Chapter 26 Three New Friendships

The Hogwarts Hurricane

Chapter 26: Three New Friendships

Mark Wallader and Albus Potter

The Easter holidays ended and with them, Mark’s seclusion. After classes the first Monday, Mark agreed to come up with Lysander Scamander and apologize for the trouble he caused. He took it a step further and not only befriended Albus, but recognized one, Laura Creevey. With this recognition came a whole new way of looking at things. Mark started being more open and made friends with more people than just the twins. It was no longer just Walter and Scorpius, but James and Albus, it was also Laura Creevey and this is where he realized this change within himself.

The first true conversation Mark had with Albus was in the library as they were studying for a Potions project. “Name the ingredients used in a Polyjuice Potion and give a one hundred word paragraph on each detailing at least three other Potions each can be used in.”

Mark looked up from his agenda. “Your Head is a horrible woman, I hope you know this.”

“Tell her that to her face and you’ll see how horrible she can be,” Albus smirked.

“Oh, no, I would not want more vampire trouble, would I?” Mark asked sarcastically.

“With your record, I advise against it,” Albus yawned, flipping through the pages rapidly. “How about helping me find this useless ingredient?”

“You missed it, it’s the fifty-second page, third paragraph,” Mark yawned.

Albus widened his eyes and flipped back to look. He was right. “Blimey, you’re worse than Rosie.”

“No,” Mark said with a contented sigh, and he stretched back, licking his fingers to smooth his eyebrows down in a complacent manner. “You’re just not the sophisticated bookish type like I am.”

“With that attitude, I don’t think I wanna be,” Albus raised his eyebrows.

Then, Mark came back at him with something so ridiculous and so lame Albus was sure he did not mean it. Mark looked up and with a smirk said, “You’re stupid.”

Albus was taken-aback. So much so, that he shrugged, said, “Ok,” and looked back down at the book, taking notes.

Mark raised an eyebrow and said, “Well, aren’t you going to hit back? Call me a disrespectful fanatic, a vicious lion, maybe a two-timing snake? That was my favorite, Al. Snake. Come on.”

“Why would I do that?” Albus asked, shrugging.

Mark looked down with half plea and said in a half-pleading girly voice, “I need someone to argue with, Al. It’s what keeps my spirits up and my mind rolling. That’s what gets me motivated to do well and gets me good grades. I have to be mean. And you’re my favorite target. Come on.”

“I can’t, you lost your touch and you went soft,” Albus yawned. “Simple as that.”

“Well that’s your fault,” Mark whined, folding his arms like an angry child. “Now remedy it, ass hole.”

“See, you lost your passion,” Albus told him with a smirk on his face. “And quite frankly, it’s spreading to me. I can’t do this right now,” he closed the book. “We’ll have to come back tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll check the book out and do it once I feel cured from your madness.”

As they walked towards the front desk, it occurred to Mark. The normal, old Mark would have had a comeback just for that, but he could not think of one for the life of him. Then, as Albus gave the book to Madam Wolf and Wolf let the book go with a pointed warning, (“Beware my wrath if harm comes to that book,”) Mark smirked with a sudden idea. After Albus checked the book out, Mark walked closer to the desk. Albus looked questioningly and Mark smirked.

“Madam Wolf,” Mark started. “I can’t keep this in anymore. I find you vicious.” Albus nearly dropped the book in utter surprise. Madam Wolf’s yellow eyes widened dangerously and Albus ducked behind a pillar in case she had second thought and wanted her book back. “You’re an embarrassment to book-lovers worldwide. You champion reading and care for these beautiful yellow pages, but the real truth is your just a sad wolfish lady with obsessive-compulsive tendencies to give ridiculous warnings when no student would dare harm books anyway, lest they be forced to pay a ridiculously high and unfair sum to the Headmaster; not yourself I might add, for damage to school property. You’re just trying to be noticed and quite frankly, I find it absolutely pathetic.” Smiling at the wide yellow eyes that any other student would have cowered away from. “Good day, Madam.”

As Mark and Albus walked towards Gryffindor tower where Albus would see him off, Mark turned to Albus next and apparently, in the zone he had wanted to be in so bad, he said, “Oh, and Al, I feel compelled to point out that despite rather hilarious sarcastic comments made by some people, madness is not contagious. It’s just you.”

That was when Albus froze and dropped the book in utter surprise. “Merlin, he’s back,” he said to himself.

“You’re gonna get kicked from the library,” Mark yawned as Albus picked it up slowly.

Albus then looked shocked, “You’re one to talk. She’ll probably never let you in again after that rant. It could’ve been anyone… maybe Malcolm even… but Wolf?”

“It’s Madam Wolf, Al, blimey even I called her that,” Mark struck back happily. “Besides, I’ll fail all my classes. The school wouldn’t want that considering the fact I’m a Straight-O student. She doesn’t have a choice in the matter.”

As they walked on towards the staircase that would take them to the Fat Lady’s corridor, Albus slowly said, “So, you’re basically spreading some sort of anti-Gryffindor, anti-noble message that might is right and with good grades you can do whatever you like.”

Mark shrugged as they climbed the stairs and as they reached the top and walked the corridor, Mark said, “Yeah, seeing as how James got his immunity, I might as well exercise my own.” Then, as they stopped in front of her, Mark froze and considered Albus. He held his hand out, “Here, I’ll finish the homework. You did most of it anyhow and quite frankly, I’m bored.”

Albus widened his eyes and Mark smirked, taking the book. “So, I’ll hand it to you tomorrow during Transfiguration. Try finding out something about lacewing flies though. I have a feeling the paragraph is only a half-ass attempt of ours.”

Albus widened his eyes in surprise. “That’s… strangely nice of you Mark.”

Mark shrugged, “Well, if we’re gonna be friends, I might as well do my half.” Right in front of the portrait of the fat lady, they stayed, neither of them making any steps away. “Two years of knowing each other and you know what, I still honestly hate you sometimes.”

It was a pang in his stomach, but a small one. Albus knew Mark did not mean what he usually meant. As expected, emphasized. “I mean, there are times when I really, really hate you and then… there are times when I- I’m really glad you’re my brother. Know what I mean?”

“How sentimental,” the Fat-lady said with eyes rolling. “Give me the password or you’re sleeping out here.”

“Right,” Albus smirked. Albus really did not know what to say or do. He just smirked. He already hugged him, he already talked it out with him and made peace with him. There was nothing left to do. “I know what you mean. Night, Mark.”

“Night Al,” Mark smirked. “Tell Scorpy I said hi.”

“Right, and my regards to the twins,” Albus nodded.

“They send their hatred back,” Mark called back as he finally faced the fat lady. With the last word, Albus turned away and descended the stairs back to his own dominion. That ended one night with Mark, and began a whole newfound friendship based on equality, respect, and constant sarcasm.

Mark Wallader and Laura Creevey

Mark Wallader walked into the Gryffindor Common room and threw himself on the sofa chair by the fireplace, dying to warm himself before starting with the homework he promised he would do. He sat thoughtfully. Boomslang skin was an obvious paragraph to write. That would be easy. What would be difficult was which other Potions the hair of someone else would work in. That would take a little more research.

He opened the Potions book and read closely, searching for any Potion that might use the hair of a person. Nonetheless, he started writing what he had in mind already. The hair of a person is used in Polyjuice Potion to turn into that specific person. Hairs from a person can also be used in… he stopped. He was stuck. What else could he say about it? Just one other potion would do.

“Lectio Poison,” a small and familiar voice said from behind him as Mark returned to the book. He flinched and looked behind him. Laura stood hopefully behind him, eyes full of eagerness and admiration. “The Selective Potion. Era mentioned it in class while you and Eric were playing hangman. It’s a poison that poisons only the one whose hair you put in.” Mark continued to look puzzled so Laura turned the pages of the book to a point nearly halfway through. “There,” she pointed with a small finger. “You could probably give an essay.”

Mark looked in shock and he was so surprised and taken-aback from the sudden help that he did not cast around for an excuse to stop Laura sitting beside him despite the fact the sofa was meant for one. Nonetheless, their small statures allowed for the both of them to sit very comfortably. Mark started writing quietly with the book on his lap with Laura watching him. This went on for about half an hour until the paragraph was completed and Mark closed the book gently.

He honestly did not know what to say to the girl beside him. Laura had an idea of what to say, but it took a lot of guts to voice it. She took a breath, opened her mouth to speak, and then closed it again, looking down in self-defeat. Mark was aware of her next him and he had an idea of what she wanted from him, but he stayed quiet. He silently hoped someone else would enter the room.

“Mark,” she said in a small voice and she reverted back to being a baby again. “I…” Her voice trailed away. “I… Look, I- I know you’re freaked out with me and… you know… I mean, what happened before the holidays was… I mean to say”-

“I’m not freaked out with you, Laura,” Mark said lowly and only half-truthfully. The truth was he was annoyed with her. Her very presence annoyed him sometimes because he knew what to expect. Lately, she was acting more mature than she usually acted, and so he was not as annoyed as he usually was.

“The thing is… what I would like, err… very much, is if- well… is if,” Laura stopped herself.

“We’re twelve, Laura,” Mark reminded her preemptively.

She looked flustered, “Yes, I know, I- I mean… ok, Mark, I know you’re freaked out with me, but I would like it very much if you could… lemmehangotwitu.” The last bit was said in a fast and incomprehensible way. Mark was puzzled and she took another breath, ready to repeat herself, “Let me hang out with you.”

Mark laughed half out of relief. He thought Laura was after something else. In fact, he knew she was after something else but he also knew his reminder of their age set her back down to earth. Laura was very humble. With that in mind, Mark smiled as kindly as he could manage and said, “Promise to be normal? Let me see the… the real Laura?”

Laura looked up hopefully and said breathlessly, saying “Yes, ok, I swear. Ok, that sounds great. Just… so you won’t be annoyed anymore. I might as well… settle for your friendship.”

“That sounds best,” Mark agreed. “Friends?” He offered his hand. Laura had other plans. She shook his hand but took it a step further when she got up, took a deeper breath, leaned in and kissed his cheek before running off to her dormitory, leaving Mark to touch the spot where she kissed him, deeply surprised by her bold actions. Friends or not, she would not give up, would she?

Albus Potter and Alexis Ackerly

Albus himself was walking through the corridor and down the stairs, taking as many shortcuts he could to get to his dormitory quickly. Scorpius would want to know if Mark really was sincere and this time, Albus could answer in the affirmative and announce proudly that their war with him was over and the Hurricane had abated.

Of course, one stop had to be made against his will. One other person would want to know how it went to take pride in herself that she had helped it to happen. He was near Ravenclaw tower and the presence of other students was not much. Still, in the confines of an empty and unused Charms classroom was Alexis Ackerly. She was always there, probably practicing her own Charms work. She was getting very good at it.

This time, she was hiding behind the door and as Albus walked past, she reached out and pulled him in by the arm. The force was so sudden Albus did not bother resisting. Alexis put him against the wall and reached her hands out to touch the wall right over his shoulders. Albus gaped open-mouthed at her, breathing heavily as she spoke as if she was interrogating him.

“Wow, Al, I’ll never understand you,” Alexis laughed. And her laugh was so perfect. So clean and clear and pleasant to listen to. “You spend the whole year leaving in fear of Mark’s wrath and now… you’re closer him, possibly subjecting yourself to his wrath any time.”

“I- I was wrong, and so was he,” Albus stuttered. “He’s a cool person to be around.”

“You know he won’t stop,” Alexis warned. “You know he still wants you in Gryffindor. Maybe still wants to weaken your friendship with Scorpius. I’m just telling you this because… because he is a hard person to be around. Believe me, I’ve tried it.”

“He’s trustworthy,” Albus said confidently, trying to push aside Alexis’ warning.

Alexis had a weird smile on her face and Albus was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Then, she shrugged and said, “You’re so naïve.”

“Alexis, you’re not… gonna kiss me, are you?”

“Would it bother you if I did?” she asked, face unfathomable. She was asking as if it was just a curiosity question.

That was what Albus disliked about people in general, especially those like Alexis. They were too hard to second guess or understand what was going on in their minds. Alexis seemed to take his silence as a yes; however, and she let him go, sitting down on a chair and resting her head on her hands. “You’re dad seemed to like me.”

“That’s ‘cause you… well… you were excited to see him, you”-

“Kissed his ass, right, ok,” Alexis smiled. “Ok, Al. Well, seems you got yourself a happy life. You have all your friends back, made yourself a new one and- survived the war Mark declared.” Albus sat with her, going silent. Did he offend her? “Al, just… I mean, when Professor Ackerly told me what happened, I”- she gulped. “I was worried sick. Al, don’t ever scare me like that again.” She was breathless and she was gulping back something Albus suspected was tears. Alexis wiped her eyes and looked away.

Then, it occurred to Albus what she wanted from him. Something he was more than willing to give. Putting a hand tentatively on her shoulder and easing her into looking his way, he said, “Thank you, Alexis, for being my best friend this year.”

When she turned back and Albus could see dried tears streaks on her cheeks. She smiled sadly and nodded, “Best friend?”

“Well, certainly a better one than Scorpius, or Mark, so, yeah,” Albus shrugged. “Yeah, you were awesome this year and… and I owe you. If you want anything from me.” He knew he’d regret this.

“Ok, then you won’t freak out,” Alexis nodded, drying her eyes again. She stood up and so did Albus. They stared at each other for what seemed like minutes before Alexis took a breath and reached out. Albus closed his eyes, bracing himself… but she did not kiss him. He felt her arms going around him, one touching his hair gently. Then, it stopped. She broke off and looked at him. She looked as if tears had never leaked in the first place. She looked completely normal and smiling. “You’re very brave, for saving Mark. And… that’s probably why he is sincere this time. You’ll never fight him again, I guess.” They walked towards the door, ready to split once again. “And, I’m sorry for creeping you out, Al. I wasn’t really going to kiss you, you know.”

Albus laughed, partly out of relief and nodded. He enjoyed himself with her, he really did. What he said was the truth. She was not only his best friend that year, she was his only friend. He owed her. And he meant it. Maybe next year, he’d pay her back. They reached the point where they had to split up. Alexis had to go to Ravenclaw tower and Albus had stairs to go before he reached the dungeons.

“Ok, goodnight, Al,” Alexis shrugged. “Take care of yourself, ok?”

“Thank you, you too,” Albus reciprocated.

Albus whistled in relief once they parted. It did not matter what happened that year. It was just a memory, probably yet another forgotten memory Albus would not mind putting in a Pensieve one day. The war, he was pleased to say, was finally over.

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