Amanda went back to spending all their time with the boys, like it had been before Linda had arrived.

Things were different, though. Both Rose and Amanda were a lot quieter than they used to be. Albus was sure they missed Linda, and he had no idea whether she had said goodbye to them, or even if she'd had the chance.

Matt was lost in his own thoughts most of the time, rendering him quieter than ever. He often went entire evenings without saying two words to anyone, something that usually only happened around full moons. However, the next full moon wasn't until after they left Hogwarts.

Albus was sure this was because of what had happened in Australia. He never talked about it, but Albus knew that getting kidnapped by Lubar again had scared the daylights out of him.

John and Kaden remained as boisterous as ever and did not seem to be fazed by what had happened in Australia. They spent their week pulling pranks and playing endless games of Exploding Snap that Albus occasionally joined in on.

Albus himself was quieter. His mind was racing with thoughts of Lubar and Balladanis. None of the articles ever mentioned Balladanis, but he knew that was because Balladanis's job had to remain a secret. He wished more than anything that Lubar would get thrown in prison, whether it was Azkaban or Australia's prison.

******

The train ride back to London was subdued, the only noise being John and Kaden's Exploding Snap cards. Albus and Matt both gazed out the window, mesmerized by the passing landscape.

“Linda sent me a letter last night,” Rose said, breaking the silence.

Albus lifted his head up and looked at her. “What about?”

“She told us she was sorry, and wanted me to tell you that she was sorry about the tournament,” Rose told him, “She's on the run with her mum now. They're thinking of moving to a different country.”

“To go to school?” Albus asked.

“No,” Rose shook her head, “She's been through school a couple times already. She wasn't even a student at the Australian school. Killigan pretty much forced her into playing Seeker for them. He's a really nasty bloke. They have to get out now, though, because everyone knows.”

“Where will they go?” Albus asked, surprised that he was actually feeling sorry for Linda.

“No idea,” Rose shrugged, “She said she'd owl me when they find out.”

“This whole year has been so messed up,” John sighed, “I hope next year's better.”

“Me, too,” Matt agreed.

“We've got the World Cup to look forward to, though,” Albus smiled.

“Oh, yeah!” John grinned, “Owl me as soon as you find out when we're leaving for it.”

“Definitely,” Albus said, “Your sister's going, too. Lily told me she'd invited her. Hugo's not really happy about that.”

“Neither am I,” John muttered, “I don't want Ashtyn going.”

“Well, I'd prefer Lily not go, but it's the Cup! Nothing can really ruin it,” Albus said.

“Good point,” John agreed.

“Let me know when the Cup is,” Kaden said.

“Why? So you can convince your parents to take you?” John smirked.

“No,” Kaden laughed, “So I can know when to invite you lot to my house. My dad said he'd take us camping.”

“Excellent!” John grinned, “Camping like Muggles?”

“Yep,” Kaden replied, “Living in tents, no electricity, no magic either since we're all underage.”

“There is no way my parents will let me go,” Matt said quietly.

“Why not?” Kaden asked.

“I went camping when I was five,” Matt answered, “That was the time I got bitten.”

“Oh,” Kaden looked a little taken aback, “Sorry.”

“It's ok,” Matt shrugged, “Just don't go during a full moon. I don't want any of you having to join me in the Shrieking Shack next year.”

“I'll go,” Albus said. He'd never been camping before, let alone camping like a Muggle. He did feel bad that Matt wouldn't get to go, but he kind of thought Matt wouldn't want to go anyway.

The remainder of the trip was spent arguing about Quidditch and Albus felt like things were sort of returning to normal. It was almost nice to hear John and Matt arguing about the Cannons again and Kaden arguing about football.

The train arrived in London and Albus found his parents waiting for him on the platform. After saying goodbye to his friends, Albus left the station with his family feeling that just maybe life would be normal from then on. Well, maybe the summer would be at least be normal. Albus couldn't get his hopes up too high.
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A/N: Hard to believe it's finished! Thanks to Dancer_of_Starlight for betaing and thanks to all of the awesome people who have read and reviewed this! You guys are so lovely and amazing!

I am working on the fourth story but it'll be a while before the first chapter is up. I'm thinking I'll update every other week at first, alternating weeks with Beyond the Shadow. In the mean time, if you want something new to read, I suggest checking out Remember the Cannons, which is a collab I worked on last year and is now currently being updated. It's all about the Chudley Cannons and their downfall. It's under the username The Golden Snitches and is also in my favorite stories so you can find it that way.

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Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

Note: This is the fourth story in a series. I suggest reading them in order, but it's not necessary.
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“Ouch, that was my foot!”

“Shush! You're going to wake them up!”

“It's your fault for stepping on my foot!”

“They're heavy sleepers, don't worry.”

Albus Severus Potter sighed to himself as he and two of his best friends neared the tent. John, whose foot had been trodden upon, was carrying a spray can of whipped cream, and Kaden, the one who had stepped on John's foot, was brandishing a large owl feather. It had been Kaden's idea to pull a prank on his nine-year-old sister, Bethany, while she slept, and John had been all too eager to participate. Albus personally thought it was stupid to prank someone whose parents were in the same tent, but Kaden had assured him that both of his parents could sleep through anything.

It was their third and final night of camping with Kaden's family which was in Kaden's opinion, the perfect time to pull a prank. After three days of being on their best behavior, the boys had successfully lured Dudley and Christina Dursley into a false sense of security. Well, a false sense of security when it came to them and Bethany, that is. The boys had pranked each other constantly throughout the trip. Albus had been pushed into the lake three times already, been snuck up upon in the woods twice, and had a nosebleed nougat hidden in his dinner. He had gotten revenge by stealing both Kaden and John's canoe paddles, leaving them stranded in the middle of the lake for a half hour.

“Happy Birthday, by the way,” Albus said.

“Is it midnight already?” Kaden asked.

A twig snapped behind them and Albus jumped. “What do you three think you're doing?” someone shouted in a creepy tone.

Kaden shrieked and John jumped backwards, bumping into Kaden and causing both of them to fall over. John's finger slipped and the whipped cream came shooting out, covering both of them in the sugary substance. They were both shouting profanity and Albus smirked despite the fact that his heart was still hammering. Who was that? He turned and saw none other than Bethany, standing with her arms folded across her chest, glaring at all three of the boys.

“And just what were you planning on doing with that whipped cream?” she demanded.

“Nothing,” Kaden muttered. “What are you doing out here?”

“Coming back from the bathroom,” Bethany replied. “And I know you were planning on squirting that on my hand and then tickling my nose with a feather. Honestly, you're so predictable.”

With one last glare at her brother, Bethany stalked off to the tent she shared with her parents, went inside it, and zipped it closed. Albus turned to his two sticky friends and burst out laughing. They were both sitting on the ground covered in a mixture of whipped cream and dirt that was just visible by the light of Albus's torch. The two rarely had a prank backfire on them like that.

“Bloody little sister,” Kaden muttered as he scrubbed the whipped cream off in the bathroom a few minutes later.

“Yeah,” John agreed as he tried to get the whipped cream out of his hair by sticking his head in the sink. “Why do they have to be such a pain?”

“I think it's their job,” Albus mused. “Lily would've done the same thing.”

“You two are lucky you've only got one,” John pointed out. “Try living with three.”

“I've got enough cousins to make up for it,” Albus said.

“Matt's the lucky one, then,” John said as he pulled his head out of the sink and shook the water out. “He hasn't got any little sisters or little cousins.”

“Wish he would've came with us,” Kaden said as they left the bathroom.

“We never could've convinced him,” John replied. “Remember his face when you invited us?”

“Do you blame him?” Albus said. “I mean, it was probably a night like this when, you know, when it happened.”

The night was very quiet. The boys made the only noise as they walked back to the campsite. The only light visible was the light from Albus's torch. He let out an involuntary shudder. It probably had been a night just like this one. No wonder he hadn't wanted to go camping again.

“Only, you know,” Kaden said as he looked up at the sky. “There would've been a moon.”

Albus smiled. Leave it to Kaden to point out the obvious. Yes, there would've been a moon. Currently the moon was in its new moon phase and was not visible in the sky.

The boys made it back to their tent and climbed into their sleeping bags. Albus wasn't in the least bit tired, so he didn't bother turning off his torch. John pulled out a pack of Exploding Snap cards, figuring that since it was the dead of night, no Muggles would notice.

“What should we do tomorrow?” John asked.

“Canoeing?” Albus suggested.

The other two boys glared at him. “Only if you promise not to steal our paddles,” John muttered.

“What? It wasn't a bad swim. And you asked for it by putting that nosebleed nougat in my food.”

“It was cold!” Kaden shouted indignantly.

“It's summer; it's supposed to be refreshing,” Albus pointed out.

“Well, it's my birthday, so I say we hike up to that field and play football,” Kaden decided.

Albus and John both groaned loudly, but knew they'd be spending their last day playing football with Kaden. It was his birthday after all, so it was only fair that he pick the day's activities. Albus only wished that they didn't include football.
******


The two weeks that separated the camping trip and the Quidditch World Cup seemed to drag on forever. They reminded Albus of History of Magic and he was sure that length of time was longer than two weeks, but his calendar told him otherwise. Nothing particularly exciting happened during that span of fourteen days; the highlight being three Hogwarts letters being delivered to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. All three letters contained book lists and to nobody's surprise, James's did not contain a Prefect's badge. Cedric and Ben had not received the badge either, but James's friend Nathan had. James supposed Neville had to pick someone and Nathan was the least mischievous of the fifth year Gryffindor boys.

The most exciting news of the two weeks arrived at Albus's cousin Fred's house informing him that he had been made Quidditch captain for Gryffindor. James was quite excited about this since while Fred was fanatical about Quidditch, he wasn't nearly as bad as Georgia. Heather was disappointed, but Fred assured her she would be his second-in-command.

Speaking of Georgia, she had begun her training with the Kenmare Kestrals shortly after graduation and planned to move into a flat close to their pitch very soon. Apparently Percy had been dropping not-so-subtle hints about getting her an internship at the Ministry instead of playing professional Quidditch and she was sick of it. It was still a touchy subject with both Percy and Georgia, so much so that Albus wasn't even sure if Georgia was going to go to the annual before school Weasley dinner. Albus thought it was rather stupid of Percy to be arguing about it since it was Georgia's life and she was good at Quidditch.

Albus spent most of the two weeks at Rose's house, although it was not Rose whom he was spending time with. Hugo was planning on trying out for the available Keeper position on Gryffindor's team and needed Albus to throw Quaffles at him while he tried to protect the goals. Unfortunately Hugo was not very good, but he was improving, even if it was at a very slow rate. Hugo was also quite sore with Lily over her choosing Ashtyn to take to the Cup, which somehow caused him to want to practice Quidditch nearly twenty-four/seven.

By the time the day finally arrived to leave for the Cup, Albus was getting quite sick of throwing Quaffles at Hugo and was even nursing a sore arm. He was very grateful for the break that going to the Cup would provide. Albus's family was scheduled to arrive at the campsite near the pitch the day before the match, which was not bad at all. Some people had to arrive as much as a week beforehand.

“When is Matt getting there?” John asked Albus as they sat in Albus's room, packing for the trip. John had arrived the previous day and somehow all of his stuff had been scattered throughout Albus's room despite his only having been there for twenty-four hours.

“He's already there, I think,” Albus answered, remembering the letter Matt had sent him the previous week.

“Didn't you say everyone who goes to the Cup has to camp?” John asked as he inspected a sock to determine whether it was his or not. “How come his parents will go to the Cup but they wouldn't let him camp with us?”

“He's not camping,” Albus said, deciding that the sock John had was his and snatched it away, stuffing it in his bag. “His uncle lives in New York, so they're staying there and Apparating to the Cup right before.”

“Oh,” John replied. “I thought international Apparition was illegal.”

“Not from the United States to Canada and back,” Albus explained. “If you Apparate to the border, they let you Apparate into Canada if you've got the right identification.”

“Are any of your other cousins going?” John asked.

“I think Georgia's going with her teammates, but other than her, no. James picked Nathan because he didn't want to choose between Cedric and Ben.”

“Is Hugo still angry with Lily?” John asked. “Ashtyn said he wasn't speaking to either of them.”

“Yeah,” Albus nodded as he rubbed his sore arm. “And because of it he's had me practicing with him for the past two weeks.”

“Is he going to be Gryffindor's next Keeper?”

“Only if the rest of the people who try out play Quidditch like Matt and Kaden do,” Albus answered.

“So I'm guessing the new Keeper won't be a Weasley?”

“Nope, I don't think so.

“Are you boys ready?” Harry asked as he popped his head into the room.

“Just about,” Albus said as he stuffed one last shirt into his bag and zipped it closed. “How far do we have to go to reach the Portkey?”

“Not far, just outside of London,” Harry replied. “There's an Apparition and Floo station nearby, so we won't have to walk much.”

A few minutes later the Potters were congregated in the sitting room, along with John, Ashtyn, and Nathan. Everyone was going to Floo because Harry and Ginny couldn't side-along Apparate six kids between the two of them. Harry had been right; the Portkey was only a short ways away from the Apparition and Floo station, and in no time they were standing in a small clearing searching for the Portkey. Lily was the one who found it, hiding behind one of the lone bushes. It was an old deflated football that looked to have teeth marks in it.

“When's it leaving?” Lily asked.

“In about five minutes,” Harry said as he checked his watch. “Remember, Ontario, Canada, is five hours behind us, so when we get there it will be around eleven o'clock in the morning.”

Nobody else had been assigned to this particular Portkey, so five minutes later the Potters, John, Ashtyn, and Nathan disappeared from the field. Albus thought the journey lasted much longer than a normal Portkey trip, but that made sense since they were going all the way to Canada.

They landed in another small clearing and once Albus steadied himself, he could see a fleet of tents in the distance. Directly in front of them was a small wooden building that bore a sign that read 'Lakeside Park- Camping Office'. He looked around for a lake, but didn't see one.

“If we find the lake, we can go canoeing,” Albus said.

“Yeah, and perhaps we'll get a decent Defense teacher this year,” John replied. “There's no bloody way I'm canoeing with you ever again.”

“And maybe you won't put nasty sweets in my food anymore.”

“Can't make any promises,” John grinned.

Albus and John followed everyone else towards the little wooden building. Once inside, Albus noticed that it was being manned by a very confused looking Muggle, who was staring off into space. He didn't even seem to notice when they walked in.

“Memory charm,” Harry whispered to the boys. He walked up to the bloke and set a piece of paper down on the desk. “Campsite reservation for Potter. Two nights.”

“Potter, Potter,” the bloke muttered as he began to type on something that Albus was pretty sure was called a computer. “You're site 43. Be careful, mind you, there's a lot of odd people camping this week.”

“Thanks,” Harry replied.

Campsite 43 didn't seem to be anywhere near the little wooden building so Albus and the others had to walk through most of the camping area to find their site. A minute into the walk Albus realized why the Muggle in the building needed so many memory charms. It didn't seem like anybody was trying to conceal magic. The Cup was between Russia and Italy and it was very obvious who was rooting for whom.

The Italians had red, green, and white tents, some of which had the actual flag design on the sides. One group had a cauldron boiling over a green and red fire and there was a wizard pouring pasta into it.

“Who cooks pasta on a camping trip?” Harry muttered as they passed. “No wonder that bloke thinks something funny's going on.”

The Russians weren't any better since their tents were also adorned with flags and some had even littered the surrounding ground with magical fake snow. Since it was at least seventy-five degrees, Albus thought that was slightly strange.

Albus only saw a few other people he knew. Damien and Kate Waverly from the Ravenclaw Quidditch team were at campsite number 35 and he also saw a Hufflepuff whom he recognized but didn't remember the name of. Most of the people appeared to be Russian, Italian, Canadian, or American. Albus figured that was since the Cup was so far away from Britain. Most British people wouldn't go see the Cup in Canada if they didn't really support Russia or Italy. Albus didn't support either team, but his dad had gotten free tickets.

After passing a contingency of Russians, Albus noticed a few people who looked oddly familiar. He paused to watch them for a minute or so and then realized that they were the Quidditch team from the Adirondack Academy of Magic.

“James,” Albus said as he poked his brother. “Look, the New York Quidditch team.”

The New Yorkers had noticed Albus and James as well. They abandoned their fire and strolled over to the walkway.

“You came a long way for the Cup,” the tallest of the lot said. Albus recognized him as one of the Beaters.

“My dad had tickets,” Albus replied.

“Oh, right,” the boy said, craning his neck to see Harry, who was a few meters away. “Your dad's Harry Potter. Learned about him in History of Magic a few years ago.”

“Shame about the match,” James said, clearly wanting to steer the conversation away from Harry. “That Australian headmaster is dirty cheater.”

“Sure is,” the boy replied. “It sucks.”

“I wish they would've let us play each other,” James said mutinously. “Exams? Really? That was a stupid excuse.”

“I'll say,” he agreed. “Hey, you'll never guess who else is here.”

“Who?” James asked.

“Linda, you know, the vampire,” the boy said excitedly. “Saw her a few hours ago, but she turned the other way when she saw me.”

Albus exchanged looks with John, and the two of them silently agreed to go look for Linda as soon as they could sneak away from James, Nathan, Lily, and Ashtyn, plus Albus's parents.

The New Yorkers went to eat lunch and Albus and the others continued their trek to campsite 43. It was situated in a small clearing of trees, next to a group of Canadian wizards and a rather rowdy group of Italians. Harry and Ginny had the tent up in no time with help from Nathan, who was Muggle-born. James and Nathan each made a quick sandwich and then went off to explore. Lily and Ashtyn begged to be allowed to do the same, but both Harry and Ginny insisted that they stay at the campsite.

“Can we go explore?” Albus asked as he polished off his lunch.

“I suppose so,” Ginny said. “But be careful, and be back in time for dinner.”

“We will,” Albus assured her.

Albus and John set off down the path, both keeping an eye out for Linda. “This place is huge,” John said. “How in the name of Merlin are we going to find her?”

“I haven't the slightest idea, but I suppose if we keep walking we might find her,” Albus replied. “Maybe we'll find that lake as well.”

“I am not canoeing with you.”

“Suit yourself.”

Albus and John did not find the lake, but after walking around the campsites for about an hour, they eventually came upon Linda. She was at a smallish campsite that contained a blue tent that actually looked like it could belong to a Muggle. Linda was reading a book at the picnic table while another witch was bent over a fire and she turned when she heard the boys arrive. She was quite beautiful, with long dark hair like Linda's.

“Can I help you?” she asked. Her accent was not Australian and Albus couldn't place it.

Linda looked up and her eyes rested upon Albus. She got up from the table and walked over to the boys.

“Do you know them?” the other witch asked.

“They're from Hogwarts,” Linda replied. The witch raised her eyebrows. “It's fine,” Linda said. “I'll be back soon.”

Albus was very surprised that Linda so willingly decided to walk with them and he shared a look with John before they set off along the path. All three were quiet for about ten minutes before Linda spoke.

“I just want you to know that I'm sorry about the match,” she said quietly. “I didn't want to do it. I don't even normally go to school. It's rather pointless since I've been through school three times already. The headmaster insisted I play and said if I didn't he'd get some sort of law passed to make my life miserable.”

“It's not your fault,” Albus said. “The Australian headmaster is a git. We've known that for years.”

“Oh, your friend Matt?”

“Yeah,” Albus answered.

“Is he here?” Linda asked.

“He's going to the Cup but he's staying at his uncle's house in New York.”

Silence fell upon them once again until John spoke a few minutes later. “So what are you doing now?”

“My mother and I are living here, in Canada. Another province, though, one that's even less inhabited than this one. We can't live in Australia after that Quidditch disaster. The headmaster blamed me for everyone finding out what I am. Said I didn't hide it well enough.”

“That's insane,” John replied.

It was strange, Albus thought, how the previous year none of the boys had really liked Linda because they were afraid she would reveal that Matt was a werewolf, yet she was being blackmailed by Killigan the whole time. Now, she seemed nice.

The conversation moved from Killigan to the upcoming match and who they thought would win. Linda, like Albus and John, was rooting for Italy and they all agreed that Russia didn't stand a chance. They circled the campground and made it back to Linda's campsite. Her mother was talking with a wizard who was camping in the next site over.

“Tell Rose and Amanda that I'll owl them soon,” Linda said. “Mum didn't want me to owl anyone until we'd successfully gotten away from Killigan. But she thinks he's given up and we should be safe in Canada.”

“Ok,” Albus said. “Maybe we'll see you at the match tomorrow.”

Linda bade them goodbye and joined her mum. She turned and smiled at Albus and John as they left to go back to their campsite.
________________________________________


A/N: And so the fourth story begins! I'm hoping to update this once a month. Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed the previous stories!

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Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
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Neither of the boys slept much that night. This was partly due to excitement about the match and partly due to the fact that Harry and Ginny sent Lily and Ashtyn to the boys' tent after the two of them refused to settle down. Albus, John, James, and Nathan complained loudly about the addition of the girls in their tent, but Harry and Ginny were adamant. James and Nathan decided to tell scary stories in a vain attempt to scare Lily and Ashtyn back into the adults' tent, but both girls were now too old to get that scared.

The next day was similar to the previous day and Albus and John spent it trying to find the lake, but had no luck. John was lamenting the fact that the campground was called “Lakeside” when there clearly was no lake around so often that Albus wished there was a lake just so he could push John into it. Both boys begged Harry and Ginny to let them go to New York to see Matt, but had no luck. Harry and Ginny said they could see Matt later that night at the match.

Dusk finally arrived and people began to trek through the woods to the pitch. Albus didn't have the slightest idea how far away it was, but it seemed farther than the walk from the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack or from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade. Once they finally did arrive, it seemed amazing that Muggles didn't notice it. The pitch was huge; that was the only word for it. There were more witches and wizards congregated in one place than Albus had ever seen in his life and more were coming up behind him.

John had brought two pairs of his omnioculars but the group had to stop while James, Nathan, and Lily each purchased a pair. Ashtyn had stolen a pair of John's, apparently without him knowing. Ginny quickly steered them all away from a couple wizards who were taking bets.

A young wizard standing near the entrance asked to see their tickets and then lead them higher and higher in the stands until they reached one of the top boxes. There were fourteen chairs lined up in two rows, six of which were already occupied. Matt and his parents took up half of those chairs; in the other three sat two wizards and a witch Albus did not know.

“Matt!” Albus shouted. He and John immediately took the two seats to Matt's right while Harry and Ginny greeted his parents.

“Albus, John!” Matt replied. “This is brilliant!”

“Yeah it is! Look how high up we are!” John said excitedly. “Best seats ever!”

“Oh, this is my Uncle Jack,” Matt said, gesturing to one of the wizards Albus didn't recognize. He looked a lot like Matt's dad, only with less grey hair and far fewer wrinkles. “Uncle Jack, this is Albus and John.”

“So you're the ones who keep getting Matt into trouble.” Jack grinned.

“That's more Kaden and John than Albus,” Matt pointed out.

“Hey, Albus was the one who got Kaden and I stranded in a lake a few weeks ago,” John muttered.

“What?!” Matt exclaimed.

“He stole our canoe paddles. We had to swim back.”

“This was after John and Kaden pushed me into the lake multiple times,” Albus said.

“Makes sense to me.” Matt shrugged.

About a half hour later, during which Albus was introduced to the other witch and wizard in their box (Canadian Ministry officials) and then promptly forgot their names, the match finally began.

The Russian mascots were up first. Albus, after hearing about the leprechauns and Veelas at the World Cup his parents attended, was quite looking forward to the mascots. Unfortunately, he was disappointed in the Russian mascots. Or should he say 'mascot.' There was only one. The entire Russian team walked onto the pitch accompanied by what looked like a very slow, very hairy goat.

“What the bloody hell is that?” John asked as he got up and put his omnioculars to his eyes. “It's a goat!”

Albus and Matt followed John and watched the goat. With the omnioculars, Albus could see that the goat's fur was greying giving it a very old look.

“Looks as old as Aberforth Dumbledore,” Matt muttered.

“Probably belongs to him,” John pointed out.

“Let's give a warm welcome to Murphy the Mouflon!” the commentator shouted. “Murphy has been with the Russian Quidditch team for nearly twenty years and is beloved by the entire team. Murphy has been trained to do a variety of tricks....”

The commentator droned on as Murphy slowly climbed through what looked like a goal post not on the post and caught a Quaffle in his mouth. Albus thought the whole show was kind of odd and the murmuring in the box by the rest of its occupants told him his opinion was shared.

“What in the name of Merlin is a mouflon?” James asked.

“It's a wild sheep,” Lily explained. “Although this one is obviously not wild. In fact, it seems kind of awful to make him perform tricks like that at his age.”

The Italian mascots were the complete opposite. As soon as the Russian team left the pitch with Murphy the Mouflon, a very large number of wizards dressed in what looked like armored robes stepped onto the field. As they stepped aside, they revealed a cage containing three chimeras.

“Bloody hell!” John exclaimed.

“How can they bring chimeras into a Quidditch match for Merlin's sake?” Ginny shouted. “They're dangerous!”

“They're being handled by professional chimera handlers,” Mr. Eckerton explained. “And the Canadian Head of the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is here. They had to clear it with all the Ministries of major countries first.”

All the disappointment about the mouflon disappeared when Albus saw the handlers taking the chimeras out. Each one was attached to a thick metal chain and controlled by two handlers. They roared and lunged at each other and at the various officials and referees standing on the sidelines.

Albus's eyes were glued to his omnioculars during the entire performance, which must not have lasted more than ten minutes. During those ten minutes the chimaeras tried to kill no less than five of the handlers and had scared one of the referees into the changing rooms. Meanwhile the commentator was keeping up a steady stream of chimaera information and history. Apparently chimaeras had a long history in Rome.

The adults in the room (with the possible exception of Jack) let out a collective sigh of relief when the chimaeras were put back in their cages and moved to the sidelines while James, Nathan, Albus, John, and Matt groaned. Even Ashtyn and Lily seemed slightly disappointed with their disappearance.

However, Albus soon nearly forgot about the chimaeras (it was impossible to completely forget about them as they roared every time a player got near them) since the match started right after they left. The commentator announced the names of the players, but Albus couldn't keep any of them straight because they were flying far too fast. This Quidditch was intense, far more intense than any of the League matches he had been to.

The Quaffle exchanged hands faster than the commentator could say the names of the Chasers and the Bludgers were being sent after player after player. The Seekers were staying out of the way, which seemed like a good idea to Albus since one of the Italian Chasers was injured only fifteen minutes into the match.

James kept up his own running commentary as well, much to the annoyance of Albus and everyone else. He constantly named the plays and critiqued the way the Russian Seeker sat on his broom.

“Shut it, James,” Albus finally said. “He's the one playing in the Cup, not you. He can sit on his broom however he likes.”

“He's not going to catch the Snitch with that posture,” James muttered before looking through his omnioculars.

As it turned out, James was right. An hour later the Italian Seeker pulled into a dive and came back up with the struggling winged ball in his grasp. The entire box stood up and cheered, especially John who didn't like Russia's Quidditch team. Albus didn't follow either team, but he supposed if he had had to choose, he would've chosen Italy. Italy won with 520 points. Russia had 430. Both teams had played incredibly well.

“I knew it!” James shouted as they made their way back to the campground. “I knew he wouldn't catch that Snitch! A Seeker can't sit up so straight on his broom and expect to catch the Snitch!”

Albus ignored him. James would be bragging about this for the next two months.

“You should come stay with me in New York,” Matt said as they reached the campground.

“Can we Mum?” Albus asked. “Please?”

“I don't think that's going to work, Al,” Ginny replied. “They're flying back on an airplane and you two don't have tickets.”

“Aw, Merlin,” Albus groaned. “I guess we'll see you on the train, then.”

“Yeah, definitely,” Matt replied.

Albus and John said goodbye to Matt and watched as he left with his parents to go Apparate back to the border.

It was very late, but the campground was far too loud for anyone to get to sleep. The Italians were celebrating and even the Russians seemed to be very loud and boisterous, despite their loss. Instead of going to bed, Harry lit another campfire and everyone sat around it, roasting whatever sweets they had over the fire and discussing the match.

“And when that mouflon got onto the pitch!” Nathan shouted. “And the chimaeras went nuts? I thought they were going to escape!”

“Didn't stop the players, though,” James pointed out. “That was when one of the Russian Chasers got hit by that Bludger. He could have dodged that if he had been paying more attention to the match and less to the chimaeras.”

“I think I'd sooner pay attention to a possible chimaera escape than a Bludger,” Ashtyn muttered.

“Are you the leading expert on Chasing now, too?” Albus asked James.

“I'm just trying to expand my knowledge of the other positions because I'm going to be Gryffindor's captain next year after Fred graduates.”

Albus snorted. “What makes you so sure?”

“I've been on the team since second year, I'll be the oldest next year, and I'm a good leader,” James replied.

“They don't always pick the oldest,” Albus pointed out. “And Bradley and Ryan are older than you.”

“What, you think you'll get it?” James asked incredulously.

“Boys,” Ginny warned.

“I don't want it,” Albus said.

“No point in you getting it,” John chimed in. “After all, you're going to be Prefect next year.”

James laughed. “Yeah, that'll happen.”

“You're not one to talk, James,” Ginny said. “Notice your letter did not contain a Prefect's badge this year.”

“Well, yeah, because Kendrick would be stupid to make me a Prefect,” James said. “But he'd be stupid to make you-”

James was interrupted by a loud crack that sounded like someone Apparating or a branch breaking. Lily shrieked and Harry stood with his wand out. There was a rustling in the woods behind them and a figure lumbered out.

He stepped forward and the light from the fire illuminated his face, which was old and wrinkled. There was barely a hair on his head and he walked with an obvious limp. Adorned in a very old, very disgusting looking brown cloak, he did not appear to have showered in recent history.

“'Arry Potter,” he croaked. His voice didn't sound like it had been used in recent history, either. His accent was not Canadian, nor was it British or Australian. “A word.”

“Wand out where I can see it,” Harry replied.

“Don' 'ave a wand,” he muttered.

“Make it quick, then,” Harry said, his own wand still pointed at the stranger.

“Yer in trouble, Potter,” he said. “An' not just 'bout what 'appened two months ago.”

He sounded a bit like Hagrid, Albus thought, except this bloke seemed to have nothing but that in common with the friendly half-giant.

“Oh, no.” The bloke smiled slightly. “Election year, ain't it? Oh, yes, you've more to worry 'bout than that Willinson bloke.”

“Who are you?” Harry asked.

“Not important,” he said and turned to go back into the forest. “Good luck, Potter,” he said before disappearing completely.

“That was weird,” John said. “How in the name of Merlin can an election be bad for you?”

“Yeah,” Albus agreed. “Are you running for Minister or something?”

Harry laughed. “Definitely not. I reckon that bloke is off his rocker. I wouldn't worry about it.”

Ginny insisted they get to bed shortly after the strange bloke left since they had to get up early the next morning to catch their Portkey. Albus laid awake thinking about the stranger long after John, James, and Nathan fell asleep. His dad may have said not to worry about it, but isn't that what all fathers say when they don't want their sons to worry about something, even if it is worthy of worry?
******


Early was an understatement for the time they had to get up the next morning. Ginny was waking them up when the sun was barely above the horizon. Apparently everyone had to leave the campground before Muggles checked in, which meant everyone in the entire campground was rushing about resulting in general chaos. Eventually the Potters managed to locate their Portkey and get back to London. When they arrived it was five hours later because of the time change, yet all Albus wanted to do was crawl back in bed, which is exactly what he did. John fell asleep right on Albus's floor without any sort of blanket or pillow.

John spent two more days at Albus's house, during which they went to Diagon Alley, along with Kaden, and spent most of their time speculating on who the new Defense teacher would be. Harry told them that he would not be returning, much to their displeasure, but he was sure Kendrick would find a suitable replacement. Albus was not too sure about this since Kendrick's last replacement turned out to be insane yet still capable of catching evil wizards. John left the day of the annual before school Weasley family dinner because his family was going to visit his cousins, much to John's dismay.

The before school dinner was one of two times that Albus's entire extended family got together for a meal. The rest of the year everyone was either in school or too busy to undertake the event. However, Albus's grandmother, Molly, insisted that they all spend an evening together before all the kids went off to school. Albus loved it because there was always delicious food and multiple games of Quidditch. Albus was not sure how much longer everyone would attend, though, now that his older cousins were graduating and getting jobs. Victoire was still in Healer training and Teddy was in Auror training. Stanley was in Romania studying dragons, just as his father had done. Georgia of course was busy with training for the Kenmare Kestrals and Albus was sure it wouldn't be long until she was playing for England. Gabriella, much to her parents' dismay, said she did not know what she wanted to do with her life and was spending her days painting pictures of the sea in front of their cottage rather than working at the internship Bill had secured for her at Gringotts. The following year, Fred and Heather would graduate and it wouldn't be long after that more of the Weasley cousins were out of Hogwarts than were in Hogwarts. Angie, Fred's little sister, was just starting Hogwarts that year.

This was not the year that people began to not be able to show up, though. Each and every member of the Weasley and Potter families were going to be there, else face the wrath of Molly Weasley. Albus almost felt sorry for the first of his cousins to have to work on the day the dinner was scheduled. It certainly wouldn't be him because he still had more than half his Hogwarts career left.

Dinner, of course, was a relative term. People started showing up at the Burrow shortly after lunch time and did not leave until ten or eleven at night. Albus's parents chose to show up around two, so that Ginny could help Molly with the cooking. When they arrived they found that Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Katherine, and their kids were already there. Fleur and Katherine were helping in the kitchen while Bill and Charlie set up tables in the backyard. Arthur was tinkering with some sort of Muggle device in the den.

James immediately hailed Ben and the two of them disappeared up to one of the bedrooms, no doubt to plan some sort of prank. Heather was in the backyard, already on a broom, with Eddie trailing after her on an old broom that was lagging. Gabriella and Mark were sitting in the den pretending to listen to Arthur's commentary on whatever he was taking apart. Albus, who really had nothing to do until Rose arrived, wandered around the house and yard with Lily, until his mother hailed him to chop carrots, the Muggle way of course.

Everyone else arrived while he was chopping, except for Victoire who didn't get off work until five. With what must have been at least five pounds of carrots finally chopped, Albus escaped outside, where most everyone else was congregating.

Percy was donned in very fancy midnight blue robes which struck Albus as very odd since everyone else was wearing casual robes or Muggle clothes. But Percy was always slightly odd.

“Why's Uncle Percy dressed up?” Albus asked Rose, who had just appeared by his side.

“No idea,” Rose said. “But he's quite excited about something and he won't tell anyone else what it is.”

“He probably came up with some new type of cauldron bottom,” Georgia muttered.

Albus turned around to see Georgia, still in practice Kestral robes, with her arms crossed glaring at her father. “He's still not keen on the Quidditch thing, is he?” Albus asked.

“Nope,” Georgia replied. “Nothing he says is going to change my mind, though. I've even gotten a flat with one of the other players. I'm moving out tomorrow, but he doesn't know it yet. I don't get it. He's more angry about this than Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur are about Gabriella not interning at Gringotts.”

“I don't see what's wrong with a Quidditch career,” Albus agreed. “I mean, so long as you're good. And you are.”

“Thanks, Albus. He just doesn't get Quidditch, and in two years he's going to have to deal with it all again when Bradley graduates.”

“You think Bradley's going to get into Quidditch, too?” Rose asked.

“No idea, but I know he doesn't want to get into the Ministry. He hates politics,” Georgia explained. “And Merlin knows Cedric would never work in the Ministry. He causes far too much trouble.”

“I suppose he can hope Samantha or Lindy will try for a Ministry career,” Rose joked, pointing to the two identical red-haired girls playing tag with Eddie, who had abandoned his broom.

“He better not,” Georgia muttered. “They're too young to have his dreams forced upon them. They're not even in Hogwarts yet.”

“How is training?” Albus asked, changing the subject.

Georgia's eyes lit up. “Oh it's wonderful! I mean, I haven't gotten to play in a real match yet but it's really something to be able to play Quidditch every day of your life and get paid for it. One of the Beaters, the girl I'm getting a flat with, says I'm a shoe-in for a permanent Keeper position once their Keeper gets drafted for England. There's been talk that he will be and I wouldn't be surprised since he's the best player on the team.”

“Oi, Georgia!” James shouted as he crossed the yard, followed by Ben and Cedric. “Want to get a match going?”

“Definitely!” Georgia replied. “Interested, Al?”

“Sure,” Albus answered.

Albus set off towards the house to locate his broom, which he had brought, the whole time thinking how lucky he was that Harry would support whatever career he chose to get into. He liked his Uncle Percy well enough, but he couldn't imagine being told he shouldn't do what he most wanted to do with his life.
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A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this! I will be responding to all of your lovely reviews soon.

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Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.
Weasley Family Tree is in the Author's Note at the bottom.
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Molly Weasley didn't dare serve dinner until after the Quidditch match had been completed because even she didn't have the ability to drag Weasleys away from Quidditch. Teddy secured a win for his team by practically stealing the Snitch out James's grasp and then everyone was off their brooms and sitting at the large crowd of tables in record time. After all, Quidditch was one of the best things one could do to develop a big appetite. Albus was certainly quite hungry and in a very good mood as he had been on Teddy's team.

Albus and Rose sat next to each other in the middle of the group of tables and unfortunately Percy sat directly across from them. Early experience had taught them never to sit near Percy due to his habit of talking politics during dinner, something that even bored Rose. The two of them looked at each other as Percy sat down and Albus readied himself for political conversation rather than Quidditch talk.

“I'm telling you,” Percy said to no one in particular as he served himself some carrots, “something's going to happen. I guarantee it. It's been too quiet in the Ministry lately. Personally I thought things would get a bit riled up last year when Walter Eckerton took over for MacVicar, but I suppose the two of them had similar views. More similar than I expected anyway...”

Leave it to Percy to try and find something wrong with the Ministry when all was fine, Albus thought. He reached over Rose to grab a steak and kidney pie and served a heaping portion onto his plate.

“What do you think, Harry?” Percy turned to Albus's dad, who happened to be sitting next to him. “Any stirrings in the Auror department that I may not have heard about?”

“Things are pretty calm, Percy,” Harry replied.

“Of course they are. I would've heard if they weren't,” Percy decided.

Albus wasn't exactly sure what his uncle Percy actually did at the Ministry. He knew it had something to do with the Minister, but his actual title was so long and complicated that Albus never bothered to remember it.

“Well, it's an election year,” Percy pointed out. “Things never stay calm during election years. Party announcements come first week of September and after that things will be chaotic around the Ministry. Loads of work to do. Let me tell you, when I run for Minister-”

“Oh, here we go again!” Ron said loudly. “When Percy runs for Minister. It's never gonna happen, Perce. Honestly.”

“I would vote for you, Percy,” Molly assured him. “You would make a wonderful minister. But this dinner is supposed to be about the kids. James! And Ben and Cedric! This is your O.W.L. year! You three are going to do so wonderfully but you must calm down a bit and study.”

“Gran, really,” James muttered. “We're going to be hearing this from the teachers. Uncle Percy, why don't you tell us more about your running for Minister?”

“Well, as a matter of fact.” Percy stood up. “I have a rather exciting announcement to make and I feel I must tell my family first, before the rest of the Wizarding World.” He paused, presumably for dramatic effect. “I will be formally announcing on Monday, September second that I will be running for Minister for April's election.”

There was absolute silence for about five seconds before a whole lot of things happened at once. Ron, George, and Charlie burst out laughing. Hermione raised her eyebrows as far as they could go. Ginny, Bill, and Arthur all shouted loudly “Seriously?!”. Molly shook her head slightly and then jumped up from her chair, running towards Percy and finally enveloping him in a large hug and kissing him squarely on the forehead.

“Oh, Percy!” she exclaimed. “I'm so proud of you! You've been talking about it for years and I think it's high time you actually did it. I always wanted a son who was this successful!”

“Mum!” Ron groaned. “It's not like your other sons haven't done anything. I'm an Auror for Merlin's sake!”

“And you're a fine good one, Ronald, but I can't ever see you being Minister. You just don't have the ambition Percy does,” Molly said as she patted him on the shoulder.

Gold was exchanging hands at the other end of the table. Cedric was grinning madly, so Albus assumed he had won some sort of bet involving when Percy would run for Minister. That bet must have been in the works for years.

Albus was personally stunned. He of course had been on the receiving end of many a Percy rant about what he'd do when he ran for Minister, but he had always believed Percy wouldn't ever do it. If Albus was honest with himself, he didn't really want Percy running. His family was famous enough without having an actual Minister in it.

“Honestly, Mum, do you think he's really going to win?” Ron exclaimed. “I mean, don't get me wrong, Percy, I'll vote for you, but what about the rest of the wizarding world?”

“Percy, do you really think you're cut out for this?” Harry asked skeptically.

“Why wouldn't I be? I've been involved with the Ministry for decades!”

“I think what Harry's trying to say is that you're all bark and no bite,” Bill pointed out.

“I am not!” Percy shouted. “And I would've expected more support from my own family.”

“We are supporting you,” Molly assured him.

“Boys,” Arthur warned. “Percy's right. If he wants to run for Minister he can without any of us making it difficult for him. You don't have to vote for him, but I won't have you arguing during dinner. You'll upset your mum.”

Everyone resumed their seats but Albus doubted they stopped talking about Percy running for Minister. They just continued to do so in lower voices. For once, Albus was happy he had chosen a seat near Percy.

“Do you know who else is running?” Hermione asked.

“Not sure,” Percy replied. “Hartwell's not running again, if that's what you're getting at. He's had enough. But I've got his support. After all, I am the Senior Undersecretary for the Drafting and Editing of Laws to the Minister.”

So that's what Percy's title was, Albus thought. He had no idea if that was a position that had a lot of power or not, but apparently it was enough to receive support for a Minister run.

“Hey, Dad,” Georgia shouted from a little ways down the table. “I figure this is as good a time as any to tell you that I'm moving out tomorrow.”

Percy choked on whatever he was eating. “You're what?”

“Moving out. You know, leaving the nest. I've got a flat with a friend closer to the pitch. It'll be more convenient, for work.”

“Work,” Percy muttered. “If Quidditch can be considered work.”

“Look, I know how these elections work. You're going to want to make yourself look like a family man, so you're not going to want to consider me your crazy daughter who only plays Quidditch and has no job. So you'd better start thinking of me as your daughter who's the newest reserve Keeper for the Kenmare Kestrals. It'll sound better to the press.”

Percy stared at her with his mouth agape. He shook his head slightly and resumed eating, without another word to Georgia. Georgia looked smug, so Albus assumed she had won that little argument.

Albus turned to Rose and grinned. Georgia certainly knew how to make Percy's running for Minister work to her advantage.

“Rose, have you heard from Linda yet?” Albus asked, deciding not to join the rest of his family in political conversation.

“Not yet.” Rose shook her head. “Her mum might have wanted her to wait a bit after they settled in Canada, though. Have you heard anything about what the Ministry's doing about Lubar?”

“If anything's changed Dad's being really quiet about it,” Albus answered.

“It's so wrong, though, that he can completely get away with what he did,” Rose muttered. “It's like I could go to France, rob a bank, get back to England, and I'd get away with it.”

“You're robbing a bank?” James shouted.

“Of course not,” Rose replied. “It's none of your business.”

Albus and Rose didn't risk talking about Lubar for the rest of the evening. Sure, the rest of their family knew about what had happened but neither of them wanted to discuss their theories with any of them.

The rest of the evening was rather out of character for usual Weasley family dinners. All the previous years' dinners had consisted of talk of Hogwarts and the adults exclaiming how big everyone had gotten and how everyone was growing up. Usually whomever was starting Hogwarts for the first time would get a fair bit of attention, but this year Angie, who was starting, seemed to be forgotten. Instead all of the attention was focused on Percy. The adults were talking politics and Albus's older cousins were placing bets on whether he'd win or not.

Stanley was the first to leave as he had to go back to Romania the following morning. Charlie and Katherine had finished their year in Romania and had returned to England permanently the previous month. Victoire and Teddy left shortly after that since they both had to work the next day.

Percy was still discussing campaign tactics with Corrine, who was smiling and nodding the way Albus did when his cousins were smaller and he had to pretend he was interested in what they were saying, when Albus's parents decided it was time to leave. For the first time in his life, he was actually happy to leave and get back to Grimmauld Place. The before school dinner was supposed to be about everyone who was at Hogwarts, a time to have fun all together before school started, and this time it hadn't been that. It had been about Percy.
******


By some stroke of luck or miracle that had never descended upon the Potters before, James had packed his trunk the night before they left for school. Albus was sure that some sort of apocalypse was going to arrive soon because Percy running for Minister and the Potters arriving early for the Hogwarts Express were two events that nobody ever thought would happen. Albus didn't question it, though. Instead he just used the opportunity to his advantage.

Kaden, who had met Albus at Platform 9 ¾ prior to going through the barrier, was not early, so the Potters went through without him. Rose and her family were already there of course, so Albus said a quick goodbye to his parents before getting on the train to find Rose. With any luck his friends wouldn't be there yet and he could talk to Rose alone. Usually there was nothing he wouldn't talk to his friends about, but the strange feeling he had had about his family was something he only wanted to talk to Rose about.

Rose was alone in a compartment about halfway down the train, reading one of her new textbooks. It was Arithmancy and Albus didn't have the slightest idea what any of the symbols in it meant. He chose the seat next to her and waited for her to be done reading whatever it was she was deciphering.

“I'm witnessing a miracle, apparently,” Rose said after setting her book down.

“James packed last night,” Albus answered.

“Again, I'm witnessing a miracle.” She laughed. “Your mum is lucky if James packs earlier than five minutes before you leave.”

“It's definitely odd,” Albus agreed. “Listen, do you get the feeling things are changing?”

“Changing? Like what's happening with Willinson and Lubar and their lot? Yeah, I think so. It's been over three years, Al, and they still haven't gotten all of them in Azkaban at the same time. I know they're really stupid when it comes to dueling but I think they're smarter than anyone's giving them credit for. Things are going to change, Al. The world's getting scarier,” Rose said quietly.

Albus swallowed hard. That was in the back of his mind of course, but he had never voiced it before. Nor was it what he had set out to talk to Rose about.

“I guess,” Albus replied. “But I wasn't really getting at that. I was thinking about our family.”

“Oh,” was all Rose said. Both cousins sat quietly for a minute before she continued. “I know what you mean. What was up with that dinner at Gran and Gramps's? It was all Percy. O.W.L.s were mentioned once and no one said anything about Angie starting Hogwarts.”

“I know. It was odd. It just seems like everything's changing. There are less of us at Hogwarts now so I guess that's what's going to happen-”

“There's still a lot of us here,” Rose interrupted. “And Eddie and the twins haven't even started yet. Plus it's not like we even talked about Teddy, Victoire, Stanley, and Georgia. We talked about Percy for Merlin's sake!”

“What do you think will happen if he wins?” Albus asked.

“I don't know. I don't think things will change political-wise but I think it's going to be really weird for Georgia and Bradley and Cedric. Even the twins will probably be effected. I mean, having your dad be the most important person in the wizarding world has got to be stressful.”

“Tell me about it,” Albus muttered. “Can you imagine if my dad ran for Minister?”

“Percy wouldn't stand a chance.”

“Dad'll never run, though,” Albus pointed out. “I just think that things are already different from last year. Everyone's going to be focused on Uncle Percy's campaign.”

“Things never stay the same, Al,” Rose said.

“What's not staying the same?” John asked as he entered the compartment, followed by Kaden. “I'm hoping you're talking about my Divination mark, Rose, because my parents nearly murdered me this past summer when they saw it.”

“I think we'll just have to deal with your murder, John, because that mark is not getting any higher,” Rose replied.

“Seriously, what were you talking about?” Kaden asked as he sat down across from Rose.

“Nothing,” Rose said quickly.

“I'll tell you once Matt and Amanda get here,” Albus said, figuring he'd tell them about Percy running for Minister.

“This is going to be the best year ever!” Kaden said excitedly as he pulled a piece of parchment out of his bag. “Look, it's my Hogsmeade permission slip!”

“Excellent,” John replied. “Now I don't have to buy your dungbombs for you.”

“Do you really have to buy dungbombs this year?” Matt asked as he entered the compartment. “They're so nasty.”

“Just for the Slytherin common room,” John assured him. “Our goal is to figure out how to get a few in there.”

“Not going to work,” Amanda said as she entered and sat down on the other side of Rose. “You can't get into someone else's common room unnoticed.”

“That's what Albus's cloak is for,” Kaden said.

“Not if it's going to smell like dungbomb after,” Albus said.

“Told you we should have just asked for his cloak without telling him what we were doing with it,” John told Kaden.

Kaden shrugged. “All right, everyone's here. Tell us what you and Rose were talking about before any of us got here.”

“Fine.” Albus took a deep breath. “Well, my Uncle Percy's running for Minister.”

“Seriously?” John replied.

“Cool!” Kaden exclaimed.

“Why?” Matt asked.

“Isn't he the one who's been talking about doing that for years?” Amanda asked.

“Yes,” Albus answered. “He's seriously running, it's not that cool, I'm honestly not sure why, and yes he's been talking about it for years.”

“Why doesn't your dad run?” Kaden asked.

Albus and Rose both burst out laughing. “Because that's the last thing he'd ever want to do. He wouldn't want anymore power than he's already got. Whereas Percy, all of my uncles have always said is kind of power hungry,” Albus replied.

“Do you know who he's running against?” Amanda asked.

“Haven't a clue,” Albus said. “They're supposed to be announcing the candidates on the second.”

“What's that got to do with everything changing?” Kaden asked.

“It's our family,” Rose said quietly. “Uncle Percy is so focused on the election and it hasn't even really started yet. Georgia's got it all figured out. Percy's going to pretend he's completely happy with her Quidditch playing just to make himself seem like a family man, which he's really not. He's always been focused on work.”

“That's stupid,” John said. “Georgia's not going to like that.”

“She's the one who brought it up,” Rose pointed out.

“He's right, you know,” Amanda said.

“What do you mean, he's right?” Albus stared at her. She had a knowing smile splayed across her face.

“You, Rose, and Matt aren't the only ones of us who have family in politics,” Amanda said.

“But you're a Muggle,” John replied.

“I never said the Ministry of Magic, John. I meant the Muggle Ministry. My uncle's the prime minister.”

Albus continued to stare at her. Amanda was always rather quiet and rarely talked about her family. He always figured that was because she was so quiet and never guessed that it might be because her family was just as influential in the Muggle world as his was in the wizarding world.

“Michael Smythe, that's my uncle. He's my mum's brother,” Amanda elaborated. “Imagine my mum's surprise when she told him that I was a witch only to find out that he already knew about the wizarding world.”

“So if Percy wins...,” Albus began, his voice trailing off.

“He'll meet my Uncle Mike,” Amanda finished. “But as I was saying, Georgia does have it all figured out. If word gets out that Percy and her rowed about her Quidditch playing, it's going to come off wrong in the press and lose him votes. So, he'll keep it to himself and will be in the front row of every single one of her matches, pretending to be a huge Kenmare Kestrals fan.”

“Wow, that seems so wrong,” Rose muttered.

“It's politics from the other side. The public wants people in power to have a certain image.”

“Still, it's like lying,” Rose went on. “Just another reason I am not getting into politics.”

“My cousin Leanne went a little wild at university her first year, our first year at Hogwarts, and the Ministry hushed it all up. She was out partying and the paparazzi got a photo of her and put it on the cover of some tabloid, but that was the only one. I know she partied more, but it was all hushed up.”

“But it's not like Georgia's partying. She's got Quidditch skills and is using them to make an honest living,” Rose pointed out.

“I'm not saying that's bad. I'm just saying your uncle won't want the public to know he's not happy with her career choice so he's going to make himself look like a devoted father.”

“See, everything's changing.” Albus sighed. “Sometimes I just wish I had a normal family.”

“It's not all it's cracked up to be,” John said. Kaden nodded.

“It's true, Albus,” Matt said. “Amanda's completely right. It's the whole reason why my dad got sacked. The public didn't like that I was a werewolf, which is part of why the Ministry hushed it up. When it got out, nobody wanted him in politics anymore.”

Albus nodded, but didn't say anything. He never really thought about that before, but Matt was right. Amanda was, too, but he never really put two and two together before Matt mentioned that. And now the same thing was happening with his family. Percy was going to pretend and while that didn't really directly effect him, how long would it take before the public didn't like the image he and the rest of his cousins were presenting?
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A/N: From now on, updates for this will happen on the first of every month and updates for Beyond the Shadow will happen on the 15th. That way they'll be spread out. Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this!

Here's the Weasley-Potter Family Tree!

Bill-Fleur
Victoire- 20
Gabriella- 18
Ben- 5th year

Charlie-Katherine (witch)
Stanley- 19
Heather- 7th year
Mark- 6th year
Eddie- 8

Percy-Corrine (Muggle)
Georgia- 18
Bradley- 6th year
Cedric- 5th year
Samantha & Lindy (twins)- 9

George- Alicia Spinnet
Fred- 7th year
Angie- 1st year

Ron-Hermione
Rose- 4th year
Hugo- 2nd year

Ginny-Harry
James- 5th year
Albus- 4th year
Lily- 2nd year

*All in Gryffindor*

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