The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 14: Acceptance
Alex certainly didn’t change his mind toward Albus, despite the compliment given earlier that month. November went on, and Mark never failed to state every lesson that his offer to duel was still on. But as far as Albus was concerned, they already dueled in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Mark begged to differ. It wasn’t a duel unless they were dueling to unconsciousness with no one to stop them.
Professor Macmillan worked them quite hard. Now they were looking at the Cruento Spell that Mark tried on Albus. Albus was glad he didn’t let it hit. It caused light bleeding. Albus just wanted to learn new spells quickly, so if Mark tried hitting him again, he, Albus could pull off a surprise.
Herbology was dull as was History of Magic. Even Mark fell asleep. He and the twins lolled their heads to the side, snoring like babies, and Albus would follow after. Resting his head on his palms, but falling on the desk when completely dead.
Potions was also useless, and Professor Era reminded them cruelly that the term was almost over, and they had better be underway on their projects. Albus was underway thanks to Mark. Mark pestered Albus almost every weekend about the ingredient. All Albus had to do was write his essay, and they could turn it in with the Potion they would attempt to make in the last class of the term.
Flying Lessons were fun, but tough. Mark excelled at flying, but Albus needed practice. Scorpius wasn’t bad himself. He claimed to have taken from his father, and he probably did. If Scorpius was telling the truth, his father was a Seeker. “So I can rival what Mark claims to be.” Mark vowed in front of them all to become Seeker the next year when he could.
Charms brought them two new Charms. The Levitation Charm was the first they learned, and then they learned the Engorgement Charm. Albus watched his pillow grow to a large size before Professor Ackerly shrunk it once more. Ackerly, with short light brown hair and green eyes was quite skinny and short for his early thirties. He would’ve looked like a teenager if he didn’t have stubble on his chin.
Mark managed to engorge his pillow the largest out of the class, second only to Rose. This earned Gryffindor a quick twenty points. Professor Ackerly also taught them the opposite of the Engorgement Charm; The Reduction Charm. Albus groaned as they practiced. It was harder, but he couldn’t understand how this would ever help him against Mark.
Laura grew her pillow to enormous size to match Mark’s. When she attempted making it smaller, it went almost microscopic, and she wailed that she lost her pillow. Ackerly had to hold off class for five minutes before it was found and returned to normal size. Then, Mark was assigned to look after her pillow, having already mastered the Charm.
“At least there’s no Creevey to hold us back,” Mark muttered to the twins, referring to her dad. “She’s practically a Princess when she’s around him.” Alex and Eric laughed. Albus silently agreed with them, and for good reason.
Study break, which came on Fridays after lessons for all first years, and was monitored by Muggle Studies Professor Dennis Creevey, was the most boring. His daughter Laura was constantly loud, and he allowed it all. He seemed to love his daughter too much, and it seemed she got special treatment; treatment that dubbed her the nickname ‘Princess Laura’ among Mark, Alex, and Eric.
Princess Laura always victimized herself. This act was the only thing that united Albus and even Scorpius with Mark and the twins. Though they didn’t talk directly to each other, Mark and Scorpius seemed to agree with one another that Laura needed to be broken.
“Try getting Professor Creevey fired,” Alex muttered to Mark quietly one study break as Laura asked her dad an answer to a Potions question. Professor Creevey stared for about three minutes at the page before he whispered the answer in her ear and continued on his way.
“Yeah, and then maybe her mum will teach,” Eric whispered back.
Reading the book was also good. Albus found it easier to understand how the first war went, and the major events in it. He even found himself relating to Scorpius what he read.
Scorpius didn’t show much interest at first, but by the end of November, he too was interested, and stayed up late with Albus to read some with him. Sometimes, Scorpius even joined Albus and Rose in the library to tell her what happened, and receive information about the persecution of Muggles in return.
“You’re sure that my dad has something to do with persecution?” Albus asked Scorpius on the way to the library one Friday evening. I’m starting to think my dad persecuted Muggles. Did he?”
Scorpius laughed, “No, he didn’t. Your dad’s the last one to do something like that.”
They greeted Rose deep inside the library. She wore her red hair in a ponytail today, and her freckles showed more clearly. Without saying hi to Rose, Scorpius sat down beside Albus, and listened to them talk.
“I read that Gideon and Fabian Prewett died,” Albus told Rose.
Rose nodded in interest, “My great Uncles. They were brothers of grandma Weasley. That’s sad though. They were quite good. How did they do it?”
“Quite heroic,” Scorpius said lowly. “I have to admit. That was pretty good, how they faced five at once. Five Death Eaters barely survived. When Albus told me… I never heard that before.”
“Did you read any further?” Rose asked.
“I finished the first war,” Albus said, lowering his voice now. “And I found out something interesting. My dad may be an unsung hero.” Responding to their raised eyebrows, he ploughed on. “Think about it. That’s why dad wanted us out of it. To avoid controversy.”
“Well, did it refer to any book,” Rose asked, ignoring Scorpius’ attempts to get their attention. The boy looked flustered, but neither Rose nor Albus paid any mind to it.
“Yeah, Unsung Heroes of the First and Second War,” Albus recalled. “If we looked”-
Rose was off in a heartbeat, returning within five minutes with a big brown book. She slammed it on the table and opened to the contents, going through with her finger. Sturgis Podmore, Neville Longbottom, Ronald Weasley, Harriet Wallader, etc… “Interesting. Wait a sec, something on dad, our Herbology teacher, and someone who might be related to Mark… but no Harry Potter. I wonder if”-
“We’re so not dealing with another book,” Albus interrupted, shutting it.
“What about dad?” Rose challenged.
“Can you read two books on top of your studies, Rosie?” Scorpius smirked.
Rose said nothing, but Albus knew she’d return to the library for the book when she found the time. Harriet Wallader… The name bugged him. An unsung hero. Albus feigned disinterest, but he found himself wondering what Mark was about. He seemed too withdrawn and proud. Was this possibly because of lacked attention? There was only one way to find out.
As Rose got up to ask Madam Jane Wolf a question, Albus opened the book to Harriet Wallader, preferring to read in secret.
Of all the unsung heroes of the second war, none is as unsung and yet so deserved of the title of true hero as Harriet Wallader. Harriet Wallader was a young adult during the first war and orchestrated the turn of the tide before Harry Potter finished the Dark Lord as a baby. Currently the father of one child, Harriet as of now lives in a remote location, hidden very well from possible bitter enemies many of whom he has.
He shut the book when Scorpius forewarned him, itching to read more. But Rose was disinterested and as much as Albus loved his Uncle Ron, he was more interested in reading on Harriet, but if he told Rose this, she’d push to read about her dad before anything concerning Mark. The only other way he could find out was if he befriended Mark and found out as his friend. For all Albus knew, Mark had a perfectly good reason for being withdrawn. His father being an unsung hero proved it. That did not explain his hatred for Albus though. One thing was for sure though, Albus’ curiosity concerning Mark increased to new heights.
As for Harry, Albus had caught his name but it said nothing else. Finished the Dark Lord as a baby. “As a baby? But the Dark Lord fell in the 90’s. What’s this about?”
“Think historically, Albus,” Rose rolled her eyes. “He fell in the 80’s and rose again in the 90’s. Read your history.”
They got up to walk out of the library, obviously done there. Right outside the library stood Mark and the twins, leaning against the wall. They were talking rather quietly, but as Albus passed, Mark made sure to heighten his voice, “People who run or avoid battles or challenges are cowards.”
Scorpius’ fists clenched. Noticing, Albus turned straight at the three boys, and faced them. They stared at him back. Albus smirked, “You wanna fight me, Mark? I accept. But no whining or rematches if I beat you. And if you beat me, it’s one to one, because I had the last hit last time.”
“I still say you’re a coward,” Mark said back, near angry. “Hitting from behind is no credible feat. But if you accept, fine.”
“Albus, NO!” Rose whispered angrily.
Albus ignored her, instead looking at Scorpius. Their eyes met, and Scorpius silently agreed. Scorpius nodded to Albus’ silent question, and spoke up, “I’m his second. Agreed?”
Eric stepped forward to stand beside Mark, “Ok, then I’m his second”
Mark looked at the twins, and then at Albus and Scorpius. Rose was being ignored, and she wasn’t happy. He looked back at the twins, and whispered something to them. They nodded in immediate agreement. It became clear what they were discussing when Mark said aloud, “Say, next weekend? Saturday. Five in the afternoon.”
“Rules,” Albus began, stepping forward one step. “Takes place outside in the courtyard. No further, and no running indoors.” It seemed he wanted to dictate the terms of the duel, and Mark didn’t like that.
Mark smirked, “No fleeing. Take the fight, or forfeit. No shooting behind backs. There should also be two witnesses for each side present during our battle.”
“Ok, but no teachers,” Albus added.
“And if a teacher does stop us, we continue it same time the next day, or the next weekend,” Mark added.
“And finally, no cheating,” Albus said.
They eyed each other for a long time, no warmth toward the other side. Both eyed each other coldly. Mark rolled his eyes, and shook Albus’ hand, “Agreed.”
And, they both walked away in opposite directions. The twins caught up with Mark, “Witnesses? Who’re you thinking?”
“Alex,” Mark said promptly.
Alex grinned, “I thought you forgot me.”
“Never,” Mark said, putting a hand around Alex’s back. “And I think it’ll be good for Princess Laura to watch.”
“Why her?” Eric said in a low voice. “Why not one of James’ mates. So they’ll get the message when Al is creamed.”
Mark nodded, “It’ll be too obvious. Get them angrier. But if Laura watches, she’ll definitely tell her brother, Nigel, who is James’ mate and tells him anything. James will hear for sure.”
Speaking the password to the Gryffindor Common Room, they climbed through the portrait hole, and up to their dormitory to celebrate, and be interrupted mere minutes later by James.
Albus chose his witnesses easily. Rose flatly refused, and even threatened to tell Redgrow or Era if they went ahead.
Scorpius didn’t think she’d make good on that threat, and Albus chose Riley and Walter to witness the duel. Riley was indifferent about it, “I wish you let me be your second, but what the heck. Beat him, Al.”
“Show him who is boss,” Walter urged. “Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. We won the match. Now, we win the duel. Agreed, Al?”
“Agreed,” Albus said happily. He turned to Scorpius, grinning, “And it looks like rivalry with Mark just went to new heights. Why does he hate me so much?”
“He doesn’t hate you,” Rose laughed as if it was most obvious. Albus thought she sounded stupid when she first said it, but he’d been thinking those lines for a while now and since Rose voiced them, they slowly sounded more likely. Scorpius and Walter looked skeptical though and Rose rolled her eyes. “If Mark hated him, he’d have forced Al into a duel a long time ago. No, he asked for a formal duel with seconds and witnesses. This isn’t hatred, it’s respect.”
Riley shrugged in indifference as Albus pondered over her words, “That makes sense,” he yawned. “He is a Wallader after all.”
A Wallader? What did Riley mean by that? Albus’ head was spinning. Mark had smiled in Potions and it had no hatred in it. It was a simple smile. The kind Albus had wanted to see for a while now. Plus, he was Gryffindor and therefore, no matter what Scorpius said, a very brave and bold person. If I didn’t hold enormous respect towards your father.
Respect towards Harry… and therefore respect, possibly frustration towards Albus. He looked up, suddenly understanding Mark’s motives and Rose smiled widely. “Now, you got it. Mark doesn’t hate you. He respects Harry Potter for God-knows-what reason and therefore respects you. He is still frustrated at you for possibly having the potential to damage his ego because he’s very proud. The fact you’re in Slytherin only reinforces his desire to take you down and publically humiliate you.”
Harry’s words came back to him. Very close to the twins, very secretive, withdrawn a lot, and does very well in school work. He’s clever, bright, and very proud and easily threatened.
That was it. He hated Albus because he felt threatened that a Slytherin who happened to be a Potter could possibly outshine him. Albus should have talked to James a long time ago but a talk was looking quite mandatory if he was going to face off against Mark.