Chapter 27 Home Sweet Home

The Hogwarts Hurricane

Chapter 27: Home Sweet Home

Albus had seriously considered asking his father over the holidays for a Pensieve to put the memory in because he seriously preferred he forgot all about this past year. It took a toll on him and he truly wished it never happened. In fact, a part of him wished his first year never happened, that he’d wake up even two years earlier and find himself ten and not even in Hogwarts yet. Then, he felt guilty because with Mark as his friend, there would come the idea that if it was all a dream, he never would have met Mark and that kid played a big effect on Albus’ life.

The year passed by. Tensions had died down and everyone was friendly again with Slytherins and Gryffindors keeping to themselves as they were supposed to do. Before Phoenix stood up to make his speech at the end of the year, Mark came up to the Slytherin table. At first, Albus moved aside to make room for him, thinking he was about to join them. Mark it seemed had other plans.

“Would you- err… would you like to sit at the Gryffindor table, Al?” he asked, and he asked so calmly like he was simply proposing it as an idea, an idea that Albus was at perfect liberty to kindly turn down.

Albus was taken-aback but only for a few seconds. Scorpius was glancing at him interestedly and grinning at the imagined look on Scorpius’ face, he nodded slowly, “Yeah, not a bad idea. One condition, though,” he said and when Mark shrugged Albus said, “We’re even.”

Mark grinned widely, “Ok, Al. Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

Albus got up to walk over to the Gryffindor table with him. Just then, two things happened. The first was that Mark added to his previous statement, “For now, we’re even. This time next year; however, I cannot guarantee.” Albus was too distracted to pay attention though. It had just occurred to him. How would the Gryffindors react? Scorpius and Walter were accepting. Would the lions be accepting of a snake sitting at their table?

No reason for fear existed…

As they walked up, James raised his hands in apparent victory. He whooped loudly in glee and Daniel Dagger let out a wolf-whistle, leading a larger group of Gryffindors clapping loudly and heartily. Fred Weasley stood up and yelled, “We got Potter! Two Potters! Lions rule! Lions! Lions!” and he started leading a chant of ‘lions, lions.’

The lion chant was only half the whole table though. The other half was chanting on James’ behalf but with Nigel, or Colin as James called him when he was feeling particularly heroic, leading. They were chanting, ‘Potter, Potter, Go, go, go! Potter, Potter, Go, go, go!’

So as Albus took a seat between Mark and Alex, the latter keeping his eyes down determinedly, Mark grinned, “Wow, Al. You’re more popular than James. You could rule the house if you were here.”

“This was so rehearsed,” Albus told him, shaking his head. “That is so cheap, Mark. Nice try, though.”

“Well, it was worth a try,” Mark shrugged and turned to his other side to engage with Laura Creevey. She seemed very, very pleased with herself. Albus could only interest himself with the two because Alex and Eric were discussing something quietly (perhaps Albus himself.) Laura was answering Mark enthusiastically about a Quidditch team and as she did so, her arm snuck itself around Mark’s back and gently rested on his shoulder.

“That’s brilliant, Laura,” Mark commented. “Really. I find the Pride of Portree nice too.”

“What’s your favorite?” Laura asked innocently, cutting up a steak for Mark and pouring ketchup on them. “Do you want them rolled in a sandwich, or…”

“No, thank you, just steak,” Mark said gratefully, and took the plate. “My favorite Quidditch team has to be… The Wimbourne Wasps. I find them most entertaining, especially with their unique way of beating.”

“You and I are no longer on speaking terms,” Albus yawned.

“Weren’t they the ones that”-

“Used a wasp’s nest as a bludger and massacred the Appleby Arrows one year, yeah,” Mark said, grinning widely and throwing a look at Albus. Albus kept his eyes off him, privately swearing to confront him in front of Hugo during the holidays.

Alex nudged Albus and pointed to the high table where to Albus’ surprise, Harry Potter sat talking quietly to Professor Longbottom. Phoenix was in the middle on Harry’s other side and beside Phoenix was a man who looked vaguely familiar to Albus. He had black hair with dreadlocks on either side. At the very end, a man with curly light brown hair and a stocky build was sitting, eyeing Phoenix warily.

“Attention!” Era called commandingly. “Attention, please! Professor Phoenix has a few words to give!”

Phoenix spoke in his usual, hard, rhetorical voice. For once, this speech started off in a solemn voice near the end of the long and painful year. A year filled with surprises, heartaches, and tensions that resulted in Riley’s discomfort and Scorpius’ flight but ultimately Mark’s turnaround.

“Students, teachers, foreigners, and of course, our own Ministry delegation,” he acknowledged, nodding at Minister Owen Cauldwell and Otto Blackberry. “An outstanding year has passed, and I have a few last minute words tonight, rather than later in the year as originally done, before we all pack up, go to bed, and return home in a couple weeks. Firstly, to the exchange students, welcome to Hogwarts. I hope your stay here has been enjoyable. I hope you were happy here. I am aware that you all ran into some problems, which is natural of course as students anywhere.

“As a result of outside meddling, things must go back to normal and our beloved exchange students will return to their families. Remember, ties with Wizards of different cultures are important and if we keep these ties up, this won’t be the last we see of them! Apparently, my secret letters have been found and a great conspiracy discovered. I take full responsibility for this and in gesture of good faith, I concede and stand defeated.

“I am also aware that you have all faced a great disturbance within the walls of this castle. This brings me to my second subject. I have not been honest,” Galadral said solemnly. “Or, for better words, I have been hiding something. We do indeed have a couple of vampires in this school. First up is our own Riley Blackberry, second-year Slytherin student. Let me explain. Blackberry was born to a human mother and a vampire father. Otto lost his poor wife during second childbirth, and Riley was raised by Otto alone as a half-vampire. Riley has my full confidence.

“This is when we must learn tolerance. I remember what the late Albus Dumbledore said about beings. ‘as long as they got magic, they can learn.’ Riley can do magic, so why not learn? Ultimately, he’d more dangerous if his magic was not in control. Dumbledore allowed a Werewolf in during his days. Did that Werewolf bite anyone? No! He joined us in the second war, and beat back the forces that threatened the very walls of this great castle!

“The days of prejudiced are over,” he declared. And it was amazing. He spoke with rhetoric, but his speech wasn’t reliant on that. He had logic, and a hard, convincing voice. “We are no longer ruled by Wizards and Pure-bloods. Thanks to efforts by the Regulation and Control for Magical Creatures, we’ve come so far as to allow a House-elf in the very Department where it is controlled. Yes! Our House-elves within the walls of this very castle are paid and even given days off, work split between them all.

“We’ve given Centaurs more land area, planted new forests for them, and even made lives for Goblins easier. The prejudiced days are over,” and there was no mistake, he threw a direct glance at Scorpius Malfoy, who looked down guiltily, going furiously red. “When one in this world is prejudiced, it means he is outdated, and needs to get on with times. This is why I summoned the Minister here! He’s here to hear me!

“Professor Era is also a vampire,” he admitted to a gasp of surprise. “And while I’m aware that your parents will refuse to allow a vampire to teach you all, I turn to the seventh years who spent more time here than any other student. Are you bitten? Has Era hurt any of you? Has she taught you nothing? Professor Era is full vampire, but has learnt, as many vampires among us, to control her thirst. She feeds upon donated blood given by the Ministry itself.

“Hogwarts hires a half-giant, which are far more brutal than any vampire. This half giant has made great friends with so many students who passed through this castle over half a century, and all remember him and love him. Indeed, Hogwarts is almost nothing without Hagrid, and I wouldn’t dare sack him, even if I wanted to, for fear of being reprimanded by an angry mob of parents. Why not a vampire? Especially one as competent as Era who has served as our Potions Mistress for over a decade!”

Hearing the Headmaster speak was amazing. Albus never heard a speech like that before. Galadral did not need rhetoric when he spoke with a tough voice backed by logic and justice.

“The fiasco this year ultimately led to a few unnamed students being attacked by forces who have successfully penetrated the protections surrounding us but unsuccessfully attempted murder of a student residing in those walls. Myself and a select team of teachers confronted the problem within minutes and took care of the problem. I admit we had a weak spot by the forest and accept responsibility. It seemed that the penetrator had a Death Eater accomplice who knows the barriers of this dwelling well. I will not rule out inside help but in the meantime, I recommend a Ministerial task force to patrol the perimeter of the forest.

“On another note: this may seem a bribe, especially after the admitting I’ve had to do,” Galadral started again. “But I do wish to announce some happy news. Two pieces of good news as a reward to all. This was meant to be declared to you all without having to admit this. For you all learning to cope with different cultures, different backgrounds, and different people, all exams this year… are cancelled!”

Before anyone could clap or whoop loudly, Galadral held a hand up. “Before we all immerse ourselves in delight, it’s time for these exchange students to see how things are done at the end of the year. The points stand as: Gryffindor with two hundred and ninety-two points,” Scorpius and Albus gaped. Gryffindor in fourth place? James had gotten his desired immunity. Where did they lose so many? “Third place… Hufflepuff with three hundred and eight points. Second place… Ravenclaw with three hundred and fifty-two points. First place… at three hundred and eighty points, Slytherin!”

The entire hall stood up to clap. Albus jumped up with joy, realizing he was the only one at the Gryffindor table doing so. He ran back to the Slytherin table, jumping up and clapping both Scorpius’ hands. They were throwing their hats in the air as Roxanne was heard letting a loud whoop of laughter and elation similar to her father. Mark sat down in bitter disappointment, and the twins had sour looks on their faces not unlike Malcolm seeing as how Albus just abandoned Gryffindor once again. The students clapped, the teachers clapped, and even the Minister clapped. Albus had a broad grin on his face as he stood up to clap, and somehow, he knew the parents wouldn’t complain too loudly. He heard of the time when Hagrid’s identity of a half-giant was discovered, and no parent would allow Dumbledore to get rid of him. Who would allow Galadral to expel Riley or sack Era? It was fair that he did not, and everyone knew that. The occasion was too joyous to be marred by an angry parent.

And the year had ended. Just as it began, so it ended. While Albus would have the summer to talk to Mark, he was not going to see Scorpius for a while unless he could score a visit to his house.

Albus had everything he wanted. He had a social life of Slytherin friends, and a family support system of brave Gryffindors. In this sense, Albus saw himself as half-Gryffindor anyway. In that sense, the wrong one was Mark. In a sense, Mark managed to strike back harshly against James and Albus, but Albus managed to survive and repaired all damage done so far. When it came to his vengeance against Albus, he had lost. Albus would never lose his friends. Not that easily.

As for the exchange students, they were to leave. The accusations made by Rita had finally taken their toll and Albus was sad to admit that his father lost whatever he was trying to do. Those who made friends with them were sad to leave them. Even Albus felt a bit of pity having to see Adam leave. Adam had shaken his hand solemnly, and nodded, “I hope we meet again,” he said hopefully.

It was a bittersweet feeling, really, saying goodbye. Albus had grown fond of Adam, and actually started wishing he’d stay. Albus knew he was in for a summer. He had to share a room with Mark again, and on top of that, he had a wedding to go to and he just knew he’d be ring bearer. It wasn’t boding well for him from where he stood, or rather sat, on his way back home on the Hogwarts express. What he really wanted now was to have a friend over for the holidays. But he knew Draco would never agree. Still, he and Scorpius resolved to ask Draco when they got back to Kings Cross.

He sat solemnly thinking of the summer ahead. He couldn’t wait till the next year. Scorpius smirked sympathetically. “I’m sure we can see each other somehow. Maybe we can make a spot where we can see each other or something. We’ll see.”

Albus shrugged, still a little down, “I dunno. My hopes are down.”

“You got a little sister right?” Scorpius asked. “Well, do me a favor. Try convincing her to make Slytherin. We need more people. Heck, you need more people. The more Potters in Slytherin, the better for you, huh?”

Albus grinned, “I discourage it. I don’t think Rose will agree. If you plan another assault next year, just know Rose will put a better fight up.”

The train slowly came to a halt. Albus sighed. Scorpius laughed and said, “Oh, come up Mr. Sensitivity. At least you’re mates with Mark now, huh?”

Albus sighed, “Yeah.”

When the three, Albus, Scorpius, and Rose walked through the barrier, Harry awaited them as usual. Albus also got a rare glimpse of Luna and Rolf Scamander. Lorcan and Lysander ran up to them and embraced them both.

Scorpius took a deep breath, and walked solemnly up to his father to shake his hand. He nodded at his mother and shook his grandfather’s hand, greeting him with the utmost respect. Albus ran up excitedly, and embraced his father and mother tightly. Lily also ran up and hugged Albus tightly. As Scorpius looked back at Albus, he noticed that he must’ve been very close with his sister, and resolved to prepare himself to convince the girl to make Slytherin herself.

Scorpius walked up to Albus, ignoring his father’s impatient click of the tongue, and nodded in greeting to the little girl. “Hogwarts next year?”

Lily nodded, going a little red. She was usually shy around strangers. Scorpius smirked, and Albus could see what he was trying to do, “Hope to see you in my house.”

“Slytherin?” Lily asked, going a little red.

Rose walked up, half angry at him and ready for a full gear argument. “Scorpius, I swear, I am not going to let you this time. You corrupted my cousins, and succeeded with Lorcan, but you’re not getting Lily or my brother, so forget about it.”

Draco muttered something to Astoria, and the two watched with slight interest as Scorpius turned to Lily, “Rose has her opinion, but you seem to love your brother too. I’ll see you next year.” Scorpius then turned to Albus. He didn’t need to speak. Eyes said everything. ‘It’s time.’

Albus looked down nervously. “What do I say? Good afternoon? Hello? Greetings? Hi? Oi?’

Scorpius laughed, “Al, just say greetings or hello. And calm down, you’re acting like a crazed guy meeting his girlfriend’s father. I don’t swing that way.”

Albus sighed, took a breath, and followed Scorpius to his family. Once more, Albus was facing the Malfoy family. The last time, he went politely to make a good impression by congratulating Lucius on making Senior Assistant to the Minister. Now, it was for something more different. He stopped a close enough distance from Draco to just reach out and shake his hand.

Albus reached out, and said, “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy.”

Draco took the hand, but they clasped for only a few seconds before he let go. He didn’t say a word. Albus approached Lucius. “Greetings Mr. Malfoy.”

Lucius took his hand, grey eyes boring into Albus’. Albus felt very much he wanted to flee back to his parents, but he stayed there. Like his son, Lucius clasped Albus’ hand for only a few seconds.

Scorpius cleared his throat respectfully, and said to Draco, “Father, Albus and I would like to ask you something.”

Only to Scorpius would Draco answer, and he said, “What is it?”

Scorpius gulped, and continued, “Well, Albus and I would like it, err… very much… if we could see each other during the holidays.”

Draco looked up. He fixed Harry with a stare, and motioned for him to get over there. Harry took Ginny, Mark, and Lily, and they walked over. Ron, Hermione, Rose, Hugo, Alex, and Eric watched in surprise.

“The Quidditch World Cup being held in Russia is coming,” Draco said to Harry. “If I see you there, I am giving your son the eh… privilege of joining us for the rest of the summer at the Malfoy Manor.”

Harry said nothing. It was Ginny who played negotiator. Albus watched as his mum stepped in to talk to Draco and Astoria. “Ok then, on Christmas, we’re giving Scorpius the perfect opportunity to carol in Godric’s Hollow. It’s a beautiful place.”

The way home was uneventful. Mark let Harry in on the happenings at school, and when Ginny asked James about the letter she got from school about the prank, James found himself in loads of trouble. Albus could sense another Hurricane in the brewing. It might have been appreciated at school but at home, he was enemy number one.

Still, Scorpius or no Scorpius, Albus was very happy to be back home, but peace would be short-lived. Another hurricane was scheduled, this time concerning James. This had the potential to be much bigger than the last. At last. Another record broken and Albus off the hook. In that sense, there would be peace. He just had a month of peace before the World Cup final would be upon him, and he’d face the prospect of visiting Scorpius in a manor where his only friend was Scorpius. He wondered if Rose would join him or not. Either way, he had the wedding right after.

As Albus lay in bed, and Mark’s small, light, breathing sounded in the room, Albus smiled up at the ceiling. He couldn’t wait till the next year and he saw all his friends again. Whether or not it was in a month, or next year, he knew this would end well. If anything, the year reinforced everything Albus had. Albus had a feeling he’d get along much, much better with Mark this summer.

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