Albus Potter and the Hogwarts Hurricane
Chapter 16.5: Bonus Flashback
“I wanna tell yeh two a story,” Hagrid began, sitting down and stoking the fireplace with his backs to them. Albus and Mark took seats on either side of each other, neither facing each other nor Hagrid. Hagrid kept them both in because of one reason. There was something the both of them needed to know. “And I hope yeh two ben’fit from this b’cause you two are not meant teh fight.”
They faced Hagrid’s back in response. As if sensing the change of direction, Hagrid cleared his throat but still kept his back to them. He continued stoking the fire as he began the story.
“I s’ppose it all begins where it ended,” Hagrid started. “When the war ended, the world was beginning to rebuild itself. People came outta hiding and that included yer father, Mark. Harriet Wallader. Dumbledore trusted few people with knowledge of his whereabouts and I was included. Great man Dumbledore. Trusted me with his life. Harriet remained in hiding until his wife was pregnant. At around the same time, his wife’s sister was pregnant too. Years passed and Hogwarts was under Headmistress McGonagall. When she retired, that meant Dumbledore’s closest was gone from the school and the only one left was Harriet. I took Harry Potter to the dwelling.”
“Harry Potter,” Harriet spoke up, coming forward and shaking with both hands. “How do you do.”
“Mr. Wallader,” Harry said, bowing in greeting.
“Ah, but I should be bowing to you my friend,” Harriet said happily. “Ah, you’ve saved the world… by extension my life really. Not sure if Dumbledore ever told you the story.”
“Well, you’ll have to enlighten me, he failed to fill me in on a lot of things,” Harry laughed. “I was… too young.”
“Well, it’s a long story,” Harriet laughed, sitting him down. “Tea? Coffee? Anything you like.”
“Coffe, thank you,” Harry said politely. “I am here on business.”
“I can imagine,” Harriet guessed speculatively. “You want me to teach at Hogwarts. You want something of Dumbledore left when McGonagall retires in the next few years, correct?”
“Yes, I do,” Harry said lowly and solemnly. “She is not due to retire yet but she is concerned of the future of the school if it does not remain in Dumbledore’s hands. She prefers not to leave it to fate.”
“I’m sorry, I must decline,” Harriet said apologetically. “I never taught at Hogwarts nor do I want to. On top of that, you will want a Headmaster who has teaching experience. I cannot simply rise to Headmastership abruptly with little to no experience simply because Dumbledore tutored me. You are better fit for the job.”
“Ah, but the Auror Department needs me,” Harry said sadly.
“Great, so Mr. Wallader nearly taught at Hogwarts,” Albus said, at a loss as to what Hagrid was getting at.
“Just because Harry Potter offered my dad a job does not mean Albus Potter is good mate,” Mark said pointedly.
“I’m not finish’d,” Hagrid said in his same low voice, back still to them. “Harry Potter finished his drink and left the house. He musta felt downtrodden but he did not give it up. He aspired to meet him again and this with a new objective. A recommendation for another to take McGonagall’s place. This is where you come in.”
Hagrid brought Harry once again to the secluded home. This time, Harry had an accomplice with him. A small boy of no less than three with green eyes and black hair vigorously combed in an attempt to tame it. The boy held his father’s hand quietly, cuddling himself by his waist as if for protection from the outside world. Hagrid knocked on the door. The answer this time came not from Harriet Wallader but from his wife Barbara.
“Potter, I presume?” she asked through a mane of red hair. “This way. My husband is speaking with him right now.”
“I- I see,” Harry said uncertainly.
Hagrid ducked his way in and greeted her warmly. Barbara accepted the hug and then turned back to Harry. “Harriet is still busy with him. This man is a Healer so I cannot guarantee you’ll be able to speak with him today. Wait in the living room whilst they finish off.”
She accompanied him there and showed him into the living room. The room was spacious enough to seat twenty people comfortably. It was a large room with a collection of seats and sofas and armchairs forming a sort of circle around an empty carpeted area. The area was empty except for a small blonde boy with matted hair playing quietly in a spacious area of the room on a toy broomstick. Harry grinned widely. “Little Mark Wallader, I believe?”
“Yeah, just turned three,” she smiled at her son. “Wait here, please.”
Harry and Hagrid took seats and watched as little Albus Potter walked tentatively up to the blonde boy. The blonde boy looked up and with a slow type of English suggesting he had just mastered the use of the word, said “Hi.”
“Ok, stop right there,” Mark interrupted. “I- I, Mark Wallader, Lion of a Thousand Generations, spoke to Albus Potter, Snake of a Thousand Generations.”
“Big deal,” Albus shrugged. He could not for the life of him see the importance of this. Just because two kids had met once did not mean they’d be friends as preteens. It did not justify Mark’s actions at all.
“Will yeh two calm down?” Hagrid told them gruffly. His back was illuminated by the dim glow of the fire as night fell. The two kids wanted to return to the dormitories where their friends would be waiting for them but Hagrid was keeping them.
“Harry Potter,” Harriet greeted him. “This is little Albus, I suppose.”
“Yes, his mother is doing a report today so I consented to look after him,” Harry said, giving eyes not to Harriet but to the man beside him. The man was blonde with a very shallow mane of facial hair just coming in and a ponytail at the back. He looked fairly young but if the stories Harry heard from Harriet in his letters during correspondence were true, he was in his late fifties. “Mr. Phoenix?”
“Mr. Potter,” Phoenix responded politely.
“I heard a lot of amusing stories about you,” Harry started calmly. “My main purpose is to see if they are true first hand. Do you mind answering a few questions for me?” Galadral Phoenix took a seat across from Harry and Harriet and Barbara took their own seats on either side, listening to the ensuing conversation. Harry started them. “Well, firstly, you were mentored by Albus Dumbledore himself. Correct?”
“In a way,” Phoenix answered professionally as if taking an interview. “I followed the man. I was really a tag-along. It wa s awhile before he agreed to teach me. He sensed a certain… skill in me if I may sound conceited.”
“How long were you taught and in what way?” Harry asked him, eyes moving to Mark and Albus. Albus had unconscious taken a toy truck and Mark snatched it back. He fought the urge to laugh.
“One-on-one lessons during my time at school and a continuation of them after school. I worked and trained hard, failed to even find myself a job. I attempted to be his right hand man in the first war.”
“An endeavor that was unsuccessful?”
“Absolutely,” Phoenix replied. “Mad-eye was his right hand. I was instrumental though. I helped Barbara here find Harriet during the first war, served on the front lines during the first war and informed Dumbledore of the entry of Dementors in the war. I was working with the Ministry back then.”
“What made you leave the Ministry? You were absent during the second, were you not?” Harry inquired. Mark had learned to share the truck as he rolled it over to Albus. Albus rolled it back.
“I left but I was not absent,” Phoenix made clear almost defensively. “I stayed out of public eye largely because I left the Ministry. I left them because after the first war, in case it escaped your knowledge, the Ministry kept Dementors under hire. I resigned in protest and left the country.”
“Then, how did”-
“I gained Dumbledore foreign followers and led them as an attack on Hogwarts in the 90’s. I played my part, I assure you,” Phoenix said clearly. “After the second war, I returned to the country, having studied healing spells extensively to protect myself from injuries sustained during the first war, and joined St. Mungo’s as a Healer. I remained there ever since.”
“A Healer?” Harry asked in amazement. “Then, I have a proposition.”
“A teaching position in Hogwarts,” Harriet, Harry and Phoenix said in unison, the latter making a guess aloud. “I will take the job under one condition, Mr. Potter,” Phoenix continued. “I will be made Deputy Headmaster and once the current Headmistress resigns, I take the realms of power in Hogwarts. I must warn you that once I do, decisions concerning the school will be mine and mine alone. Know only that I will in no way dishonor the memory of Albus Dumbledore but I will not hesitate to oppose the Department of Education or the Ministry itself. Also,” he went on, hand up to stop harry speaking. “I have a dear friend who I desire to be Deputy Headmistress under me and… her appointment will be controversial. I expect your support when it is made.”
“I- oh, controversial?”
“Her name is Forma and she lives in the forest,” Phoenix said ominously. “I will allow you to meet her first. One meeting and then we’ll discuss my position.”
“I’ll consider it,” Harry said, getting up. Hagrid got up too, ready to escort Harry out. “But the Headmistress will want to know. Which subjects can you teach?”
Phoenix got up too and held out a hand for Harry to shake it, nodding in response. “Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions and Charms. Take your pick but I find I fare much better at Defense.”
“Albus,” Harry called. Albus rolled the truck back to Mark one last time and ran over to his father. “Well, say bye.”
As if rehearsed, Albus held a hand out to Mark with a small “Bye,” in the lowest of voices. Mark did not shake the hand but hugged Albus with Harriet stating almost apologetically, “Mark’s a hugger. Well, I suppose the next time they meet is in Hogwarts. Pray they make the same house.”
Hagrid finally turned to face Albus and Mark. Once the end came, a sudden wave of feeling overtook the both of them and in unison the two leapt up and embraced the other. Hagrid turned to see the two still in a tight hug. He gave a small smile and got up so he reached his full height. He strode towards them in one step and Albus and Mark released each other.
“I give you your history as children not because I want to emotionally pressure you, but for a simpler reason,” Hagrid said lowly. “Children react more to nature including their own instincts better than adults. This story proves to yerselves and yer parents that it is against yer nature teh fight each other. By nature, yeh two are more alike than yeh realize. Then, that may explain why fights between yeh two tend to be… extreme.”
“Those who are alike tend to fight more than those who are different,” a familiar voice said from the doorway. “That is why opposites attract.”
Albus could not believe it. She appeared in the most unlikely circumstances. Alexis Ackerly was standing at the doorway and beside her stood Rose and Laura, the latter whom was very red at the sight of Mark. Rose was the one who spoke those words but Alexis was in the lead.
Nonetheless, Mark spoke up with what was in Albus’ mind too. “I’ll stop fighting him. I refuse to be his friend until he changes house but… ok, consider the fight over. I’ll try other means.”
“Good work Ackerly,” Hagrid said gruffly. “Yeh three escort those two back to the school and make sure they don’t fight anymore. I’ll write to yer parents,” Hagrid added to Albus and Mark.
Albus and Mark walked back to school with the three girls in silence. The Hurricane, it seemed had finally subsided. Still, despite the story or the hug, Albus did not feel that Mark was a friend. In fact, he was still an enemy. As long as he remained the person he was, they’d never be friends. All Hagrid managed was a peace agreement. The two would simply cease fighting… until the next provocation.
Albus would have liked to say the problems ended there but little did Albus know that James had other plans involving Albus and Mark. In fact, Mark knew more than he was letting on being behind the scenes with James. The problems were not yet over. The only one left was Riley and that was much bigger than Albus had ever anticipated.
Like Scorpius said cynically when Albus returned to the dormitory, “I don’t trust him. We’ll find ourselves in another problem with him before long.”