Chapter 16 Two Twins and a Mark

The Hogwarts Hurricane

Chapter 16: Two Twins and a Mark

The night passed miserably. Mark looked around tiredly, and he saw that Daniel was sleeping in an armchair at the other end of the Common room. At first, he was at a loss as to why he was there. A split-second later, he remembered. He had fought the twins the night before. They had somehow heard that Mark was offered to sit at the Slytherin table and they verbally attacked him for it, accusing him of betraying them. When it went to wands, James used his control over their dormitory and intervened. Daniel dragged an unwilling Mark to the Common room, and stayed there to look after him.

It was still quite early. Judging by the sky, it was just before dawn. Mark left the room to the portrait hole, and clambered out. He made for the Owlery, quietly wondering if he would run into Peeves, and Peeves would do him a favor and do him in. Sadly, Peeves wasn’t interested in murder and Mark was made to live longer.

When he made it to the rat-smelling Owlery, Mark passed through the skeletons of dead rodents to Archimedes. Maybe he could send an order for the latest Lightning broomstick. His parents left him with quite a bit, but he was living off Harry’s money. Just when he was deciding, the door opened. Looked like he was about to be joined.

Scorpius walked in. Mark froze, as did Scorpius. Scorpius stared around, and then continued in as if he saw no one. He tied a letter to his home owl, Major, and looked around at Mark. Mark was speechless. He was wondering if Scorpius would Jinx him when he did the opposite, “What’s up?”

Mark shrugged. Was he about to befriend Scorpius now? Well, if it meant having a friend to talk to again, he couldn’t complain. He looked over at the letter Scorpius was sending. Scorpius saw him staring, and shrugged, “It’s a birthday card for my mum.”

Mark sighed. He didn’t really know what to say. He was only used to talking to the twins and Walter, and he had to hold back with Walter on account whatever he told Walt, Albus and Scorpius and definitely Malcolm would undoubtedly find out.

They parted at a corridor, and Mark continued to the Great Hall for breakfast. He just made it to the great doors to the Hall when someone tapped him on behind, and Mark looked around. Walter was grinning uncertainly.

“Hello Walt,” Mark said.

“Oi,” Walt greeted.

They walked down the Hall together, a lack of conversation in the air except for the occasional small talk. As they descended the main staircase, Walter started grinning broadly. “Well, Al still wants you at our table. So… if you’re willing…” He opened the great doors to the Great hall and Mark saw that the twins and James were already eating. Walter looked over at Mark, “If you don’t wanna sit with them, you can sit with me. No one in our house eats till an hour from now.”

Mark looked at his watch. It was six. As if he read Mark’s mind, Walt shrugged and stated, “Who cares? Who’s gonna stop us anyway? No teachers are down to yell yet.”

It took a while for Mark to accept what was happening. The benches of the table were, to him, seats of doom. If he sat, he was an honorary snake just like Albus but to reject it would only hurt him. The memory of the previous night propelled him to sit on the benches anyway. Mark felt so weird sitting at the Slytherin table. He could feel Alex’s gaze on him. Who cared what Alex thought anyway? Suddenly, he felt better sitting with Walter at the table. It really was disturbing the twins. Soon, they were joined by Scorpius. Scorpius stopped in surprise, and gaped open-mouthed at Walter, “Are you serious?”

Walt shrugged. Mark found he didn’t care. Scorpius sat down eventually, after a whole minute of staring, and asked Mark quite politely to pass the ketchup. Albus and Adam joined them a little later, and then things happened. It was something Mark would have originally took pleasure in seeing but his mood was not for it. Albus spoke, “Finally, Mark took my offer. Told you, Scorps.”

Scorpius went red and despite earlier politeness, he threw Albus an annoyed look. It was plain Scorpius was angry on the outside and furious on the inside, and it was plain Albus did not care. There still existed tension between them. Mark instead chose to keep conversation with Walter. The conversation went to the twins of course and when it did, Albus jumped right in.

“So, what happened last night, exactly?” Walter asked him.

As Mark told the story, Albus took a knife from Mark’s part of the table and began spreading jam on a toasted piece of bread for him, listening closely. Obviously trying to reach out. Because he’s a friend… or because he had no one else?

Well, it seemed Eric found out that Al offered me a place at this table if I needed it and… well Alex confronted me. Well, more like begged me not to do it. I told them I was not really planning on it but Eric didn’t seem to believe me and yelled. I swear, and the Potters go on about a Hurricane in their household, I get a tsunami. So, I got really mad and Jinxed him again.”

“Naturally,” Scorpius muttered.

Mark ignored him and went on, “Alex got defensive and attacked back.”

“Who won?” Scorpius asked hopefully with a trace of sarcasm.

“Shut up!” Mark spat back, luckily right in unison with Walter and Albus. “So, before I can defend myself, the door bursts open and James marches in. Well, he took their side and kicked me out of the dormitory. I kinda remember Daniel dragging me to the Common room and keeping me there. I was too tired to fight him off.”

“Or too weak,” Albus smirked. Just when he thought Albus was on his side against Scorpius… “So, Mark, you hit rock bottom and found you couldn’t fight your way up. What now?”

Before Mark could answer, a group of Slytherin, including Riley showed up. It seemed the Slytherin table was getting crowded and before long, Malcolm would join them and raise hell. Hell Scorpius was likely to join. Mark would have liked to let it transpire, but he too would be on the receiving end of Malcolm’s wrath and he was not in the mood to fight back. Mark leaving the table sparked something nonetheless though. The anger Scorpius kept bottled up finally exploded when Mark was out of earshot.

“What the bloody hell, Al!” Scorpius yelled, smacking his hand on the table. “I was quiet when you wanted to make nice with him, heck I even ran into him nicely earlier. But inviting a Gryffindor to sit with us at the Slytherin table is… well it’s beyond me.” Albus was silent at the sudden attack from Scorpius and did not argue back. Scorpius did not stop but kept going. “Since when was Mark a friend, Al? What the hell were you up to during the holidays? I mean, he’s being a real snake. He fell down because of his own actions and you- you help him up. You could be kicking him and you help him up? You’re naïve.”

You’re relentlessly, ridiculously naïve. You really, truly think Scorpius is a true friend?

The words had sparked something in Albus. Something that had been asleep, dormant within until then. He had never noticed about himself until Mark had pointed out and Scorpius proved it once again. Naïve.

“Wait, excuse me?” Albus yelled back.

“No, you listen to me”-

“SHUT UP!” Albus yelled madly, glad Mark was not there to witness. Alexis, he noticed was halfway to her own table when she heard them yelling and she was close enough to hear the conversation too.

Albus had ignored everyone until then. He had been silent since the year before, listening to Scorpius insult all Gryffindors in a prejudiced manner. He was quiet, agreeing with it all mainly because James himself had given Albus trouble back then too. To Scorpius, Gryffindors were all self-righteous, reckless and arrogant and James had exhibited all of these traits. Then, Mark…

You’re a growing prejudiced against Gryffindor now to the point you’ve been avoiding James at every opportunity you get. He’s sticking his nose out for you against me, giving himself trouble and you just walk about like he’s doing nothing.

James was sticking up for him and Albus never, not once thanked him or stuck his neck out for him… because Scorpius would look down on him. Why? He really was a follower. You’re a frigging follower!

Walter looked up in surprise at Albus’ anger and Scorpius’ head hung back in surprise, temporarily stunned at the sudden rebellion Albus was posing. “Wow, I never got it till now. But it’s your fault, Scorps. You… and Walter… you knew I would not be able to leave for the holidays. Knew I’d be stuck here. You went ahead and made plans behind my back”-

“My dad had a deal with Mr. Mold!”

“Don’t give me that (Albus said something that would have earned him another Hurricane from Ginny.) I know, ok? I know the truth. You lied. I mean, no big deal that you go ahead and make plans with each other, you make sure to do it in secrecy and actually deceive me. It’s the nature of it.”

“I told the truth”-

“YOUR DAD WAS IN ROMANIA!” Albus screamed. “You’re still trying it. I don’t get it. Why the sudden crap?”

“I can do what I like,” Scorpius shrugged. “Wow, look at that, Walt. Al’s being a drama queen.”

“I’m not getting involved,” Walter mumbled.

Albus stared at Scorpius was ferocity in his eyes. He had never been so angry in his life. “And you- you’re so mad because I’m making nice with Gryffindors. Mark and I were both upset and in case you forgot, my brother is in Gryffindor.”

“Oh, really, I couldn’t tell,” Scorpius laughed. He pointed conceitedly to the Gryffindor table. “He’s with the twins, Al. He called you a social enemy. Nice brother!”

You’ve been avoiding James.

His words stung. Albus shut his mouth for just one second as he was taken-aback by Scorpius’ words. He never expected such a flare-up to occur between him and Scorpius. It was usually Mark.

“Great,” Albus muttered more to himself. “Then, maybe I should never have made Slytherin.” Scorpius gaped at him, not in anger this time but surprise and maybe even offense. Albus remembered what he himself thought the year before. Both of us were probably better off in Gryffindor.

“Both of us were probably better off in Gryffindor,” Albus repeated. “Then none of this would have happened.”

“Don’t insult me.”

“It’s a compliment, get over it!” Albus said loudly. “Face it, Scorps. You would’ve done well in Gryffindor yourself, being just as arrogant and self-righteous as they are.”

The argument ended there with both of them having exhausted their will to fight. Alexis left the scene, having changed her mind and decided to skip breakfast. If the Earthquake reached Slytherin house and managed to split Albus and Scorpius up too, things had gone far enough.

The letter was received by everybody involved as if an outside force decided to repair the damage caused by the social Hurricane that Hogwarts was suffering. No one knew of the plans, except the one who had orchestrated this.

In the Charms classroom, right after they were done practicing Charms on a pair of socks, (being asked to make them dance,) Alexis gave Albus a letter from Hagrid just an hour after the argument between him and Scorpius.

Rose acted as a double messenger and first gave a letter to Alex. He was told to pass it on to Eric. Then, she gave another letter to Scorpius in the middle of Potions class.

It was Laura who gave Mark the letter with roughly the same contents as the others given. She went bright red as she slipped it to Mark in the middle of Transfiguration. Mark was certain it was a love note confessing undying devotion (something Mark’s wasn’t sure he’d reject seeing as how he had no one else to turn to.) It turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Dear Mark,

How’d yeh like ter come down ter dinner with me in me hut today? Come down round five-o-clock. I’m making something good, and I’d like ter know what’s goin’ on with yeh. So, I’ll see yeh later today. Enjoy yer lessons.

Cheers,

Hagrid

Hagrid prepared something much better than usual. His Bowtruckle Soup wasn’t bad, and even though his Rock Cakes seemed to have been made from actual rocks, his fudge cakes were great. Mark took some bacon when Hagrid came from the backyard. Mark preferred to stay away from the unknown that looked like Hippogriff droppings.

“See yer helping yerself,” Hagrid growled. “I wanted ter see yeh all here.”

“All,” Mark repeated.

Alex and Eric appeared from the back door. Eric was with his arms folded defiantly, and Alex kept his eyes fixed on his shoes. Albus and Scorpius were already sitting on the large bed, a severe tense lack of conversation between them. No one had anything to say to the other. Hagrid walked past them, and said, “Save the dessert till after dinner. We need ter talk.”

Mark sat back, gulping down the last of the fudge. He stared at Eric. They hadn’t spoken normally for a month now, even through what used to be his favorite holidays. It saddened him.

“Apparently, you all have issues teh work out, and as a teacher, I need to resolve this here issue,” Hagrid said growlingly.

“How did you know?” Mark asked curiously.

“A little birdie told me,” Hagrid answered vaguely. He went over to close the curtain, and secretly making sure that the one who alerted him was out of sight. What no one knew was that just outside, a breathless little blonde girl ran back up to the castle to report to an unknown party… Rose and Alexis. Hagrid, satisfied, closed the curtains and turned, “Now, what’s goin’ on?”

“He’s betraying Gryffindor,” Eric muttered.

“Mark’s an ass,” Alex said, taking a seat beside Hagrid.

“The twins are racist,” Mark said back, lowly. “And Al’s naïve, as an afterthought.”

“I actually agree with Mark there,” Scorpius shrugged.

For some reason Mark couldn’t explain just yet was that Alex’s words hurt him more. Albus himself noticed that though Scorpius was wrong, his words meant a great deal more than Mark’s words.

“Our best friend would stoop that low,” Eric said bitterly. “Sat at the Slytherin table, and talked with our worst enemies. Their influence really is rubbing off on him!”

“Well, apparently, Mark is hated everywhere now,” Scorpius mumbled. “He deserves it. But good for him for making amends with Slytherin.”

“Maybe Mark’s the one who should change houses,” Albus added.

“No one’s changin’ nothin’,” Hagrid growled.

Alex sat down, arms folded angrily. “Whatever.” But then, he nodded, getting up again. He stared out the window intently. Mark guessed privately Alex was trying to hide tears. Eric stood beside his brother, no longer looking at Mark.

“Yeh know how harsh yeh are, Mark?” Hagrid said lowly to him. Albus was so proud of Albus, and though they were in a bad mood, he and Scorpius exchanged their usual glances they shared when something good happened. Hagrid was finally calling him out. The normal Mark would have argued ferociously… but this Mark was too emotionally weak to do anything of the sort. They all were. “It could get anyone. What yeh said… still say… is way out of line. Mark, I am very angry at you, and very surprised at you.”

“Well, they have a problem with the friends I choose,” Mark said dirtily. “All of them. And let Albus tell you I’m wrong, he knows full well I speak the truth!”

The normal moment between Albus and Scorpius then died off as Albus frowned and looked down at the floor, refusing to meet Scorpius’ eyes. “He’s right. Scorpius has a problem with the friends I choose… and I was naïve.”

“Because it’s unusual ter them, spent their times with Gryffindors on’y,” Hagrid contradicted to Mark. “I’m not against yeh on that. I’ve talked ter Walter many a time. He loves yeh Mark. He thinks yer the coolest kid in the school. I also hafta say Scorpius is better than his dad when he was here, and that’ was a mighty grea’ thing yeh did sitting at their table fer once. That seem teh have gotten on some nerv’s though,” Hagrid added with a glance at Scorpius.

“Still, yeh all hafta find time fer all yer friends. If they can’t get along, yeh spend time with them individually. Acting the way yeh are shows betrayal; not to yer house, but to yer friendship. It’s that which matters and not petty house differences.”

“I thought Mark was our best friend,” Alex said miserably. “Why’d he”-

“Because yeh made a grea’ deal,” Hagrid interrupted simply, turning on the twins now. “If yeh have a problem with yer friend spendin’ time with summun else, its jealousy, in this case common prejudice. Yeh need to talk about it, yeh talk calmly and rationally. You don’t go physical and callin’ each other names and what-not. Thinkin’ ‘bout it, you’d realize he would’ve never sat at any table if yeh hadn’t called him out and not try to get a rise out o’ him. Mark, yeh know who their friends are without you?” Mark shrugged, and Hagrid answered, “Nobody. They don’ have no one but yeh. Alex, Eric, yeh know who his friends are?”

“Slytherin scum,” Eric muttered.

“Exactly,” Hagrid said, nodding. “Hogwarts unity is something we could sure use nowadays. Plus, he’s social. He gets along very well with Scorpius and Walter. If yeh two can’t take it, yer not good friends yerselves. Yeh need to think. All of yeh are in the wrong. Do we understand each other?” The three nodded silently. “Now, yeh all need to ‘pologize, and shake hands. Then, we have dinner. Tha’s yer punishments. Yer doomed to me rock cakes.”

Mark got up first. Alex and Eric followed. He faced them. “I’m sorry I jumped.”

Alex stepped forward. As the more diplomatic one, he spoke on both their behalf, “I’m sorry we- we made trouble with you. I’m sorry for blowing everything out of proportion. Just, if we have an opinion”-

“Just don’t jump down my throat,” Mark said, and a small half smile formed on his face. “I mean, I know I spend time with Walt sometimes and all that. I know I sat at the Slytherin table with Scorpius, but all those times we spend at our houses, Christmas with your family, in the Common room, dormitories, lessons and between, you’re still my best friends.”

They smiled, “Thanks Mark.”

The three hugged. Hagrid wiped his eyes, and raised his hands, “Now, we close the deal with a feast!”

In the spirit of the mood, Scorpius too saw himself in the twins. He put an arm around Albus before either of them got up and said quietly, “I’m sorry I was an ass. Forget the whole thing?”

“Sure, mate,” Albus accepted and shook his hand. Hagrid presided over the dinner with Mark and the twin helping themselves to Rock Cakes (was it strange that Eric actually liked them?) and Scorpius had the Flobberworm Jam spread on toast. The chocolate fudge cakes were in abundance thankfully and that meant everyone had at least something good to eat.

“So, let’s hear it Scorpy,” Mark said at last. “Why did you leave over Christmas?”

“Oh,” and Scorpius went red in embarrassment, apparently not really having planned on admitting it in the first place. “Well, ok but promise you won’t tell Walter I told you. He’ll be feeling mighty proud but… he kinda wanted Al and Mark to talk things out over the holiday so… he staged me going over to his house and forcing everyone into depression.”

The truth was unbelievable that Alex raised an eyebrow disbelievingly. “Liar.”

“Well, I didn’t want it to happen, so I got angry earlier today but… I guess some things are better left alone. I’m sorry I was secretive, Al.”

“Well, you were poor at keeping it,” Albus shrugged. “Walter showing you the letter right in front of me…”

“Well, that was the game,” Scorpius shrugged.

“Walter always tried to get me to make nice with you lot,” Mark said in a low voice. “He eventually demanded I sit with you guys at the table earlier today and… well that got things rolling.”

“Off this depressin’ subject, how’s lessons fer yeh all?” Hagrid asked, hastily trying to steer off the dangerous waters they were treading. The small talk continued with Hagrid sitting as a kind of friendly moderator to keep things cool and easy… and for a moment, it really did seem that both sides; Gryffindor and Slytherin, with Albus, Scorpius, Mark, and the twins, would all join and become friends.

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