The Hogwarts Hurricane
Chapter 12: Mark’s Purpose
The controversy over the Quidditch game gave forth an eruption of hostilities between Gryffindor and Slytherin, giving Mark perfect reason to throw a Jinx at an unsuspecting Albus from a corner. For that reason, Albus stayed in the Common room for well over a month. In mid November, a disgruntled Scorpius sat himself down beside Albus on the sofa, arms crossed.
“What’s up?” Albus asked, interested in this new attitude Scorpius had.
“Get this, we checked the snitch, and it turned out Mark caught it,” Scorpius said angrily. Albus was not sure what to say about this, as snitches had a memory of touch and therefore could not lie. “I could’ve sworn I had it! What the bloody hell?”
Albus could not really say much, but on the bright side, Mark did lose two hundred points that day so the victory meant nothing except in terms of Quidditch, where Slytherin would have to hope for a Ravenclaw victory against Gryffindor if they had any hope.
To make matters more confusing, Albus for the first time took interest in the Daily Prophet as an article concerning Hogwarts was released. Little did he know that this article meant much more to his life than he could ever anticipate?
Hogwarts- A School or a Battleground by Rita Skeeter:
Hogwarts has always been referred to as an academy for witchcraft and wizardry, writes Rita Skeeter, famed journalist for over two decades. It’s a school where magic comes to life in startling news ways for each generation. One generation saw the prodigious skill of Albus Dumbledore, another saw the boundaries of magic being pushed by Mr. Thomas Riddle who later left to become the infamous Dark Lord, subsequent generations saw the rise of such noted Wizards, Harriet Wallader and Harry Potter to name a couple.
But all Wizards such as Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter were known to use the school as a base of operations against tyranny. Evil, as we know, comes in many forms, and fighting against tyranny is one of them. But so is endangering innocent children in a wider war. Is Hogwarts really the school we thought it was? Harry Potter ran an underground group against the Ministry in 95, and Albus Dumbledore headed the Order from the very same school in a similar fashion.
Nowadays, the Wizarding world lacks warfare, but voices are being raised. Yesterday as a rift within the Ministry was exposed. Head of the Department of Education Mors Incommodo accused International Magical Cooperation Head of Department Otto Blackberry of working in cahoots with Galadral Phoenix for taking in five foreign exchange students in an attempt to draw fire off Hogwarts.
Minister Cauldwell was revealed to be working on a top secret case with Harry Potter involving the school being under major threat. This is where the conspiracy makes itself known. Common perception is that these are in fact British Wizards who are the offspring of the Muggle-born’s who fled abroad during the second war. This is a lie.
While there is no conclusive evidence to support this, we do know one thing. “Otto Blackberry was in fact once a Death Eater,” said Mr. Sturgis Podmore, Order of Merlin third class for services during the second war. “A Pure-blood supremacist during the first war, he largely stayed out of the second. Sturgis’ revelations can be used to take up the new theory coming to light. No Pure-blood Wizard to date has ever reformed enough to actually campaign for the return of Muggle-born students.
The exchange program is in reality being used to send a message to forces unknown. This is being used to bring out and eradicate certain killers and bring them to justice. But is this justice? “As Otto was a Death Eater, so was Harriet Wallader who few months ago was found dead in his own home,” adds Sturgis. This death may not be foul play as some suspect by former Death Eaters, but by those who were simply seeking justice for their own families slaughtered by Harriet’s hand. That said, Otto may be sure to watch his own back.
On another note, it was revealed by Incommodo that the American Minister’s son was reported missing in his own country, and rumor started circulating in America and out that said son currently resides in Hogwarts. Such students as children of important international figures raised eyebrows in the Ministry as the Minister declined to comment on these rumors.
This more or less tells the wider community that the Potter, Blackberry, and Phoenix formed a secret tripartite alliance. Such a secret alliance being uncovered by Incommodo shows the school truly in danger, and shows students within the school, particularly those from foreign nations, in danger. Mr. Phoenix is widely expected to put the students’ safety first and pull out, sending them back where they came from.
Albus was shocked at the article. He did not know Ben to be the American Minister’s son. Harry could not have lied, could he? No, it did not make sense. Albus did not know the specifics, but he did know that he was missing something important. Making a mental note to ask Harry about it over the holidays, Albus decided to put it at the back of his mind for the time being. He could not give it much pause due to the coming of the Quidditch match.
Gryffindor played Ravenclaw near the end of the month, but Ravenclaw was flattened. Slytherin was out of the running once again though. It was pitiful that the Slytherin team were nearly knocked out of commission once again. It only made Scorpius even angrier that the Slytherins were likely to have just one more match, unless the Gryffindors lost against Hufflepuff.
The teachers were working them all to death as well. New curses made fruition in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Potions became a lot harder. Albus made good marks in Transfiguration, but he could sense that growing harder too. He hoped it would get easier, because he was too lazy to study more.
Rose was Albus’ partner in Transfiguration one day in mid-November when Scorpius was absent with the flu. They were required to get with the season to transform raindrops into snowflakes. “The enchanted raindrops are in these containers here. One container between two, please, and get going.”
Albus was resting his eyes on Mark, who was partnering with Walter for once and not the twins. He remembered Alex saying something about Otto; something that would take him and someone else down. This someone else was obviously Riley. But what was it that interested them so much and why were Mark and the twins fighting? Was it related to how they were treating everyone? Did Mark perhaps think they had gone too far or did he want to back out?
“Al, will you pay attention and get your mind off Mark,” Rose whispered impatiently. “Eyes off the boy, now, Al. I swear, I wish you lay off that kid. You know what he wants. Your best bet is to ignore him, really.”
“It’s hard, Rosie, he’s up to something,” Albus said back, barely moving his lips.
“Think about this,” Albus told her, and he lowered his voice. Albus explained to Rose, for the first time what Albus had overheard in Diagon Alley. Rose, though reluctant listened closely to Albus, eyes widening at the right moments and Albus could tell he successfully got her interested. This was indisputable proof that Mark was sticking his nose into something that simply did not concern him.
Finally, Albus finished and Rose sighed, and successfully transfigured their raindrops to satisfy Redgrow. “I wish you told me sooner. Honestly, Al, it’s so obvious. He knows something about Otto that threatens his position and decided to hold it over Riley’s head. He threatened to take Uncle Harry down, being his foster father if he does anything. To do anything, it would involve Rita and yourself thanks to Uncle Harry’s talk with you last summer. Mark told him that if he does anything like that, he’d act… he’s protecting you, Albus.”
“Al, honestly, has it ever crossed your mind that maybe Mark isn’t the bad guy?”
“What business is it of his?” Albus demanded. “Ever heard of live and let live?”
“I never said he was right,” Rose shrugged.
Albus sighed, and giving up the conversation he attempted his own spell, only freezing the drops and making them solid ice instead. The conversation did not go anywhere from there and he spent the rest of the lesson looking forward to Charm where he would be partnering with Alexis Ackerly.
Charms was the most fun class to Albus right now and that was mainly because Alexis was fun to practice Charms with. It was something having a father as a teacher, but at least Alexis was not like Laura Creevey. After failing the Cheering Charm for the fifth time, Alexis shook her head and put her hand on Albus’ white knuckles, calming them. “What’s up, Al? You look tense.”
Albus had never before confided anything in Alexis though she was attentive. He had no choice this time though. Looking into Alexis’ soft face, her brown pigtails blending with her eyes, he said, “Mark.”
Albus spilled everything to her, including the conversation in Diagon and what Rose thought of it. There, Albus could notice the stark difference between Rose and Alexis. Rose was short with Albus when he talked about Mark while Alexis was thoughtful and though she agreed with Rose, she let it be known in a very soft way indeed.
“I think that you seriously need to learn to put two and two together,” Alexis said quietly. “You’re really dense if you can’t figure out that Mark has something against Otto, not Riley personally, based on that conversation.”
“But why is he getting involved?”
“Because he’s mean?” Alexis shrugged. “He appointed himself police of the school and decided to deal judgment on a couple of people. I don’t know what’s with Otto, though he does seem a little strange, but it doesn’t matter much. Just drop it. If Mark wants to convert you to Gryffindor, just stay off him. No better way to sabotage that plan of his by staying away from him. Plus, you’ll be too boring for me if you’re Gryffindor.”
The bell rang for the end and as they got up, Albus took a deep breath. H did not know why and would not find out for a long time indeed but he turned to Alexis and said, “Erm… thanks for listening by the way.”
Alexis blushed red and smiled happily, for a small split second mesmerizing Albus. “No problem, Al.”
Mark and the twins were caught arguing at breakfast as December began. It was the one light in the darkness Scorpius claimed to be trapped in. Three Gryffindors arguing amongst each other was simply too good to be true. At the same time, Walter started talking with Mark a lot more due to the friction.
Mark and Walter were showing signs of becoming inseparable. Albus guessed that was what angered the twins so much, but he couldn’t see them yelling just because Mark was talking to someone else. Except maybe Eric.
After lessons on the first Friday of the month, Albus could be found sitting against a bean cushion, reading up some Charms notes when Scorpius came in the Common Room happily, rubbing his hands together. It wasn’t every day Scorpius smiled, so this must’ve been good. “Well, I got good news.” He was looking unnaturally happy. “Mark and the twins split up.”
“I didn’t know they were gay,” Albus said calmly, casually, staring at his notes.
“You know what I mean, Al!” Scorpius laughed, punching him as he sat beside him.
Albus looked up, eyes wide, “Why?”
“No clue,” Scorpius shrugged, sitting beside him. “But they fought it out big time just now. Just saw them outside. Corey Killian told me that Mark and Eric were fighting, and when Mark jinxed Eric, Alex got angry.”
“Who’s Corey Killian?” Albus asked, puzzled at the mention of different names.
“Hufflepuff bloke, he took it from Jonathan Peters from Gryffindor,” Scorpius said, waving it aside. “But who cares. The point is, they fought.”
“That’s stupid,” Albus shrugged. He didn’t know why he felt sorry for them. Maybe it was because a friendship shown to be so strong the year before, all of a sudden ending, was quite tragic, Gryffindor or not. He felt almost sickened that Scorpius could be happy about that. He of all people knew how it felt, or at least had an inkling, having argued with Riley.
“What’re you so bummed about?” Scorpius asked.
Albus shook his head and sighed, “You’d know how it feels. Good friends arguing with each other, and being driven to Jinx each other. What could’ve happened that made them fight so hard?”
Scorpius was taken-aback. He eyed Albus in a way as if he never saw him before, “Uh, Al? Gryffindor? They’re the enemy. They’re, uh… a bunch of self-righteous little asses. Don’t tell me you’re becoming one of the Gryffindor sympathizers. With James fighting Mark and Mark fighting his own cousins, we’re sure to win this thing.”
“I didn’t know we were at war… It’s just not right,” Albus said sadly. “Look at you and Riley. And I’m beginning to think you’re right. He really might need help.”
“Actually, I was just kidding,” Scorpius admitted sheepishly.
Albus felt for Mark, but then he remembered Mark acting horrible to Albus and now Riley. He made fun of him in the summer, provoked further anger, and now he was torturing Riley in a way that forced the latter to abandon his friends. Riley never even yelled so much before. Then, if Mark was upset, he had Walter with him. It could easily split the Slytherin dormitory up. Unless…
Good old James. He had done this. Albus could see it clearly. James was known to be pressuring Mark. As punishment for the summer, James might’ve been trying to torture Mark into leaving Albus alone. As punishment for being such a snake the previous summer. He grew angry at the thought of it, and looked up, “You know what, you’re right. Mark’s an ass and he deserves it.”
“I know I am,” Scorpius said happily.
What could be so secretive? Albus resolved to confront the already-bashed Mark, considering he was emotionally weakened from the twins and James. Albus cornered Mark later that day, wand drawn but not yet raised. Mark was outside, sitting against a tree when Albus cornered him. “What the bloody hell?” Albus stood over the little boy, towering over him, an angry scowl on his face. “Ok, Mark, what’s your problem? Fess up!”
“Oh, not you too,” Mark complained loudly.
Mark rolled himself behind the tree, narrowly avoiding Albus’ spell and got up. He jumped from behind the tree, wand pointed at Albus threateningly. “What’s the deal here? Just tell me already. Riley’s my friend!”
“Doesn’t look like it!”
“Whose fault is that?” Albus yelled. “You’ve caused enough trouble. It’s in both our interests if you just fess up already.”
“Believe me, Al, it is not in our interests,” Mark told him quietly. “Just leave it there. Leave Riley to me and one of these days, when you’re in Gryffindor with the rain pattering the windows, reflecting your mood with the horrible crap the Slytherin snake scum will be giving you, you’ll be thanking me on bended knee for this.”
Albus let his wand down, and allowed it to hang loosely by his side. Mark laughed at him and said, “Slytherin coward!”
Mark held the same evil smile he had over the summer. The one Albus came to despise, and he couldn’t stay quiet. Memories of anger rushed back to him, and his conscience speaking in Scorpius’ voice, said, ‘do it.’ Albus stowed his wand back in his pocket, trying to ignore his instincts. Then, Mark laughed harder and Albus gave in to his instincts. He threw a punch at the boy’s face, and Mark backed away, and tripped over a lower tree branch, falling back and yelping in a high pitched voice. Albus jumped at him, and kicked his shins, Mark yelling in pain, and Albus yelling, “That’s for RILEY ASS HOLE!”
Albus felt a little guilty, but he ignored it. He pointed his wand down, but Mark’s was pointed up. A flash, a bang, and Albus found himself soaring up like a rocket. He hung from a tree branch for support.
Mark threw his wand up skillfully, and caught it, using “Diffindo” when it landed in hand once again.
The branch Albus hung from broke, and he fell, branch over him. As Albus fell, Mark fired a Disarming charm. He couldn’t tell what hit first, the spell or the ground. Mark was way too fast to deal with. Albus’ wand flew out of his hand, and landed in Mark’s triumphant hand. Mark spat on Albus’ face, “You suck!” He threw the wand down beside its owner, and he turned tail and ran away.
Albus sighed as he rubbed his bruises, and stopped his bleeding. Note to self. Never try to engage with Mark in a duel again. It’s not worth it. Albus wasn’t happy about the results. He seriously thought he could do it. Maybe Mark fought out of anger. It sure looked like it. Why was Mark so evil about this? Well, as far as Albus was concerned, he deserved whatever Alex and Eric gave to him, and he hoped it was a lot.
No matter how much Albus currently disliked Mark at this time, it couldn’t stop him sticking up for him when other parties got involved. As Albus walked away, Walter passed him to hang out with Mark as usual, but Malcolm was spotted by Albus hiding behind a suit of armor, and Albus could easily guess what would come next.
Albus watched as Malcolm approached the unsuspecting Walter and Mark, and point his wand at them both.
“Walter, up!” Malcolm demanded. “It’s time you were educated. Wallader, you’re pathetic, so go away.”
“Go away and leave us alone,” Mark said, going red. Albus was arguing with himself whether or not to get involved. Could Mark handle Malcolm by himself? Would Walter get involved?
What Albus saw from Walter was uncertainty; however, as he watched Malcolm yell at Mark for ‘corrupting Walter.’ He prepared himself to jump in when out of nowhere, James and his entire dormitory, including even Jimmy Kat charged in, engulfing Malcolm easily.
Albus’ suspicions about James were right. James had taken it upon himself to give Mark hell until he apologized and left the Slytherin dormitory alone. Louis jumped from nowhere, and elbowed Malcolm off. Malcolm recovered immediately, and reached into his pocket for his wand.
“Langlock!” Louis muttered.
Malcolm had his tongue tied to the top of his mouth, and James fired “Rictusempra!”
“Tarrentallegra!” Louis yelled.
Malcolm crawled away feebly, tongue-tied, laughing and tap dancing at the same time, nose bleeding from Louis’ elbow. Sensing Malcolm’s obvious defeat and not wanting to be discovered as a spy, he ran off back to the safety of the dungeons.