The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 16: Potter vs. Potter
It seemed Mark had a backup plan all along. If he lost, he’d resort to yelling at Albus for something he had no clue about. Confuse him, and make him see fault. And it worked. Albus and Scorpius won the duel as a team, but Albus lost in his rivalry with Mark. They even lost their own credibility at being open-minded Slytherins willing to give houses a chance. No doubt Mark and his friends would see to it that Albus was shammed by Gryffindors.
But was this what it was all about? Did Mark really hate Albus so much because of James? Was Mark so prejudiced to think so generally that however James was like, Albus must be the same? Did Mark seriously think that Albus had power over James to stop this?
The duel seemed to have worked for Mark’s trio as a whole too. As planned, Laura told Nigel who scurried over like a mouse to tell James. James was of course furious about them beating Albus up. For though the duel was won, Albus was beaten. In response, James, Samuel and Daniel actually stayed overnight in the first years dorm room, and James tagged Daniel and the two beat Mark in a two-on-one duel, Fred and Louis holding the twins back so they’d be forced to watch.
Albus found it very hard to believe that James bullied Mark and the twins from day one, just for some prank buddies. Didn’t he have more than enough? Albus needed to confront James but he knew it was futile unless done in the right way. If done in front of Mark, the kid might just be grateful. At least, that was what Riley suggested tiredly.
“Battle on his own grounds,” Riley yawned. “He thinks you’re spying on him. Tell James he’s wise to the game and its useless taking over now. There’s nothing to gain anymore. Moral backup won’t hurt either, since James always has friends with him.”
Albus met James in the entrance hall the next day with Riley and Walter behind him for backup. James nodded his head in acknowledgement, and seeing that Scorpius was not around, came up, Nigel and Samuel behind him. Daniel brought the rear up, wearing his baseball cap as always.
“Hey, Al? What’s up? Anything wrong?”
His face must’ve given away enough, because Albus was feeling terrible. He stared at James. James stepped back, mystified. Then, Albus decided to find the truth out by beating around the bush a little bit. He said, “James, I should’ve asked you a long time ago. What do you think of Mark and the twins?”
“The first years?” James asked. “I dunno. Kinda annoying. They’re kind of disrespectful, if you know what I mean? Don’t know their limits. Hyperactive. Need to quiet down.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” Daniel said meanly. “I don’t like them. So arrogant, self righteous, ass-holes. Think just because they’ve got good relationships with each other, that makes them cool. They don’t know half of cool.”
“They seem respectful to teachers in our classes,” Albus refuted.
“Strange coming from you,” James smirked. “Didn’t they give you trouble?”
“Yeah, but I dueled him down in the end,” Albus shrugged.
James looked momentarily surprised, as if that was not what he heard. He seemed to take Albus’ word for it though and said, “Well, Daniel and I tagged him down in the dorm last night, so don’t worry about it. They learned their lesson either way so they won’t be loud anymore.”
“They’re quiet in class,” Albus recalled.
Nigel muttered, “Well, it’s not showing in the dormitory. Why’re you defending them anyways?”
“Dormitory?” Albus repeated. “James, tell me. How did you find out so much about Mark?”
Then, as if wise to Albus’ game, James grinned widely and this grin wasn’t the one Albus grew to know from James, but an evil one. “We own their dormitory. That’s how.”
“So… it’s true. You just barged in, under some cover to prank younger students and teachers with you.”
James was quiet for a second. He stared down, and then looked up at his friends. Daniel looked quite angry at Albus, and Nigel and Samuel looked taken-aback. Then, James looked at Albus, “How did you find out? I thought they weren’t talking to you.”
“We dueled,” Albus answered angrily. “And they told me why they hate me so much. They’re getting back at you through me.”
“You and I are very different people,” James shrugged. “It’s all good fun for me. They don’t have to generalize and attack you for it. That’s so unfair.”
“Well then, you found out a lot so… I mean, you could just clear out of their room and this whole thing can end,” Albus suggested.
“I mean- to understand him better,” Albus said, flustered. “He’s wise to your game anyway, he told me. So, if you cleared out, I can reach out myself, get on a better note, and then maybe we’ll find out more.”
“Hmm, good reasoning,” James shrugged to Nigel. “How badly do we need this?”
“Well, just so he won’t generalize so much, it’s bad enough I’m in Slytherin for him,” Albus pleaded.
“Yeah, bad enough you’re related to a Gryffindor, huh?” Daniel challenged angrily. “Give it a rest, Potter! You’re as self-righteous as Mark and the carrot-tops!”
Albus was surprised at Daniel’s viciousness. That seemed to be his personality, but then how could James get along with him? He looked at his brother incredulously, but James shook his head, “Ok, no, I won’t do it. A lesson needs to be learned anyhow.”
“Because we are different people,” James interrupted. “Gryffindor and Slytherin. Merlin, Al. Socially now, you and I are sworn enemies. We’re on completely different ends of the Hogwarts spectrum.”
Before Albus could argue back as shocked as he was, Riley shrugged, yawned and stepped in, “Look at it as a victory for Gryffindor then. Pull out, you guys stay united, and relish in victory that we decided to retreat. We don’t want to fight with him anymore.”
“No,” Daniel said without thought. “And this has nothing to do with a Slytherin. You people don’t meddle in our affairs. By principle. It’s an unspoken agreement. Do you or do you not plan to stick to it?”
James gave him a look to show he agreed with Daniel, and with that walked away, his friends behind him. Albus stood there, both hurt and confused. But he sensed the presence of Mark and the twins there as well. They heard everything. He hoped they appreciated it. He shrugged, and turned to Riley and Walter, who shook their heads at once, “Don’t let it get to you.”
“Yeah, Malcolm tries to destroy my social life every day,” Walter added. “That’s what big brothers do.”
Before Albus could respond, Mark and the twins showed themselves. Mark was still sporting a red nose. Laura wasn’t there. She must’ve run off, but Mark didn’t look appreciative. He looked angry, actually, “Why’d you have to get involved?”
“You complained to me!” Albus said angrily, surprised no one could appreciate his contributions. Simply because of his house. “I confronted him for you, since you couldn’t get him out since September, Wallader.”
“Did I ask for help?” Mark asked testily. “I merely told you why I was mad.”
“You know, we could be friends,” Walter offered fairly.
Riley yawned, “We have a common interest now. Both of you want James off you so… if we united we’d knock him down… and that’ll probably make an example of him too.”
“Yeah, public humiliation,” Walter said happily.
For a minute, Albus thought this was the end of the rivalry. Mark could simply accept the offer and they’d work against James instead. The existence of such an agreement and friendship would prove his belief that Gryffindor and Slytherins were hateful on principle wrong. But then…
“Absolutely not,” Eric said tiredly reminiscent on Riley. “Remember we hate you too, Blackberry. And you know full we why.”
“Merlin!” Albus yelled, and walked away, feeling very resentful and angry. He felt very against the world now. He never felt that way before. Never felt that the world was against him, unappreciative of everything he was trying to do for it.
He muttered the password, and walked through the snake mouth, Riley and Walter behind him. The Common Room was half full, but Scorpius wasn’t there. He must be in the dormitory waiting for Albus. Albus ignored everyone, and walked up. Scorpius was there, laughing as Ursa let out a screechy meow at Scorpius’ continuous scratching of its belly. Scorpius looked in astonishment at Albus threw himself on the bed.
“Did he get you?” Scorpius asked angrily, reaching for his wand.
“No!” Albus said angrily.
“What’s gotten you cranky?”
Albus was silent. He didn’t answer right away. Riley walked past Scorpius, saying, “Just leave him.” Scorpius shrugged, and sat on his own bed, reaching to take his shoes off.
After five minutes, he considered, “Wanna visit Hagrid?”
“What’s up, Al?”
Albus was quiet. He stared down for a bit. He couldn’t get the confrontation with James out of his mind. He couldn’t get Mark’s ungratefulness out of his mind. He took a breath, but the words of what Mark did didn’t come out. Instead, they came out as “I did nothing in the duel. I lost.”
Scorpius widened his eyes. It was plain he knew this wasn’t Albus’ only reason for being upset, but he looked down as smiled guiltily. “Well, in all honesty, I did get the snowball idea from you. I mean, it was a teamwork thing. Our whole reason for rivaling them was over teamwork. If we won, that’s a point for us. Not him. He’s just trying to turn the tables on you.”
Albus kept looking down. He still didn’t know why he said what he said. It made him look weak to a person who was already very proud. Someone who thought he was always right. But then, he was right at that time. So he went on and said, “You were right, Scorps.”
Scorpius shrugged in an approving way. “Cool.”
Albus looked at him for a moment, a puzzled expression on his face, “You don’t know what I’m talking about do you?”
“No, I just like being right.”
Albus looked down sadly, and sighed. He kicked his bed in anger, summoning Scorpius to his side at once. “C’mon Al. What’s up?”
“You’re right,” Albus sighed. “Gryffindors… are self-righteous, and arrogant. You were right. I give in.”
“Whoa, whoa ,whoa what made you convert all of a sudden?” Scorpius demanded. “You were dead set against that theory ten minutes ago.”
“I- I found out why Mark and the twins hate me,” Albus muttered. He could feel Riley and Walter watching them. But Albus didn’t care. “James was bullying them. To get them to join his efforts to prank the school. That was him. They want to get him back through me.”
“That’s stupid of them” Scorpius laughed.
Walter was quiet. He seemed to be very deep in thought. Riley, who was usually very quiet himself, looked up, “That’s why Slytherins keep to themselves. Because the whole school rejects them. Especially Gryffindors. Not for a minute do they think that maybe Slytherin isn’t the same as before. That’s why the sorting hat describes it as the house with real friends. Because we stick together. No matter what.”
“Now, I know why I made Slytherin,” Walter muttered. “We’re resourceful. Albus had the idea and Scorpius used the snow. Mark used what he was given. Scorpius utilized everything better. They proved themselves better than Al, but Slytherin still wins over them… and Al can demand a rematch, and catch Mark by surprise.”
Scorpius grinned, almost proudly. Riley and Walter walked up and joined in. Scorpius smirked, “Doesn’t that make you proud to be a Slytherin? The house of ambition and pride. Friendship and unity. We don’t need them, Al. We’re friends here.”
Albus told Scorpius the entire story then; how he had confronted James after Mark attacked him, how James had declared Albus a social enemy, how Mark had reprimanded him for trying to help, and how ungrateful he was. As he recounted the story, it only seemed to make things worse. Albus screwed his face up against the tears threatening to spill out, and then felt embarrassed. How Scorpius would think of him…
But Scorpius got up, a determined look on his face. He nodded at Albus’ red face. “Alright. I’ll show you what kind of friends we are. I promised you, you wouldn’t regret going into Slytherin. I intend to keep that promise!”
Scorpius left the dormitory. Albus, confused, followed at a distance. Scorpius was oblivious to Albus following him and watching from behind a suit of armor.
“Oi Rudolph!” he yelled at the red-nosed Mark. And before Mark could respond with more than a look, Scorpius pinned him against the wall angrily, wand up Mark’s neck. Alex and Eric drew their wands, and pointed them directly at Scorpius, but he didn’t care. “In case you don’t know, we’re trying to help you, Al and I. If you think keeping James in your dormitory is a worthy price to pay for you doing it all yourself, by all means reject us, but don’t expect any more help.”
“We have a reputation.”
“Tell Al your problem, what do you expect him to do?” Scorpius challenged. “He’s trying to help, by confronting his own brother. If you didn’t want help, say so. Don’t mention a problem, and then wait till someone actually does something about it before you strike him down. That was low. You’re tearing everything apart!”
“Getting James back through Al is fine,” Mark muttered. “They’re both idiots anyway. It’s not like we’re killing someone.”
“Plus, it’s a matter of principle, Scorpy,” Alex said, stepping forward, wand still outstretched. “I don’t know about Mark, but Eric and I have our own reasons for hating Slytherin scum like you.”
Scorpius muttered “Mucus ad Nauseam” at the same time that Albus muttered, “Flipendo.” Mark crumbled to the floor, clutching his nose, now covered in green and yellow slime. Alex was hit with a Knock-back Jinx, and Scorpius ducked Eric’s spell. Albus ran in, hand outstretched, looking angry and determined.
“It’s because of you Slytherins are so isolated,” Albus said angrily. “That’s my reasons for hating Gryffindors like you. You really need help, and quit generalizing.”
“You whine for an end to prejudiced against Muggles and Muggle-born’s, and yet you’re prejudiced yourself against Slytherins. It’s a historic part of the school the same way Gryffindor is.”
Eric stepped forward, and looked back at Alex, “Get Mark to the hospital wing. I’ll be there.” He looked at Scorpius and Albus, “I got nothing to say, except this. Gryffindor is where the real friends are. Not Slytherin. Why? Because you’re all about self-preservation, and you’d always choose to save your own lives over another, even your best friend. Mark’s my best friend. I love him, and I’ll die for him. You call yourselves friends when you can’t even look after each other?” With that last line, Eric walked away, leaving Albus and Scorpius standing there.
Albus shrugged, and turned to walk back to the Common Room. Scorpius turned and followed. He ran to catch up, “Oi, Al. They’re lies.”
“No, they’re not,” Albus said, turning back. An idea had occurred to him. They were in the dungeons, but outside the Common Room. “We are about self-preservation. But they misunderstand it. Unlike them, we weigh all possible outcomes. But you fought Mark back there when the odds were clearly against you and I ran in when it was already proven that I’d lose. I dunno if either of us would be so brave as to sacrifice for another, but both of us were probably better off in Gryffindor.”
He opened his mouth to speak the password, but Scorpius interrupted, “I promised you, you won’t regret this house.”
“I don’t regret it,” Albus said, and he turned back with a smile. “Because if I hadn’t made Slytherin, we wouldn’t be friends.”