The Enchanter’s Princess
Chapter 3: The Return of Albus Dumbledore
After being made Quidditch Captain, Albus started looking forward to school again. It seemed so much closer now he had his school supplies, his new wand and now even a Quidditch Captain badge. He was in constant contact with Scorpius and Lorcan, both of whom seemed to have a flood of ideas of what kind of person to get for a Keeper. Albus also had to endure Hugo’s snide comments about Quidditch and Slytherin’s prospects next year. Albus was too lost for words to make a comeback either.
Two weeks before school was due to start, Albus was going over a letter he got from Scorpius when a soft, timid knock sounded on the closed bedroom door. Albus looked up, beckoning for whoever was out there to come in. Timid knocks were for Hugo and Lily, never anyone else in the family. The former opened the door, standing there looking very timid and uncertain as he gave Albus a nervous smile. Albus held a hand up to say ‘in a minute’ and read his letter.
I agree. We’ll definitely need a better lineup this year. My cousin is way too good. But we’re not gonna Jinx him. Tell Malcolm if he touches my cousin, he’s gonna be kicked off the team and that’s if he’s still on because since Jennifer’s off, we’re gonna need to find a good Keeper who can beat Hugo. Maybe I can convince my cousin to serve as Chaser during tryouts to test the Keepers against him. Might lose on that front though. We’ll discuss more ideas in person.
Albus sent the letter off and sensing Hugo wanted to talk, he sighed, “Let me guess. The Appleby Arrows scored again?”
“Yeah, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about,” Hugo said, grinning uncertainly. “I wanted to talk to you about something else.”
“Oh?” Albus’ mind raced. Hugo wanted to talk to him about something other than the Arrows? He usually spent his time with Lily if it had nothing to do with Quidditch. In fact, Hugo standing in this house with no Lily keeping him company, (as far as he knew, Lily was with her father in the garden) was very strange. “Erm… sit down?”
Hugo sat on Mark’s bed on the other side of the room and sighed resignedly, as if he originally did not want to have to talk about this but had no other choice. “Al, did you know that… well…” Hugo went a little red, as if feeling guilty that he was even speaking of this. “Lily’s got a crush.”
A dawning of realization came over Albus as he listened. That was what he wanted to talk about. Albus should have expected this. He knew Hugo was close with Lily and though the two were innocently together all the time, Hugo still felt the brotherly protection over her that he, Albus felt from time to time. Now, he was forced to confront the issue once and for all. Lily had a crush on Scorpius. Hugo had a problem with that. Did Albus?
“I knew for a while,” Albus nodded.
Albus realized then that it was a mistake saying this. Hugo opened his mouth in shock, “How’d you know?” Albus was flustered and kept his mouth shut, carefully planning his next words when Hugo spoke up, “It was James, wasn’t it?” he demanded angrily. “He told you.” Albus sighed. Deciding it would be better to come out with the truth, he nodded. Hugo looked visibly calmer and nodded, “Eavesdropper. Either he eavesdropped or he read her diary.”
“Reading diaries sounds like the kind of thing he’d d”-
“Impossible, I’m her diary,” Hugo said angrily. “Whatever. I rather you found out from him. At least I don’t have to break my promise to her. Do you know who?”
Seeing Hugo look visibly angry and upset over this, Albus decided to play it calmly and easily. He rarely argued with Hugo but he did not want him making things difficult for Lily either. “Yeah. Does it matter?’ he asked testily.
Hugo folded his arms in similar fashion to Lily when she discovered Harry didn’t want them in Hogwarts that year. “Your best friend and your sister. Hell yeah, it matters!”
“It’s not that big a deal,” Albus shrugged.
“For one thing,” Albus said logically. “Scorps has his eyes on other girls. For Merlin’s sake he dated Laura last year. I hardly think he notices Lily.”
“For another thing,” Hugo mumbled. “Every time she runs into him, she blushes and loses her breath when he leaves.”
“Does it bother you?” Albus asked calmly, getting up and staring out the window absent-mindedly. Lily was out there, in conversation with Lucy and Molly. Clearly, Uncle Percy had arrived too. Albus smirked and threw a tease Hugo’s way just to add light humor in. Hugo would appreciate it. “Does it bother you that she has a crush on someone… someone well outside our family?”
Hugo just laughed, not bitterly but good-naturedly like Albus truly told a fantastic joke. Hugo got up too and stood beside Albus, staring out of the window. Louis had arrived. Lily immediately jumped around him, talking breathlessly about something, and Hugo sighed and said, “See, if she had a crush on Louis, I wouldn’t have a problem.”
It was Albus’ turn to laugh, “He’s her cousin! Heck, so are you come to think of it. Most people think you’re her twin brother. Not that it makes things better! What exactly is your problem?”
Hugo had a small smile on his face as if he knew his problem was a meek one but he still had to say it, “You know what I mean. It could be anyone. Anyone. And it’s… Scorpius Malfoy. It’s who he is, where he comes from, his very nature. It could’ve been Jonathan Restcamp, Gabriel Dagger, Lysander Scamander, I wouldn’t have had an issue with even Riley. Scorpius Malfoy?”
Albus laughed. “There I was thinking Scorps had a crush on Rosie.”
Hugo scoffed, “I thought so too. Rosie barely interacts with him but at home she won’t shut up about him. Imagine that love triangle. And it’s all turned against me either way.”
“It’s not like they’re getting married,” Albus said pointedly.
Hugo folded his arms, clearly unsure, “Al,” he said seriously. “I know Lily. I’ve seen the way she looks at Scorpius. It’s not just a crush.”
Albus bent his head closer to Hugo’s and said, as if James might be eavesdropping, “I’ve seen the way Scorps looks at Rose”-
“Doesn’t make me feel better, Al,” Hugo interrupted.
“My point is, both Lily and Rose are going to end up dating someone… and we can’t exactly control who, can we?”
That shut him up. Hugo stared outside forlornly and said almost miserably, “No, we can’t. I just hope she makes the right choice.”
Albus had no issue with that. He almost laughed at Hugo’s near lack of confidence in someone he referred to as his sister. “She’s Lily, of course she will.” Hugo gave a small grin and Albus, deciding what exactly it was that Hugo had a problem with, said, “What will you do when she does pick?”
Hugo considered him for a second before saying, firmly and with his arms folded, “I’ll fight to make it happen. I’ll just feel like a Wasp Beater. But if I have to, I will. Anything for Lily.”
Albus smirked and put his hand on Hugo’s shoulder, “And if you’re worried about not being able to talk to Lily as much as you used to, growing apart from her, just talk to her about it. I’m almost positive she’ll put time aside for you when she starts dating.”
Hugo went red again, “I was that obvious, huh?”
“Pretty much,” Albus laughed as the two made their way out of the room.
“You know, you read me almost as well as Lily,” Hugo observed with an approving grin on his face, like he was grading Albus as they walked through the door and down the stairs. “That’s probably why you’re my favorite cousin.”
Albus was dumbfounded. Lily was his favorite cousin. “Huh? But Lily”-
“You said it yourself, Al,” Hugo grinned almost cheekily. “She’s my twin sister.”
The reason for so many visitors became clear once Albus and Hugo were downstairs. Harry had called a meeting of so many people and the house filled up. Professor Ernie Macmillan, Professor Longbottom, even the Scamander family, and a bunch of other faces Albus had only heard of. It was indeed a critical period. There was to be a big meeting down in the Potter basement, headed by Harry, Ron and Hermione. Albus wasn’t sure of the contents of the meeting, and he badly wanted to take part. But to his and James’ dismay, Ginny blatantly refused. “This is for adults now. Students are to keep out of it.”
James had kept arguing with his mother in vain and Albus could tell that Ginny was trying hard not to fight back. She seemed quite glad to be rid of him when she shut the door. But when they went upstairs, they ran into Fred and Roxanne.
“Did you do your part?”
“She was too focused on my yelling, she forgot to Charm the door. We can listen in easy.”
Fred turned to his sister, “Roxy…”
Roxanne, Albus knew had inherited her father’s mischievous humor and took from her pocket Extendable Ears, which her Uncle manufactured years ago. Albus gaped at them and James’ face lit up as he got to work, handing Extendable ears out to everyone. There was enough for everyone, all the family to listen in. Fred and Roxanne went all out with this.
Albus, James, Lily, Mark, Alex, Eric, Lorcan, Lysander, Molly, Lucy (two who Albus barely interacted with) Fred, and Roxanne gathered around the stairs where the extendable ears could reach. Slowly, they adjusted them and soon, as the strings made their way to the basement where the meeting was going on, the voices sounded loud and clear.
-“The Dumbledore’s Army shall return and swiftly put an end to the war!”
Then, Albus’ aunt Hermione spoke in a matter-of-fact voice. “As we’ve seen, the Ministry intends to establish a foothold in Hogwarts by establishing new posts. However, we have a quick and efficient counter to this threat. We’ve managed to choose our own new Care of Magical Creatures teacher and a new Groundskeeper. As for Defense Against the Dark Arts, Phoenix already hired but we have no clue who he is or his background except he assures us he is trustworthy. Harry…”
“It will give us insight into Hogwarts as well, mainly for the purpose of cushioning whatever Incommodo tries doing there,” Harry said reassuringly. “I’ll have direct knowledge into this.”
“Incommodo knows he won’t get anywhere,” Ginny guessed. “Not with these draconian laws. He’s just assuming control right now.”
“Well, with the lineup he’s got to take over leadership of the Departments…” Harry began. “I don’t think the Ministry is worth fighting. He’ll do a bang up job of it all by himself.”
A throat cleared and the room went silent. The pompous voice their stout Professor Macmillan sounded, “After my resignation from Hogwarts, I’ve looked into the Ministry. I’m in too deep to back out now but I’ve got great tidbits to share. The Ministry, in the open speaks of an Arsenal but its main Law Enforcement is fighting the Goblins off. In secret, it has another army. A shadier group. It was one of their number who fired the killing shot against the girl last summer. I haven’t been able to find out much else but I’ll do my best.”
Silence reigned as everyone took this piece of information in. Then, Harry’s grim voice said, “Well, now we’re the only players in this war who know this. Even if the Ministry falls, the group will still be relevant. As for Soto…”
“Stuck in the forest or the mountainside off Hogsmeade,” Ron said casually. “In hiding. Let him rot there.”
“With the Reservation on the loose and quiet, the Purifiers holding Hogsmeade and Soto in hiding, Hogwarts is the only stronghold.”
“May I suggest,” a familiar voice said. “Making safe houses to meet?” The voice sounded like their dueling instructor Georg Vulneroman. “We have an edge all other parties in this war lack. We know of the Reservation and we know of the offshoot group Incommodo has ready.”
“Not to mention the allegiance of Vampires, Werewolves and Centaurs in the forest,” Teddy’s voice said pointedly. “Hogwarts is well defended. If we can manage the Goblins and sway them to our side, we’ll be set.”
“Ernie,” Harry’s voice said. “I’ll need to see you privately concerning your role in the Ministry. Hermione and Bill can try to rally a plea for reconciliation with the Goblins but in the meantime… we’ll have to fight back.”
“As for the Daily Prophet,” Luna’s voice went. Albus widened his eyes as he heard her voice. He didn’t know she was there. Rolf must not have come.
“Written for the Ministry,” Harry said as if it hardly mattered. “They barely matter. Since the second war, the world has learned to rely on second outlets for information. The Quibbler…”
“What do we say?”
“Plenty,” Harry responded. “In fact, the whole story. Inform them that the threat remains, the Goblins are still angry and the Purifiers still out there, the Reservation biding its time. Inform them that a preemptive strike will be launched to prevent war on all three fronts. Inform them that they are all safe. Inform them that the Ministry is split and unstable… and inform them that the resistance of the second war once more marches under the banner of Albus Dumbledore.”
There was then a flurry of movement inside the room and Albus could tell they were done. They rolled their extendable ears up hastily as the door opened and Harry and Ginny saw everyone off. Albus’ cousins ended up leaving too. There was a delay when Hugo asked his mother if he could stay another two days but Aunt Hermione flatly refused. The row was staved off when Harry allowed Lily to join them instead. Once the last of the faces disappeared, the door shut and Harry sighed, leaning against the door as Ginny started using her wand to clean up. The two were determinedly silent on the meeting but before Albus could consider returning to his room, a knock sounded on the door again.
As the knock sounded, Albus felt a rush of foreboding. He walked downstairs slowly. He had a horrible feeling as Harry turned and opened the door, Ginny beside him.
At first, Albus did not know why Harry withdrew his wand but once Ginny was pushed aside, it became clear. For the second time, Mors Incommodo imposed his presence on the Potter family and behind him stood two masked people robed in red. The two withdrew their wands too and three more Apparated with cracks straight inside the house, wands pointed threateningly.
“Mr. Potter, you are under arrest.”
Wands were being pointed, Albus saw but unless help arrived, Harry and Ginny were outnumbered. Nervousness hung in the air and perhaps Incommodo could sense it too. He looked around, eyes resting for a second on Albus and then on Mark. Even James tentatively stayed rooted to the spot. Mors finally spoke in his usual wispy voice. It had grown wispier over the summer since Albus had last heard him. “We do not want a duel, here. It would not be in your… best interests. Hannigan, the charges.”
A witch with a scratchy voice stepped forward, wand pointed at Harry’s heart, reading from a list. “You are accused of converging a group in your place of residence in an attempt to take the Ministry down and you are further accused of hiding Goblins in your house without notifying the Ministry first. These charges, while enough to land you a cell in Azkaban, will instead restrain you to Ministry premises to await a trial to be scheduled in good time. You will not leave the Law Enforcement’s sight under threat of Azkaban or death if the offense is deemed high enough. You will accompany us immediately.”
Albus was sure a duel would take place, a duel Albus knew he would have to get involved in. But miraculously Harry nodded to Ginny and lowered his wand. “Leave my family alone and I’m yours.”
“Trust me, I have little interest in this pathetic unit you call a family,” Incommodo whispered. The five witches and wizards grabbed Harry and Albus yelled “NO!” as James leapt into action.
James was blasted back and against the floor. There were only few seconds of pain before he was released and then… there was a commotion. Harry and Ginny fired spells at the red-robed wizards and Mark rushed at Incommodo angrily, eyes as wide and furious as the enemy before him. Albus plunged his hand in his pocket and raised his wand. No sooner had it appeared that Incommodo disarmed him quickly, catching his wand and throwing it away.
Mark had attacked. Incommodo blocked the spell lazily and fired quick spells off almost at once. Mark swished his wand in different motions, blocking and even re-angling some spells. Just like first year, Mark was incredibly fast with his wand. Some spells were even done without words. After a quick succession of spells, Incommodo stopped and regarded him, “Impressive. You are indeed your father’s son! AVADA KEDAVRA!”
Not one but two jets of light erupted from two wands in Incommodo’s hands. Mark seemed very trapped as the jets of green light came low and high. Unable to duck, he carelessly summoned a cabinet over to take the blast instead. It burst into flames as Mark hid behind it. The second Incommodo yelled a spell Albus could not hear, Mark yelled “Confringo!”
What happened next was too quick for Albus to make out. Incommodo had done a quick spin. Shockwaves shattered the glasses around them, the door broke off its hinges and Mark collapsed, nose bleeding and summoning Harry over at once. James scrambled up and Ginny turned her wand on Incommodo next. Harry beckoned Albus closer as the other officials closed in around James and Ginny fired off at Incommodo madly.
“Trust me,” Harry said quietly. “It’s not what you think it is. I know what I’m doing.”
Albus heard someone flying and hitting a china cabinet behind but before he could turn to look, Harry turned him around by his shoulder to face him. Harry shoved a piece of parchment into Albus’ hands. Albus was not sure why, but Harry’s words, however abrupt they were, calmed him down a great deal. Harry planned this, he convinced himself. He would not accept arrest so willingly otherwise.
Albus turned and saw Incommodo walking forward, healing an injury he seemed to have sustained and looking furious. James was unconscious against the wall. Ginny’s eyes blazed dangerously at Incommodo who considered her for a brief second and with a flick of his wand, summoned James’ body to him. “Anyone make a move and Potter dies.” He turned to his supporters and nodded, “Take him away. Wand off, Mrs. Potter or this insolent child will be killed.”
Silence reigned. Harry looked around. James had been taken hostage, Albus had finally found his wand, Mark was sporting a bloody nose, and Ginny was blazing mad. Incommodo himself had a blotch on his cheek, an eye covered and three of his supporters were limping. If anything, Harry gave his family a final significant look and disappeared with them behind the door. And when Albus read the parchment Harry left him, it also filled him with wonder.
Find the Enchanter’s Princess and this war is over.