Chapter 1 The Quidditch World Cup

The Secret of the Forest

Chapter 1: Camp Site

An old man was sitting on a balcony behind him a Japanese style door, blending into the wall to be slid open and or shut. At the moment, it was shut. This old man had long white hair falling into a ponytail at the back and his sides in dreadlocks. His front hair fell into a poorly shaved beard ending in a short one on his chin. He looked out from the balcony at the beach where a bunch of children were playing. The sear was a clear blue and the sand a pearly white. The land was pure. Very pure. And it was perfect. If only he could spread it.

He turned around to the west and saw a dark forest looming as the only darkness to their land. But it also served as their protection. He nodded, understanding that it was time he put his own plan into action. The happenings of the previous months at Hogwarts… the breach in their protections that sent five British students to foreign countries… he spat bitterly and raised his wand, twirled it above his head, muttering incomprehensible words before pointing at the forest.

The effects were not immediate but slow. A silver line glowing beckoningly glowed that night, directing, almost begging those of curiosity to venture forth, to follow it and discover what lay at the end. And he would be ready.

*X*

Albus Potter awoke as suddenly as if a loud cannon went off outside his window. His eyes snapped open. What was interesting was that that was exactly what had happened. A cannon went off as a wakeup call to those on the campsite. Today was the day. The Quidditch World Cup, hosted in the Russian province of Siberia, was going to take place between Germany and the United States.

He turned his head to the right and looked over at Mark, his roommate. Mark was an orphaned boy at eleven. It was then when Albus’ dad Harry had resolved to take in the boy and look after him as a surrogate son. Usually, Albus would’ve loved that fact, but Mark had been his rival at school before the incident, and being forced to live together was like forcing a cat to live with a mouse.

Mark was thirteen like Albus, but with only a few months difference. The reason for their dislike was the fact that the two were not only of different houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but houses in which the two were mortal enemies based on principle. Through this principle, Mark and his cousins Alex and Eric disliked Albus intensely.

Alex and Eric were Mark’s cousins, by blood and foster. Albus’ mum’s brother took Alex and Eric in when Mark’s parents were murdered brutally over a year prior.

But Albus thought Mark’s stance on Albus’ house Slytherin was hypocritical. Mark himself had a couple of friends in Slytherin house. Albus’ best friend Scorpius was one, and another friend was Walter Mold, who had a bully of a brother anyway. Albus just didn’t understand why Mark had to hate him, Albus, when they were practically roommates now.

To Mark, Albus was an annoying, self-righteous, arrogant and power-hungry nuisance. To Albus, Mark was a self-righteous Gryffindor who had to have the goodness of Slytherin shoved under his nose before making any friends. Albus saw Mark as a brother, and wanted to help him in any way he could, if only Mark would allow it. At least, that was how Albus felt until a year ago, when Mark had gotten Albus into enormous trouble and further gave hell throughout the year to Albus and his friends. Now, there was bitter hatred between the two. A hatred still simmering.

Albus and Mark walked out of the tent a little way to find Harry and Ginny, their parents, sitting and waiting for them. Albus’ siblings, James and Lily, fourteen and eleven respectively, were also there. Also sitting with the family were the Weasley’s, Albus’ cousins. Rose and Hugo, thirteen and eleven respectively, both had red hair. Mark’s cousins Alex and Eric were there too.

Usually, the breakfast was quiet, but the World cup loomed over them. They spent a week at the campsite all for the match between Germany and the United States. Harry looked over at Albus. He expected his dad to try convincing him to change his mind, because Albus was going to visit his friend Scorpius over the summer, and relations with that family were not exactly high. “Are you sure you wanna do this?”

Albus nodded for the umpteenth time. Ginny looked at him hardly. He could tell what she was going to say, and sure enough, “Don’t forget who you are over there. If we have another fiasco like last summer, so help me, Al”-

Ah, Hurricane Ginny. How could Albus forget? All it took was a fifteen-minute trip down Knockturn Alley, and the winds started brewing, only for Albus to bare the brunt of them when Mark told her and dad, thus getting Albus into trouble. He was scared dead when it happened, but looking back was laughable. All disasters in the Potter household were when looked back at. At least, he thought as he looked at Ginny’s fiery eyes, to the kids it was.

“Just stay out of trouble,” Harry finished for her. “After last summer… it’s against our better judgment to trust you.”

Yet the look had been taken off Albus to James. James had suffered a month of hurricanes from Ginny, breaking a record because he had pulled a big prank of exchange students the year before, orchestrating something big between them. Still to that day, even at the campsite, James was only yelled at by Ginny. No calm words were spoken for a while.

Albus and his cousin Rose Weasley set off with Mark and the twins as they usually did across the campsite. Albus caught sight of some of his friends from Hogwarts. There was a vampire, Riley Blackberry, who was there with his father and little brother who Riley tiredly introduced as Nate.

Albus also caught sight of his friend Walter. Mark had run up to say hi, the twins standing back sulkily. Walter’s older brother Malcolm shared the same feelings. He stood back, impatiently waiting for Walter to return. Albus said a hurried hello to his little sister Samantha, and then hurried off to look for Scorpius.

On their way, Albus and Rose also caught sight of Daniel Dagger and another small boy who must’ve been his brother, but they didn’t say hi. They saw Lorcan and Lysander Scamander, who hailed them happily, backed by Nifflers who they claimed to be their new pets.

Rose ran up to greet Roxanne heartily, a cousin in Albus’ house and one year below. Roxanne was with her older brother Fred, who enthusiastically asked where James was before running off in the direction from where Albus and Rose came to find him.

Uncle Percy’s daughters Molly and Lucy greeted Albus happily. Albus rarely saw Molly, but he was hoping Lucy wouldn’t be so difficult to see. He liked Lucy better of the two, because Molly was more fiery and coercing.

Albus had a start when he saw three strikingly familiar faces. Study-supervisor and Muggle Studies Professor Dennis Creevey with his son and daughter Nigel and Laura Creevey. Upon sight, Laura ran up to Mark, and wrapped herself around his waist. It seemed she still wasn’t over him. Albus was starting to seriously wonder if she would ever be.

After gazing constantly at Laura nonstop, as if spaced out for a minute, Rose had to snap Albus out of his daze before they could continue. Scorpius was on the far end of the campsite which was only reached after meeting a number of familiar faces who included their Herbology teacher Neville Longbottom, and even their Headmaster Galadral Phoenix. It was Scorpius who saw them first, and ran up excitedly to say hi.

Having just caught up, Mark was the last to greet him. Alex and Eric greeted Scorpius with cool nods, and Draco and Astoria poked their heads outside the tent to see what the noise was. Upon seeing Albus, Draco stepped out of the tent, and straightened himself up. He walked over. “Oi, Potter. You’ll be coming with us first thing after the cup, and stay for about three weeks. Then you’re parents shall pick you up for some wedding. Clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Albus nodded respectfully. Albus didn’t exactly know why he addressed the Malfoy’s as sir or ma’am, except that it was for respect in an attempt to look good. Still, it couldn’t hurt, could it? Somewhere in the distance, he could hear the whistle starting to signal that the game would begin in half an hour. Time to head back.

Rose was babbling their whole way to the stadium. According to her, the cup would’ve taken place a year earlier, but due to the second Wizading war, reparations were being made during the 1998 year, and the World Cup was cancelled on Britain’s behalf. Albus and Lily rolled their eyes during the most part of the history lecture.

They arrived at the cup stadium, which was literally packed. Witches and Wizards from all over the world gathered there to witness the cup. Albus and Mark took seats next to Harry when the three of them received a tap on the shoulder.

It was Scorpius, and he was grinning broadly, “I convinced my parents. The Potter’s can watch in the top box with us. Wanna come?”

Ginny widened her eyes. Harry looked over at Scorpius half-approvingly. Ron looked down, and didn’t say anything. Catching the look on Ron’s face, Harry smiled, “I’m staying with the Weasley family. But Al and Rosie can go up if they like.”

Albus needed no telling. He jumped up immediately, and faced Scorpius, grinning widely. Rose got up slowly. He dragged Albus and Rose up higher nearer the boxes. Scorpius took a particularly blacker one. This one was for high foreign guests, Scorpius had informed them. “Granddad is a high Ministry official, so he gets a box with family. Mum’s side couldn’t make it, so I asked if I could have you all over.”

“Honestly, thank you, Scorpy,” Rose said happily.

“Any more condescending name-calling, and I may withdraw my invitation, however,” Scorpius said back, going a little red.

They entered the top box to a very comfortable-looking room. Draco and Astoria were sitting nearer the window, and Scorpius took a seat a little further back, an assortment of drinks on the tableside.

Albus and Rose took seats on either side of Scorpius. Now all the friends were there, Albus could see how much change they had all gone through. While he was right in supposing that Scorpius retained his youthful voice, he had grown a bit. Mark and the twins were still youthful, but Eric’s voice was breaking. Rose had grown taller, and Albus himself had too. Still, Rose always said that he and Scorpius had a little bit of growing up to do.

“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy,” Albus said politely to the adults. They nodded in response, and motioned for him to sit down.

“Vitches and Vizards!” a blaring voice sounded all over the stadium. It blared all over the place, and sounded particularly close to the box. It must’ve been the next one. “Velcome to the four-hundred and twenty-eighth Quidditch Vorld Cup!”

“Great, a Russian commentary,” Albus heard Draco mutter to Astoria and his father.

The Russian was commentating in his own accent, so Albus didn’t pay much attention. Judging by other matches, however; he figured he’d only need names, so it wouldn’t be difficult.

“What team?” Lucius Malfoy said so suddenly that Albus flinched.

Albus looked over to his left, and saw Lucius staring directly at him. Recovered, Albus gulped, “Um… United States.”

Lucius nodded in response, and didn’t say anything else. Scorpius leaned over to his friend, “Germany. You’ve declared yourself against us.”

Albus leaned aside to talk to Scorpius, “So, he loathes me now?” Albus asked.

“Err… it won’t help you, that’s for sure,” Scorpius muttered back. “Wanna bet though. America or Germany?”

“Five galleons on America winning the match,” Albus muttered to Scorpius, who took Albus’ hand on that, and then returned to a conversation he was with Rose about brains vs. brawn.

Albus watched. The match had started. “Schmidt! Stolen by Roy!”

The Americans were practically invading the pitch. The German strategy seemed to be sticking together while the American strategy was to scout the pitch, and be everywhere. At one point, an American fell off his broom when the Quaffle hit her head. Lucius grinned, and turned to Albus, “See that? A Quaffle isn’t that strong. The Americans cheat. The Germans will win this match.”

Albus ignored him. He continued watching the game. Scorpius took a bottle from the tableside, and uncorked it. Taking another, he offered it directly to Albus. “Want one, Al? It’s fire whisky.”

“My mum and dad would kill me if they found me drinking fire whisky,” Albus responded uncertainly. Rose watched with pursed lips, but didn’t dare enter conversation with Scorpius when his family was present.

“Al, I talked you into Knockturn Alley last year, and it was stupid on my part,” Scorpius said, smirking. “But do you really think your mum and dad are gonna burst in here to check your drink?”

“I’ll have Butterbeer,” Albus insisted. “I’m visiting you this summer, and I wanna keep it that way.”

Scorpius rolled his eyes, and said, “Fine, Al. Suit yourself.”

As Scorpius was about to take his gulp, he felt it being snatched out of his hand by Rose, and thrown away, glass shattering and liquid falling upon the floor. “Hey! Rose! I got a good mind to kick you out!”

One hour into the match could show anyone how professional it was. The Germans were at one hundred and fifty points without the snitch, and the Americans stood at one hundred points exactly.

Still the match went on longer, and Albus endured snide remarks by Lucius about how and why the Germans would win. Based on the points, Albus could see how, but if the American caught the snitch first…

“And zere’s ze sneetch!” the Russians announced.

Albus and Scorpius got up in tension. Albus was crossing his fingers for Heather Bell of the American team and Scorpius for Von Schnieder of the German team. Lucius leant on his snake staff to watch more closely. Draco clutched the edges of the chair. Then…

“DAMN IT!” Albus yelled, and stamped his feet in anger.

Lucius smirked in triumph. Albus now had to face him, and even worse, he was going home with them after this, so he’d endure a triumphant family of German supporters.

“See what I said?” Lucius said to Albus. “The Americans lose simply because they have it coming. Europeans are known to be better Quidditch players. Americans should stick to Gobstones.”

“Pay up, Al!” Scorpius said, reaching his hand out.

But before Albus could slap five galleons into his hand, Astoria scolded, “Scorpius! I’m surprised at you.”

“Sorry… erm… kidding, Al. Um. High-five?”

Albus, holding laughter back, gave him five. Shaking his head in a mixture of happiness and disappointment, he walked with him and Rose out of the top box and down to the crowd below. Somewhere there, a disappointed Potter and Weasley family was filing out. Albus had time to say one last goodbye before heading off with Scorpius to Malfoy Manor.

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