Chapter 11 The Challenge

The Forgotten Memory

Chapter 11: The Challenge

Albus got up, and walked out with Scorpius. Mark was behind him, muttering with Alex and Eric. Now, Albus was imagining Mark talk about Slytherins behind his, Albus’ back. Rose joined Albus, talking loudly about her needle. She was just wondering if she’d still have to transform her needle if she already did it this lesson when Mark called him.

“Hey, Potter!”

Albus looked back. For the first time, Mark was speaking directly to Albus. They locked eyes for about half a minute. Albus, Scorpius, Mark, and the twins stopped, allowing the class and Redgrow to walk out ahead of them.

“Tomorrow’s Halloween,” Mark said pointedly.

“Yeah, so?” Albus responded, wondering why Mark was stating the brutally obvious to a kid he hardly liked anyway. “The day after tomorrow is November the first. Big deal.”

“Funny, Potter,” Mark rolled his eyes. “Got any plans tomorrow night?”

“I don’t swing that way,” Albus smirked.

“Oh, shut up!” Mark said angrily, going red. “Answer the damn question!”

“Ok, plans… Oh yeah, the Halloween feast, Common Room, and then bed,” Albus said cheekily.

Scorpius laughed. Riley, it seemed, had just joined them. Walter was behind them all, watching as a sole onlooker. The twins stepped forward, and Alex fired, “We challenge you to a duel!”

“Get outta here,” Scorpius laughed.

Mark shook his head, “I’m not kidding. I wanna see which of us is better.”

“By dueling with me,” Albus laughed. “C’mon Wallader. We hardly know any spells. We’ve only just started learning the Bogies Curse and the Levitating Charm and we’re not due to start with the Bleeding curse till”-

“I know more spells than that,” Mark scoffed. “And being Wizard-raised, you would know more too, wouldn’t you?”

Scorpius stepped forward, an incredulous look on his face, “Now wait a minute. I thought you Gryffindors didn’t care for Blood purity? Changed your minds, have you? Finally seen the light?”

“Shut up, Malfoy,” Alex fired up. “It’s not prejudiced. We’re just assuming that since he’s Wizard-raised, he’d know at least some spells.”

“I know the Knock-back Jinx,” Albus recalled. “But I prefer to learn it the educational way. Big deal. Growing up with Rose does that to you.”

“If you’re declining my offer…” Mark shrugged, and he walked away.

Albus watched as the twins followed him. They were walking in the direction of the towers, and Albus was half about to call him back when Scorpius said, “Don’t let him get to you. He’s just jealous because he doesn’t want you to get away with beating him in Transfiguration. He knows you did better, even if Redgrow thinks otherwise.”

“I wasn’t aware he even cared,” Albus shrugged. “Anyways, we better follow them. We have Potions with Era.”

The challenge caused Albus to go into thought once again though, ignoring Scorpius’ speculations on why Mark was an ass. How did Harry expect him to keep an eye on Mark without befriending him? He had to. And Mark was not cooperating. He seemed intent on pushing Albus away. Was he by any chance aware of Harry’s warning? Obviously, it was Auror work, so why did Harry need Albus? Was it bigger and involved Mark’s parents?

So, Mark hated Albus because of some old prejudiced. What Albus needed was to talk to Harry Potter. Would he come up like Phoenix ordered? Would he reprimand Albus for not doing as he was asked? How could he anyway? Mark was resistant. Albus needed to inform him of Mark’s attitude.

Potions with Era would have been fun but with Mark as a partner, things were increasingly difficult to finish. Era kept the seating arrangements more or less the same as Era wanted them, except some students managed to convince her to let them sit with their friends. Albus and Mark were unfortunately not one of them.

“Now we’ve finished with our amateur Potion of Fame, I have a rather interesting final fifteen minutes for us,” she announced. “I will be going around the class, looking at your lists of Potions your chosen ingredient can be used in. I expect to see results before students suffer… consequences.”

“Give it to me,” Mark whispered without looking directly at Albus but holding his hand out.

“I gave it to you yesterday,” Albus yawned. “You have it in your bag.”

“I put it back in yours during Transfiguration,” Mark whispered back as Era stopped by Riley and Eric.

Albus was puzzled and reached into his bag and pulled out the paper he gave to Mark. Nothing was added. “I told you to add the paragraph on the Potion of Nex! What happened?”

“I was busy with Charms,” Mark shrugged.

“We had to name every Potion in the book that had this ingredient!” Albus whispered angrily.

“Well, write Potion of Nex right now and quit complaining,” Mark whispered back. “I’m busy. Unless you want to fail of course.”

Red-faced, Albus scribbled the name of the Potion just as Era strode over. She snatched it from the table and looked over it. Albus held his breath. And then… “Fail. This potion is an amateur misperception, the Freedom Solution does not possess any part of a Hippogriff and the measly Potion of Nex is a one-liner. I do not accept this. Five points from each of you.”

“That was his fault,” Albus protested.

“I told him I was busy!”

“He slipped the paper in my bag last period without me knowing!” Albus argued. “He didn’t add a thing!”

“He did the reading, how was I supposed to know”-

“Reading, you swore you’d”-

“Hey. Hey! HEY!” Era yelled, sending shivers throughout the class. “Pipe down. Ten points from each of you! Merlin, you never learn. How many excuses have I heard that attempts to be related to not getting along with other houses? All of you, you’re staying overtime!”

“What did we do?” Penelope Macmillan protested.

“You had a problem with your Shrinking Solution, that’s what! All of you are staying here and you will talk to your partner like human beings.”

A silence followed this before Penelope slowly asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean I’m forcing you to get along!” Era said bitterly. “Sit down, Wallaby! Twenty points from Gryffindor. Anymore opposition and it will be a hundred. I am sick and tired of hearing excuses about different houses. I will fall silent now and I expect to hear talking. Anything. Any subject will do. Fifteen minutes. Talk!” and with that, she smacked her hands on the desk, sending further shivers down the spines of the terrified students.

Silence…

What was Albus supposed to say to Mark? So, what about those Arrows. Superb Quidditch team, huh? What did she expect? Did Mark even like Quidditch? How was this even supposed to help them?

Mark sighed, “Ok, let’s talk about your being an ass. What came first, Malfoy or Slytherin?”

“Shut it,” Albus muttered. This cannot be happening.

“I’m only trying to know you,” Mark said innocently. “I think I saw you on the train, didn’t I? It was Malfoy, wasn’t it?”

“Shut it,” he muttered back.

“He was laughing at you, wasn’t he?” Mark said evilly. “I saw it! He laughed at you and then you- you followed him into Slytherin. You know, you’re quite the subject of debate within the dormitory. Alex thinks you made Slytherin because you wanted to.”

“Yeah, and you-

“Eric and I disagree,” Mark said happily. “We think you made Slytherin because Malfoy wanted you to. So, which is it? Who wins the bet?”

“Anymore condescending remarks, Wallader and I’ll curse you so bad your dad will feel it!”

Albus could tell he severely touched a nerve. Mark’s eyes widened with revulsion and hatred but he caught himself in the class. “If I didn’t hold enormous respect for your father, Potter…”

“Yeah, well you started it,” Albus said angrily.

“Oh, that’s real adult,” Mark said sarcastically. “Ok, let’s put it plainly, Potter. We can solve this with a good old-fashioned duel or you can keep arguing till we’re dead. Either way, I’ll win so do yourself a favor and back away.”

“When I’m through with you, Mark, I’ll”-

“Sorry, Potter it’s really hard to pay any attention to you,” Mark said arrogantly. “I keep hearing hisses and spits the more you talk. Do you plan to duel like that? In that case, I’ve won already. Unless you’ve got Parseltongue up your sleeves.”

“What are you talking about?” Albus wondered aloud. “Parseltongue? What the bloody”-

“You don’t know?” Mark laughed. “Oh, Merlin, Al. You’re more dense than I thought. Boy this is going to make gold in the dorms. Wait till Alex and Eric find out what”-

“I don’t really give a damn what those carrot-tops think!” Albus said dirtily. “Shut it!”

“Time’s up,” Era called. “I am extending the report till next time and I had better see results.”

Albus stuffed the paper in Mark’s hands. “Here, do it, Wallader or I’ll take your little baby game to Era. She’s head of my house, you know. So I got the upper hand.”

“She can’t do anything, I’m a Gryffindor,” Mark said tiredly, still smirking.

“Well, then the Headmaster,” Albus smirked, triumphantly forcing Mark into silence and wiping the wide smile off his face. “Yeah, so you save yourself a lot of trouble and do your part, Mr. Self-righteous Wallader.”

Albus and Mark stood staring at each other, this time the victory apparent for Albus’ side. Neither were aware of their respective friends waiting for them at the door to hear about the argument, Mark stood rooted to the spot as he slowly placed the paper in his bag. He had a small smile on his face and Albus did not fully understand it. The smile wasn’t evil or even pretentious. It was just a smile, albeit small. Era was the only one still inside the room.

“You three will soon find out that I can be your worst enemy or your best friend. I advise you strongly to pick the latter.”

Despite the victory, Albus stayed stupefied by Mark’s sudden challenge to duel and his second offer in Potions throughout the day, and much of beyond. That night, he was sitting up in bed, wondering aloud about Mark. Little did he know that Mark was discussing the same thing with the Wallaby twins at the same moment? The three too were sitting up on Mark’s bed, laughing about Albus’ reaction.

“Priceless, that was,” Mark laughed. “‘We challenge you to a duel,”’ he imitated, making Alex fall off the bed with laughter. “That was hilarious. And what was his response? He as good as told me he was too cowardly.”

“He is,” Eric said, as if instructing him on Slytherin thinking as Alex climbed back up on the bed, clutching his sides. “That’s why they sidestepped it. Quite frankly, I’d be surprised if he accepts. He’s a Slytherin, remember?”

Mark nodded, sighing, “Yeah, I remember. But we need to keep trying with him.”

“What for?” Alex asked, containing himself long enough to ask.

At that moment, James and Nigel burst in, backed by their usual gang, only minus Fred. They claimed he was sick. Evil grins were stretched all over their faces as they occupied the room once again like an army annexing a territory. Mark rolled his eyes, and looked at Alex, “That’s why!”

Albus of course, was oblivious to Mark’s true desires. He knew not what James was doing that night, nor did he much care. His surprise lasted well past the month of October and Halloween drew nearer. Albus cared little about it though. Mark didn’t speak to him for the rest of the month, which wasn’t a change really as he never spoke to Albus before anyway, not counting the meeting on the Hogwarts Express.

Chapter 11: The First Shot is Fired
When He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named returned to Britain, he forged contact with his old school friends. However, this contact would not be a friendly gesture as it usually is, but a much darker purpose. Together, he and the first Death Eaters including Avery, Lestrange, and Rookwood would have Britain fall into their clutches of fear and uncertainty. None knew yet what the Dark Lord was planning, nor did anyone know that he even returned.

Few were aware that the Dark Lord returned to Britain. Amongst those was then Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, also known as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Order of Merlin First Class, Albus Dumbledore, Tom Riddle’s former mentor and Transfiguration Teacher. Dumbledore wasted no time. At his command were a number of Wizards who sympathized with Dumbledore’s efforts to give Muggle-born’s a place in society, including plenty of unsung heroes of the war. For full information on such heroes, refer to the book Unsung Heroes of the First and Second War.

The Dark Lord approached Dumbledore asking for a position as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. There, he hoped to gain one last Horcrux, something that belonged to Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Declarations made by Harry Potter, who was taught the Dark Lord’s past by Dumbledore himself, support this thought.

Information on Horcruxes is a banned subject at Hogwarts, and will not be discussed in this book. For full understanding, consult another book.

Dumbledore, not unwise to the Dark Lord’s crimes, parried the request. Theory and past recollections prove that The Dark Lord may have jinxed the position of the job. No teacher managed to stay more than a year since. This was the first shot fired of the First Wizarding War against Albus Dumbledore, and what provoked the rise of a new group, The Order of the Phoenix, named in part for Dumbledore’s Phoenix christened Fawkes.

Albus closed the book, yawned, and climbed into bed. He just saw his own name, Albus. Was that his namesake? Harry had told him he was named for two Headmasters of Hogwarts. Albus didn’t devote too much thought to this though. He got the first mention of his father in the book. But if all Harry did was declare that Voldemort wanted something called Horcruxes, it couldn’t have gained such recognition. There was something else. Something he was missing. If Albus wasn’t mistaken, the missing something was in fact already read.

Unsung Heroes of the wars. Perhaps his father was one of them, and Harry kept Albus out of it to keep him out of any controversy. Perhaps Albus was reading the wrong book then, and all he needed was a chapter dedicated to his father. And so, his thoughts strayed to Rose and her book. He wondered whether she found anything yet or not about Harry Potter, and drifted off to sleep with that question in mind.

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