The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 19: Game Set
The night fell. Albus was asleep albeit lightly but Mark was wide awake, staring up at the ceiling. He could hear distant footsteps coming closer but he wasn’t worried nor did he attempt to feign sleep. He knew who it was bound to be. He knew those footsteps too well. The door opened a tiny bit. Upon seeing the room as quiet and empty, Alex and Eric snuck in.
Mark was of course ok. He was always good. He just suffered punishment for dueling. When the twins made it to his bed, they threw themselves into a big hug with Mark. They climbed into the bed, and Mark moved aside for the twins to join him. Contented sighs were let out, and Alex opened conversation, “Like the old days, huh?”
“Before Hogwarts,” Eric agreed. “When we slept over almost every day. Hmph, before filth,” and he looked over at Albus. The boy was sleeping soundly in his bed, apparently oblivious to this secret meeting. Eric smiled at the thought, and asked, “What’s it like with him, anyway? Being a roomie with a Slytherin?”
Mark looked over at Albus. He was apparently sleeping, but Mark didn’t want to bother to go check. Besides, what did he care if Albus heard? As Eric spoke, Albus opened his eyes a fraction. Was he imagining things? What were the twins doing there? Mark shrugged, “I dunno. He reads most of the time.”
“You didn’t talk any?” Alex asked.
Mark shrugged, “Yeah, we talked a bit. Al doesn’t know the truth, and it’s gonna hit him very hard one day. Everyone will simply abandon him, and he’ll be friendless. One way or another, they’ll all grow apart.”
“But we won’t grow apart,” Eric said complacently.
“Yeah,” Alex agreed. “We’re like triplets.”
“He asked me who I was, though,” Mark told them. “I mean… who \we are.”
Albus widened his eyes, hoping to catch something from the conversation. Alex shook his head though. “Probably from Eric’s big mouth.”
“He could’ve seen Uncle Harriet in any book,” Eric shrugged defensively.
“Which book would dad be in anyways?” Mark scoffed.
Alex shrugged, “Well let’s see… Unsung Heroes of the First and Second Wars has a chapter about him. There’s Notable Wizards of the Twenty-first century. Maybe First War by Albus Dumbledore.”
Crap Albus thought. They knew. They were too clever to talk about it in public, even when other students were asleep. And how did Alex know which book they looked in? He reminded Albus forcibly of Rose. Both seemed to be book smart.
“Now, we gotta get rid of James,” Eric sighed.
Alex seemed pessimistic, “Well, we saw what happens with a full-scale riot. We barely beat those Slytherins and they had fourth year level spells.”
Unknown to the twins was Albus’ eyes, half open but turned the other way, having listened to every word spoken. If Albus was confident before about his friends, he certainly wasn’t at that moment. Mark sounded so certain he’d lose everything. Albus didn’t have a plan B. If he lost his friends, he had no one left, did he?
Albus and Mark were discharged the next day as Galadral promised, and both made their way to their first lesson, not speaking a word to each other. Albus imagined that if given the opportunity, him and Mark would race to the classroom, but neither felt in the mood. Albus guessed it was because of the conversation they had last night. It wasn’t a conversation as friends, but one as rivals employing what Albus knew now as tough love.
Throughout the week, he continued reading the book. It was getting interesting. So interesting in fact, Scorpius was caught reading ahead. Albus nearly laughed out loud before snatching away, and starting from where he himself left off.
At first, the Ministry refused to believe Harry Potter and Dumbledore, and employed a tyrant as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who refused to teach defense, Harry Potter gave rise to a second party opposing Death Eaters and the Ministry known as Dumbledore’s Army, six of whom fought in an intensive battle with the Death Eaters, and were aided by the Order of the Phoenix in a Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore entered the Ministry at the same time Voldemort did, and the two faced off, destroying the Atrium in the battle. Thus, the second war began, and the Death Eaters and giants, aided by Dementors, started massacring London.
What was interesting is that Albus knew all six who fought in that Department battle. Luna was a naturalist, and a close friend of his parents’. Neville was of course his teacher. His mother and father were there, as was his uncle and aunt.
The next weekend arrived quickly, and Slytherin played Ravenclaw. It was a pity that Slytherin lost that match, and the Slytherins mourned in their Common Room that weekend. Scorpius had his own problems to mourn about though. The Daily Prophet had arrived baring news.
Minister Decided: Shacklebolt Steps Down:
Early last night, the Minister of Magic officially stepped down as Minister. The next Minister was speculated by many to be Lucius Malfoy, an influential figure in the Ministry; however, almost discharged when charged for Death Eater activities.
Mr. Malfoy denied he had been chosen, and attention turned instead to Senior Assistant to the Minister, known to be the second-top job in the Ministry, Owen Cauldwell. Mr. Cauldwell, thirty-four, spoke from his home last night, answering constant media questions.
“I confirm it,” Cauldwell said. “I have been picked by Minister Shackelbolt to be the next Minister.” When asked who he would appoint as Senior Assistant, he answered, “Lucius Malfoy has proven to be reformed enough. I think it appropriate to give him another chance.”
Many criticized the newly-appointed Minister’s decision as foolish, and abrupt. “This is a reformed Ministry. There is no place for former Death Eaters here,” an elderly witch said from her Lancaster home… etc…
Two weeks from the day Albus and Mark fought, the two still competed, albeit not as fiercely. They haven’t spoken since, and when the Christmas holidays arrived, they took the train back home and walked through the barrier.
Waiting for Albus was Harry and Ginny. Beside them were Ron and Hermione, and not too far were Scorpius’ father and mother, Draco and Astoria. Standing behind Draco was a man with long white blonde hair, carrying a long snake staff. Albus could see he was a man of respectful image. He had to be Lucius.
What captured Albus’ attention wasn’t Lucius Malfoy though, but a tall man with blonde hair falling over his ears and covering his neck and a woman with red hair strikingly like the Wallaby twins. Harry was deep in tense conversation with the man Albus took to be Harriet Wallader. As tense as it was though, there was a different air than between Albus and Mark. There seemed to be respect. Harriet had an arm tentatively on Harry’s shoulders as they had their heads close together. Before he could speculate, Mark zipped past him in a blur and embraced his waiting father, Harry pulling back and grinning at Albus.
Scorpius walked up, shoulders back and spine straight. Albus ran to his dad. Scorpius greeted his family. It was as if he was brought up quite formally. He hugged each of them in turn, starting with his father. When he got to his grandfather, they shook hands formally, and then Scorpius backed away, stared his grandfather in the face, and nodded deeply. It was almost like a bow. Albus hugged his mom and dad tightly, and his mother kissed him on the cheek. Albus blushed as he felt Scorpius’ eyes on him. That was when Albus decided.
Albus whispered to his dad, “I’ll be back,” and walked toward Scorpius. Albus could sense James and Louis watching him. Harry and Ginny were standing bemused as Albus approached Lucius Malfoy. Albus took a deep breath as the man who stuck fear into Albus’ heart for some reason, perhaps because he was once a very powerful and influential Death Eater, stared back through cold grey eyes at Albus Potter.
“Congratulations for making Senior Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Malfoy,” Albus said in one breath.
Lucius didn’t say anything. He continued staring at Albus. Harry and Ginny heard, and they waited with bated breath. Lucius stared at Albus still, and then responded with a nod.
Albus turned to walk back to his parents, but Riley and Walter joined them. Riley’s father was standing a good way away. Riley looked a lot like his father, but Riley’s mother wasn’t present. At least, no one that looked like she could be. Walter’s parents were there, and he turned to Riley and asked, “Where’s your mum, Riles?”
Riley shrugged, “I’m motherless.” Then he waved the conversation aside, and smiled, “Well, see ya guys after the Christmas holidays.”
Walter nodded, “See ya.”
Before Albus turned away again, Scorpius tapped him on the shoulder, “Wait, Al. Here.” He handed Albus what looked at first sight like a skinny box. It bore on the top two snakes entwined like a chain, and forming a large letter M. Their heads protruded out at the end of the letter to face opposite directions. One snake was green, the other was silver. “What’s this?’
“The Malfoy Family Crest,” Scorpius said, blushing a little. “Do me a favor and keep it. It’d be cool to hang it in your room or something. Decorate it.”
“I’m a Potter, M has nothing to do”-
“Grandfather put a clever Jinx on it,” Scorpius smirked. “Tap it, and say the letters you want the snakes to make. They’ll do it. Anyway, Happy Christmas, Al”-
“Wait.” Ginny called out. She and Harry walked over to where they were standing. Draco seemed to be growing impatient, and he clocked his tongue impatiently as Ginny stretched a hand out. In it was a small red ornament. “It’s not much, but consider it our token for being Al’s friend. Place this on the tree, and the whole thing will glow its color.”
“Quite easy to change the color too,” Harry added brightly.
“Are we going to spend Christmas at this Muggle station, or is this fiasco over?” Draco said aloud as Scorpius accepted the gift with pleased surprise. Astoria put a hand on his shoulder to silence him. He was growing loud. Some Muggles were looking in bewilderment.
Scorpius nodded, and stared at Harry’s scar, “Pleased to meet you, Ha- erm…” he gulped as he caught the look on his mother’s face, “Mr. Potter.”
Harry nodded in acknowledgement, and gave a Draco a short nod. It was returned with the smallest of responses, and the two went their separate ways once more, Harry’s hand tight on Albus’ shoulder.
The car ride was short and when they got home, Albus hung the crest in his room as promised and Jinxed it to make the snakes spell out A. S. P. instead. It certainly repelled James away from the room. Ron’s family was coming for the holidays, but Albus found himself wishing that Scorpius would be spending it with Albus too.
Albus was quite embarrassed when meeting Scorpius’ parents. They seemed too proper, and Draco seemed quite annoyed. It looked like there was still bitterness, and Albus hated it. He hoped to have Scorpius over during the summer, but it seemed unlikely now.
Albus read the rest of the book over the holidays, opening his mouth in surprise as he read further. Albus Dumbledore died at the hands of Severus Snape, who dueled with Harry Potter soon after. He read through an air battle above London for the protection of Harry’s Muggle family. He read through the fall of the Ministry, the wedding attack, and the prosecution of Muggles and Muggle-born’s.
A lot of the rest was told through Harry’s account, because it included a search for certain unnamed objects that whose destruction would help defeating Voldemort. Albus still didn’t understand, but when he finished the book on Christmas eve, he gaped at it. Harry had defeated Voldemort, and Neville decapitated the snake. His grandma Weasley killed Bellatrix, and Harry stepped in to finish Voldemort off. Centaurs and House-elves helped, and the Acromantula fled back into the forest.
Now, Albus understood. He was named for Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful Wizard ever born. He was also named for Severus Snape, a man once thought a coward, but turned out a hero in the end. It was like having the story told to him, from start to finish, from a storyteller as a bedtime story. It gave Albus a great sense of pride, and he made a mental note to tell Rose the next day over dinner.
Albus sat with Rose by James, Hugo, and Lily at the end of the table on Christmas Eve. Uncle Ron’s family was sleeping over for two nights as part of a celebration, because the Potters were hosting a large family Christmas. Albus was relating to them the book. Rose covered her mouth partly, finding it amazing that Harry did all that.
“Why not tell us though?” James asked aloud.
Rose clicked her tongue, “Well, obviously he didn’t want you all badgering him about it. It is quite a big thing to do. That explains Hagrid’s attitude as well.”
“Hey, wait…” Hugo said excitedly, having listened to Albus’ story of his Uncle from beginning to end. The normally shy boy had a delighted look about him. “We could ask dad tomorrow to tell us stories. I always thought they’d be boring. But if it’s about some past war…”
“I still wanna listen to Uncle Charlie’s stories,” Rose stated. “I find them the most entertaining.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Albus said, nodding at Rose. “We know the story.”
“But dad can make them interesting,” Hugo argued. “C’mon, Lils, what about you?”
“I wanna listen to Uncle Ron this time,” Lily said in a small voice. “I wanna hear the stories.”
“Mum, how’re we gonna manage?” James asked over the table. “How’re we gonna fit everyone in here?”
Ginny looked up thoughtfully, Harry looking up from his conversation with Ron and Hermione to listen in. Ginny stared up into space for about a minute, James keeping his eyes on her and Albus abandoning the argument with the younger kids in favor of this one.
Usually, the Weasley’s hosted Christmases at the Burrow. This year was different, as Harry insisted it could be done. Albus always wondered; however, how they would manage.
“Well,” Ginny finally said thoughtfully. “Only Uncle Ron is staying the night, and your grandparents aren’t arriving till the evening, so I imagine we’ll manage as long as the- James, what are you doing?”
“Nothing,” James said, shifting guiltily in his seat.
Albus was at first surprised Ginny didn’t pursue the subject. It was obvious James had something hidden up his sleeve. As expected, a firework blasted out from under his sleeve, letting off purple smoke. Ginny readily withdrew her wand and halted the rocket in its tracks. James ducked down as a spell was thrown at him.
“Oh, Merlin, boiling point!” Albus yelled.
“Take cover!” Hugo yelled as Ginny went red with anger.
“Gin, enough, not now,” Harry quelled. “James, apologize, quick!”
“Sorry,” James speedily, as if he was reciting words he was asked to say.
“Well,” Harry said, getting up from the table, interrupting everyone’s attention. “I have a meeting with the Minister right now, so I won’t be in for dinner. Ginny, if you’ll jut fix something light for the kids, I’m sure everyone’ll be happy.”
“Oh, for a wonder no cooking on Christmas eve,” Ginny laughed.
Albus and Hugo sighed with relief. A hurricane from his mum was infamous in the Potter household. Albus told Mark that Ginny was known to wage them. Thankfully, a hurricane had just been avoided but in any case, the events of the past few days including Albus’ relationship with Mark was enough to interest anyone aware of that conflict, including Scorpius. The game was set and things were about to make a turnaround for a climax.