The Hogwarts Hurricane
Chapter 13: Scorpius’ Flight
Hogwarts had become so socially unstable for Albus by the time the holidays arrived that Albus had seriously tried putting his name down to go home over the holidays. He wanted so much to go home, just to get away from Hogwarts and the fights everyone got into, and particularly to get away from Mark whom he heard was staying at Hogwarts while interestingly the twins were going home.
Scorpius had just signed up to go home and Albus knew he’d be alone and bored if he stayed. As Albus tried signing up, Era looked through her black eyes at him, and said, “I’m sorry, Potter. You have a roommate, and rules of the exchange program state you must remain at Hogwarts with said person and socialize. Surely you were warned?”
Albus gaped in shock as Scorpius looked determinedly down. Era continued peering at him through her black eyes, and Albus, stomach sunken, shook his head bitterly, “No, I wasn’t warned. At all.”
“Oh, well now you are,” Era shrugged, and continued on her way. She took Scorpius’ name, to Albus’ further anger. The least Scorpius could’ve done was remain for Albus, but he left too.
“DAMN IT!” Albus yelled angrily, pounding his fist on the table. “Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!”
“Potter!” Era stated angrily. “Behave yourself, will you?”
“You’re not gonna leave me here,” Albus almost commanded but Scorpius kept his gaze down and Albus knew at once something was up. “Come on, mate, your family doesn’t do much for Christmas anyways. You were only going home because I was.”
“Well, I- I mean, Al, I…” Scorpius seemed at a loss. He was plainly hiding something he was not keen on telling Albus. “I already signed up. It’s too late,” he excused lamely.
At that moment, the owls fluttered through the ceiling and a note dropped for Walter who was sitting across from them and strangely oblivious to the conversation. A letter dropped for Albus but he hardly noticed it. Scorpius did not receive any mail, or at least that was what it first seemed like. Next thing any of them knew, Walter reached across the table and handed a letter to Scorpius and Scorpius read it eagerly, neither of them catching Albus’ eye and making him feel left out.
Letters are accurate. What’re they hiding?
Albus snatched the letter from Scorpius’ hand. Walter went red and Scorpius predictably protested and reached out aggressively to grab it back but not before Albus read the short message on the letter.
We will pick you up at the train station and see you off when classes resume.
Karl L. M.
Scorpius grabbed it back and turned down to his porridge, looking tremendously guilty. Walter had hurriedly left Scorpius alone and Albus was in shock. “You were gonna go anyway,” Albus said in a low voice. “You and Walter had plans. You’re just leaving me here and- I mean none of you do much Christmas. It’s a Muggle thing. You said so yourself.”
“Father has a Ministerial draft statement to work on with Karl and I have to be there,” Scorpius whispered, still refusing to meet Albus’ eyes.
And for the first time, Albus’ anger got the better of him. It would have been better if he had just punched him. He got up from the table without having had a bite, and left a shocked Scorpius and Walter sitting alone. He practically yelled the password at the snake. If it was a real snake, it might’ve bitten him, but it opened its mouth nonetheless and Albus stomped inside and threw himself on an arm chair.
Great! He was stuck at Hogwarts all year, literally, and with someone who he had trouble socializing with. He was stuck in an empty castle with naught but teachers or other students such as Mark who aspired to make his life hell. Mark would have been ecstatic to hear Albus was forced to stay and happier to hear Scorpius had let Albus think something falsely and made plans with Walter behind his back. Walter, the boy who always stuck around with Mark these days to fill the void the twins left.
The whole year was against him. First, his summer was marred by Hurricane Ginny, and he was grounded for two weeks, and then he went to Hogwarts to find out that five exchange students were coming to Hogwarts and Mark wanted Albus to be miserable, in Gryffindor or both. On top of all of that, those supposed wonderful and honorable Gryffindors were plaguing Riley and preventing him from talking to Albus and his friends and his only hope was James continuing to destroy Mark emotionally.
Albus opened the letter he left sealed and read through it. It was a surprise letter from Hermione, containing instructions concerning Adam Musa and how he must treat the Egyptian.
Your father has asked me to pass on a message to you. As you may know, a certain journalist ‘somehow’ found out about your conversation with your father last summer concerning the exchange students. I ask that you keep a tight lip. Since my earlier threat to expose her, she has been unusually quiet. I have personal experience with Skeeter to tell you this is very unusual and is probably somewhat intimidated if I may flatter myself. Keep a tight lip and treat your exchange student with the utmost respect and make sure nothing happens to him. I won’t be surprised if there are people inside Hogwarts who would like to put him in enough danger so he’d leave. Your father passed this same message on to James. We’re counting on you.
Hopefully, your friends can help you with this. I know the Malfoys are going to Romania for the holidays to strike some Ministerial deal with our dragon-keepers there so I imagine Scorpius is staying.
I’ll be in touch if more developments arise,
So… Scorpius had still lied. He did not come clean. His dad did not have a deal with Karl at all. The next day, the castle left as planned with Albus not speaking a word to Scorpius or Walter despite their waves of goodbye to him. Albus was left with Adam. He woke up the next morning, yawning greatly, Adam was sitting up in bed. Albus led Adam out of the Common room, hoping he could probably find Carl, and maybe they’d spend the day together. He couldn’t think what else to say. Carl and Ben were sitting against the wall, deep in conversation.
Ben looked up as Albus and Adam came up. Carl seemed to be annoyed, but Albus couldn’t care right now. It was either this, or fare with boredom the rest of the holidays.
“What do you want?’ Carl asked.
“We’re bored, we’re tired, and near dead,” Albus said tiredly.
But Carl and Ben weren’t the best company. They were quite boring, but at least conversation could be struck. Ben was curious about Albus himself because he had heard from Hai that Albus was under a suit of armor earlier before a Quidditch match.
“She actually talked about me?” Albus asked interestedly. He had not seen her since that time.
“Well, it was more in passing, really,” Ben shrugged. “She thought you were in trouble because she noticed the whole deal with that kid in your dormitory. What was his name? Strawberry?”
“Riley Blackberry, and he didn’t do it,” Albus yawned. “That was Mark.”
“Oh, him,” Ben had a dark look on his face.
I don’t like Blackberry or that Wallader,” Adam said honestly. “Blackberry is really scary and Wallader is mean.”
“He’s aggressive, just stay away from him,” Carl advised. “Really, Adam, in Hogwarts you’ll get all sorts. You’re best times are with the people who actually like you and who stick with you.”
“Thanks, dude,” Ben pat Carl on the back.
As if philosophically, Carl went on, Albus completely absorbing what he was saying, “A friend doesn’t leave you or treat you like crap the way Mark does. That’s why even those carrot-tops are done with him. He has anger management issues.”
“Do friends keep secrets?” Albus asked grumpily.
Carl only shrugged. “Depends… what kind? Everyone has secrets.”
“The kind where he gets together with another friend of yours behind your back and leaves you completely alone,” Albus answered simply.
It was Ben who answered this one, smirking a little bit, “Oh, we all have different friends. But I don’t like the part about leaving another one out of it and doing it in secret.”
“A secret is really only bad when it is discovered,” Carl told him sagely. “Except if the secret causes harm in the first place. Why did they leave you out?”
Then, it hit him. Albus felt stupid admitting this last part. “Because I had to stay with my roommate.”
“Oh, well then they kept a secret to protect your feelings,” Ben speculated.
“Well, they could have gotten together over here and kept each other company,” Carl said pointedly. “That’s what I’d have done.”
Any Gryffindor would, Mark’s voice went in his head. That proves it. He left you for someone with views fitting best with his own. Two Pure-blood supremacists. No Gryffindor would have done that to you. Never. They’d stay to keep you company. No, they even kept a secret from you still, even when the truth was screaming. Deal with Karl my ass.
“Damn that kid,” Albus muttered.
“I gotta go,” Albus said half miserably as he jumped up.
Ignoring calls for him to come back, he ran off towards the main staircase and stared up at it. He had never used this staircase except when he had Charms, Transfiguration or Defense Against the Dark Arts. Mark.
Mark had done it. He was really close with Walter. Wow. He was right. He had it better than Albus. A simple fight with the twins wouldn’t split them up. They’d simply get back together and Mark would continue hanging out with Walter. Best friends. That was for real. But why wasn’t Mark offended that his great friend Walter had left with Scorpius? He seemed positively happy the previous day.
Because he wanted Walter to invite Scorpius over. He wanted Albus left alone. It would only prove another point.
Albus stepped up on the first step, still deep in thought. He did not notice his own tears dropping down. ‘Father has a Ministerial draft statement to work on with Karl and I have to be there.’ Bull.
‘The Malfoys are going to Romania for the holidays.’ They were indeed, meaning Scorpius’ stupid lie was meaningless. Albus kept walking up, failing to notice where he was going.
He lied. Just to get together with a boy Mark was close with. A boy who Scorpius had silently accused of betraying them when he got friendly with Mark. . What was the meaning of this? What was Mark’s angle? What was his purpose? What was his problem?
Albus’ eyes were watery now. He subconsciously led himself into a lit Charms classroom. He needed a place to sit alone… only he was not alone. “Al?” Albus snapped awake and then noticed that his eyes were wet and tears were running down his cheeks. He couldn’t see clearly but he knew who it was. This was a Charms classroom and the female voice was Alexis Ackerly. Albus was not able or even willing to stop himself. He threw himself on her in misery and she exclaimed in shock. Albus, her Charms mate, was in tears.
“What’s wrong, Al?” she asked concernedly.
Albus’ face was on her shoulder, emotional barrier finally having broken down. “N-Nothing.”
“Oh, I see,” she said sarcastically. “So, you were peeling onions then?”
A small chuckle broke through his tears and he let himself off her shoulder. “Sorry. Just- never mind. I’m sorry. It’s nothing.”
“Seemed a pretty sad nothing,” Alexis commented. “Tell me. You told me before and you actually liked what I had to say. Try it again, won’t you?”
“B-Believe me, it’s nothing,” Albus muttered, determinedly drying his eyes. “Sorry, I- just… never mind.”
Albus made to walk out of the room, willing to give anything he owned just to avoid having to show himself to Alexis like this. He had just made it to the door when Alexis called him back sternly, “Al, come back here. You think your life will be better if you bottle it up inside? Just tell me already.”
Albus stopped at the door, unable to bring himself to go further. If he spoke, tears were likely to burst out again but if he left, Alexis would not like that and she had been very kind and his only friend in some classes. Now, she was his only friend left. Trying as hard as he could to keep his voice steady, and forced himself away from the door and sat down, staring determinedly at his own feet. He said, “Riley has completely abandoned us, Mark is treating everyone he meets like mud, and now I discover that Scorpius lied just to get away from me.”
Realizing his vagueness and lack of detail, he launched into story of what had happened since the last time they talked, Alexis listening very silently and making it plain enough she had sympathy. He finished his story with Carl’s philosophy and how he had walked blindly over here. Alexis was still listening, by the end a slight smile on her face and she said almost sweetly, “Simple solution. When Malfoy comes back, talk to him about it and ask him why he lied. I’m sure he has a good enough reason and if not you deserve an apology. Forget about Mark, really because he is an ass and no one in my house likes him very much either… well except for Fawcett but she doesn’t count because that’s just a crush. As for Riley, I think you need to stop blaming him and instead show him you care. Ask him kindly what’s wrong and remind him that you value his friendship. If that doesn’t make him budge, to hell with all of them. Maybe you need new friends.”
“Yeah, that’s what Mark keeps telling me,” Albus said bitterly. “New friends and a new house. Like I’d be happier in Gryffindor.”
“Oh… and you’re worried he’s right?” Alexis asked cleverly. Albus did not answer. She was too close to the truth for his liking and so he preferred to stay quiet. Alexis went on, “The way I see it, this fight with Mark needs to end. Every problem ends either diplomatically or through aggression and fighting. You two have been fighting for so long now, it’s proven to be useless. The only way is diplomacy now. Try talking to him.”
“That won’t work either,” Albus shook his head.
“You never tried,” Alexis shrugged. “Al, there’s a solution to everything, ok? If neither works, then maybe you’re attacking the problem from the wrong angle. I still say talk to him though. Tell him you don’t want to fight and quite honestly, he probably doesn’t either. He’s not too happy himself, you know.”
Something had clicked. A sudden idea came to Albus. He could not believe that was the solution. If he thought of this a couple of days ago, he would have shrugged it off as surrender. But this way was perfect, especially if Mark was as unhappy as Alexis said he was. Now, he just had to find him.