Chapter 25 One Hell Of a Summer

The Forgotten Memory

Chapter 25: One Hell of a Summer

Mark and the twins remained together from May on. James seemed to be fine with Albus. Malcolm was livid that Walter had ‘betrayed’ the Mold name, and even helped a boy like Mark. As far as Malcolm was concerned, Mark didn’t matter, dead parents or no dead parents. Still, Albus found out that many in Slytherin sympathized with Mark, but few voiced their sympathy for fear of being attacked by Malcolm.

Albus himself found himself sympathetic, and so he made sure to write to Harry about what had happened with Mark and the twins. In one letter, he asked if there was anything they could do to help. Albus didn’t like the thought of Mark living in an orphanage. Not after hearing so much of love. Mark needed love from a family. Not just his cousins. He trusted that maybe Harry knew of a family who might take him in.

From all that sympathy, Albus found himself bitterly asking why Mark still ignored Albus and treated him like he did not exist. Even more, why was Alex ignoring him?

“That’s arrogance for you,” Scorpius told him over lunch at the beginning of June when Albus voiced this wonder aloud.

Before Albus could answer, someone tapped him on the shoulder. Albus was used to this being James or Rose, but definitely not Mark, or any of the twins. Looking back, he saw Alex taking the head.

“Al,” Alex began. He took a breath, looked down, and said slowly, “I just wanted to say thank you. For- for before. Eric, Mark and I talked about it, and we decided that we’d- that we’d give you this as repayment.” He presented a small book. “A photo album. It’s empty, and I have a spare, so- well- I thought we’d”-

“Thank you,” Albus said quietly, flipping through the pages.

“You got pictures, don’t you?” Alex asked.

“Every Hogwarts student takes pictures, especially with Harry Potter as a father,” Albus added proudly.

Alex smirked, and turned away, “Fine. See ya around.”

He took back his usual place behind Mark, and Eric backed away too. Mark nodded at Albus, and smirked at Walter before walking off. Albus turned to Scorpius, “So, what were you saying about arrogance?”

“Al!” Mark’s voice called. He was still standing as the twins walked back to their seats. Albus turned in his seat to face him, apprehension dawning. Surely he wasn’t about to offer friendship… “This changes nothing just so you know, Al. I will prove to you my point that we discussed before. You’ll learn your lesson one way or another.”

As Mark left, Albus somehow felt fine. He had a feeling Mark would have a harder time avoiding Albus. Scorpius looked down. He did not quite meet Albus’ eyes as he said in a low voice, “What’s he talking about?”

“Oh,” Albus waved it aside like it meant nothing. He could trust Scorpius. “Mark thinks he can see the future and he kind of saw you being a jerk and abandoning me as a friend.”

Scorpius shrugged sarcastically, “Well, that sucks. You must be a horrible person if I’d stop being your friend. Anyways, I rest my case. So, Walter,” he changed the subject hastily, “Anyways, I see you’re getting on fine with Mark, huh?”

Walter bent his head lower, and whispered to Scorpius and Riley, “Mark doesn’t hate Slytherins. He certainly doesn’t mind me. It’s just that the twins have prejudiced attitudes, and he doesn’t want to split with them.”

“What about me,” Scorpius interjected. “I helped.”

“I don’t think he minds you,” Walter responded quietly. “But I did do most of the work, and- you were the offender calling his dad a Death Eater. The last thing Mark heard about his father was a negative comment from you. That’s how he feels. He’s actually smarter than the twins, and quite cool really. A born genius.”

“Mark, a born genius?” Albus laughed.

“Yeah, to the point that everything that happened this year involving him played right into his hands,” Walter laughed. “I highly recommend staying off if your enemies with him. It’s not worth it.”

Albus, choosing not to answer, stared in awe at the album. It binding was golden but as if placed there to satisfy him, a green snake was stretched across the bind. Scorpius rolled his eyes, and said, “Oh great, everyone’s mate’s with Gryffindor’s except me. You know what. I think they all suck. I couldn’t care less.”

“Alex and I aren’t exactly friends,” Albus muttered, examining the album. He looked at the empty album. “Well, I think we got somewhere to put our pictures. Out of his bag he took a stack of photos he kept laminated. He stuck one with the entire first year boy’s dormitory in the first slot. It was one of Albus arm in arm with Scorpius. Behind them both was Riley and Walter, grinning at Albus through the photo. He titled it First year group.

“I could give you a much better one next Christmas,” Scorpius said, looking sourly at the album Albus was fiddling with. He looked almost jealous with the album Albus got, and that he was left out.

“No need for that,” Albus smirked. “I’m gonna take a picture of the crest you gave me, and stick it on the cover.”

Scorpius looked slightly more cheerful, but shrugged as he began with a steak. Lunch was uneventful from that time on, and it seemed the rest of the year would be too.

Galadral stood up at the end of term feast to announce the points, and everyone fell quiet to listen. When Dumbledore was there, banners were hung to celebrate the winner. Now Galadral was Headmaster, the banners were kept hidden and the hourglasses covered until the points were announced to the school in surprise. “Another year passes, and with it education. To those graduating, don’t forget us. To those returning, we’ll see you next year.

“Before we move on to celebrate the winning team of this year’s House cup, I feel compelled to bring to light something you should all know. I am aware of a few incidents this year, namely duels, taking place on school grounds. While dueling is not forbidden, injuring excessively is. I will not mention names in fear of being reprimanded by a couple of angry students, but I would like to stress the importance of house unity.

“I’ve been asked many times why I allow dueling in this school. The old rule remains, no magic in the corridors; however, in the school grounds we’re hardly bound. Students do indeed need time to practice the spells they’ve learned on each other, provided it does not inflict excessive injury. This is the second year I remind you of this,” and he looked straight at James at the Gryffindor table.

“I would also like to inform all of you that someone in this room lost family last month. It’s a horrible thing losing family, and when you do, you find yourself holding tighter the family you may have left. I understand that as we are all split into houses and year groups, and for some people gender, we tend to put a high stock in differences… but when someone is bothering you, or you find someone acting in a way unusual for him or her, think that maybe he’s been through enough, maybe he’s lost something, maybe misfortune has befallen him one time after another. Ignore it, don’t take matters into your own hands like a self-appointed police.

“This brings me to another point. Though we are split, as we learned in the second war we are still family. We are united. Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs are like brothers and sisters, Slytherin and Ravenclaw are like cousins. In any case, when someone here is lost to us, including the departing seventh years, we lose family members. We are held by the fact that more will join us next year.

“Now, we celebrate the winnings. In fourth place… Hufflepuff with two hundred and sixty-three points. In third place… Ravenclaw with three hundred and ten points. In second place…” Scorpius and Albus crossed their fingers. “Slytherin with three hundred and eighty-five points. And so in first place, standing high with four hundred points exactly, Gryffindor!”

“DAMN!” Scorpius yelled, slapping his hand on the table. “Gryffindor win!”

Somehow, Albus couldn’t care. Even though Mark still despised the ground Albus walked on, he still deserved the win. Though it might not have been anything to drown out the sorrow of losing his father, it was a start and in a way, Gryffindor deserved the victory.

*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~*

Remember Potter. There are five significant heirs. All descend from Hogwarts founders, except one, who is descended from the most important of all. All are important for you to find. The peace and security of the Wizarding world is at stake. We can only guess where they all are. One is in his ancestor’s old dwelling. Godric’s Hollow must become part of your quest once more. Hebzibah Smith was murdered years ago, but had a family, and her inheritors must be sought. The Heir of Slytherin was discussed between us. As he failed on showing up, he may well be dead if he even existed at all. If so, security of Hogwarts becomes great necessity. The Ravenclaw Heir also remains a deep mystery, and you must do some detective work on this. Alert your department to this matter at once. Finally, the one Wizard who, if any, could be called Prince by blood. Their identity has been concealed, only to pop from nowhere. The family may be target for assassination. Merlin’s Heir must be sought, and he alone we know his whereabouts and identity…

“Keep an eye on him.

“In the meantime, Potter, we have a further plan to bring about. This involves Headmaster Phoenix and our Head of International Magical Cooperation, Otto Blackberry. Mr. Blackberry knows of certain witches and wizards who are of vital importance to what is being attempted. In order to stop any further violence like the one that befell unfortunate Mr. and Mrs. Wallader, we must act decisively and quickly. And be careful, Rita Skeeter is keeping a close eye on the Ministry.”

Harry remembered those words clearly. He and Ron arranged to look after Merlin’s relations, once found, from afar and close by. Meanwhile he had business to attend to. He and Ginny awaited their children’s return from Hogwarts at the station with Ron, Hermione, and a number of other parents.

Harry took the letter from Albus to heart and he talked it out with Ginny late at night when Lily was asleep. “We got three kids,” Harry recalled grimly. “We of all people would”-

“Then, just do it,” Ginny said softly. “It won’t be so bad, and it’d help a great deal. You of all people would be able to help anyway. Help him to erase those painful memories. Plus, we have Teddy as well. He’d be more than happy to help him.”

“And Ron’s family?”

“We’re from the Weasley family, remember? You’re talking to the seventh child, all of us have red hair. What do we care?” Ginny reminded him, laughing.

The next day, Albus and James walked through the barrier to the sight of their mother and father. James hugged his mother first while Albus embraced his father. “Things are going great.”

“I told you they work out,” Harry said happily ruffling his son’s hair. Scorpius was shaking hands with Draco and Lucius once again, and respectfully bade goodbye to Albus.

“See ya, Al!” Riley called tiredly.

“Yeah, bye,” Walter called. “Write to me this summer.”

“I will,” Albus called back.

Albus looked back. The three students who stood without parents were standing a good way back. Albus assumed something was worked out for Mark, and the twins. But what? Was an orphanage keeper supposed to meet them? He wondered vaguely if Harry took what Albus said in the letter to heart at all.

Albus and Rose pat Scorpius on the back. Scorpius gave Rose a small smile, (Ron looked away, as did Draco) before the Malfoy’s departed first. Scorpius hung back for a while longer, knowing he wasn’t likely to meet Albus over the summer. He seemed to grow fond of Rose. Albus could tell. So, Scorpius wasn’t as prejudiced as he liked to act.

Harry turned to the small blonde boy. Albus’ bewilderment turned to horror as Harry extended a hand. Albus looked over at Mark and the twins. Scorpius looked in half-horror, half-pity as Mark looked at the twins. “Let’s go guys.”

They walked over, all three of them, to where the Potter’s and Weasley’s stood. Mark looked into Harry’s face, and said, “As long as I don’t have to share a room with Al.”

Albus opened his mouth in unmistakable horror that Ginny had to touch him on the back, “It’s rude to stare.”

Scorpius laughed uncertainly, but he went on to whoop with joy as the full meaning of what was going to happen dawned, earning himself a hard punch from Albus. “I’ll Jinx you right here if you laugh one more time.”

“In front of all those Muggles?” Scorpius taunted quietly, smirking arrogantly.

“I’ll wait till we meet again, but you’re gonna pay,” Albus swore.

“Mark is coming with us,” Harry announced to the stunned kids; James, Albus, and Lily. “We’ll have to do some sleeping arrangements, but we’ll- manage.”

“I’m not sharing a room with James,” Albus said at once. “I have a Slytherin personality to keep.”

“Al, Mark, you know what we’re going to ask,” Ginny said as the kids fell quiet.

Scorpius continued smirking as Albus groaned. “I have a”-

“There’s nowhere else,” Harry interrupted. “And weren’t you asking if there was anything we could do to help?”

“Curse my selfless letter-writing,” Albus muttered so only Scorpius could hear.

“You should learn to be selfish like me. Well, see ya, Al,” Scorpius said happily, patting his back. “If you can live that far.”

“I’m in for a rough summer,” Albus muttered. “You’re lucky you’re an only child.”

Albus and Scorpius clapped hands one last time, and Albus pat him on the shoulder. Then, Scorpius ran off to join his waiting parents and Eric could be heard asking, “Why can’t we go with Mark?”

“Because you got the trademark Weasley red hair,” Ron said happily. “We’re punishing you for copying our style.”

The last Albus heard of them that day was Aunt Hermione adding, “Or it could be the spacing and room arrangements. But you two fit right in.”

At least Rose was in the same house as the twins. At least she knew them. He, Albus, was in for a very rough summer, especially if he was sharing not only a house, but a room with Mark Wallader, the kid he spent the whole year rivaling. Even Mark privately admitted to himself that he lost to Albus. He also promised himself that Albus wouldn’t get away with winning though. It looked like some splitting arrangements were to be made in the room if Albus was to keep his Slytherin identity.

Albus’ room was quite large. It always was. The door was in the middle. Albus and Harry moved the beds so that he and Mark could effectively split the room fairly. The room was split into an upper half and lower half now. The upper half had the window, and a bed and bedside table. The lower half had the bookcase and a bed beside it. The doorway was split evenly.

“This is my half,” Albus pointed to the upper part. “And this is your half.”

Mark looked over at the bookcase. He smirked as he imagined it being forced empty, and Albus having to put his books someplace else. He knew Albus didn’t like reading, but everyone liked spell books, and that was exactly what these books were. He had no interest in windows, but keeping his books in a place like the case had to be good. “Ok.”

He went over to the full bookcase, and took the books from all three levels, and threw them onto Albus’ side. “Enjoy yourself, and find places to put these things. I hate living with pigs.”

Albus had a dirty look on his face as he picked his books up, and threw them under his bed. He couldn’t believe it. The few books he enjoyed were reduced to spots under the bed. He started with the walls to hang his crest up, and other posters baring the colors green and silver, or a few snakes, and then started planting more photos in the album, including those of himself and Scorpius by the lake. That was definitely it. He was in for a rough summer of tense warfare with the other side of his room. The Red and Gold side. The Gryffindor side.

But then…

“Ok, so here’s where we stand,” Mark said, sitting down on his bed and opening his bag to start unpacking. “You proved your point this year. Not all Slytherins are bad. You’re a living example. Pity I just can’t stand losing and that duel… I will pay you back. So, I’ll use this summer to recover myself, regain my posture and then I shall strike back when you least expect it. I will pick on your weakest point and believe me I’ll find it and when I do… you’ll beg for me to stop and only then will I consider it. You’ve awoken a sleeping giant, Albus Potter. Congratulations.”

And yet…

Albus found himself incapable of taking offense at his remarks or even feeling the least bit threatened. He knew Mark to make good on these promises but he also knew Mark was now his foster brother. Their rivalry had just evolved from one of bitter enmity to sibling rivalry. That was what spurred Albus to reach out in response and against Mark’s protests, embrace him. He could sense the great surprise etched on Mark’s face.

“I’m sorry, Mark… for your loss. If there’s anything I can do… let me know.”

Albus let go of him and walked back to his side of the room to lay down on his bed. Mark imitated and stared up at the ceiling with wide eyes. Al. Why? Lucky Albus couldn’t see him. Mark was smiling at the memory of the hug. I’ll never understand you, and something is telling me I just don’t want to.

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