The Hogwarts Hurricane
Chapter 2: The Two Alleys
The Potter’s arrived at Diagon Alley alone at first. They would meet up with Ron’s family later. The alley looked the same as usual. It was a long alley with shops and houses lining either side at the very end of which stood the tall white building of Gringotts. Diagon Alley was one of the few places in the world Albus felt most at home in; except Hogwarts.
As usual, they allowed James to shop around for more jokes, but this time he came empty handed, and they continued on up the street to Madam Malkin’s Robe Shop. There, Albus grinned. He saw his friend from Hogwarts, Walter Mold. Walter was a stout boy with tufted brown hair, distinguishing him from his older, blonde and skinny brother. He nodded smilingly at Albus and walked over. His older brother Malcolm, the school bully and James’ arch emesis with whom he exchanged a tough look, stayed behind with his irate looking father.
“Hi, Al, what’s up? Shopping? Hi Mark.”
Mark nodded in response to Walter, and smiled, “Hey, what’s up?”
Before Albus could initiate conversation, Malcolm called him back. Malcolm seemed to have changed. He was taller than the first year, and his voice was cracked. His irritable father dragged Walter away and Harry sighed. “Not worth trying to make nice with Pure-bloods in public, Al.”
“Oh, thanks, Harry,” Ginny joked.
The family proceeded into the Robe shop first. After trying on new robes, they walked on further down, and who came running to meet them but Teddy Lupin? Teddy had bright green hair that gleamed in the sunlight, a moustache, and a tan feature like he just arrived from the beach. He hugged them all, and as promised walked a little way with them. “I got a room at the Leaky Cauldron last night”-
“In Flourish and Blotts,” Albus cried suddenly. “It’s Scorpius. Can I go and”-
“Now, Al?” Harry asked. “We get the owl for James as we promised.”
“Yeah, and who cares about Scorps,” James questioned.
“Well, go and get the owl, and I’ll go in and meet”-
“Albus, don’t impose on their family,” Ginny said sternly. “Remember we’re not exactly friends. Remember what happened with the Molds?”
“And our family is here,” Harry pointed. Waiting beside the door to the Owl’s Emporium, waving happily, was Ron and Hermione. Their children Rose and Hugo also stood. Standing shorter than any of the children, save Hugo, was their foster twin brothers Alex and Eric.
Mark and the twins were easily best friends and cousins, but Mark’s parents were murdered few months ago. Everyone knew it wasn’t a random murder, and was definitely done for a reason, and Harry worked around the clock trying to track the killers down.
“Hiya Harry,” Ron said, hugging his brother-in-law. Albus shook Rose’s hand, and gave Hugo a hug. Hugo was Lily’s age and was too young to go to Hogwarts yet, but Albus did share a common interest in Quidditch with him. They both had the same favorite team, the Appleby Arrows.
Alex and Eric hailed Mark happily, and Harry led James inside the Emporium. Ginny followed, but not before allowing Mark and the twins to run off further. Probably in Quality Quidditch supplies. Mark swore he’d get into the team as Seeker this year. Taking cue, Albus asked once more to go to Flourish and Blotts. All the kids, besides Lily, having left already, Ginny allowed it.
“Seen Scorpius?” Rose asked happily as they walked the alley, Albus praying Scorpius would still be there.
“Yeah, but mum and dad didn’t want to ‘impose,’” Albus rolled his eyes. “Hope he’s still there. Seen the list? I forgot mine at home.”
Rose clicked her tongue impatiently, “You forgot. As usual, Al. I have to remember everything for you. Yeah, I have it.”
She pulled her list out, and Albus peered over her shoulder at it as they walked in. As Albus hoped, a loud familiar voice yelled from across the shop, its user waving in euphoria, “Al! Rose!”
Smiling in relief and happiness, Albus looked up. Scorpius was waving happily. Scorpius’ mother and father, Draco and Astoria, stood behind him, looking up. Their faces were unfathomable, but Albus ignored them.
“Got your books?” Scorpius asked.
Albus shook his head as Draco and Astoria touched their son’s shoulder. They were walking out. Stomach sinking, Albus bade goodbye to Scorpius sadly. When they left, Albus groaned, “That sucks. Just when we come in here.”
Ten minutes later, Mark and the twins were happily sucking on ice cream outside Ronald Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor. Having gotten the books, Albus walked out of the bookshop, refusing to allow Rose to pick another random book up. The Ice Cream Parlour was across the street, but before he spotted Mark, Scorpius hailed him again and Rose left back inside the shop to get the extra books she was eyeing.
“Seen Mark?” he whispered. Albus flinched, but smiled when he noticed Scorpius at his ear. “So self-righteous. Isn’t he supposed to be getting books and stuff? Or is he letting your father do all the work?”
Albus shrugged. It wasn’t only Mark with the twins this time, but Walter sat with them too. The twins definitely didn’t look too happy. Albus grew to think that Scorpius’ theories about Gryffindor were more or less right. Just then, a soft but snobbish voice from Draco interrupted, “Looks a bit off for kids of that stature. Why eat there when there’re so much better places to have a snack?”
“Well, it’s the summer. We usually get ice cream in the summer,” Albus defended. He didn’t know why he was defending Mark, but his voice was low. Astoria couldn’t hear him. Just Scorpius.
Scorpius shrugged, and said back, “I don’t have a problem with the ice cream. Just the kids having it. Hey, wanna get some ice cream, chocolate sundaes and lemon flavored pop. Show him how it’s done eating”-
“Scorpius,” a deep stern voice interrupted.
Scorpius usually cowered at the stare of his father, but he spoke up, almost begging, “C’mon dad, I never had Fortesue’s ice cream in the summer. And I hear that one is good. Just this once?”
“Absolutely not,” Draco said firmly. “I will not have my son in that parlor. We’re off to Knockturn Alley. You can have a cone there.” He and Astoria went on their way, telling Scorpius to meet them in Taky’s Bookshop.
Once they disappeared round a corner, Scorpius grinned widely. “Let’s go, quick.”
They raced off toward the ice cream place. Scorpius went to order themselves ice cream while Albus looked around for a table. He then heard a familiar, unpleasant laugh. He looked around to see Alex and Eric showing Mark a parchment. “Oi, take a look at what we found out about Otto Blackberry. This is gonna be gold at Hogwarts.”
“We can kill two birds with one stone,” Alex added.
Albus chose not to pay more attention lest he find himself embroiled in matters he simply did not want to be involved in. A year’s worth of experience with Mark taught him that you did not want a problem with the boy. With that in mind, he grabbed themselves a table right across from Mark’s table and sat. Walter grinned at him.
Scorpius returned five minutes later carrying two ice creams. He caught Mark’s eye and grinned widely. Mark looked in interest. “Aren’t you going to Knockturn Alley?”
“Sneaking ice cream,” Scorpius said pretentiously as if he thought all eyes of the world were on him breaking a few rules. “Dad wouldn’t let me so… I’m defying his wishes.”
Walter shook Mark’s hand happily as he spotted his brother waving over to him. Walter ran off, leaving Mark alone with the twins once again. The two put their heads together and started talking in secret. Albus wouldn’t think much of it if Alex hadn’t been glancing over at them every few seconds.
“What do you suppose they’re”-
“Who cares,” Scorpius shrugged, licking the ice cream. “Listen, did you hear about Hogwarts lately?”
“Why, what’s the matter?” Albus asked.
“Granddad told me they have a surprise, but they wouldn’t tell me what it is,” Scorpius said gloomily. “Hoping you’d know, dad being in the Ministry and all.”
“We’ve got quite a rich group in our dorm, don’t we,” Albus noticed, trying to change subject. He knew he was not allowed to tell. “Head of International Magical Cooperation, Head of Auror, Head School Governor, and Senior Assistant to the Minister.”
Scorpius grinned at the statement, laughing as Mark looked over and caught Albus’ eye, “Yeah, we both pull strings and get what we want. Pity we’re left out of surprises though.”
“Well,” Albus shrugged, getting up with Scorpius. “That’s the point of surprises, I thought.”
Albus knew what Scorpius was talking about. Harry had after all already shared this with him. To stay true and loyal though, Albus chose to keep this one from Scorpius. Not even Mark knew about it. It was best Scorpius was left out of the loop too.
“You going to Knockturn?” Albus asked.
Scorpius shrugged, “Guess so. Coming Al?” Scorpius asked, nudging him.
“My dad doesn’t like me to go to Knockturn Alley,” Albus said uncertainly.
“Oh, you do what your daddy tells you to do,” Scorpius laughed, nudging Albus again, “C’mon, mate.”
“You’re one to talk,” Albus said defensively. “You practically gave in to your dad when he flat out refused to let you go to Fortescue’s. And they have good ice cream.”
“Al, are you coming with me to Knockturn Alley, or are you gonna be a chicken and walk away?” Scorpius smirked an evil grin, but it was quite forceful. Albus found himself following Scorpius to Knockturn Alley. He was worried about being caught though, and he waved what he hoped was casual to Uncle Percy, who was walking the opposite direction with Albus’ cousin Molly, who was due to start Hogwarts that year.
Knockturn Alley was quite dinky and dark. At least Diagon Alley was sunny. The shops in Knockturn Alley seemed rather rundown, as if neglected by the wider Wizarding community. The only place there where they visited was Taky’s Bookshop where Scorpius nodded at his father casually as if no rule had been broken. The books in there were all gruesome spells. Albus felt strangely out of place as Scorpius picked one up, and showed his dad the effect of a spell.
Deciding he didn’t want to know, Albus feigned looking around. He picked up a rather interesting book. He knew his dad despised the Dark arts, but Albus was fascinated, perhaps due to the influence that Scorpius and especially Walter had on him. Albus denied he was going bad. He just took an interest, and even Harry said it was fine to educate yourself provided you didn’t get so immersed.
“Oh, gruesome,” Albus muttered at the diagram of an internal effect a spell had. “Wait a sec, Horcrus, I saw that name before, I”- Albus said aloud, earning a hard punch from Scorpius.
“Shut up, that’s taboo in the Wizarding world,” Scorpius whispered angrily. Albus saw that Draco had a deathly stare for Albus. Cowering, Albus put the book back, trying not to blush. He definitely did not belong there.
Albus was looking forward to the light of Diagon Alley, but when he saw what awaited him at the exit, he’d rather he stayed in Knockturn. Harry and Ginny were glaring. Albus felt a hard feeling of foreboding. Harry was one thing, but Ginny? Now, he was in for it. Albus looked over at the welcoming party. Mark was standing, arms folded in happiness, apparently pleased with himself at what he had done. Albus widened his eyes at understanding, “Mark, you- you- you…”
James had a half-shocked, half-happy expression. “Busted.”
“Nose off, James,” Ginny said in a deathly whisper not unlike her mother.
“Thank you, Mark,” Harry said, glaring at Albus. “We’ll take it from here.”
Albus stepped into what now felt like awful sunlight. He wished so much he could go back and sink into darkness. He looked down, and said hastily, “S-sorry, l-l-lost my way.”
The attempt to lie had no effect. Mark snorted in disbelief, Alex and Eric were muttering nonstop and Harry shook his head in disbelief, “And just happened to run into the Malfoy’s.” Harry stepped forward, “Look, Malfoy,” he was addressing Draco. “It’s one thing taking your son there, but my boy has no business”-
Draco shook his head, face relaxed though one could tell he was happy this wasn’t actually his fault, “Your son followed us there half an hour after we left. I had nothing to do with this, Potter.”
Mark smirked as Scorpius, feeling very low and down, looked at Harry. Harry was beside himself with anger. He took Albus by the shoulder, and forced him back. Albus felt very low, and privately angry with Scorpius for letting it happen. Where was he? He wasn’t doing anything to help. There Mark had proven what he’d been trying to prove for a year. Scorpius would never step in on his behalf. He got Albus in trouble, and stood back for the massacre. But then again, why was Albus so stupid to follow him?
“You followed them there?” Ginny whispered. Her voice sounded strangled for all the anger in it. She couldn’t yell. She was beyond that. She glared at Albus, who was paralyzed under her burning stare. That was it. He was so grounded, and it was all Mark’s fault. “We told you to stay with us but no…”
“What’s gotten into you?” Harry questioned Albus. “We’re going home, Al. You can stay with Lily while I finish the shopping for you.”
When Harry turned to walk away with Albus, perhaps preparing to yell, Scorpius found himself, through near-tears of guilt, blurting out, “I’m sorry, Mr. Potter. It’s my fault.”
The reactions happened in an instant. Albus froze in surprise, Mark gaped open-mouthed at Scorpius, Alex and Eric started muttering nonstop again with surprise etched on their faces, Draco and Astoria looked at Scorpius in half-pride and half-surprise, and Harry stopped and turned back to face Scorpius with a half-amused expression on his face. Ginny didn’t bother to turn, which was just as good.
“I asked him to come with me,” Scorpius muttered guiltily. “I just wanted to show him around, and- so- you know- I’m sorry, Mr. Potter. Just as friends. Showed him around. Honestly, we were both curious and… I won’t do it again. I just wanted my friend with me.”
Albus caught the shadow of a smirk on Harry’s face and he knew that he had barely gotten off the hook. Harry appreciated the honesty. Mark’s plan had failed. Ginny, back still turned, whispered, “Well, at least some of us are honest.”
The silver lining didn’t last long though. Mark’s plan having failed, he decided to step in to create more rifts, enjoying the fragile moment. “Yeah, it’s not Al’s fault. I heard Scorpius telling Al to follow him there at the- ice cream parlor,” Mark said aloud, emphasizing the last part for Draco’s furious attention.
Albus wondered what Draco would do if he found out Scorpius was in Fortescue’s ice cream parlor. He was about to get his answer. Draco widened his eyes dangerously at his son, Alex stepping back for the massacre. There, Draco looked angrily at Harry as if this was his fault. “I knew your son was a bad influence on him. Damn it, Potter, stay out of our affairs. We’ve done nothing for over two decades!”
“Go away,” Ginny said blazingly. “Before I call the press on your family. And never darken our lives again. Take your son with you. You,” she added, rounding on Albus blazingly, “are in trouble.” She seized Albus by the shoulder, and took him away for Apparition.
Scorpius, feeling one ounce of relief that it was over, walked with his mother to the Leaky Cauldron. He kept his head bowed. Draco hardly cared, but Scorpius felt unusually immensely guilty, and Astoria was disappointed in him. At least now Scorpius could shut himself in his room.
Albus had things much worse. It had been a while but it had to come eventually. Ginny was so furious, she snatched Albus’ arm for side-along Apparition straight back home where for the first time in years, she waged Hurricane Ginny on a cowering and terrified Albus.