The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 20: Wallader Curiosity
Christmas arrived with great festivities at the Potter house. Albus woke to a lot of planning and yelling, mostly done by Ginny, to get everyone in shape and order. What really brightened up Albus’ day was that he found something rather sweet under his pillow on Christmas morning when he awoke. He felt a package. A brown one when looked at. On top was a small white card bearing the three words, ‘Use it well.’
Tiredly, he ripped it open. His eyes widened. A silvery material fell out, onto Albus’ lap. He gaped at it, mouth half open. Another note was attached to it, with a longer letter, I could’ve given this to James, but I discovered rather recently that a certain map was missing from my drawer. If he keeps the map, you’re getting the cloak. It was passed from generation to generation of Potters. Use it well.
The note made Albus feel rather guilty for what he planned to do later. He had promised Lily that he’d ask their dad why he never said a word of his past. Albus himself wanted to know why Harry never said anything, and why he, Albus, was forced to look things up in the library with Madam Wolf breathing down his neck.
The first to arrive, sometime before lunch, was Teddy Lupin, a young man two years out of Hogwarts and what Harry called a distant cousin. Albus was rather pleased to see him, because it had been a long while, four months in fact. To Albus, that was a while, because before he started Hogwarts, Albus used to see him three or four times a week. Teddy looked naturally dirty, and was wearing green hair that day, but with a skinny, brown moustache. Dirtiness was explained; however, as Albus did hear a rumor that Teddy took up registration as an Animagus, and could turn into a Werewolf.
Albus already knew about his father’s past, and made sure to tell Rose, who in turn told him that Harry had a chapter dedicated to him in Muggle Prosecutions. Albus did not know why Harry kept it to himself though, and wanted to talk to him badly. Unfortunately, Albus had a feeling his father was taking advantage of Teddy’s visit to avoid Albus’ questions. It was probably because Albus let Harry know he was going to ask him questions the day before. Harry kept up conversation with Teddy, first about the Ministry, and then the new Minister and the possible reasons for his controversial appointment.
Nonetheless, Albus cornered his father in a hallway off the entry way soon after lunch for a quick word. Harry fidgeted a little, and Albus could tell he knew what was coming. Ginny was waiting by the door at the end, but Albus didn’t care. He wasn’t going to let Harry get away. “Dad, why didn’t you tell us what you did?”
“I didn’t want you and James bragging about me all over the school,” Harry muttered, bending on one knee to Albus’ level. “You know me. I’ve had it big at Hogwarts.”
“So, I had to endure people making fun of me for not knowing my own father, and look it up in the library?” Albus asked incredulously. “You know how stupid I felt?”
“That’s ignorant thinking on their part,” Harry waved aside. “When I first went to Hogwarts, I grew up in the Muggle world and everyone knew more about me than I did. At least for you, it’s your father.”
Albus knew Harry was right, he just resented it. If he’d only known… “I just hate going to the library.”
“Well, don’t let Aunt Hermione hear you saying that,” Harry laughed. “So, keep it quiet. Promise?”
Albus considered his dad a minute. “Sure.”
Harry looked at Albus, into his eyes a bit longer. Ginny was still leaning against the doorway, watching. “How’s school? You wrote, and I could tell you were hurt. Did anything happen?”
Albus considered for a second. He told Mark that he told Harry almost everything. Almost was placed there simply because he failed to tell Harry his problem with Mark. But as he remembered Eric’s arrogant face, Mark’s ignorance, and Scorpius’ friendly face advising him to tell his dad anyway, Albus decided to tell his father.
Albus spilt everything. He told Harry all that bothered him, starting with the meeting on the train, through their encounters in lessons, and how he had to threaten Mark before he worked on the Potions project which they got a good grade on, and how Mark took most credit; and then the competition, and how Mark had challenged him, Albus to a duel based on cowardice and James’ mistreatment, and how James declared Albus a social enemy. He told of how Scorpius helped him, and how Riley and Walter were there too, and told him the conversation he had with Mark in the hospital, and the one he overheard with the twins, the one suggesting all his friends would dump him.
It was a relief, letting it all out. Albus found he had tears in his eyes after the talking. Harry felt a great deal of sympathy for Albus after hearing his tale. Albus looked down as Harry sighed. Ginny still leaned against the door, listening. Harry looked from the floor to Albus’ eyes once again, and recalled, “The sorting hat takes your choices into account. You could have made a splendid Gryffindor. Why did you choose Slytherin?”
Albus was taken-aback. He didn’t expect this response, but was this Harry’s prejudiced against Slytherin now? He assured Albus it would be fine if he made Slytherin. Deciding it was a misunderstanding, Albus nodded, “I made Slytherin after I met Scorpius. He showed me I wasn’t losing anything, and- he swore I wouldn’t regret it. As far as I’m concerned, that promise has been kept and I don’t regret making Slytherin.” Suddenly, he found himself adding, “And if you regret it, that’s fine too.”
Harry moved his head back, scrutinizing Albus in a way he never looked at him before. Suddenly, he smiled, and nodded, “Alright. James is your older brother. I heard no abnormalities in James trying to ruin your social life but I’ll have a talk with him about you and tell him to stay off Mark. As for Mark, well, Al, he’s a Gryffindor. You’re like the opposite of me. I was Gryffindor, but could’ve done well in Slytherin. Though you’re in Slytherin, can you deny you would’ve made a good Gryffindor? I think you and Mark could get along. From what you’ve told me, he’d make one hell of a good Slytherin.”
“Not with the twins,” Albus shook his head. “They’re all so prejudiced for some reason. I can’t think why.”
“Give it time, Al,” Harry said reassuringly. “He’ll come round. Tell me about Mark. What’s his surname?”
“Wallader,” Albus answered casually.
Harry widened his eyes, scrutinizing Albus for a bit, “Wallader? Yeah, I know of that family. Blonde hair, Pure-blood.”
The use of these adjectives hardly described Mark in Albus’ point of view. Powerful? Skillful, maybe. But Powerful? Couldn’t be. Scorpius had beaten Mark, and Albus had come close. Albus also always thought Mark lied about his blood status to make himself look better. When he explained this to Harry; however, his father only smiled. “Al, you have such biased opinions against the boy. Take it from me, I know their family… at least a little bit. As an Auror, at least.”
“What should I do, then?” Albus asked.
Response was immediate. Harry drew himself up to his full height, and looked down, “Talk to him. Mark isn’t a bad kid by nature. Remember when James and I fought for a week last summer, and you grew in a bad mood and lashed out at everyone? Hurt Lily’s feelings?”
“Not really,” Harry interrupted. “You were in a bad mood because of happenings at home, and your anger took hold of your entire life until we made it up. For all you know, Mark may have issues in his home.”
That last sentence took Albus back a few steps as it sparked a lot of question in Albus’ brain. Something was up with his father. He knew there was. “Issues in his home?” he repeated. “What do you know about them?”
Harry looked uncomfortable, as if he didn’t want to reveal too much that would get Albus going. “Well…” he hesitated. “Mark is- well, ok, I can tell you this much. It should be enough for you.” And Harry’s face lightened up a little as he explained, “I’m guessing the twins are Wallaby’s. Do they have red hair like your mum? Wallader’s and Wallaby’s are always secretive, and talk family matters amongst each other. I have no clue why, but they’ve always been like that.”
“What relation do they have?’ Albus asked quietly. He noticed, as he said this, that Ginny was listening more closely, and even James had stopped beside his mother to listen in.
“Wallader and Wallaby? They’re cousins,” Harry said back quietly. “Always stick together. Or… at least before the Wallaby’s were orphaned. Five years ago.”
Albus widened his eyes, “What?”
“So, they live together,” Harry continued. “What matters is they’re still happy. They’re with Mark’s parents.”
“Wait, orphaned? What, did their parents die?”
“I can’t say too much,” Harry said uncomfortably. “Al, you must understand that people have their private lives, and whatever it is, it gives an effect on their social, outgoing lives. If you try to understand Mark, you might find him not so bad a kid.”
Albus remained in thinking that the chances of him ever getting along with Mark were very low. As far as Albus was concerned, Mark started it. He fought Albus for no reason, and out of the blue challenged him to a duel over something James did. Mark was easily the type of person who generalized, and would punish Albus for something his brother did.
“Why did you come up to Hogwarts earlier this year?” Albus asked without thought. It was a blurt out of a question he had to know. As he asked this, James pricked his ears up more to hear. It seemed he too was wondering what spurred Harry Potter to arrive at the school for the weekend.
Harry looked taken-aback as Ginny started laughing. James walked right in, ready to throw his own demands if Harry refused to answer. He had no choice. “Well… you read about a prophecy in the book, right? We’ll just say history is repeating itself in that regard, and something is up. I discussed the issue with the Minister recently. If it ever becomes anything big, believe me you’ll find out.”
“Wait a sec, that man at the station, was he”-
“We have obligations now, Al,” Harry interrupted and Ginny quickly moved in decisively interrupting any question Albus might have asked that could have hit home and got some answers.
But Albus had something else to think about as he walked upstairs discussing what Harry said with Rose. Alex and Eric were orphans, and stayed with Mark. It must’ve been friendly in their world, to spend all their lives, in and out of Hogwarts, together. They even had a dormitory to themselves.
Albus could establish easily that the trio was very close. Now, he understood a fuller scope of it. They lived together. They grew up together and would continue to do so. Mark and the twins seemed to care deeply for each other. After living together for five years, wouldn’t they get sick of each other? But what caused Alex and Eric to lose their parents? Death, obviously, as they were orphans, but what killed them? Murder? That would make sense. If the killers were Slytherin, that would explain why Alex and Eric hated Slytherins so much, and why Mark held similar views. They were, after all, the types to generalize.
Albus would wonder about this for a long time to come.