The Forgotten Memory
Chapter 7: Behind the Mask
Albus stayed true to his word, and delivered his letter to his parents that break in the owlery, but not before letting Scorpius see the letter. Scorpius gave Albus a pat on the back when he saw Albus did consider him a friend. Albus found the owl he and James shared, a grey-white one called Archimedes, just when James came up, also knowing Albus was up there.
“Hey, Al, Malcolm looked angry earlier,” James said, coming in flanked by Samuel and Nigel. “What were you two arguing about?”
Albus didn’t answer. He was busy trying the letter to Archimedes’ leg. Scorpius answered instead, “He wants Al to join his side. Oi, James, do you two have a history?”
James didn’t answer Scorpius directly. Albus just finished tying the letter, and sent the owl off when he turned to James, “Well, answer the guy. Do you two have a history?” he asked, echoing Scorpius.
“Yeah,” James said shortly, not looking at Scorpius. “Yeah, it started last year. He was going on about blood purity, and insulted our mum as a blood traitor, so I pushed him off the boat. If the giant squid wasn’t there… Al, I just remembered. Hagrid wants you down in his hut for lunch today.”
“I was wondering what we were gonna do,” Albus said, brightening up. He grinned, “Thanks James. C’mon Scorps.”
“It’s Scorpius,” Scorpius corrected. “And Hagrid, Al?” Scorpius repeated, slightly crestfallen. “C’mon, we’ve got better ways to spend our first break than with an oaf. You can’t be serious.”
“What’s wrong with Hagrid? C’mon,” Albus pestered.
Albus raced himself and Scorpius through the hall to Gryffindor tower and down the staircases to the main staircase leading to the entrance hall. Riley was at the bottom, waving casually. “Where are you going?” he asked tiredly.
“Hagrid’s, wanna come?” Scorpius said in an equally bored voice.
“Sure,” Riley yawned, and walked with them a short way, and then looked up, “So, whose bright idea was it to visit Hagrid’s?” He looked at Scorpius as if it was his.
“Mine,” Albus said brightly. “James told me he asked me down.”
“Oh, fine,” Riley asked with the same tone Scorpius had.
“You of all people, Riley, should understand Hagrid is cool,” Albus said, surprised, staring at Riley as if he had never seen the boy plainly before.
“What!?” Riley exclaimed, jumping almost a foot off the ground. Now, it was Riley’s turn to look surprised. It was new for him. He was usually tired, and bored, very lazy. Next thing anyone knew, he had wide eyes in shock as if Albus caught him at something secret.
“You’re Half-blood, aren’t you,” Albus said pointedly, a little taken-aback at Riley reaction. “So you of all people would know it doesn’t matter about blood heritage.”
It was strange. Riley gave a great sigh that sounded almost like relief. Riley shrugged after a minute, and said, “I never met Hagird. Hope he’s cool. Think he’ll have snacks?” Albus dismissed it as another of Riley’s surprise hints at personality that Albus did not know of. He was strange from the first night as well.
Scorpius rolled his eyes, and said, as if it was obvious, “He is not cool, from what I hear.” And Scorpius spent the rest of the walk criticizing Hagrid for things Albus never heard before. He said he was a drunkard, kept pet monsters which included Acromantula, Werewolves, Dragons, and even a giant dog with three heads, and even did illegal breeding.
Riley seemed to be taking in every word of what Scorpius was saying; at least, until he got to criticizing him for raising a vampire once. Then, Riley shook his head, laughing, and said, “Well, he seems pretty cool. Rogue, but cool. I’m sure he’s careful. He’s lived this long, hasn’t he?”
“Lived this long?” Scorpius demanded angrily. “Riley, he”-
“Look,” Riley interrupted logically. “All I’m saying is anyone who trains dragons and three-headed dogs and lives so long is obviously expert. Figures that too, he’s Care of Magical Creatures teacher for third years and above, isn’t he?”
Then, Albus halted in his tracks. Mark Wallader had walked out of the faraway hut backed by the red-headed twins Alex and Eric Wallaby. Scorpius and Riley stopped and at that point, Albus noticed many things. Firstly, Riley stared coldly at Mark as if he too had a history with him and Mark stared back with what was probably loathing and a tinge of… was it possible… fear?
As Mark passed the group, he glanced coldly at Albus with an unfathomable expression of hate and revulsion as if Albus had insulted his mother; though, as both of them knew, neither of them had ever met formally and had never even talked except that one moment on the train where he joked what Albus belonged in Slytherin. Did that count as a meeting?
The presence of Mark shut both Scorpius and Riley up and before Scorpius could continue with more ramblings, they found themselves in front of Hagrid’s hut. Albus knocked and could sense Scorpius stand back. The door swung open, and there stood the half-giant Hagrid. Twice as tall as Galadral Phoenix was, he also possessed a large beard, black mostly, but graying in some places. Almost all his face was hair. “’Allo, Albus. Come in. Thought you forgot I existed.”
“Been busy,” Albus answered. He looked around. “Erm… this is Scorpius, and Riley.”
“A Malfoy, eh?” Hagrid said interestedly, peering at Scorpius, who looked taken-aback. “Haven’t seen a Malfoy since I taught your father. He still in the Ministry?”
Scorpius nodded shortly, and allowed himself in. Someone was already inside with Hagrid. Rose Weasley smiled in acknowledgement of Albus, and nodded at Scorpius good-naturedly.
“You acquainted with Rosie here?” Hagrid asked Scorpius kindly, filling a tankard up with tea.
Feeling it good manners, Scorpius answered with a ‘yes’ and shook Rose’s hand. Albus looked up at Hagrid. “Met that Mark kid? I saw him walking out.”
“Ah yeh, I met ‘em,” Hagrid said happily, setting the tea down on the table for Albus and Riley (and even Scorpius) to drink. “He was in here with the Wallaby twins. I’m rather on friendly terms with his dad so I know him well.”
“Who is he and what’s great about his father?” Scorpius asked, keeping his opinion to himself and asking Hagrid directly.
Hagrid did not answer directly and averted eyes at that question. He was saved more trouble by a loud squack being heard from the backdoor, and they all turned their heads. All except Rose. Scorpius gave Albus an I-told-you-so look, and Riley asked in a bored voice as if he didn’t really care, “What’s out there?”
“Buckbeak, my Hippogriff,” Hagrid said proudly.
Scorpius’ eyes lit up in sudden interest, “Isn’t that the name of the Hippogriff that attacked my”-
“No, not exactly,” Hagrid growled. “The original died. This his son.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes so much, they were in danger of being stuck up blind. He turned to Albus with a look of scorn of superiority, and said, “Add mad Hippogriffs to the list, Al.”
“Hey, Hagrid, is there truth to the rumors of you raising Acromantula and dragons and stuff?” Albus asked. “Because I keep telling Scorps that”-
“Loads o’ truth,” Hagrid nodded gruffly. “Seriously misunderstood creatures. The Acromantula don’t trust me no more, but Fluffy is still loyal.”
“Big surprise,” Scorpius said sarcastically, almost angrily. “You raised vampires, Werewolves, Dragons, and what’s this I hear about a Blast-ended Skrewt. Illegal breeding? What’s the cross? Do I wanna know?”
“It’s a Manticore and a Fire Crab,” Hagrid admitted proudly.
“So can I expect death if I get stung by one?”
“No,” Hagrid answered. “Weaker, the stings are. Plus, they don’ exist no more.”
Albus hastened himself for a change of subject. He could see Scorpius was prepared to argue angrily against Hagrid, and Albus knew his dad wouldn’t like it if Scorpius was known to insult Hagrid. “Erm, Rose, did you catch your dad’s sarcasm before the ride?”
Scorpius and Hagrid were arguing, but Rose answered nonetheless, “Hmm, you mean about him being ‘extremely famous?’ Yeah. I was thinking lately. It’s like being a museum exhibit. Uncle Harry is followed everywhere.”
Scorpius turned his head, apparently distracted. He seemed delighted about something. His attention was now on Albus and Rose’s discussion. Albus shrugged, “I think they’re hiding something from us.”
“But why?” Rose wondered aloud.
“Why wha’” Hagrid asked airily.
“Weren’t you listening?” Scorpius asked testily. “They’re wondering why Harry Potter is so well known.”
“Then, dad’s famous,” Albus got straight.
At that, Scorpius grinned, and started laughing. The only one who was quiet was Riley, who was watching the conversation with rapt attention. “Yeah, daddy’s famous,” he made fun.
“Shut up, Scorpy,” Rose said angrily. “What do you know?”
“I know more about Harry Potter than his own children,” Scorpius laughed superiorly. “Wait till my father gets a load of”-
“Listen here, Scorp,” Hagrid said lowly and quietly. He bowed his head deeper so Scorpius could get a full look at his face. “Some people prefer to keep their past to themselves. They don’ hafta rant on about it fer ‘ternity. What would you do?”
“I’d tell everybody I know,” Scorpius said, smirking. “Not that I think he did the right thing. And the name is Scorpius.”
“Did you ever get the feeling that we’re missing something?” Albus asked Rose.
She nodded watching Hagrid and Scorpius argue their cases. “My point, Scorpius, is that people don’t hafta rant on. If you’re a show-off, that’s all good and fine, but not ev’ryone is like that. Took your father ages to understand tha’, and it led to him bein’ attacked. It seems he’s passed it on ter yeh.”
“My family is of brilliant Wizarding stock”-
“I’m not denying tha’,” Hagrid interrupted.
Scorpius talked over him, “We’re some of the only Pure-bloods left. Pure-blood.”
“Do you agree with prosecuting Muggle-born’s for stealing magic?” Hagrid challenged.
Scorpius opened his mouth to fire back, but shut it instantly. Defeated, he turned his head away. Riley watched with his mouth half open. When Hagrid sniffed in triumph, Riley said in a tired, lazy-boy voice, “My dad was a Pure-blood, but he married a Muggle-born. He was a kind of extremist until the Dark Lord came into the picture. Then he changed his ways. I’m on Potter’s side.”
“I don’t care if I’m overruled,” Scorpius muttered. He still kept his head turned.
Scorpius was made to turn his head with Hagrid surprisingly placed a hand on his shoulder, despite the rift, and said, “Look, I recognize you as Al’s friend, and I admire you fer bein’ strong. But yeh need ter get yer prior’ties right. Even your grandmother came to in the end, and she was as bad as yer grandfather.”
“Harry wouldn’t be living right now if it wasn’t for my grandmother,” Scorpius said through gritted teeth. “No one gets that, do they, they just… all think we’re the same or something, that”-
“Malfoy, listen the me,” Hagrid interrupted. “I can tell clearly that yer not the same as yer father, but yer words do not help yer case. Think carefully what yeh say because we know yer personality.”
Scorpius turned to face Hagrid. He stared straight into the black eyes, and said, “I’m not with or against what Potter did. Pure-bloods deserve recognition for being rare and all Wizard. But get this clear, so there’s no mistake,” Scorpius said, now loudly for everyone to hear. “I would never, ever prosecute Muggle-borns and Muggles.” Then, he got up, he turned to Al, and said, “Just know, Potter, whatever you know or don’t know, I accept it’s not my business. But your father wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for grandmother.” He turned toward the door, “I’m gonna have lunch.”