stories.xnxx.com


Introduction:

harry potter
A/N: This story describes how Albus, Matt, Amanda, John, and Rose get their Hogwarts letters. Each chapter contians lyrics from a song by Jared Campbell. Each chapter's name is a lyric from the same song. The story is named after his song, Life Is Good.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or any of Jared Campbell's songs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Cause fate, it's in my way
and I don't have the patience to put life on hold,
I think I'm holding out for something more.
~Fate, Jared Campbell



Eleven-year-old Albus Severus Potter was standing in front of the window in the drawing room of his London house, Grimmauld Place. He had been standing perfectly still for the past two minutes, watching as a dot in the sky got larger and larger until it was recognizable as an owl.

The owl was close now and it looked like it was heading straight for Grimmauld Place. It was close enough for Albus to notice its ruffled brown feathers and the letters wrapped around its legs. Albus gulped and he rubbed his sweaty hands on his pants.

Watching for the morning post had become a routine for Albus over the past few days. As soon as he woke up, he would stand by the window waiting for the owl that he knew would arrive soon. The owl from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that would bring him his acceptance letter. Albus's older brother, James, had received his letter a year ago, in mid-July, and Albus was sure his would arrive at roughly the same time.

Albus wrenched open the window and the owl soared inside. It stuck out its leg and Albus quickly detached the letters. The owl gave a loud hoot and then soared out the window. Albus shut it as he rifled through the letters. One was addressed to James. But the other, the other was addressed to Albus.

Albus sat down on the couch and slowly turned the letter over in his hands. He swallowed hard and began to open it with shaking hands. He pulled it out of the envelop and read it.

Albus closed the letter, grinning to himself. It had finally arrived. Albus had been kind of anxious about it the entire summer. He knew it would arrive, but after days of no owls from Hogwarts, he had gotten a bit worried.

Albus stood up and ran to the stairs. He had to wake James up. James had been teasing Albus ever since he returned from Hogwarts, telling him he wouldn't get his letter. Albus knew James liked to joke, but it had gotten a bit irritating by the third week.

James's bedroom door was closed, but that didn't stop Albus. After all, James always barged into Albus's room. Albus banged open the door and peered down at James, who was curled up on his bed. He looked rather innocent when he was sleeping, but if anyone could make trouble even while sleeping, it was James.

Albus glanced around the room, trying to think of a creative way to wake him up. He wished he had a wand and could spout water in James's face.

Albus decided to just go with the old standby of staring at James until he woke up. It usually worked. Albus peered down until he was only inches from James and waited.

All of a sudden, James's eyes shot open and he jumped back. He hit his head on the wall behind his bed and winced.

"What the hell, Al?" James shouted as he rubbed his head, "Do you realize what time it is?"

"Nine in the morning," Albus said, "Sorry about your head."

"It's ok," James muttered, "I'll get you back eventually. But why in the name of Merlin did you wake me up so early?"

Albus pulled his letter out of his envelop and proudly shoved it in James's face. James grabbed it and scanned it. He gave it back to Albus and grinned.

"See, you got it," James said.

"I know," Albus said, "But you're the one who said I wouldn't."

"I was only joking," James shrugged, "It's what brothers do. Now you get to do it with Lily."

Albus shrugged. He sort of doubted Lily would believe him if he told her she wasn't going to Hogwarts. She'd been waiting impatiently for her Hogwarts letter since she was five or so. Now she was nine and she still had two years to go.

"Oh, you got your book list, too," Albus handed James the letter addressed to him.

"Excellent," James grinned as he ripped it open, "Maybe Mum and Dad will get me a broom as an early birthday present. Then I can try out for Seeker this year and not have to use one of those school brooms."

James was entering his second year and was determined to become Gryffindor's new Seeker. He had been practicing all summer on one of their mum's old brooms. James's birthday was in November and he had been giving their parents not so subtle hints about a new broom ever since he returned home from school.

"Well, I'm going to go see if we can go to Diagon Alley today," Albus said.

"Then I can get my broom," James replied and laid back down.

Albus looked back at James as he left, and noticed that he already had his eyes closed.

Albus ran back downstairs and to the kitchen. Both of his parents were sitting at the table eating eggs and toast.

"It came!" Albus said proudly as he set his letter down in between his parents.

"Congratulations, Al," Harry grinned and ruffled Ablus's hair, "Told you you just had to be patient."

"That's wonderful, Albus," Ginny got up and kissed the top of his head, "We can go shopping today, if you'd like."

"Definitely," Albus grinned, "James wants to go, too. He wants his new broom."

Ginny rolled her eyes as she put her plate in the sink. "We'll see about that."

"Mummy!!!!" Lily came shrieking down the stairs.

Albus turned around and saw that she had a hair brush stuck in her hair and her eyes were welling up with tears.

"Mummy!" Lily cried, "It's stuck!"

Ginny sighed and picked up her wand. "Lily, what were you doing?"

"I was just trying to make my hair curly like Rosie's," Lily pouted as Ginny started to extricate the brush from her hair.

"Lily, what have I told you about wrapping your hair around your brush?" Ginny asked.

"Not to do it," Lily muttered.

"Exactly," Ginny said, "Albus got his Hogwart's letter."

"Really?" Lily shrieked and ran away from Ginny just as she got the brush free, "Where is it? I want to see!"

Albus grabbed his letter off the table and held it in front of Lily. Lily stared wide eyed at it and tried to grab it away from Albus. Albus held it up above her head.

"I wanna hold it!" Lily shouted.

"No," Albus shook his head.

"Mum!" Lily shouted, "He won't let me see it!"

"It's his letter, Lils," Harry replied.

Lily crossed her arms across her chest. "Fine. I want to go to Hogwarts, too."

"You're not old enough. You just have to be patient, Lily," Ginny told her.

Harry snorted into his juice. "I seem to remember someone else who was impatient about going to Hogwarts."

Ginny smacked Harry playfully on the head with that morning's copy of the Prophet. "Oh, shut it, Harry."

Albus poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down just as the fireplace lit up with green flames. It cleared a few seconds later and out stepped a boy in his late teens who had turquoise colored hair.

"Teddy!" Albus shouted and jumped up from the table, "I got my letter just now!" Albus handed Teddy his letter.

"Brilliant," Teddy grinned and scanned Albus's letter, "Merlin, I wish I still had another year there."

"That's only because then you could put off deciding what you want to do with your life," Ginny laughed.

"No, so I could be there when Albus is there," Teddy groaned, "But I suppose you're right, too."

"Of course I am," Ginny said.

"Anyway, I just stopped by to say hi on my way to work," Teddy said as he grabbed a piece of toast off Harry's plate.

"And to steal my food," Harry muttered.

"That, too," Teddy grinned, "I'm working at the Diagon Alley store today, so will I see you lot there later?"

"Yep," Harry nodded, "We'll be there. I'm going to see if Ron and Hermione want to go as well. Rose probably got her letter today."

"Sounds good," Teddy said as he stepped back into the fireplace and disappeared in green flames.

******

A few hours later (after James had woken up), the Potter family found themselves in Diagon Alley. The street was filled with returning Hogwarts students and their families.

Albus had been to Diagon Alley numerous times before, but there was something very exciting about going there to buy supplies for Hogwarts. He was getting to do everything James had done the previous year. Albus was especially excited about going to Olivander's and getting his wand.

They met Ron and Hermione Weasley, as well as their two kids, Rose and Hugo, in front of Gringott's. Rose was a couple months younger than Albus, but would be turning eleven in August and would be going to Hogwarts as well. Hugo was Lily's age.

"Where to first?" Harry asked.

"Olivander's!" Albus announced.

"Flourish and Blotts!" Rose said excitedly.

Albus stared at her like she had three heads. How could his cousin want to go to the book store before she got her wand?

"You're mental, Rose," James laughed, "I say we go to Quality Quidditch Supplies!"

"Eyelops!" Lily shouted.

"You're not even going to Hogwarts," Albus pointed out.

"I don't care," Lily huffed.

"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," Hugo suggested.

"Then it's settled," Harry grinned, "We're going to the Apothecary first."

Everybody groaned, but followed Harry down the street anyway. Albus sighed to himself. That was always how his dad settled arguments. He'd pick what nobody had suggested.

The trip to the Apothecary was quick. Nobody really wanted to linger in there. Albus didn't particularly enjoy the place. It had an odd smell to it and there were cauldrons full of things that looked like they were decaying.

After the Apothecary, they went to Madam Malkin's, which was boring as well. Albus just didn't find buying robes very exciting. It seemed like his dad was doing the most boring shopping first.

Finally, after a long trip to Flourish and Blotts, Harry announced that Olivander's was next on the list. Albus and Rose ran ahead of the rest of the group and arrived a few minutes before anyone else.

"Ah, Albus and Rose," Olivander turned around and greeted them with a wispy voice.

"Hello, Mr. Olivander. We're getting our wands today," Albus grinned.

"I thought so," Olivander smiled and walked slowly to the rows of wands that were behind him.

Olivander took measurements and then walked to the back of the shop. He returned with a few wands just as the rest of the Potter and Weasley families entered the shop. Olivander greeted them and then handed Albus and Rose each a wand.

Albus smiled as he held the wand in his hand. It was an unbelievable feeling; holding a wand that could be his. He waved it and the window behind him exploded.

James burst out in laughter as Albus's face turned bright red. He set the wand on Olivander's desk and looked sheepishly at his family. Harry grinned and repaired Olivander's window with a wave of his own wand.

"Perhaps this one," Olivander handed Albus another wand, "Eleven and a quarter inches, Ash, phoenix feather."

Albus took the wand and all of a sudden a warm feeling enveloped him. If he didn't know any better, he'd say the wand actually glowed in his hand for a split second. He could feel that it was the right one even before he waved it. He gave it a wave and gold sparks erupted from it.

"Excellent," Olivander grinned.

A little while later, Rose had her wand as well and the group left the shop. Albus was carrying his wand with the utmost care and staring more at the box than what was in front of him.

The adults decided that it would be best to visit Eyelops last since both Albus and Rose were getting owls. They didn't want to have to carry the owls around all day.

James was asking to go to Quality Quidditch Supplies every five minutes or so, but Harry led the way into Weasley's Wizard Wheezes first.

"Ron, Ginny!" George greeted them as they entered, "And Harry and Hermione! You've got everyone with you today."

"Hogwarts shopping," Harry grinned, "Al and Rosie just got their wands."

Albus proudly opened the box and showed his Uncle George his new wand. Rose did the same.

"Brilliant, both of you!" George said, "And now I shall get you both ready for Hogwarts in the prank department...."

Albus followed George into the depths of the shop. He was not at all surprised that his uncle was assisting him with pranks. George was the owner of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and was legendary at Hogwarts as one of the most mischievous students ever to attend.

"Now, every student needs a Skiving Snackbox or two," George said as he handed Albus and Rose each a colorful box, "After all, I can't imagine you'll want to sit through History of Magic very often."

Albus grinned as he took the box of sweets to make one ill. He had heard many a story from his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and James about how boring Professor Binns' classes were.

"And then you'll need some dung bombs," George said as he led them to a different display.

"Last time I checked, those were still forbidden at Hogwarts," Hermione said sternly.

"Oh, I'm sure they are," George winked, "But so long as Filch doesn't find out it was these two who set them off, it doesn't matter."

"George Weasley!" Hermione scolded, "You should be setting a better example for these two! No wonder Fred was in detention every week last year!"

Albus laughed as he took a pack of dung bombs off the shelf. His cousin Fred was George's son and just finished his third year at Hogwarts. Fred had taken after his father as far as pranking went.

"Lighten up, Hermione," Ron laughed, "Let them have their fun."

"Ronald!" Hermione shouted, "You're even worse!"

"Harry!" Teddy burst out of the back room and joined the group, "Getting Al all the pranking products he'll need this year?"

"Sure am," Harry grinned, "Although I don't think Hermione is too happy about it."

"I am not buying this stuff for Rose," Hermione stated.

After a few more minutes of arguing, Hermione gave up and both Albus and Rose had bagfuls of Weasleys' products. James had replenished his stash as well and Albus had a feeling he'd use everything up within a month.

George closed the shop so he and Teddy could get something to eat and everyone went to the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. Albus mainly listened to the conversation but was very content. Going to Hogwarts was something he had been looking forward to for years and now it was finally happening.

James finally got to go to Quality Quidditch Supplies after dinner and got his early birthday present. Albus was slightly jealous about this, but knew that he couldn't have his own broom at Hogwarts anyway. He was determined to make it onto the Quidditch team eventually, though.

The last stop of the day was Eyelops Owl Emporium, which was a place Albus was almost as excited about as he had been about Olivander's. His parents had told him he'd be able to get an owl when he went to Hogwarts.

"I want an owl," Lily whined as they entered the shop.

"In two years," Harry replied.

"That's so far away," Lily groaned.

"I know," Harry said as he picked her up, "But it'll go by faster than you think."

Albus began looking around at all the owls. He didn't really have any ideas about what kind of owl he wanted; he just thought he'd look around and see what owl liked him.

There were owls of all sizes and colors. White ones, black ones, and speckled ones. Small ones, large ones, and medium sized ones. Albus walked slowly through the shop and looked at each owl. His eyes rested on an owl with gleaming topaz eyes and dark brown feathers. The owl had a few flecks of white on its head and it was staring directly at Albus.

Albus walked over to the owl and gave the owl a pat on its head. The owl gave a soft hoot and Albus knew it was the one for him. The owl flew onto his shoulder and Albus walked back to his parents.

"I've got my owl," he grinned.

"What's his name?" Harry asked.

"Dunno," Albus shrugged, "Haven't thought of one yet."

"Name him Salazar," James smirked, "Because you'll be in Slytherin."

"What?" Albus stared at his brother, "I'm not going to be in Slytherin."

"You never know," James said, "There's a 25 percent chance that you might."

Albus was stunned. It was so obvious. There was a 25 percent chance that he'd be in Slytherin. After all, there were four houses. But the thought of being in Slytherin had never crossed his mind. He always thought he'd be in Gryffindor, where everyone in his whole family had been. It was possible for him to be in Slytherin, though. Or Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Neither of those would be that bad, but Albus wanted to be in Gryffindor.

"Ready to go, Al?" Harry asked, "Rose just found her owl."

"Oh, yeah," Albus said quietly, "I'm ready. And I'm naming my owl Godric."

Albus followed his family out of the owl shop and to the Leaky Cauldron. In two months, he'd be at Hogwarts. The place where his parents went and most of the rest of his family. The place he had been impatiently waiting to go to for years. He couldn't think of a time in his life where he had been more excited. All he hoped was that he would wind up in Gryffindor and maybe, just maybe, he would be able to make a name for himself.


But he knows that it's going to be all right
Cause the love that he's got will keep him warm through the night
Life is good, life is good
~LIfe Is Good, Jared Campbell


Eleven-year-old Matthew Conan Eckerton was sitting below a large oak tree in his backyard. His eyes were closed and he was resting his head against its rough trunk. The sun was beating down on him through the branches above. For the past hour, the only sound had been the occasional bird chirping or cow mooing. Then a loud revving broke the silence.

Matt slowly opened his eyes and squinted in the bright sunlight. He glanced around to try and find out where the noise was coming from. In the distance, he saw the farmer riding his tractor through the fields that surrounded Matt's house.

Matt lived in the country, far from any towns. His house was on an acre of property that was surrounded by farmland on three sides and a forest on the other. The nearby farmer owned all of the surrounding farmland and was regularly seen plowing or performing other tasks. The farmer's house was quite far away, although Matt could see it from where he was sitting. Other than the farmer, Matt had no other neighbors.

Matt's parents, Walter and Julie, wanted it that way. Matt was not an ordinary eleven-year-old boy, even by wizarding standards. At the age of five, he was bitten by a werewolf and became one himself. For the past five and a half years, over half his life, he had been enduring painful transformations every month that left him exhausted and sick. As if he could be anymore unusual, the Wolfsbane Potion which normally enabled a werewolf to keep his mind during full moons, did not work for Matt.

That particular day happened to be the day of the full moon. In only a few short hours, Matt would be locked in a room in the basement and go through the painful transformation into the wolf.

As the full moon was only a short while away, Matt was already feeling the effects of it. A few days beforehand, he would tire quickly and get a lot of headaches. He also lost his appetite. At the moment, he had a splitting headache which was not helped by the tractor, but felt too exhausted to move. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pounding in his head and the tractor's roaring.

"Matt, are you out here?" someone shouted.

Matt opened his eyes again and saw his sister, Amy, walking towards him. "I'm over by the tree!" he shouted.

Amy ran the rest of the distance and sat down next to him. Her blond hair was thrown up into a messy ponytail and flying everywhere as she walked.

"Thank Merlin," Amy sighed, "I couldn't find you anywhere. You know Mum doesn't like it when you go outside the day of the full moon."

Matt groaned inwardly. His mother was extremely overprotective, in his opinion. He understood she had her reasons and after what had happened in the past, he couldn't really blame her. But he wasn't a baby anymore and he didn't think going outside was going to hurt. He liked going outside before full moons since he'd be cooped up inside for a few days afterwards.

"Is she back yet?" Matt asked. His mother had gone to Diagon Alley to pick up some groceries a little while ago, leaving Amy to 'babysit' him. Matt thought this was ridiculous since he was eleven and certainly did not need a babysitter, but didn't argue with her. Plus, Amy was home anyway.

"No," Amy replied, "But I had to find you because this just came by owl."

Amy grinned as she handed Matt a letter. Matt took it and turned it over. His breath caught in his chest as he saw the Hogwarts crest stamped on it. It was his Hogwarts letter.

Ever since Amy had begun her magical education, when Matt was four, he had been excited about going himself. Even after he had been bitten by a werewolf, he thought he'd get to go. His parents had never said otherwise. Until they received a letter telling them Matt couldn't attend, that is.

The Eckertons had not lived in England their whole lives. Up until three years ago, they had lived in Australia. Amy had attended the Australian School of Sorcery until she was fourteen. That was when their parents had asked the headmaster if Matt would be able to attend. He said he could not.

Everything got worse from there. Someone who held a grudge against Matt's dad at the Ministry announced to the entire country that Matt was a werewolf (something they had successfully hidden for over two years) and then his dad lost his job because of it. He had been the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. After that, the man who had announced Matt's lycanthropy became the head and passed legislation restricting the rights of werewolves.

Matt's parents sent letters to numerous other schools asking if he could attend. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland said yes. Matt's dad found a job at the British Ministry, in Werewolf Support Services, and they moved. Life had been better since then. Amy had a hard time adjusting, but eventually began to enjoy Hogwarts.

Due to all of this, Matt knew he would get a letter from Hogwarts this summer. He had been waiting for it for weeks since he had no idea when it would arrive, but had momentarily forgotten about it that day. Despite knowing it was going to come, there was something very exciting about it actually arriving.

Matt slowly peeled back the seal and opened the envelop. He pulled the letter out and carefully unfolded it.

"Merlin, you're slow with that!" Amy exclaimed, "I think I nearly ripped my letter from Australia when I got it."

"That's why I opened mine slowly," Matt smirked. He looked at the letter and read it aloud. There was a post script at the end, one that Matt knew the rest of his fellow students would not have received.

P.S. Please have your parents contact
us so we can set up a time for you to
come to the school so we can discuss
the precautions we have set up for
your lycanthropy.

Matt folded the letter and then looked up at Amy. He still couldn't believe that it was finally his turn to go to Hogwarts. He had been secretly jealous of Amy for years. Every time she got to go shopping for supplies and then speed away on the Hogwarts Express, he watched with envious eyes.

"It'll be both of us going this year," Amy grinned.

Matt nodded. "I just hope I'm in Gryffindor."

"You will be," Amy assured him, "Siblings usually get sorted into the same house. Victoire's sister and brother are in Gryffindor like she is. All their cousins are there, too."

"I got my supply list, too," Matt said as he pulled out another piece of parchment, "You get yours?" Amy was entering her seventh and final year at Hogwarts.

"Yup," Amy nodded, "We can go to Diagon Alley once you're recovered from tonight."

"Yeah," Matt said, wishing he didn't have to wait, "Says I can't get a bring a broom, though."

"Like Mum would let you bring one anyway," Amy laughed, "Speaking of Mum, she'll probably be back anytime. We should go back inside."

"You won't tell her I was out here, will you?" Matt asked as he stuffed his letter back in the envelop.

"Nah," Amy grinned, "Since when have I been one to do what Mum says anyway?"

Matt stood up and felt dizzy as soon as he did so. He stumbled and Amy grabbed his arm. She let him lean on her as they walked slowly back to the house. The thing Matt hated even more than the actual transformation into the wolf was how sick he felt the days leading up to it. It was like getting the flu once a month.

To Matt's relief, his mother was not back from Diagon Alley when they got back to the house. Amy helped him to the couch and he laid down on it.

"I am going to miss so many classes during the full moons," Matt groaned.

"Yeah, you probably will," Amy agreed, "But the teachers are nice so you'll be able to catch up. Well, most of them are nice. Washburn's a nasty piece of work, but the rest are nice. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to miss History of Magic. There's usually about a quarter of the people in my class using Puking Pastilles or Nosebleed Nougats before that class. You'll have a built in excuse once a month. All the rest of the kids in your class will be jealous."

"I doubt that," Matt said darkly. Ever since he had first seen the sweets in a Skiving Snackbox, he was bewildered that people would actually eat sweets that would make you ill. He just couldn't wrap his mind around actually wanting to be ill, even to miss a boring class. He'd rather sit through the class.

"Just keep an open mind," Amy shrugged, "There have been quite a few times where I would rather be in the Hospital Wing than in class."

Matt groaned and closed his eyes. He wished he could go all seven years at Hogwarts without ever setting foot in the Hospital Wing, but that wasn't going to happen.

"Amy, could you get me some of that headache potion?" he asked.

"When did you last have it?" Amy asked.

"When I woke up this morning."

"Sure," Amy replied and got up.

Matt heard the door open a moment later and his mum walked in, her arms laden with grocery bags.

"Amy!" she shouted, "Can you come help me with these bags?"

"Hang on!" Amy shouted from the kitchen.

The bags dropped to the floor with a thump and Matt heard footsteps coming closer. He felt his mother kiss his forehead and ruffle his blonde hair.

"How are you?" she asked softly.

"Tired and I've got a headache," Matt mumbled.

"I'll get you some headache potion."

"Amy's already getting it," Matt replied.

His mum kissed his forehead once more and sat down next to him on the couch. "Amy, could you bring the fever reducer, too?"

Matt squeezed his eyes shut tighter. No wonder he felt awful; he had a fever. Now he was sort of glad he came inside when he did.

"I got my Hogwarts letter, Mum," he whispered.

"That's wonderful, honey," she replied, "We'll go shopping in a few days."

"Here's the potions," Amy said.

Matt cracked open his eyes and took one of the goblets Amy was holding. He drank it quickly and then grabbed the other one. He swallowed that one as fast as he could as well and gagged at the disgusting taste.

"Can I get an owl?" he yawned.

"Of course, honey," his mum said as she rubbed his back, "Just go to sleep now. We'll talk more about it tomorrow."

Matt nodded and closed his eyes. He fell asleep quickly, feeling the happiest he had ever been the day of a full moon.

******

"Matt," someone whispered as they shook him.

Matt opened his eyes and saw his dad bent down in front of the couch. "Hey, Dad."

"I just heard you got your Hogwarts letter," his dad smiled, "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Matt whispered.

"Well, I'll let you get some more sleep. There's still an hour or so until you have to go downstairs," his dad said as he gave him a hug.

Matt watched his dad walk into the kitchen and closed his eyes once more. He drifted off to sleep again, trying not to think about what would happen in an hour.

After what seemed like only a few minutes later, Matt woke up in a cold sweat with an awful headache that no potion could ever help with. He sat up and looked out the window. It was dark, but he didn't need to see the sky to know that the moon would rise soon.

"Mum!" his voice cracked. He swallowed hard. The pain always started before the transformation did. It was awful. He always tried not to cry, but it never worked. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to keep the tears from leaking out.

He heard three sets of footsteps run into the room and felt his mother's arms wrap around him. He leaned into her and rested his head on her shoulder.

"It's time," his dad said quietly.

Matt shakily stood up and his parents helped him stumble towards the basement door. He could hear Amy's footsteps behind them. Nobody said a word as they walked down the stairs and towards his transformation room.

Matt sat down on the padded floor as soon as he got into the room. His head was spinning and he didn't think he'd be able to stand up much longer anyway. His parents and Amy each gave him a hug and then left the room. They didn't say anything, but there was nothing to say. He'd done this so many times there wasn't really any point in his parents saying anything. He knew they'd be there in the morning.

The door locked as his parents and Amy left, and Matt let out a loud sigh as he sat down. This was it. Another full moon. There was nothing he could do now but wait.

For years, he fought the change. He'd clench his hands and jaw and try to prevent the transformation, even though he knew it wouldn't work. The only time he hadn't fought it was the first one, where he had no idea what was going to happen. For the second one, he knew what was going to happen. He was only six, but he understood and he fought it with every part of his being. Now, five and a half years later, with five and a half years of proof that it wouldn't work, he still fought it.

Matt didn't have to wait long for the transformation to begin. His headache became unbearable and he felt his stomach lurch. He learned early on to not try and eat anything beforehand, because it always came back up during the first part of the transformation.

He curled up into a ball and let out a soft moan. He could feel his heart beating a mile a minute. His breathing was short and labored. It felt like he couldn't breathe. He always tried not to scream, but that never worked either. He felt his bones breaking and elongating and hair sprouting everywhere.

He let out a loud scream and clenched his eyes as pain coerced through his body. No amount of previous full moons would ever prepare him for the painful transformation. Nothing helped with it either. His parents had given him so many different potions, but nothing decreased the pain.

His mind was always the last thing to go. Matt hated that. He wished his mind would go first. Then he wouldn't have to remember the actual transformation. He always wished he'd pass out before the transformation began, but that never happened.

Matt took a few more ragged breaths and cried out in pain. He sat up and looked at his hands, which were quickly turning into paws of the wolf. He felt dizzy. The world was spinning around him and it felt like fog was clouding his mind. He let out one more scream and the world disappeared.

******

The wolf slowly stood up and took in his surroundings. It was dark and there was a faint smell of blood and humans lingering in the air. He was also trapped, again. The wolf was always trapped. He began to pace around the room and look for an escape route. It wasn't there. There was never an escape route.

The wolf stood up on his hind legs and pointed his snout towards the ceiling. He let out a long howl and then glared at the opposite wall. He got back down on all fours and charged at it, slamming his head into the abnormally soft wall. He stepped back and repeated the process again and again.

He was alone. Alone and trapped. Every single full moon, the wolf was alone and stuck in the small padded room. He wanted to get out. He wanted to get out and find the people he could faintly smell beyond the walls.

However, there was no way out. No matter how many times the wolf rammed his head into the wall, he could not break it. Eventually, he sat down in the middle of the room and howled once more. He then proceeded to bite at his own body to relieve the urge to attack something.

******

Matt cracked his eyes open and tried to lift his head. A stabbing pain fled through his head and he dropped it back down onto the padded floor. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing. Each short, labored breath hurt. He couldn't even figure out which parts of his body hurt the worse. Everything hurt. From the top of his head to his toes.

"Mum?" he said hoarsely. His voice was little more than a whisper. He knew there was no way his mother could hear him, but he called her name anyway.

The door clicked a short while later, but for Matt it felt like an eternity. Whoever came in the room made no sound as they walked across the mattress covered floor. They put a cloak over him and then picked him up. A wave of dizziness come over him as he was lifted up.

"It's ok, I've got you," his dad whispered.

Matt was hardly aware of being carried up to his room and he passed out on the way.

The next thing he knew, he was laying in his soft bed with layers of blankets on top of him. He could feel the warm sun shining through the window. He opened his eyes slowly and blinked as they adjusted to the brightness.

His body still ached despite the potions he knew his parents had given him. His head was throbbing dully as well. Worse yet, he was exhausted. He knew he had already slept for hours, but it felt like he hadn't slept in days.

Who was he kidding? How was he going to go to Hogwarts? How would he manage full moons when he was by himself? He couldn't even get up when he transformed back the next morning. His parents always had to carry him back to his room.

His parents. Matt felt a jolt in his stomach as he realized that they wouldn't be there every full moon when he was in school. They had been there for every full moon he had ever endured. They took care of him the day of and the days following. They got him his potions and healed all his injuries.

He hated to admit it, but he was scared about doing it by himself. He knew he shouldn't be; he was eleven years old for Merlin's sake. Eleven-year-olds should not be afraid of going to school and being away from their parents.

It was a practical issue, he assured himself. That was all. He couldn't physically deal with full moons by himself. That was why he was worried about going to school. It wasn't like he couldn't deal with being away from home.

Then there was the issue of his classmates. What if they found out? It wasn't like he could sneak away for the full moon and be back in his dormitory the next morning before his roommates woke up. He'd be in the Hospital Wing for at least two days. He doubted he'd be able to go to classes the day of the full moon and he usually needed two days to recover. That was three days of missed classes, but more importantly, it was three days of disappearances to explain. What was he going to say? People didn't normally get sick that much.

It was a stupid idea, he thought, going to school. He bit his lip and tried to stop the tears from welling in his eyes. Why didn't his parents just home school him? It would be easier. They were both knowledgeable in most aspects of magic. If his parents had just decided to home school him, they could have stayed in Australia. Then Amy would have been happier.

No, they couldn't have stayed. He sighed. Not after his dad lost his job and all the laws restricting the rights of werewolves had been passed. They were originally going to move so he could go to school. But then his dad lost his job. It wasn't entirely Matt's fault that they moved, was it? Not if his dad needed another job....

It was his fault his dad lost his job, though. If he hadn't gotten bitten, his dad wouldn't have lost his job. So, for all intents and purposes, his family had moved because of him. He couldn't not go to school after all they'd done for him. He'd just have to suck it up and deal with it, no matter how terrifying the prospect was.

"Matt, are you awake?" Amy peeked her head into his room.

Matt quickly rubbed his eyes and turned to look at her. "Yeah."

Amy gave a small smile and walked into the room. She set a goblet down on the bedside table and then sat on the foot of the bed.

"How are you?" she asked quietly.

"All-" he cut himself off and looked at Amy's concerned expression. Ever since she had first seen him after a transformation, she had this uncanny way of knowing when something was bothering him. He wasn't sure how she did it, but somehow she managed to get him to tell her what was wrong.

It was kind of strange since Amy normally had quite the temper and was very impatient. Their mum had once told Matt that she took after his grandmother, but Amy would never admit to it. The two of them did what they wanted and often disregarded other people's emotions.

Amy used to be a lot like that with Matt, too. When they were younger, their parents insisted on keeping Amy away from the house during full moons. She hated it and resented their parents for keeping her out of the loop. She really had no idea what went on during full moons.

Then life as they knew it fell apart in Australia and Amy began to realize what went on. She did resent Matt for months about having to move, but eventually got used to Hogwarts. Then, the first full moon after her fourth year, she stayed at home during the full moon and saw Matt afterwards.

Amy never told Matt what she had thought of seeing him after a transformation, but her actions spoke more than words would have. She stayed by his side after every full moon that summer. A few weeks after that first full moon of the summer, she announced that she was going to become a healer and hoped to discover a version of the Wolfsbane Potion that would work for Matt.

Matt had been a little shocked when he heard this, but not incredibly surprised. As far back as he could remember, Amy had enjoyed experimenting with potions. She was also an avid star gazer and loved Astronomy. If anyone could come up with a better version about that potion, it was Amy. She had the skills, interests, and motivation to do it.

"Actually," his voice caught in his throat, "I'm not that great."

Amy crawled up the bed and laid down next to him, her mouth turning down in a frown. She grabbed the potion off the table and handed it to him. "What hurts? You should take this potion, it'll help."

"It's not that," Matt swallowed the potion in one gulp, "I mean, my head hurts but no worse than usual. It's," he paused, "It's Hogwarts. I'm just not sure if I should go..." his voice trailed off.

Amy put her arm around Matt's shoulders and looked at him sadly. "Why not?"

"This," he muttered, "This probably sounds stupid, but I don't think I can do it without Mum and Dad."

"It's not stupid," Amy said quietly, "They've always been there for every full moon. But I think you're wrong. You can do it without them."

"How?" Matt's voice wavered, "I can't even get back up to my room without them? How in the name of Merlin will I get from that shack in Hogsmeade back to the castle?"

"The nurse," Amy sighed, "You're forgetting about the nurse. Madam Pomfrey. You've met her, haven't you?"

"I think so," Matt nodded, "But I hardly know her."

"Well, I do," Amy said, "And she's one of the nicest adults at Hogwarts. She'll help. And I'll be there too. I'll be there for your entire first year."

"And you'll be there? Can you go to the shack with Madam Pomfrey?"

"Of course," Amy nodded, "And I'll stay at the Hospital Wing with you except when I'm in class."

Matt nodded. He felt a little better knowing that Amy would be there with him. She could practically do everything in order to heal his injuries after the full moon. Their parents had been teaching her ever since she was fifteen and she had actually been performing them ever since she turned seventeen. But he still felt uneasy about the whole thing.

"I know you'll still miss them," Amy said quietly, "And there's nothing wrong with that. I was so homesick during first year and I didn't have to deal with turning into a wolf once a month. I imagine that'll make it even worse."

Matt turned to his sister and laughed. He sort of liked how she just stated what was true and never tried to soften it.

"Yeah, probably," he replied.

"But you'll get used to it," Amy assured him, "Soon you'll make friends and get into mischief like half of Victoire's cousins do."

Matt shrugged. Making friends was another thing he was worried about. He didn't really have many friends. He occasionally spent time with some of his dad's coworkers' kids, but didn't know them very well.

"If I make any friends," he said.

"You will," Amy said.

"But they won't like me if they find out who I am," Matt replied.

"They won't find out," Amy said adamantly, "You'll make plenty of friends. Victoire said a few of her cousins are starting this year and they're certainly to be in Gryffindor like you will be."

Matt had only met Victoire a few times, but from what he could tell, she was really nice. Matt only hoped her cousins were as well.

"I guess that would be good," he yawned, "What time is it?"

Amy glanced at her watch. "Just after one. I should let you sleep."

Matt nodded. "Ok. Thanks." He was pretty tired. He didn't normally have such long discussions with Amy so soon after the full moon. He usually slept until dinner time.

"I'll be back later," Amy gave him a gentle hug, grabbed the empty potion bottle, and quietly left the room.

Matt rolled over in bed and huddled under the many blankets. He closed his eyes feeling a bit better about going to Hogwarts, but still worried.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A/N: Thanks to Luke, Moonylupin, and XDNLxtlz99 for the reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or Jared Campbell's songs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



And she knows that this is real


It's not something that she's made up in her head
And there's something that she feels but she hasn't found the words
~It's Love, Jared Campbell


Eleven-year-old Amanda Genevieve Tagger smiled to herself as she closed her book. She rolled over on her bed and set the it on her bedside table. Her bedside table was stacked high with at least ten books, most of which Amanda had already read.

Amanda had always enjoyed reading. Ever since she was a little girl, books had been some of her best friends. They were great company when she was sad or bored or just wanted to escape into a different world for a while. Best of all, books never made fun of her.

Amanda had always been shy and she was the first to admit it. She didn't have very many friends and kids her age tended to stay away from her. This was most likely because strange things always happened around her.

She was only five when she first realized that she was different. Amanda, her older sister, Jen, who was nine at the time, and a few of her sister's friends were playing outside. They decided to play hide-and-seek and Amanda climbed the biggest tree in their backyard and hid amongst the branches. Jen, who was 'it', had the hardest time finding her. In fact, Jen never found her. Amanda didn't leave the tree until their mom called them in for a snack.

That was when it happened. Amanda's foot caught on one of the branches and she lost her grip. She fell what must have been twenty or thirty feet out of that maple tree, hitting numerous branches on her way down.

When she was a mere five feet from the ground, she suddenly stopped falling. Then, she glided lightly to the ground, and landed softly on her feet. Amanda looked around and saw Jen staring open-mouthed at her. Their mother, who had seen Amanda falling, ran from the house and checked her over. She was completely fine, save for a few minor scratches and bruises. No one knew why it had happened, but Amanda's mother said an angel must have been looking out for her that day.

Whatever it was, Amanda knew she was different that day. It was only the beginning. Strange things had happened to her ever since. When she was six and the class bully stole her biscuits at lunch, new ones appeared out of thin air in front of her. When she was seven and forgot to do her maths homework, it somehow did itself while sitting in her backpack.

A small, relatively harmless tornado had somehow descended upon a few boys who were chasing her when she was eight. That incident was what caused most of the other kids her age to steer clear of her.

There was one girl who did not care that strange things happened around Amanda. Jamie House, Amanda's best friend since Kindergarten, never cared about the strange incidents. She actually thought they were funny. Amanda and Jamie were inseparable at school.

However, Jamie was currently spending a few weeks with her grandparents in Scotland. Without Jamie's company, Amanda had spent most of her time reading. There wasn't really anything else to do. Jen was fifteen and the last thing she wanted to do was hang out with her eleven-year-old sister. Amanda's little brother, Max, was eight and all he wanted to do was ride his bike in the empty lot down the road with the other neighborhood boys.

Amanda was left with her books for company, not that she really minded. She was getting a bit restless, though. She stood up opened her bedroom door. Maybe Jen wasn't on the computer and Amanda would be able to go online. Jamie managed to get on instant messager ever so often at her grandparents' house and Amanda had talked to her a few times over the past week.

The doorbell rang just as Amanda was leaving her room.

"Amanda!" Jen shouted from her room, "Could you get that?"

"Sure," Amanda said as she passed Jen's room. She peeked inside and saw that Jen was in the process of straightening her light brown hair. Jen had straightened Amanda's honey blonde hair a few times, but Amanda actually preferred it with its natural slight wave. Jen hated her own curly hair, though.

Amanda ran down the stairs and towards the door. She pulled it open and saw a man wearing the strangest outfit she had ever seen anyone wear on a day that was not Halloween. It looked like a black graduation gown. The man himself looked relatively sane, though. His blonde hair was neatly combed and he smiled when Amanda opened the door.

"Hello," he greeted her, "Are your parents home?"

"Er," Amanda began, "I think so. Are you selling something?" Her parents hated door to door salesmen. Amanda wasn't exactly sure where her parents were, but she doubted they'd want to be interrupted to listen to someone trying to sell something.

The man laughed. "No, not at all."

"Wait right here," Amanda said and went to find her parents, "Mum! Dad! There's some bloke at the door who wants to talk to you!"

"What's he selling?" Mrs. Tagger shouted from the kitchen.

"Nothing!" Amanda replied.

Mrs. Tagger, a short, plump woman with flecks of grey in her dark brown hair walked out of the kitchen and followed Amanda to the door.

"Can I help you?" she asked the man.

"Yes," the man replied, "I'm a teacher at a private school and I'm here to inform you that your daughter has been accepted."

"Jen?" Mrs. Tagger asked, "I wasn't aware she applied to any private schools."

"No," the man shook his head, "Not Jen. Amanda."

Amanda gaped at the man and then turned to her mother, who was now frowning. Amanda hadn't applied to any private schools. Why would she? She had already gotten into the secondary school she was attending in the fall.

"I know Amanda hasn't applied to anymore schools," Mrs. Tagger said.

"This isn't one she applied for," the man said quietly, "Her name has been down since she was born."

Amanda was stunned. What was this about? How could her name have been down for a school since she was born?

"Could I come in?" the man asked.

"I think you'd better," Mrs. Tagger said in barely more than a whisper.

The man stepped inside the house and followed Mrs. Tagger into the den. Amanda followed and sat down on a chair while the strange man took the couch.

"Henry!" Mrs. Tagger shouted down the basement stairs, "You'd better come upstairs!"

A minute later a tall man with a messy shock of blonde hair on his head walked into the room with Mrs. Tagger.

"My husband, Henry," Mrs. Tagger replied, "And my name is Sarah. Who are you?"

"Professor Neville Longbottom," the man replied as he stood up and shook each of my parents' hands.

"Professor?" Henry raised his eyebrows.

"He told me Amanda has been accepted to a private school. One that her name's been down for since birth," Sarah explained, "Did you sign her up without telling me?"

"No," Henry shook his head.

"I'll explain everything if you'll just sit down," Neville said.

Henry and Sarah nodded and they sat down on the couch Neville had just vacated.

"I teach at a boarding school in Scotland called Hogwarts-"

Henry snorted and Sarah glared at him. "Sorry," he muttered.

Neville grinned. "I get that reaction a lot. Anyway, Hogwarts is not an ordinary school. It is a school of magic. Mr. and Mrs. Tagger, your daughter is a witch."

Amanda was glad she had been sitting down. If she hadn't, she surely would have fainted. She stared in shock at Neville. What did he mean, witch? Amanda had read many stories about witches. Some had good witches and others had bad witches. Which witch was she?

How could she even be a witch? Witches weren't real. They were made up to provide entertainment. They couldn't actually exist. Magic didn't exist.

"What are you getting at?" Henry said defensively, "If this is some sort of prank, it's not funny."

"It's not a prank," Neville said calmly, "Magic does exist. Witches and wizards have been hiding their world for generations. I teach at Britain's only school of magic."

"What do you teach?" Henry asked.

"Herbology. The study of magical plants."

"Prove it," Henry said, "Pull a rabbit out of your hat or something."

Neville grinned and pulled out his wand. Amanda stared at it. A real magic wand. Just like the ones she'd read about in books.

"Accio pillow," Neville pointed his wand at one of the pillows next to Henry. It soared through the air and landed neatly in Neville's hand.

"Where's the string?" Henry stood up and grabbed the pillow. He searched all over it for a string, but didn't find one.

"No string," Neville smiled. He took the pillow back and pointed his wand at it. He muttered something else and the pillow turned into a tea kettle.

"That is brilliant," Amanda grinned, "Can I learn how to do that?"

"When you are older, yes," Neville replied.

"What else can you do?" Amanda asked excitedly.

"Brew potions, various charms, disappear and reappear in a new place-"

"Seriously?" Amanda gaped, "Can you show me that?"

"Sure," Neville replied. He disappeared from the room with a loud crack and then was back a few seconds later.

"What the bloody hell was that?" Jen ran into the room with her hair partially straight and partially curly.

"Language, Jennifer," Sarah warned.

"I'm a witch," Amanda grinned, "I can do magic."

"What?!" Jen shouted and sat down on the nearest chair, clearly intent on staying in the room despite her hair.

"Wait, wait!" Henry shouted, "What if we choose not to let her attend this place?"

"You have to, Dad!" Amanda shouted.

"Henry, are you really so gullible? You can't honestly think there is a school of magic!" Sarah shouted.

"Magic?" Jen asked, "Like pulling rabbits out of hats?"

"Of course it exists, Mum!" Amanda told her.

Sarah shook her head. "No. Amanda, you just want it to exist. Magic isn't real. It's fantasy."

"It does," Neville said quietly, "Can you remember a time Amanda has done something that couldn't be explained? Any time where she should have been hurt and then somehow wasn't?"

Sarah's face went pale white and she turned to Henry. "Yes," she whispered, "Many times."

"It can be explained," Neville replied, "It's magic."

"But what if we don't let her go?" Henry asked again.

"That's fine. But she won't ever learn to control her magic and she will continue to cause strange things to happen."

"I'm going," Amanda crossed her arms on her chest.

"Glad to hear it," Neville reached into his, what could only be described as a cloak, and pulled out a letter. He handed it to Amanda.

It was addressed to her. She turned it over and carefully opened it. She unfolded it and began to read it aloud.

There was another piece of paper that had a list of supplies written on it, including a cauldron, wand, and spell books. Amanda had about a million questions. Where could she buy a real wand? Had they gotten the platform wrong? There couldn't be a Platform 9 3/4, could there? What did the letter mean, broomsticks? Did witches really ride around on brooms like they do in books?

"I'm home!" the front door slammed shut and Max ran into the room, his dark hair disheveled and his face coated in dirt. He stopped at the sight of Neville and grinned. "Nice costume, but Halloween's not for a few months."

"It's not a costume," Jen said, "He's a wizard. He teaches at a school of magic and he's here to tell us that Amanda is a witch."

"That is brilliant," Max grinned, "Am I one, too?"

"You'll find out the summer you are eleven," Neville answered.

"Max, please go upstairs and clean yourself up," Sarah groaned, "You're getting mud all over the carpet."

"Oh, sorry," Max turned and ran up the stairs.

"Mum, Dad," Amanda began, "You've got to let me go to Hogwarts. This explains everything! I want to learn how to control my magic. I won't be the weird girl at Hogwarts."

Henry and Sarah shared a look. "I suppose you're right," Henry sighed, "We'll let you go, so long as this professor explains everything about magic to us."

"I will," Neville nodded, "Actually, if you're not busy today, I could take you to Diagon Alley. That's the shopping area where you will be able to purchase everything Amanda needs for Hogwarts. It's in London."

"We're not busy," Henry said, "We'll just wait for Max."

Amanda grinned as she reread her letter over and over again. She still couldn't believe it. A witch. She was a real witch! Amanda always knew she was different, but she never imagined it would be like this. She pinched herself to make sure it was real. It was. She, Amanda Tagger, was a witch. It was like she had fallen into one of her books.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Days are different then they were before
And we both exchange
It's only getting better
~Only Getting Better, Jared Campbell


Eleven-year-old John Malcolm Brickston was running around in a large circle as fast as he possibly could. He, along with two other boys, was spinning the merry-go-round in the park across the street from his house as fast as he could. A fourth boy was on the merry-go-round shrieking in delight.

It was a daily thing for John, playing with the other boys in his neighborhood at the park. They particularly liked spinning each other until they felt sick on the merry-go-round. Other activities included trying to push each other off the monkey bars and jumping off of the swings. They often spent all day doing this, until one of their mothers called them inside.

John had fun playing with the other boys from his neighborhood even though he was quite different from them. John was a wizard and all of his neighborhood friends were Muggles. John's family was the only wizarding family living in a neighborhood of Muggles. He didn't mind, of course. He was actually glad he lived in a neighborhood full of people to play with, rather than in the middle of nowhere like so many other wizards did. Most of his cousins didn't have any close neighbors.

Without the neighborhood boys around, the only people John would have had to play with were his sisters. John had three of them and while he loved them, they got on his nerves. They were all younger than him and drove him mental on a daily basis.

Despite having so many Muggle friends, John could not wait to get to Hogwarts where he could meet other wizards his age. He knew a couple witches and wizards his age whose parents worked with his dad, but he didn't see them too often. Then there were his cousins, but they were all younger than him.

John had been trying not to think about his Hogwarts letter, which he knew would be arriving soon. Thinking about it just made the time go by slower. So, he tried to get his mind off of it by goofing off at the playground.

"Enough, enough!" the boy on the merry-go-round shouted.

John and the other two boys stepped back and watched it slow down. Once it had almost stopped, the boy jumped off and stumbled around, falling on the ground. John and the others crowded around him.

"My turn!" John shouted as the dizzy boy sat up.

"Johnny!" someone shouted from the entrance to the park.

John turned his head towards the voice and groaned. It was his mother. The previous day she had made him watch over his little sisters when they played at the park and he really didn't want to do that again. But his sisters weren't with his mum, so maybe she wanted something else.

"What?" John shouted.

"You need to come home now!" she shouted back.

John groaned again and reluctantly said goodbye to his friends. He hated it when his mum called him home without explaining why.

"Why do I have to go home now?" John asked as he reached his mum, "It's not dinner time."

"Your letter arrived," she said and began to walk across the street.

That was probably the only thing she could have said to make John no longer mind leaving his friends. He grinned and ran to catch up with his mum. Now it was official, he was going to Hogwarts!

John's house was in its usual state of chaos when he entered it. Not two seconds after they stepped in the door, his second youngest sister, Gemma, ran up them screaming about how Amelia had taken her toy. Gemma was six and Amelia, his youngest sister, was five.

At any given moment there were probably five or six little kids at John's house. He had a lot of cousins who were all younger than him. His mother was a stay at home mum, but a few of his aunts worked outside the home. They often dropped their kids off at John's house while they were at work. Or when they had to go shopping. It was just another reason why John enjoyed spending his free time outside, away from the little kids.

That day, all his little sisters were home, of course. Plus, his cousins Isabelle, who was ten, and Isabelle's three-year-old sister, Alyssa.

"Your Aunt Pam is grocery shopping," his mother, Jan, replied as she picked up Gemma.

John nodded and stepped over a pile of Wendy Witch dolls that Ashtyn, his nine-year-old sister must have left in the doorway.

"Ashtyn, pick up your toys!" Jan shouted as she carried Gemma back into the den.

Ashtyn and Isabelle came running through the house, scooped up the dolls, and ran back to wherever they came from.

"Where's my letter?" John asked as Jan set Gemma back down on the floor.

"It's here somewhere," Jan said as she rifled through a stack of mail, "I just had it a second ago. Hang on."

John sighed as he leaned against the wall. He couldn't wait to get to Hogwarts. Then he wouldn't have to deal with all his little sisters and cousins anymore. He would be in a place where he was one of the youngest people. That rarely happened. John had always been the oldest, the one who was expected to be mature.

"Mum!" Ashtyn shrieked from upstairs, "I think John put a dung bomb in the toilet again!"

John grinned. He may be expected to be mature, but he wasn't. Pulling pranks was one of his favorite things to do and the dung bomb in the toilet never got old, especially when Ashtyn was on the receiving end of it.

Jan sent him a withering look. "I cringe to think about the amount of owls I'll be getting from Professor Kendrick about the mischief you get into next year," she sighed, "Ashtyn, just flush it like usual!"

"Mum, she won't give it back!" Gemma whined.

Jan groaned and walked over to the two girls, who were still fighting over a stuffed dragon. Jan wrenched it from Amelia's hands and stuck it up on a high shelf. She continued searching for John's letter while Gemma and Amelia complained.

"I think I found it," John said as he bent down.

Three-year-old Alyssa was holding a torn envelope in her hands and giggling playfully. John grabbed it from her and she burst out crying. Jan picked her up as John took off for his bedroom, the only toddler free place in the entire house.

The letter wasn't completely destroyed, much to John's relief. He had caught Alyssa before she was able to do a lot of damage. The envelope was completely illegible, but the letter inside was spared from tears and baby slobber.

John tossed aside the damp envelope and unfolded the letter. He grinned widely as he read it, even though he already knew the gist of what it said.

He was in! John laid down on his bed and stared up at his ceiling. Of course he was in. There was never any doubt. Everyone in his entire family had gone to Hogwarts for as far back as anyone could remember. As far as he knew, his family didn't have any Squibs.

John had been looking forward to Hogwarts for a very long time. His parents had all sorts of stories to tell of the place. Although, their education had been interrupted due to the final battle and Voldemort's defeat. They had only been first years at the time and Hogwarts had closed for a year in order for it to be rebuilt. But after that, his parents had had a somewhat normal education.

There were all sorts of things that John was looking forward to. The Sorting (although his parents refused to tell him how it was done), the feasts, exploding potions, Peeves, Quidditch, Hogsmeade trips when he got older, the Gryffindor common room. John was sure he'd get into Gryffindor even though his mum had been a Hufflepuff. His dad was a Gryffindor and everyone said he took after his dad.

John's dad, Jeff Brickston, had been the Hogwarts prankster when he was in school. John couldn't wait to pull some pranks of his own. His dad had promised to get him well supplied with stuff from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, although his mum wasn't too happy about it.

John remained in his room for the rest of the afternoon. A glance out the window told him that his Muggle friends had left the park. It would have been boring for him to go back. Instead, he stayed in his room and pulled out his old but trusty Nimbus Two Thousand and One.

The broom had been his dad's when he was at Hogwarts. John grabbed a bottle of polish and began to rub it into the worn wood. Jeff had given it to John when he was only five and John had been flying on it ever since.

If John had to pick the one thing he was most looking forward to at Hogwarts, it would be Quidditch. John had been flying for as long as he could remember and he had hopes of making it onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team. If he was sorted into Gryffindor, that is. He just hoped that there was a beater position open at the right time. He doubted he'd get chosen as a beater in his second year due to the fact that beaters were generally quite a lot bigger than the rest of the players. But if a beater position opened when he was in fourth or fifth year, he just might make it.

Isabelle and Alyssa had left by the time John left his room. He wandered into the kitchen and found his mum preparing dinner. Ashtyn, Gemma, and Amelia were 'helping'.

"Can we go to Diagon Alley tomorrow?" John asked as he grabbed a carrot out of a bowl.

"I don't know," Jan replied, "Your Aunt Jodie is working tomorrow and I have to watch Stephanie as well as the twins. I don't particularly want to drag three extra kids to Diagon Alley especially when two are babies. It may have to wait until the weekend. And please don't eat the carrots."

John sighed and sat down at the table. He didn't want to wait until the weekend. He wished his mum didn't watch all of his little cousins all the time.

"I'm home!" someone shouted from the den.

John jumped up from his chair and ran into the den. He saw his dad brushing ash off of his bright green healer robes. John grinned as he saw his great-great grandpa standing just behind his dad.

"Gramps!" John shouted, "What are you doing here?"

"Went to Mungo's," he replied, "Had to get this dang hip checked out. Then Jeffrey here invited me to dinner."

John's great-great grandpa, Zander Brickston, was over one hundred years old but was usually healthy as a hippogriff. He was a bit senile and forgetful at times, but it never bothered him. He was often the life of the party, too, despite his age. John loved him.

"I got my Hogwarts letter!" John said excitedly as he pulled the letter out of his pocket.

"Congratulations," Jeff grinned and gave John a one-armed hug as he set his bag down.

"Well done, Johnny-Boy!" Zander gave him a surprisingly strong clap on the back, "Great place, Hogwarts. Best years of my life, except for the times I found myself in Professor Dippet's office. You'd best stay out of there."

"Professor Dippet's been dead for years, Gramps," John laughed.

"Then you stay out of trouble with whoever's the headmaster now," Zander said and lumbered off into the kitchen, "Where's my girls?"

Dinner was lively that evening, as it always was when Zander was there. He dominated the conversation with stories of his own years at Hogwarts. John was sort of surprised he remembered them so well. He told of the time he and his friends went for a swim in the Black Lake at midnight during the full moon in January. The nurse had not been pleased when they showed up at the hospital wing with slight cases of hypothermia. She scolded them and told them if they were stupid enough to swim in the lake during January, they could at least use cold-repellent charms on themselves.

"Where would the fun be in that?" Zander laughed as he finished the story.

Other stories included the many pranks he pulled on the Slytherins. 'Pranking's a Brickston tradition,' he told John solemnly. The times he snuck out of the castle and into Hogsmeade. The time he fell asleep during his History of Magic O.W.L. ("What do they expect, when Binns makes you fall asleep during class?") Sneaking about the castle at night with whatever girlfriend he had at the time. Jan had to shut him up at that point and she and Jeff began to relay their own Hogwarts stories.

John was, if it was possible, even more excited about Hogwarts after hearing all of the stories. He wanted to swim in the Black Lake in the middle of winter. He wanted to sneak out of school to go to Hogsmeade. He wanted to paint half his face red and the other half gold for the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match.

John didn't know how he was going to be able to wait two days until Saturday to go to Diagon Alley, let alone wait the month and a half until he'd be able to actually go to Hogwarts. It seemed so far away. He had been waiting years to go to Hogwarts, but he had a feeling the last month and a half would drag by even slower than those years had.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cause there's so much yet to see, that I haven't seen yet
And there's so much air to breathe, yeah
I want to take it in
~Take It In, Jared Campbell


Ten-year-old Rose Elizabeth Weasley put the end of her quill to her mouth and chewed it thoughtfully as she looked up from her parchment. She smiled and dipped the quill into her pot of ink and then wrote 'Elandra Harvard took a deep breath and sat down on the three-legged stool' onto the parchment. Rose set down the quill and picked up the parchment. She looked at it for a moment and then set it down again.

The parchment was a story. A story about a Muggle-born at Hogwarts. Ever since Rose was little, she liked coming up with stories. She used to just tell them to her parents and little brother, but then she got older and began writing them down.

Rose had spent the whole morning writing about Elandra. She supposed it was because Rose herself was going to Hogwarts soon and that was really all she could think about. Although she tried to come up with other story ideas, she just couldn't. All the ideas were about Hogwarts. It was just about the only thing that could sort of keep her mind off her own Hogwarts letter.

Rose had been waiting for the letter all summer. She wished that Hogwarts would send them out in June instead of the end of July. The end of July was sort of late. That only gave a month and a half to prepare to go to school. Rose had been preparing since May, though. She knew she would get her letter this summer, as she would be turning eleven on August twentieth.

Her dad had located her mum's old trunk in the attic and charmed an engraving of 'REW' to replace the 'HJG' that stood for Hermione Jean Granger. The trunk currently sat on the floor in Rose's room. The only thing in it was a cauldron that her dad had found in the attic as well. It was a perfectly good cauldron, so neither of her parents saw any need to buy her a new one. Rose agreed. She kind of liked the old cauldron. There was something to be said about brewing potions in a cauldron that was older than you were.

"Rose!" someone banged on her door.

Rose groaned and got up. It was Hugo, her nine-year-old brother. He probably wanted to play Quidditch or something. Rose didn't particularly like Quidditch. She preferred reading or pretty much anything that she remained on the ground to do.

"What?" Rose asked when she opened the door, "I don't want to play Quidditch."

"I wasn't going to ask you," Hugo muttered, "You're no fun to play Quidditch with anyway. I'd rather just ask James and Al to play. I just wanted to give you this. The post just arrived."

Hugo thrust an envelope into Rose's hand and she caught a glimpse of the Hogwarts crest on the seal. The breath caught in her chest as she grabbed it. "Thanks, Hugo," she grinned.

Hugo made no move to leave as Rose shakily began to open the envelope. "Hurry up!" he said.

"It's my letter," Rose replied and pulled it out of the envelope. Hugo peered over her shoulder as she began to read it.

Rose grinned looked at Hugo. "It's official! I'm going to Hogwarts!"

"And I'll get the house to myself," Hugo grinned, "I can go through your stuff and you won't be able to do anything about it."

"Mum and Dad will be here," Rose rolled her eyes, "And you better not go through my stuff."

"You won't be able to do anything about it!" Hugo gleefully ran off towards his room.

Rose turned the other way and went downstairs in order to find her mum. She eventually found her in the library, pouring over numerous books.

"It came," Rose grinned and sat down across the table from Hermione.

Hermione looked up and smiled. "Congratulations!" She leaned over and kissed Rose's forehead.

"What are you working on?" Rose asked.

"Oh, work stuff," Hermione said as she closed the book, "It can wait. Let me see that letter!"

Rose handed her mother the letter and waited while she read it. Hermione handed it back to her and smiled even wider. "I can't believe you're going to Hogwarts already. Time has flown by! My little girl, all grown up."

"I can't wait, Mum," Rose replied.

"We'll have some shopping to do," Hermione said as she stood up.

"Ron! Hermione! Anyone here?" someone shouted from the living room.

"Uncle Harry!" Rose shouted as she ran out of the library and into the living room.

Harry's face was floating amongst green flames in the fireplace and Rose grinned when she saw him. "Hi Uncle Harry! Guess what? I got my letter!"

"Brilliant," Harry grinned, "Al got his, too. Are your parents home?"

"Dad's working at the London shop, but he's supposed to be back soon," Rose replied, "And Mum's-"

"Right here," Hermione said as she came into the room, "Hi Harry."

"Hey, Hermione," Harry said, "We were going to go to Diagon Alley after lunch. Al got his letter a few hours ago. Want to come?"

"That sounds good," Hermione agreed, "We'll meet you there around 1:30. Ron should be back from Weasleys' by then."

"See you then," Harry said.

"Bye," Hermione replied as Harry's head disappeared and the green flames died down.

******

A few hours later Rose was standing with her family in front of Gringotts. She tapped her foot and sighed. They were waiting for the Potters, who were never on time for anything. Rose's parents weren't known for being on time either, but Rose had hurried them along.

"Sorry we're late!" Harry shouted as he ran towards the Weasleys.

"James wouldn't wake up," Albus grinned at Rose.

"What else is new?" Rose smirked.

"Where to first?" Harry asked.

"Olivander's!" Albus announced.

"Flourish and Blotts!" Rose said excitedly. She had been there numerous times, but never to buy books for school.

"You're mental, Rose," James laughed, "I say we go to Quality Quidditch Supplies!"

Rose rolled her eyes. James was the one who was mental. He spent more time at Quality Quidditch Supplies than all the other stores in Diagon Alley combined. Half the time he didn't even buy anything. He just gawked at the broomsticks he wished he could have.

"Eyelops!" Lily shouted.

"You're not even going to Hogwarts," Albus pointed out.

"I don't care," Lily huffed.

"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," Hugo suggested.

"Then it's settled," Harry grinned, "We're going to the Apothecary first."

Rose groaned. The Apothecary was possibly her least favorite shop, next to Quality Quidditch Supplies. It didn't surprise her that Harry chose that store, though. He always did that when they argued. Rose's parents did the same thing.

They finally made it to Flourish and Blott's, after the Apothecary and Madam Malkin's. Rose was the first one through the door and immediately started browsing. She didn't know where everyone else was going in the shop, but she didn't care.

Flourish and Blott's had always fascinated Rose, ever since she was little. There were always at least five books she wanted to buy whenever she went in. Hermione usually bought her one every time they went.

"Rose, are you done yet?" James tapped her on the shoulder.

Rose jumped and looked up from the transfiguration book she was reading. "No."

"Hurry up," James whined, "I want to go get my broom."

"What makes you think you'll get it?"

"I'm trying out for the Quidditch team this year," James told her.

"So?"

"So?" James gawked, "So? I need another broom! A better one! You'll never understand."

James sighed loudly and then walked away. Rose shook her head and went back to her book. A few minutes later her mum told her it was time to go. It was time to go to Ollivander's, which was what Rose had been most looking forward to.

Rose ran ahead of the group with Albus and the two of them arrived at Ollivander's long before the others. Ollivander had taken their measurements and brought out a few wands for Albus to try by the time the others got there.

Albus smashed the window with his first wand, which Rose thought was incredibly funny. She secretly hoped she wouldn't do the same, though. The next wand chose Albus and then it was Rose's turn.

The first three she tried out weren't right. Although she didn't break any windows, they didn't work properly.

"How about this one?" Ollivander handed her another wand, "Ten and a half inches, yew, dragon heartstring."

Rose took the wand and waved it. Red sparks erupted from it and Rose knew it was the right one. She grinned at Ollivander and he smiled.

Next on the list was Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, despite James's constant badgering about the Quidditch store.

"Ron, Ginny!" George greeted them as they entered, "And Harry and Hermione! You've got everyone with you today."

"Hogwarts shopping," Harry grinned, "Al and Rosie just got their wands."

Rose opened the box she was holding and showed her wand to her Uncle George. Albus did the same.

"Brilliant, both of you!" George said, "And now I shall get you both ready for Hogwarts in the prank department...."

Rose followed her uncle across the shop. The one thing she had inherited from the Weasley side of the family was the love for a good prank. So long as no one got hurt, that is.

"Now, every student needs a Skiving Snackbox or two," George said as he handed Rose and Alubs each a colorful box, "After all, I can't imagine you'll want to sit through History of Magic very often."

Rose smirked. She had heard about Professor Binns and his boring lectures, but she really didn't think she'd ever use a Skiving Snackbox. Well, maybe if James wanted her to watch Quidditch practice, but never for skipping a class.

"And then you'll need some dung bombs," George said as he led them to a different display.

"Last time I checked, those were still forbidden at Hogwarts," Hermione said sternly.

"Oh, I'm sure they are," George winked, "But so long as Filch doesn't find out it was these two who set them off, it doesn't matter."

"George Weasley!" Hermione scolded, "You should be setting a better example for these two! No wonder Fred was in detention every week last year!"

"Lighten up, Hermione," Ron laughed, "Let them have their fun."

"Ronald!" Hermione shouted, "You're even worse!"

A few minutes later, Ron had convinced Hermione to let Rose get the dung bombs and other mischief making products. Hermione didn't look too happy about it, though.

George and Teddy, who had also been working, closed the shop and they all went to the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. Everyone told stories about Hogwarts, which made Rose look forward to school even more.

James's whining finally paid off after dinner and they went to Quality Quidditch Supplies. Rose thought he took far too long to pick out the perfect broom and she was bored out of her mind. James, Albus, Teddy, Ron, and Harry all spent at least a half hour going over the pros and cons of each model before they finally made a decision.

"And it goes from zero to 60 in less than twenty seconds!" James said excitedly on their way to Eyelops.

"I don't care, James," Rose groaned.

"The twigs repel water," James added, "So there isn't any drag when you're playing in the rain or snow...."

Rose ignored him for the rest of the walk and then lost him inside of Eyelops. She knew exactly what kind of owl she wanted. A tawny one. She had always liked that kind of owl.

She found three tawny owls together in a cage towards the back of the shop and she put her hand up to the cage. Two of the owls ignored her but the third one hopped over and rubbed its head on her hand like a cat would. Rose grinned and knew that was the owl for her.

Albus found an owl as well and the group left with two hooting owls. James started telling Albus how he was going to wind up in Slytherin, which was kind of ridiculous in Rose's opinion. Albus then announced that he was going to name his owl Godric.

That was a good name, Rose thought. She looked at her owl and thought about names. None of the usual animal names seemed to fit her owl. Godric, she thought. That was it. She would name her owl after another founder. Rose's owl would be Rowena. She didn't really think she'd be in Ravenclaw, but Rowena was a good name for an owl.

The walk back to the Leaky Cauldron was quiet. Hogwarts seemed closer than ever for Rose. She was ready. She had been ready for this for years. Her mum always told her that she had a knack for learning, and Rose was ready to learn everything Hogwarts had to offer.


Næsta saga
Albus waved to his parents and little sister, Lily, until he could no longer see them. "Well, we'd better go find a compartment," he said to his cousin, Rose, who was standing next to him. Rose nodded her head and they started walking down the train corridor. It was a bit hard to walk on a moving train and Albus kept stumbling. The train rounded a corner and he fell into a rather mean looking older student.

“Watch where you're going, midget,” the boy said as Albus and Rose quickly ran away from him.

"Better find a compartment quick", Albus said. He continued to walk along the corridor, looking into each compartment as he passed. He spotted a lot of his other cousins, but didn't really want to interrupt whatever they were doing with their friends. Albus also saw a few people who looked vaguely familiar, including the Jordan-Bell twins. Scorpius Malfoy was sitting in one of the compartments with a few other boys, but Albus definitely did not want to sit with them.

Albus peeked into the next compartment and saw that there was a rather pale boy sitting on one of the seats. He seemed very small and his face was quite scarred. There was also an older girl, who looked to be about Victoire's age, sitting next to the boy. She looked vaguely familiar. Both of them had blue eyes and blond hair. They looked friendly enough. "How about this one?" he said to Rose.

Rose glanced into the compartment for a few seconds and replied, "Yeah, looks good to me." She opened the door and the two cousins walked in.

“Can we sit here?" Albus asked.

“Sure,” the boy responded as he gestured to the seat opposite him. “My name's Matt, Matt Eckerton.”

"I'm his sister, Amy. I'm a seventh year, Matt's just starting," the girl told him.

“Hi, I'm Albus Potter," Albus said, "And this is my cousin, Rose Weasley," he gestured to Rose. "We're both first years."

"Hi," Rose waved. Rose sat down on the seat across from Amy and Albus sat down across from Matt.

"That's where I know you two from! I knew I'd seen you somewhere. My best friend is your cousin, Victoire. I think I've seen you at her house before," Amy explained.

"Probably. I think I've seen you, too," Rose responded. Albus nodded his head in agreement.

Matt's eyes opened wide as he stared at Albus. “So, you're Harry Potter's son? You know, you do look a whole lot like him. You've got his eyes and everything.”

“Yeah, I know,” Albus said shortly, he often got sick of people telling him this.

“I bet you two hear loads of stories of the battle. My parents have told me some, but they don't know all the details, just the bits that are in books. You see, we're from Australia. We moved hear when I was about eight,” Matt looked nervously at his sister.

“Yeah, I know all about the battle. My parents didn't tell me the full story until I turned eleven. Same with Rose, our parents told us at the same time. They didn't want to scare us, but thought we ought to know before we went to Hogwarts, since most people there will have heard all about it. But my parents don't talk about it much. Guess it brings back bad memories,” Albus told Matt before changing the subject. He really didn't enjoy people constantly asking him about his dad. “So, how'd you get all those scars?”

“I'm, um, er, very clumsy,” Matt glanced at Amy and started to stare absentmindedly out the window.

“Oh, that's ok. A friend of my parents' was very clumsy, kind of a problem since she was an Auror. But she was killed in the battle at Hogwarts. Along with her husband. My dad is their son, Teddy's, godfather, so we see a lot of him,” Albus told Matt.

Matt just continued staring out the window. Albus didn't know what to say, he hoped he hadn't said anything to bother Matt. “So, do you have any other siblings?” Albus asked.

Matt turned away from the window. “Nope, just me and Amy. I know you've got siblings. I've read about you and them in books. A brother James and a sister Lily, right? And I think you've got a little brother, right, Rose?”

Albus just looked at Matt. It was a bit strange having other people know all about you. He supposed this was what it was like for his father when he went to Hogwarts. “Yup, James is a second year and Lily's just nine, so she's not here yet.”

"Yeah, my brother, Hugo, is nine, too," Rose told him. Rose's family was mentioned in numerous books as well, although not nearly as many as Albus's.

At that moment, the compartment door opened and James walked in with two of their cousins, Ben and Cedric, and their friend Nathan. “How's it going, little bro?” James asked. “Still worrying about being in Slytherin?”

“James, shut up!” Albus responded, blushing a little.

“Oh, I see you've met someone, what's your name?” James asked Matt.

“Matt Eckerton.”

"Hi," the boys responded.

"Oh, and hi Amy," Ben added.

"Hi, Ben. How are you?" Amy asked.

"I'm good. So this is your brother?," Ben said. Ben was Victoire's brother, so he had seen Amy loads of times.

"Yeah, Matt's just starting his first year," Amy told him.

"Good luck with the sorting, then, Matt," Ben grinned at Matt.

“Ah, well, we best be off, the trolley's on it's way to our compartment, wouldn't want to miss that!” James said as he walked out of the compartment with his friends.

Matt stared at Albus. “You think you're going to be in Slytherin?”

“No,” Albus said, turning more crimson.

"So, what house do you want to be in?"

"Gryffindor, just like my parents," Albus told him, "And James and all my cousins are in Gryffindor, too. So were most of my aunts and uncles."

"I hope you get in, then," Matt said, "I'm hoping for Gryffindor, too. Amy's in Gryffindor."

"Hope you're there, too."

"I'm also hoping for Gryffindor," Rose announced, "Although Ravenclaw looks nice, too."

"Ravenclaw wouldn't be so bad," Matt agreed, "That's where all the smart kids go, right?"

"In essence, yeah," Amy told him.

The compartment door opened again. Another boy walked in, along with a scared looking girl. The boy was dark skinned, very tall, with brown hair and dark eyes. The girl was quite a bit shorter than the boy, with long, wavy, honey colored hair and light brown eyes.

“Can we sit in here?” the boy asked. “A bunch of Slytherins kicked us out of our compartment.”

“Sure,” Albus and Matt responded.

“Good. I'm John Brickston and this is Amanda Tagger. We're both first years,” the boy told Albus, Rose, Matt, and Amy.

“Hi. I'm Albus Potter, this is my cousin Rose Weasley, and that's Matt Eckerton, we're also first years,” Albus responded, "And she's Amy, Matt's sister." Albus pointed to Amy, who waved.

“Wow!” John exclaimed. “My dad said you'd be starting this year, Albus.” Amanda still hadn't said anything.

Albus just smiled a little and his cheeks turned redder yet.

"Well, I think I'll go find Victoire," Amy grabbed her bag and got up, "You going to be ok, Matt?"

"Yes, I'll be fine," Matt told her.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, you can go. See you later," Matt waved as his sister left the
compartment.

"And you're Rose Weasley?" John asked. Rose nodded. "I've heard of you, too," John continued. "Your family owns Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, right?"

"Well, it's really my Uncle George who owns it. He's Albus's uncle, too. But my dad works there a lot. My Uncle George opened it with my Uncle Fred after they left school. They're twins. But Uncle Fred died in the Battle at Hogwarts, so after that my dad helped Uncle George with it," Rose explained.

John grinned, "I love that place. So does my dad. He's always buying me stuff from there. Mum's not always happy about it since I'm always using the stuff to pull pranks on my little sisters."

Albus, Rose, and Matt laughed. "I've done that quite a bit, too," Albus commented. "But now that Lily's a bit older it's harder to pull pranks on her."

“Anything from the trolley?” A witch had appeared in the doorway with a trolley laden with delicious sweets.

“Definitely!” John shouted, as he jumped up from his seat and ran out into the corridor. Albus smiled. John reminded him of James. Albus, Rose, Matt, and Amanda followed John. All five returned with their arms full of food.

“So, what is all this stuff?” Amanda spoke for the first time since entering the compartment.

“Well, you have your cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, chocolate frogs, and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans,” John explained, as he pointed to the various items. “Just be careful with the beans.”

“Why?” Amanda asked as she tried a greenish colored bean. “Ugh!” she exclaimed. “Bogey!” Amanda spat out the bean and it landed on John. Albus, Rose, and Matt broke out in fits of laughter.

“They mean every flavor!” Matt shouted. “So, you must be Muggle-born?”

“Yes,” Amanda answered. “My mum is a teacher and my dad's a doctor.”

“What's a doctor?” John asked.

“A muggle Healer,” Matt explained. “My mum's Muggle born, but she's a witch, and my dad's a wizard. He works at the Ministry, in the Department for the Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures,” Matt told everyone. "And my mum doesn't work, but she's thinking of getting a job now that I've started school."

“Oh, my parents are a witch and wizard. My family's mostly all magical, except for a few Muggle aunts and uncles and cousins. My dad is a Healer and my mum stays at home with my younger sisters, I've got three of them. They're nine, six, and five. But before I was born she worked at the Ministry,” John explained. "How about your parents, Rose?"

"Well, like I said before, my dad works at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, but he's also an Auror, which is a Dark Wizard catcher. And my mum works at the Ministry. She's the one who started all the House-Elf rights stuff."

"Wow, your dad's an Auror, too? That's bloody brilliant!" John grinned.

“What do your parents do, Albus?” Amanda asked.

Albus was a little shocked at this question, since the whole magical world knew about his parents, but of course Amanda didn't. “Well, my dad's an Auror. And my mum's a sportswriter for the Daily Prophet.”

“Yeah, Albus's parents are famous!” John shouted. “Tell Amanda, won't you, Albus?” Albus suspected John secretly wanted to hear all about the Potters directly from him, even though he'd probably read all about them in books.

And so, Albus, with a little help from Rose, told the story about how Lord Voldemort had killed his grandparents and tried to kill his dad, but his dad survived. He told them all about his parents' years at Hogwarts, about the Horcruxes, and how Lord Voldemort met his downfall.

All three students stared at Albus and Rose with their mouths wide open. Matt and John had obviously heard the whole story before, but never this accurate an account. Amanda was practically in tears.

"Blimey," John let out a low whistle, "Your dad's amazing."

"Yeah," Matt agreed.

Albus blushed, "I guess, but I just think of him as my dad."

The group of five first years spent the rest of the journey discussing what they knew was true about Hogwarts and what their siblings and cousins had told them about the ancient school. Everyone agreed that the Giant Squid did not eat a different first year each year while they crossed the lake on boats, despite what Albus and Rose's cousin, Fred, had said.

“Well, you'd better change into your robes,” Rose said an hour or so after the sky turned dark. Rose had been wearing her robes since before she'd even gotten on the train. The four other students changed into their robes quietly.

Once the train arrived at Hogsmeade, the five students got off and looked around.

“Firs' years! Firs' years, this way!” a man shouted.

Albus and Rose ran up to him. “Hagrid!” Albus shouted.

“'ello, Albus! 'Ello, Rose!” Hagrid responded. “Ready ter go? Here's a boat for yeh.” Albus hurried into the boat, followed by John, and Matt, who were all gaping at Hagrid. Rose and Amanda got into a nearby boat and were joined by the Jordan-Bell twins. Another tall boy quickly joined Albus in his boat.

"You know him?" John pointed at Hagrid with an amazed look on his face.

"Yep, he's a family friend," Albus answered.

"I've never seen someone so big," Matt commented.

"Well, he's half-giant," Albus told him.

"That's so cool!" John grinned.

The boats started moving magically across the lake once everyone was in them. They sailed for what must have been at least a half hour before arriving at Hogwarts. Once they got there, Hagrid lead them into the castle and up a flight of stairs. The castle was incredible. It was big and intimidating looking on the outside. But once Albus stepped inside, it seemed warm and inviting, like he was home.

The first years came to a stop in front of strict looking woman. “Good evening. I'm Professor Patil, I teach transfiguration. In a moment, you will be able to join your fellow students in the Great Hall for dinner, but beforehand, you will need to be sorted into your houses. They are Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin,” she said Slytherin with a note of disgust in her voice. “While you're here, you will be able to earn points for your house for any achievements. Likewise, any misbehavior will cause points to be taken away. At the end of the year, the house with the most points earns the House Cup. Now, follow me, please.”

----------
A/N: I hope you liked it! Feel free to leave a review. I'd like to thank my brother and sisters for reading this first and letting me know what they thought.
I don't own Harry Potter. Nothing you recognize is mine.

******
The students followed Professor Patil into a large dining room. The ceiling looked just like the night sky outside. “It's enchanted to look like the sky,” Rose whispered to Albus. The older students at all four of the tables were whispering to each other and pointing wildly at Albus. Once the first years reached the head table, Professor Patil turned around. The older students were still whispering, and they seemed to be doing so more loudly by the minute. Albus looked out at them and then inched his way to the back of the group so no one could see him. Sometimes, he hated how much he looked like his father.

“Quiet, please,” Professor Patil announced, and the students immediately stopped talking. An old, patched hat sat on a stool and all of a sudden it broke out in song. A few of the first years were quite shocked at this and jumped back. Once it stopped, Professor Patil started talking again. “When I call your name, you will come forward and try on the Sorting Hat.”

“Asterley, Elaine.” A short, blond haired girl ran forward and tried on the hat. “Hufflepuff!” the hat shouted.

“Brickston, John.” John ran up and jammed the hat on his head. It was only there for a second when it shouted out, “Gryffindor!” John let out a loud whoop and ran for the Gryffindor table, where he was patted on the back by a few older Gryffindors.

“Creevey, Janie.” She was also made a Gryffindor.

“Eckerton, Matthew.” The headmaster suddenly sat up straight in his seat and stared as Matt tried on the hat and was made a Gryffindor. The headmaster relaxed again. 'That was strange,' Albus thought. Matt walked calmly over to the Gryffindor table and sat next to John.

"Eubert, Carter." Albus recognized the other boy from their boat as he walked up to the Sorting Hat. He put it on and a few seconds later it shouted out, "Ravenclaw!"

A few more students were sorted and then Professor Patil called “Malfoy, Scorpius.” Albus watched as a blond haired boy with a smug look on his face was made a Slytherin before the hat even touched his head.

“Potter, Albus.” A whisper went through the crowd. The headmaster had sat up straight again. Albus froze. He couldn't do this. What if he was made Slytherin in front of all these people? All these people who expected him to be in Gryffindor? “Albus Potter?” Professor Patil said again. Someone pushed Albus forward. He walked up to the stool and put on the hat.

“Ah, yes, another Potter. I see it all here. The bravery, yes, yes, it's all here,” the hat told Albus.

“Not Slytherin,” Albus thought, “Anything but Slytherin.”

“Oh, oh, this sounds familiar,” said the hat, “Yes, indeed, just like your father. And just like your father, Slytherin would help you achieve greatness, but if you insist, Gyffindor!”

Albus breathed a sigh of relief as he jumped off the stool and ran to sit across from John and Matt at the Gryffindor table. Albus didn't even pay attention to the next few sortings. He was just so happy to be in Gryffindor.

Albus next looked up when Professor Patil called out “Tagger, Amanda.” Albus watched as Amanda cautiously put on the hat. “Gryffindor!” it shouted. Amanda ran to sit down across from John, with a smile on her face. Only one student was left to be sorted.

“Weasley, Rose.” Rose was made a Gryffindor before the hat had even touched her head. 'Just like how James was sorted,' Albus thought. It never hesitated for them. But it had for him. Albus stared glumly at his golden plate.

The headmaster rose from his chair. “Welcome back to Hogwarts to all returning students and welcome to those who are new. For those of you who don't know, I'm Professor Kendrick, headmaster of Hogwarts. Now, I know the older students have noticed we are short one staff member,” the headmaster gestured to the empty chair beside him. “But I shall inform you about that later. Right now it is time to eat.” And the golden plates filled with food.

Albus stared in amazement as the food appeared in front of him. He started piling his plate with as much as would fit. John was using not only his plate, but an empty one that he found as well.

“This is amazing!” John exclaimed. “I might actually get full here! I hope all the meals are like this.”

“Yeah, it all looks very good,” Albus said. Albus started eating his food and couldn't help but overhear a conversation between two older students.

“I wonder where Professor Torro is? It's not usual for a teacher to miss the start of term feast,” a brown haired girl asked the boy sitting next to her.

“Yeah, quite strange, really. I hope he's all right. Maybe he's ill or something?” the boy responded.

“What does he teach?” John said, interrupting the two older students.

“Defense Against the Dark Arts,” the girl told him. The two older students continued their conversation, but in lower voices so John couldn't overhear him.

*********

After the students had eaten their fill of dinner, the golden plates became clean for a moment, and then dessert appeared. Albus immediately helped himself to his favorite, treacle tart. While he was eating, he heard a scream coming from his left. A ghostly head had appeared right out of Amanda's plate.

“Oh, so sorry to have scared you!” the ghost said as he glided out of Amanda's plate. “I'm Sir Nicholas.”

“You're Nearly Headless Nick!” John shouted. “Great to meet you. Can I see you pull off your head?”

Amanda looked like she might faint, but Nick grudgingly pulled on his ear and his head came partially off.

“Wow! That's bloody brilliant!” John exclaimed. “Did you see that, Albus?”

“Yeah,” Albus responded. He didn't think it was as neat as John did, and was beginning to wish he hadn't eaten nearly as much treacle tart.

The headmaster got to his feet again as the golden plates became clean once more. “Is everyone satisfied? Good. Now, I have a few start of term notices. The village of Hogsmeade is out of bounds for first and second years, as well as the Forbidden Forest to everyone. As always, stay away from the Whomping Willow. Mr. Filch has added a few new items to the list of forbidden things and if you wish to inspect the list, it is pinned to Mr. Filch's door.

“Now, as many of you have noticed, Professor Torro is not with us tonight. I regret to inform you that he has been discovered dead only a few hours ago,” Professor Kendrick stated with a sad expression on his face. There was a sharp intake of breath from the students. “Cause of death has not been determined. Until I can find a suitable replacement, Defense Against the Dark Arts classes will not take place. Now, it is time to go to your dormitories. Classes begin tomorrow and you will need to be well rested. First years, please follow a prefect to your common rooms.”

Albus got up and looked for his cousin, Georgia, for she was one of the Gryffindor prefects. Albus found her, and he, John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda all followed her up to the common room. As they walked through the castle, there was a whole lot of whispering about Professor Torro.

“He wasn't even that old,” one student said.

“Yeah, and wasn't DADA the subject that was jinxed years back?” another responded.

Albus and the others arrived at the portrait of the Fat Lady. Georgia told her the password, Cornish Pixie, and everyone walked inside.

“Boys to the right, girls to the left. I hope everyone has a good night,” Georgia told the first years.

Albus walked up the spiral staircase to his dormitory with Matt, John, and two other boys Albus had not met yet. Albus thought their names were Bilius and Ethan. Albus was rather quiet while he got into bed. All the other boys were laughing and talking. But Albus couldn't shake that he was considered for Slytherin. He was also a bit nervous about the fact that a professor had died. That didn't happen often, did it? Albus was still thinking about these things as he drifted off to sleep.

******

When Harry, Ginny, and Lily walked back into their house after taking James and Albus to Platform 9 3/4, Harry noticed an owl waiting on the windowsill. He walked over to it and opened the letter.

Dear Harry,
I would appreciate it if you would come to Hogwarts later tonight, around 9pm.
I have something to ask you, and would prefer to do it in person, rather than by letter.
Please return this owl with your answer, thank you.
From,
Fabius Kendrick

'That's strange,' thought Harry. Surely one of his boys couldn't be in trouble already? “Ginny, I'm going to have to go to Hogwarts tonight. Fabius has requested that I meet with him. He hasn't told me why,” Harry told his wife.

“Okay, just let me know before you leave. That is strange, though. Why wouldn't he have met with you before term started? I hope James and Albus aren't in trouble.”

*********

Later that night, Harry Apparated into Hogsmeade. It was a chilly night, but there was not a cloud in the sky. The stars and moon shone brightly. Harry thought the students must be in their common rooms by now, judging from the time. 'That's good, Albus and James have no idea I'm here', thought Harry. He walked along the path and soon found himself walking through the big oak doors into the Great Hall. Kendrick was waiting for him there.

“Good evening, Harry,” Fabius greeted.

“How are you? What's this about? Are James and Albus okay?” Harry asked anxiously.

“Oh, don't worry, they're fine. But I would prefer if we discuss what we need to discuss in my office,” Fabius responded. Harry followed Fabius up to the stone gargoyle. It leaped aside as Fabius murmured, “Woolen coat.”

Harry walked into the familiar circular office. He saw all the various possessions that Dumbledore had left to the school. He also noticed the sleeping portraits of previous headmasters. Only one was awake, the one of Albus Dumbledore. Harry smiled as he saw him.

“Please, sit down,” Professor Kendrick said as he gestured to a chair in front of his desk. Harry sat. “I have some bad news. Professor Torro was found dead in his house this morning.”

“What?! How did he die? He wasn't very old,” Harry exclaimed. Professor Torro had been teaching DADA since Hogwarts reopened after the battle.

“I know, shocking, and very, very sad. His cause of death was Avada Kedarva, but I didn't tell the students this. It does worry me. It is quite suspicious. Especially since DADA was the subject that Voldemort jinxed.”

“But he's gone! I saw him die, I was there!” Harry shouted. “This can't be the work of him, can it?” Harry knew there would be an investigation awaiting him when he returned to work the next day. He had taken the day off to see James and Albus onto the Hogwarts Express, and hadn't heard a thing about Professor Torro's death until just now.

“Of course not. But there are still Death Eaters out there. I have reason to believe that one of them killed Torro and the Minister agrees with me. But onto the reason I have summoned you here.

“We are, of course, in need of a new DADA teacher, and I was wondering if you would like the job. I think it would be a good idea to have an Auror here after recent events and you are the ideal candidate,” Kendrick told Harry.

“Me? A teacher? Well, I can't say I've never thought about it. It would be nice to be back at Hogwarts. But what about Ginny and Lily? I can't leave them.”

“Of course. And feel free to leave every weekend to spend time with them. Neville Longbottom does the same thing to visit Hannah,” Kendrick explained.

“I guess I could do it, but only if Ginny is okay with it. I tell you what, I'll Apparate home tonight and ask her. You'll have your answer in the morning, okay?” Harry asked.

“That's fine. I'll see you in the morning, then. Good night.”

“'Night,” Harry said as he walked out of the office.

As Harry left the castle, he pondered the death of Torro. Harry had only met Torro a few times, and he was not particularly close to him, but his death still troubled Harry. Was this another random Death Eater attack? There had been a few of them throughout the years after the battle. But why was Torro killed? He didn't even live in Britain during the time of Voldemort, he lived in France then. Why were the Death Eaters going after Hogwarts teachers? Harry had a nagging feeling that this wasn't like the other deaths, this had significance. Surely, Voldemort couldn't return? He was dead. There were no more Horcruxes. Harry kept telling himself this, but he still felt very uneasy about it. The headmaster and the Minister felt the same way. Why else would they want an Auror at Hogwarts? Of course, Harry was the one who defeated Voldemort, so who else knew more about DADA?

Harry found himself back in Hogsmeade and he Disapparated. He appeared a moment later in his backyard and he walked into the house. It was time to tell Ginny what had happened. Luckily, Lily would be in bed.

*********

Early the next morning, Harry Apparated into Hogsmeade once again. This time he had his old Hogwarts trunk with him, along with a large, black owl named Harvey. This is familiar, he thought. Harry wheeled his trunk over to Hogsmeade station, where he would wait for a carriage to take him to the castle. Ginny had said yes right away. She felt that Harry's presence in the school would protect her sons. Ginny was also quite worried about the death of Torro.

The carriage arrived and Harry loaded his trunk into it. 'This sure is strange,' he thought. Back at Hogwarts, once again. It kind of felt good, comforting in a way. Hogwarts had always felt like home to Harry. But he still couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he had about Torro's death. The carriage gave a lurch, and the thestrals pulled Harry up to the school.



“Get up, Albus! Get up!” Albus awoke with a start and saw John's face looking down at him.

“Huh? Wha's going on?” Albus said sleepily.

“First day of lessons! Let's go down to breakfast,” John responded, excitedly. He was bouncing around the room, waking up all his fellow Gryffindors.

Albus got up and put on his robes. “Okay, I'm ready,”

“Great! Bilius and Ethan are up too. But I can't get Matt up. He sleeps like a log,” John said as he shook Matt some more. Matt finally got up and put his robes on.

The five Gryffindor first year boys met the girls in the common room. Rose, Amanda, Janie Creevey, and the Jordan-Bell twins. Albus knew he'd met the twins a few times, but couldn't remember their names They introduced themselves as Karina and Marina. They were identical with long black hair and blue eyes. The first years walked down to the Great Hall together, only getting lost once.

When Albus walked into the Great Hall, he glanced up at the head table and his jaw dropped. He stopped walking and an older Hufflepuff bumped into him.

“Sorry,” she said as she walked past.

Albus didn't pay any attention to her. He continued to stare at the staff table. Sitting next to the headmaster, was his father. Albus shook his head and ran over to the Gryffindor table, where his fellow first years had already sat down.

“James! James!” Albus shouted, “Look who's sitting next to Professor Kendrick! Isn't that Dad? What's he doing here? He doesn't teach here!”

James was staring at Harry. “Yeah, I know. Funny how he never mentioned it. But I guess he must be the new DADA teacher. All the other teachers are there.”

“Honestly, James! He couldn't have told us yet. Torro just died yesterday. Obviously, Kendrick asked him last night. It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? I mean, he's got to be the most qualified wizard for the job, right?” Georgia had sat down next to James and talked some sense into him.

“I suppose,” James said as he started to eat his eggs.

“Here are your schedules!” Neville Longbottom had appeared near the Gryffindor table.

Albus took his schedule from him and looked at it. He had DADA right after breakfast, then Charms, and after lunch he had double Herbology.

“Looks like a decent schedule,” John said, “Should be interesting having your dad as a teacher, Albus! I can't wait! I've got so many questions for him.”

“Yeah, should be wonderful,” Albus said glumly as he dug into his waffles. Truthfully, Albus did not want his dad teaching at Hogwarts. With his dad here, Albus would be even more famous than usual. He did not like the staring eyes and the constant questions about his dad.

**********

After breakfast, the Gryffindors headed to the DADA classroom, with John leading the way. Albus hung back with Matt, who was going pretty slow.

“You okay, Matt?” Albus asked, “You look kind of sick. You want to go to the Hospital Wing?”

“No, I'll be fine,” Matt replied with a yawn, “Guess I didn't get to sleep until late, too nervous about lessons.”

When they arrived at the classroom, Albus ran and took the table in the back. Matt and Amanda followed him. John hesitated, apparently torn with joining his new friends and sitting up front. Finally, he, too, went and sat in the back.

“Why are we sitting back here?” John asked.

“Cause it's my dad, John. How would you like it if your dad taught at Hogwarts?” Albus said in a rude tone. John didn't say anything.

At that moment, another group of students came into the room. They were Slytherins. Scorpius Malfoy was leading them.

“Great, we're with the Slytherins,” John whispered to Matt, “Hope they're not going to ruin everything.” John was about to launch into a tirade about Slytherins, but Harry walked in.

“Good morning,” Harry said as he walked to the front desk, “I'm Professor Potter.” A few of the girls in front giggled. “I'll start by taking attendance.” Harry ran down the attendance sheet. Everyone was there.

“Please open your books to page 5,” Harry told the students.

“Professor? Can you tell us about the battle? Please?” one of the twins asked, Albus didn't know which one.

Harry sighed. “Well, I really don't like to talk about it much. But I suppose I could. I know you won't let it rest until I do,” he smiled and looked at Albus, “I know my own kids, nieces, and nephews kept asking me until I told them.”

Albus sunk lower in his chair. John was sitting straight up, staring at Harry, hardly blinking. Amanda and Matt were also paying close attention.

Harry's story about the battle lasted the whole period. The bell rang shortly after Harry finished.

“Please read chapter one for next time, since we didn't get a chance to cover it in class,” Harry told the students as they left. “And Albus, could you stay for a moment?”

“You guys go on ahead,” Albus told his friends, “I'll meet you in Charms.” Albus approached his father's desk after all the other students had left.

“Hi, Al, how was the Sorting? I see you did make it into Gryffindor. I knew you would,” Harry said with a proud look on his face.

“Yes, I did,” Albus said, his eyes brimming with tears as he remembered what the hat had told him, “But it wanted to put me in Slytherin!” Albus started crying and he couldn't stop. “I told it to put me in Gryffindor, that's the only reason it did!”

Harry quickly shut the door before responding. “I told you at the station that it did that to me, too.”

“But that's cause you were a Horcrux!” Albus sobbed, “I'm not a Horcrux, so why should I have done well in Slytherin? It put Rose in Gryffindor before it even touched her head. And James said it did that with him, too.”

“Yes, I know, but everyone's different. It means that you have qualities of many different houses. It doesn't mean you should be in Slytherin. The hat put you in Gryffindor because you wanted it to. A great man once told me 'it is our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities'. Albus Dumbledore was that man. He told me that when I was wondering the same thing you're wondering right now. You chose to be in Gryffindor, which makes you very different from the Slytherins. Don't worry about it,” Harry explained, as he drew Albus into a hug.

“O-k-kay,” Albus stuttered, “J-just, d-don't tell J-James.”

“Don't worry, I won't. James doesn't even know that the hat considered putting me in Slytherin,” Harry confided, “Now, I think you should be off to your next class. And don't worry about me teaching here. I'll treat you just like the other students, detentions and all.”

Albus laughed. “Well, you don't have to do that.”

“See you later, Al.”

“Bye, Dad.”

**********

Albus was a bit more cheerful for the rest of the day. He thoroughly enjoyed double Herbology. He had known Professor Longbottom since he was born, and Albus was very interested in magical plants. Charms, however, wasn't as enjoyable. The Charms professor, Professor Washburn was not very nice, and for some reason he seemed to have something against Gryffindor.

Soon enough, dinner came, and right when Albus walked into the Great Hall, James came running over to him.

“So, how was having Dad as a teacher?” James asked, breathlessly.

“You know, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be,” Albus said, while sitting down and grabbing the nearest bowl of potatoes. “He spent the whole period telling everyone about the battle because he figured no one would leave him alone until he did.”

“Sounds familiar!” James laughed, “Remember when we kept bugging him about it when I was 10? And then he said he'd tell us the whole story the summer before our first year of Hogwarts.”

“Yeah, I was kind of surprised he was so willing to tell the story. You know how he hates talking about it.”

“I know, but I suppose it's better for everyone to hear it sooner rather than later, and now Dad can get on to teaching,” James explained as he shoved his mouth with chicken, “Should be pretty cool having him teach, he knows so much DADA.”

“Hey, Albus!” John shouted to Albus as he ran over to the Gryffindor table. Matt sat down on Albus's other side.

“Hi John, Matt,” Albus said, passing them the pumpkin juice.

“Wow, this is just as good as last night!” John exclaimed as he piled his plate high with food, “I could definitely get used to this.”

“What? Did your mum starve you?” Albus joked.

“'Course not. But she didn't make as much variety,” John explained. He turned to Matt. “You okay? You look kind of pale.”

That was an understatement. Matt looked like he was about to pass out in the potatoes. He hadn't touched any of the food and his golden plate was still empty. Matt was leaning his head on his hand and was yawning a lot. “I'm all right, I guess, just tired.”

Albus and John eyed him warily. “You sure?” Albus asked.

“Yeah, I'm just not hungry tonight. I'll be fine.”

At that moment, the headmaster stood up. “If I could have your attention for just a bit, I have some more announcements.” The room immediately fell silent. “Thank you. Now, as many of you have noticed, I did have success in securing a new DADA teacher and I would like to introduce him. This is Professor Potter.” Kendrick gestured to Harry. “Now, I know many of you will have questions for him when you have your first DADA lesson, but I ask you not to pester him. He will tell you what he wants to, and nothing more. I would also like to tell you that if you want to try out for your house Quidditch team, please give your name to your head of house. That is all. Thank you.” Kendrick sat back down again and proceeded to talk to Harry.

“Well, I'm trying out for Seeker this year!” James announced to the whole Gryffindor table, “I've been down to the Pitch practicing on my Firebolt during lunch.”

“Good luck, James,” Albus told him, “Dad'll be proud if you make the team.”

“I sure hope I do. It'll be great having him watch the games.”

Albus turned to John. “You finished? We should probably get started on that homework.”

John groaned, “Yeah, I suppose. You gonna come, Matt?”

Matt looked up from his plate. “Sure.” The three boys started walking back up to the Common room, with Matt lagging behind.

“Matt, are you sure you're ok? You're going pretty slow,” Albus asked, with a nervous look on his face. “I think you should probably go to the hospital wing.

Matt looked out the window. “I suppose you're probably right. You guys go on ahead, I'll meet you back in the Common room.”

“No, we're going to take you. You look ready to collapse,” John insisted. They all trekked back down the stairs and to the Hospital Wing. When they got there, Madam Pomfrey was right by the door.

“Matt! Come here, you look dreadful,” she said, grabbing his shoulder and leading him to the bed, “Thanks for bringing him, boys, you can leave now.” Madam Pomfrey shooed them out of the room.

“You know, it almost looked like she was waiting for him,” Albus said as he walked up the stairs.

“Yeah, and she knew his name. That's odd. I don't think he's been there yet,” John stated, “I wonder if he gets sick often? Or maybe he gets hurt a lot, he's got loads of scars."

“I know. I asked him about them on the train, before you came in. He said he was clumsy and quickly changed the subject.”

“Well, I'm sure he'll tell us about it when he's ready,” John reasoned, “Cornish Pixie.” The portrait opened and the two boys walked into the common room. They settled down to doing their homework with Amanda, Rose, Janie, Bilius, Ethan, and the twins. After a few hours, Albus bid them good night.

He walked up to his dormitory, changed into his pajamas, and climbed into bed. He pondered his lessons and the rest of his day. Albus was happy that having his dad there wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. But why did Professor Washburn dislike him and the other Gryffindors so much? And was Matt okay? He still hadn't returned to the common room. As Albus was worrying about Matt, he drifted off to sleep. Just after he drifted off, the Shrieking Shack shrieked for the first time in decades.




Harry was in the Great Hall. Ropes bound him to the Headmaster's chair. His scar was searing in pain. Blood was pouring down his arms as he struggled against the restraints. He opened his eyes and glanced around, looking for his wand. There it was, lying uselessly halfway across the room. All around him, other people were bound to the other professor's chairs, they were surrounding Harry in a circle. A cloaked figure was circling around the outside of the circle, while other cloaked figures stood stationary around the room. Bodies lay in pools of blood on the floor.

Harry glanced around at the other people bound to the chairs. The person directly across from him had long red hair. Harry screamed. “NO!!!! Ginny!” He looked at the other people. “James! Albus! Lily! Take me instead, not the kids!”

The hooded figure looked up and entered the circle. He stood directly in front of Harry. “Well, well, someone's decided to regain his consciousness. As you see, the rest of them didn't fair too well without you. Most are dead. But I've saved your dear family for last. I will torture them and kill them. And then, I shall kill you. At last, I've waited so long. You should have known you couldn't kill me.” Voldemort rounded on the smallest child tied to a chair.

“Crucio!” he shouted.

“NO!!!! Do it to me instead! Lily!” Harry screamed. His scar started to hurt even worse, it burned so bad he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore.
Harry awoke with a start. He was covered in sweat and his heart was beating fast. His hand automatically went to his scar, but he was not in any pain. He shakily got out of bed and went to the window.

'Will it never end?' he thought. The nightmare kept returning, but why? It was always the same one. It had been going on ever since the last battle. Only before he had kids, the people surrounding him were Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. As soon as James was born, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna disappeared. Once Albus was born, he appeared too. Same with Lily.

Harry had no idea what the dreams meant, and neither did anyone else. Harry could think of only one person who may have been able to explain it, Dumbledore. However, as soon as Harry had a few of these dreams, he had gone to see the portrait in Dumbledore's office. He was only 18 then. Unfortunately, Dumbledore had no useful explanation. Since Harry was no longer a Horcrux, he couldn't possibly be seeing into Voldemort's thoughts. Especially since Voldemort was dead. But the dreams continued.

Tonight's dream had been more vivid than any of the past ones. Maybe it was because Harry had spent all day reliving the horrific scenes from his childhood to various DADA classes. He wished he hadn't done that now. Oh, how he regretted it. But he'd have to put up with it the rest of the week, seeing as it wouldn't be fair not to tell the other students.

Harry walked away from the window. He slowly walked into the corridor. His whole body was clammy. He needed a sleeping draught. He'd been relying on these more and more as time went on. 'I really should learn how to brew them myself,' he laughed to himself.

Walking through the corridors at night brought back many memories. He still felt like he was disobeying the rules, even though he was now a professor. It seemed like Snape was right around the corner waiting to catch him doing something wrong. Harry climbed the stairs to the hospital wing. He hated to wake Madam Pomfrey at this hour, however he knew he'd never get to sleep without it. Maybe she would give him a large supply to keep in his office.

Harry walked into the ward, only to see that Madam Pomfrey was already up. She was tending to a girl in one of the end beds.

“Hello, Poppy,” he whispered.

“Oh!” Madam Pomfrey jumped, “You frightened me. I wasn't expecting you at this hour, Harry. You know, it's almost like you're a student again, coming in so late.”

“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing,” Harry glanced down at the girl, “Is she okay?”

“Yes, she'll be fine. Someone levitated her in her sleep. She screamed and that scared the student who did it to her, that student gave the countercurse, and she promptly fell onto the floor and broke her arm.”

“Wow, doesn't take very long for things to get interesting around here,” Harry said.

“Now, why are you here, Harry?”

“Well, er, remember after the battle and I had all those nightmares? They never completely stopped, and now they seem to be getting worse. I was wondering if I could have a sleeping draught. I'd also like to just have a supply of it on hand. I've never been much of a potion brewer and haven't attempted to make it myself. I just can never manage to get to sleep without one after one of these nightmares,” Harry explained sheepishly. He felt like he was a kid again. How could he, the wizard who defeated Voldemort, who was known as the bravest wizard of the times, be afraid of a nightmare?

A sad gaze fell over Madam Pomfrey. “You know, this kind of reminds me of how you were so susceptible to the dementors in your third year. I know most people think you're brave and nothing frightens you, but everyone has nightmares and being frightened is nothing to be ashamed of.” She walked over to a cabinet and came back with a large bottle filled with potion. “Here you go. Just come back to me whenever you need more.” She handed him the bottle.

“Thanks,” Harry replied, as he walked out of the Hospital Wing.

As he walked back towards his office, Harry thought about what Madam Pomfrey had said. He knew she was right, but he still couldn't help but feel weak whenever he had one of these nightmares. He just wished he knew why he was having them and what he could do to stop them.

******

When Albus awoke the next morning, Matt still hadn't returned from the Hospital Wing. John suggested that they go visit Matt before class, but since the two boys had gotten up late, they only had time to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to Potions in the dungeons.

“Good morning, class!” an old, round, professor greeted them, “I'm Professor Slughorn, your Potions Master. Today, we shall be learning about the basics of potion brewing, including the importance of proper stirring, heat, and ingredients. Please open your books to page 6.”

The class opened their books and spent the whole lesson listening to Slughorn and copying down notes.

“Well, we're pretty much out of time, so I'll see you all next lesson. Could I have Albus Potter and Rose Weasley please stop by my desk on their way out?” Slughorn told the class.

“I'll see you in Transfiguration, John. Tell Professor Patil where I am,” Albus told his friend. He had a feeling he knew what Slughorn wanted. James had warned him about it.

Albus and Rose walked cautiously up to Slughorn's desk after everyone else had left.

“Ah! Young Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley. Now, I would like to tell you about a little gathering I have scheduled for Friday. It's for the students in the school whose parents are, for lack of a better term, popular. Or those who have shown exceptional magical skill. Of course, I'd be pleased if the both of you would attend. I'm sure your cousins will be attending. They seemed to like them in the past years,” Slughorn informed them.

“Well, er, I guess we could make it,” Albus told Slughorn, while looking at Rose.

“Yes, we'll be there. See you next lesson, Professor,” Rose told him, as the two of them left the dungeon.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before we were invited to the Slug Club,” Albus groaned. James loved the Slug Club. It gave him a whole lot more attention and more people for him to tell his stories too. But Albus didn't like the fame. He would have rather skipped the party, but as James and his cousins were going, it would be hard not to.

“Well, maybe it'll be fun,” Rose stated in a hopeful tone. Albus rolled his eyes and the two of them went to Transfiguration.

***********
Matt didn't show up in classes all day. Albus and John were really starting to worry. They decided to visit him before dinner. When they got into the Hospital Wing, they didn't see Matt right away. There was one girl occupying a bed with her arm in a sling. Madam Pomfrey was fussing over her.

“I really think you need to stay here tonight. You can leave in the morning!”

“But, Madam Pomfrey, I've been here all day. My arm's fine!” the girl exclaimed.

“No, I will not have it! You can leave in the morning,” Madam Pomfrey said in a tone that was not to be argued with. The girl pouted and stopped talking.

Albus and John approached Madam Pomfrey. “Um, where's Matt Eckerton? We brought him here last night,” John said tentatively.

“He's back there,” she said, pointing to a bed with the curtains pulled around it.

“Well, can we see him?” Albus asked.

“No, I'm sorry, but you can't. He's not in any state to have visitors at the moment. You can come see him this time tomorrow,” Madam Pomfrey said hurriedly.

“But could you at least tell us if he's ok?” Albus asked.

“He'll be fine in a few days. Now, you two should head down to dinner. You can see Matt tomorrow.”

Albus and John walked glumly down to the Great Hall. “That was strange. James said you can usually visit your friends when they're in the Hospital Wing,” Albus told John.

“Very weird. You know, I think Matt's keeping something from us. Madam Pomfrey seemed like she was expecting him last night, and now no one can visit him,” John told Albus in a worried tone.

“We'll ask him about it when he gets out of the Hospital Wing. I don't think he'll be inclined to tell us tomorrow,” Albus reasoned.

*********

The next day, Gryffindor first years had DADA again. Nothing extraordinarily exciting happened during class. They mostly took notes on using Expeliarmus, the disarming spell. Harry said they would start being able to practice it on each other in the next class. John and Albus were really looking forward to this, as they really hadn't used their wands for anything yet.

Charms, however, was quite eventful. Professor Washburn started class by taking attendance as usual. He gave a menacing glare to all the Gryffindors as he called their names. But Albus thought he stared especially long at him.

“Take out your wands,” snarled Wahsburn, “we're practicing levitation today. Everyone take a feather.” Washburn waved his wand and a feather appeared in front of each student. “Remember to swish and flick.”

“Swish and flick,” murmured Albus from the back table. He waved his wand and said, “Wingardium Leviosa!” Nothing happened. He tried over and over again. Still, nothing happened. John, however, managed to do it.

“Look, Albus!” John exclaimed, “I've done it!” John's feather had rose a few inches off the table, and fell down again.

“Congratulations,” Albus said flatly, his feather still remaining quite still on the table.

“I've done it, too!” Rose shouted. Her feather had also rose off the table, but it managed to make it a few feet in the air before falling.

Washburn stormed out from behind his desk and rounded on the back table, where Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda were sitting. “Well, do it again!” he growled.

John and Rose looked at him nervously and picked up their wands. “Wingardium Leviosa!” they said at the same time. Both their feathers rose feebly into the air and fell down again.

“Pathetic,” Washburn muttered, “Potter! You do it!” he shouted at Albus.

“But, Professor, I haven't managed it yet,” Albus muttered quietly.

“You'll do what I tell you to do! Perform the spell!” Washburn seemed to be getting angrier by the minute.

Albus nervously picked up his wand. His arm was shaking, this would not turn out good. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he muttered very quietly. His feather leaped into the air and caught fire. The whole class, which had been staring at the back table for quite some time, screamed.

The flame from the feather caught onto Washburn's robes and set them on fire as well. “Bloody Hell!” Washburn screamed. He grabbed Albus's wand out of his hand and produced water from it to douse the flames. “Potter! You'll getting detention and 20 points from Gryffindor!” he shouted, glaring at Albus. “Class dismissed. Get out, all of you except Potter.”

Albus was visibly shaking now. The rest of the class quickly left, the Gryffindors glancing anxiously at Albus. He walked slowly up to Washburn's desk.

“Well, you seem to have a knack for causing trouble, Potter,” Wahsburn spat.

“I'm sorry, Professor, I didn't mean to,” Albus muttered, on the verge of tears.

“You'll be doing detention tonight, I don't care what other plans you might have. See you at 8pm.”

“But-”

Washburn cut him off. “I said tonight, now get out!” he screamed.

********

Later that night, Albus trudged his way back to the common room after doing detention with Washburn. He had Albus do lines, so it wasn't too bad. But Washburn stared at Albus the whole time, his eyes like fire.

Albus climbed through the portrait and saw just who he needed to talk to. “James, I've got to ask you something.”

“What is it?” James asked, walking away from his friends.

“Why does Washburn hate me?” Albus asked. “During the first class, I thought he just hated all Gryffindors, but today he made it clear that it's me he hates.”

“Really? It's well known he hates Gryffindors. But he's always seemed to hate me more than everyone else,” James explained, “I always assumed it's because I cause so much trouble. You on the other hand, have always been so quiet. What did you do to him?”

Albus mumbled something incoherent.

“What?”

“I set him on fire.”

James burst out laughing.

“It's not funny! I didn't mean to do it. We were doing levitation, and he asked me to levitate the feather in front of everyone, when he knew I hadn't managed to do it before. My arm was shaking so much I knew the spell wouldn't work. The feather caught fire as soon as I muttered the spell, and then it spread to Washburn's robes. I got lines and 20 points taken from Gryffindor,” Albus looked down, ashamed.

James looked stunned. “But that's a mistake any first year could have made. I do see how he got mad, though. I think you should just try to avoid him. Sit in the back, don't say anything. Ignore him in the halls. That's what I do. I still get way more detentions from him than any other teacher, but I think I've become immune to them. Well, I'd better get back to my friends. See you later.”

Albus contemplated this information. Washburn hated all Gryffindors, but he hated James and Albus the most. Why? It didn't make sense. Neither Albus nor James had met Washburn before Hogwarts.

“Albus!” John came running into the common room, “I've just been with Matt.”

“How is he?” Albus asked.

“Not good. He's covered in cuts and bruises. Said he'd tripped on his way to the bathroom. He kept avoiding talking about being ill. Just wanted to talk about what's going on in the school. So I told him about you setting Washburn on fire. He thought it was hilarious.”

“It's NOT!” Albus shouted. He was sick of everyone thinking it was funny. The story had already made it around the school and at dinner everyone was staring at him more than usual. Some students even high fived him and patted him on the back. It seemed like Washburn was disliked by many students.

“Okay, okay,” John said, putting his hands up, “Anyway, Matt said he'd be back in class tomorrow morning. Madam Pomfrey just wanted him to stay the rest of the night.”

“Good. Let's go to bed. I'm exhausted,” Albus said. He and John climbed up the circular staircase to the dormitory.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the next chapter! I combined two short chapters into one, so this one's a good bit longer than the previous ones.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Friday came too quickly for Albus's liking. He was not looking forward to the Slug Club meeting. Since the meeting and Gryffindor Quidditch try-outs were at the same time, James wouldn't be joining Albus at the meeting. Albus had tried to get out of the meeting by watching try-outs, but the team captain decided to not let any spectators at the try-outs. A large number of students had wanted to attend just to see James, and the captain didn't want anyone to disrupt the try-outs.

Later that day, Albus and Rose walked down to the dungeons together. Albus was dreading the meeting. They walked into the meeting to see that most everyone else was already there. Albus already knew most of them. Some of his cousins were there, along with various other Order members' children. However, there were a few faces Albus had never seen before.

“Ah! Albus and Rose!” Slughorn gestured to a few chairs in the room, “Please have a seat. You already know many of the people here. But I don't believe you know Tami Tobias, Frank Belleville, and Quinton Willinson?” he said, gesturing to a blond haired girl, a black haired boy, and a very sullen looking boy. “Tami is a 6th year Ravenclaw who brews the most excellent potions, Frank is a 4th year Hufflepuff who can already perform nonverbal spells! And Quinton's a 7th year Slytherin whose father works at the Minsitry.”

“Er, hi,” Albus responded.

“Hello,” Rose smiled.

Unfortunately for Albus; Tami and Frank, along with Slughorn, spent much of the meeting hounding Albus with questions about his dad, the battle, and Albus's childhood. Eventually, Albus just got fed up with it.

“Look, my dad's told you all he wants to tell you. You're not going to learn anything else from asking me!” Albus shouted.

Slughorn looked taken aback. “I thought you'd enjoyed talking about it. Your brother always enjoys telling stories about his childhood.”

“Well, I'm not James, now, am I?” Albus shouted. Everyone else was now staring at him. Albus jumped up from his chair and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him.

Albus stamped his feet the whole way up to the common room. He went through the portrait and was immediately bombarded by James.

“Albus! I got it! I'm the new Seeker!” James shouted over the noise, jumping up and down and spilling his butterbeer all over the floor.

“That's great, James, really great,” Albus told him, trying to sound somewhat excited.

“What? You're not happy for me? I thought you would be. Dad's ecstatic. I told him as soon as I was done at tryouts,” James said tentatively.

“No, I am excited,” Albus responded glumly. All he wanted to do was go to bed, but James blocked his path.

“What's wrong? I can tell something's wrong. Tell me,” James said, in a voice that sounded strangely like their mother's.

“It's the Slug Club. I just left. All anyone wanted to do was listen to me blabber on about my childhood,” Albus shouted, all the anger coming back in full force. “They wouldn't stop bothering me until I screamed at them and stormed out.”

James just stared at Albus. “And to top it all off, Slughorn said he thought I'd LIKE talking about all that, just because you do!” Albus screamed at James and punched the nearest armchair.

“Boy, you do have Dad's temper,” James told Albus, “I'm sorry I couldn't be there. I'll be there at all the others. I swear. Well, unless there's Quidditch practice.”

“Others?! You really think I'm going to another one of those?” Albus shouted disgustedly.

“Well, Slughorn has them all throughout the year. Sometimes they're kind of fun. You know Dad used to go to them.”

“Fun?! Fun?! How could that possibly be fun? And I know Dad used to go to them, he didn't exactly enjoy them, now did he?” Albus seethed.

“Yeah, some of them are fun,” James shifted from foot to foot. Albus could tell he was nervous.

“Just go back to your party. You deserve it. Good job at making Seeker, I really do mean that. But I think I'm going to bed. Good night.”

“'Night,” James said as he rejoined his party.

Albus walked up to his dormitory. It was still relatively early, so Albus was surprised to see Matt there. Matt had returned at breakfast yesterday morning, but he still didn't seem himself, so John and Albus did not bring up the question of him being ill.

Albus went over to Matt's bed and pulled back the curtains. He was sound asleep. That was strange. He just spent 2 days in the Hospital Wing, why was he still tired? Was he still sick? Albus sighed, he wouldn't be able to question Matt tonight. Well, turning in early would do Albus some good too. Maybe he'd be able to calm down after the evening's excitement. He got into his pajamas and got into bed.

********
Unfortunately, Albus did not have a restful sleep. He was having vivid nightmares which involved Slughorn questioning him while James stood behind him, laughing. This same image kept recurring over and over again. Albus tossed and turned and eventually, a new dream came over him.

Albus was sitting in a dark empty room. A man in a dark cloak appeared next to him.

“He will return,” the man said.

“What?” Albus asked. “Who's returning?”

“He's coming. He'll find a way. He will return.”

“Tell me! Who?” Albus shouted.

“He will return, he will return, he will return....” the man said over and over again.

Albus awoke with a start. He was sweating. What was that about? He had never had such a vivid dream. Who was going to return? Albus raked his brains, and then it hit him. It felt like he'd been punched in the stomach. Of course! He jumped out of bed and put on his dressing robes. It must be late, he thought. Matt, John, Ethan, and Bilius were still sleeping. Albus tip-toed out of dormitory and carefully shut the door behind him.

Albus had to see his dad. He didn't care that it was the middle of the night. He ran out of the common room and into the empty corridor. It was strange wandering around this late. Albus had never walked around the castle at night. He didn't care that he wasn't supposed to be out of his dormitory this late. All he thought about was telling his dad about that dream. Albus ran down the stairs, probably making too much noise. As he rounded the corner, someone reached out and grabbed his shoulder. Albus screamed.

“Shut up!” a man shouted, “You'll wake the whole school. Then we'll have a real problem.”

Albus looked into the eyes of the man who had caught him. It was Professor Washburn.

“Well, well, Mr. Potter is out of bed. And this late at night? Surely, he must be up to no good,” Washburn sneered. Albus heard the happiness in his tone. “We'd better be off to my office, shall we?”

Albus stood where he was. “No, I have to see my dad.”

“Running to Daddy, are we? Isn't that sweet. Unfortunately for you, wandering corridors at night is against the rules, therefore, I will punish you.”

Washburn grabbed Albus's hand and dragged him to his office. Albus was really shaking now. What would Washburn do to him?

When they entered Washburn's dark office, he forced Albus into a chair directly in front of his desk.

Washburn slammed his hands on his desk. “So, decided to have a little midnight stroll? Care to tell me what you were up to?” he glared at Albus, not blinking.

“I've already told you. I need to see my dad,” Albus told him, nervously.

“Surely that could wait till morning? I bet you were setting up some kind of prank. Am I right? You know, I've caught your brother out of bed many a time for just that reason.”

So that was it. Washburn hated James, so he in turn hated Albus too. That was the second time in the past 12 hours that Albus had been compared to James. “I am NOT like my brother!” he stood up, fists clenched and stared at Washburn.

Washburn smiled. “I seem to have struck a nerve. But it hardly matters what you were doing out of bed. The fact remains that students are not to be out of bed at,” he glanced at his watch, “1:37 in the morning. Now, to discuss your punishment.”

“You can discuss my punishment after I see my dad,” Albus glared at Washburn.

“Sit back down, Potter. I know you're just trying to get dear old Dad to save you.”

Albus remained standing. “I AM NOT!” he screamed, “I have something really important to discuss with him!”

“Fine, but I'll take you to see him, so I can make sure you're punished,” Washburn spat.

Albus didn't say another word and ran out the door.

“Wait! Get back here, boy! I told you I'm taking you!” Washburn ran to catch up with Albus, breathing heavily. He was clearly out of shape. The two of them walked to Harry's office in complete silence.

“Well, here we are,” Washburn stated, pushing Albus aside and opening the door. “Potter! Wake up! I caught your son out of bed.”

Harry quickly walked out of his bedroom. He had also been up after having a nightmare of his own. Harry looked at Albus and Washburn and jumped. “Sorry, I expected it to be James.”

“So did I. He insists that he discuss something with you before I punish him,” Washburn told Harry in a disgruntled voice.

Harry looked worriedly at Albus. “What is it? Are you okay, Al?”

“I just need to tell you something...” Albus replied, looking warily at Washburn.

“I must ask you to leave, Professor Washburn. I think this needs to be private.”

“Fine! I'll wait outside the door, but he will be punished!” Washburn yelled as he walked out the door and slammed it behind him.

As soon as he left, Albus relayed his whole dream to Harry.

Harry pulled Albus into a hug and told him, “Albus, I don't think your nightmare had any kind of significance. It was just a bad dream.”

“But, it seemed so real! And you had dreams like this when you were younger, and they were real!”

“Yes, that's because I could see Voldemort's thoughts. You know that. I think that hearing so much about the battle over and over again this week and being bombarded with questions about it has caused you to be worried,” Harry explained. “I understand your fears. I still have nightmares about it. But I think the best thing for you to do is just forget about it.”

“But, what if it is real?” Albus asked in a worried tone.

“Think about it, Al. How could he come back? He's dead. Even in the Wizarding world, no one can come back from the dead.”

“Yeah, I suppose you're right. It was just so vivid and scary.”

“I know. Now I only hope that as you spend more time at Hogwarts, people will stop asking you so many questions. For tonight, I think you should have some Sleeping Draught,” Harry walked over to his cabinet and poured a potion into a small bottle. I'll take you back to Gryffindor Tower, and drink this before you get into bed.”

“But what about detention?”

“Don't worry. You won't get detention. But wandering the corridors is against the rules, so please don't do it anymore. Just send word with a portrait from the common room if you need me, and I'll meet you in the common room. Now, let's get you back to bed. Just follow me and don't say anything. I'll deal with Washburn.”

Harry opened the door and left the room. Albus followed. “There will be no detention tonight, Professor Washburn. Albus really did need to tell me something that was worrying him. It's perfectly understandable what he did. I've talked to him and he won't do it again,” Harry explained calmly.

“But, he broke the rules!” Washburn screamed.

“Careful, you'll wake the whole castle,” Harry told him as he continued to walk down the halls with Albus following quickly behind.

They left Washburn standing with his mouth open in the hallway. When Albus got back to his bed, he took his potion and had a dreamless, restful sleep.

******

As the weeks past, people slowly got over the excitement of having Harry as a DADA teacher. Harry had explained the battle to every single one of his classes, and in the following classes he was able to teach without being disrupted with questions pertaining to the downfall of Voldemort. Harry was grateful for this. He was still having his nightmare more often than usual, but thanks to Madam Pomfrey's potion, he was able to get a few decent night's sleep a week.

Things seemed to be calming down for Albus too. There had not been anymore Slug Club meetings since the disastrous first one, but Albus had no intention of going to one even if he got invited. His classes were going well. He seemed to struggle the most in Charms, but that was to be expected. At least Albus now knew why Washburn hated him so much, it was because he hated James. As much as Albus hated being compared to James, it was nice to know it wasn't anything Albus did to irritate Washburn. Unfortunately, Albus was earning a detention a week in his class.

Matt seemed to recover from his illness within a few days. However, as September grew into October, and the weather started getting colder, Matt got sick again.

Albus, John, Matt, Bilius, Ethan, Rose, Janie, Amanda, Karina, and Marina sat together at one table in the common room after dinner one Wednesday. They were working on a particularly hard Transfiguration essay.

“No, you've got that wrong,” Rose told Albus.

“Well, why don't you tell me what the right answer is, then?” Albus said disgustedly.

“But then you won't learn anything!”

“You're just like your mother,” Albus told him, shaking his head. “Matt, what's wrong?”

Matt had put his head down on his parchment, he had only written the first sentence of his essay.

“Huh?” he said, lifting up his head. He glanced out the window. “I'm not feeling too good. I think I might be sick.”

“Again? You do look a bit pale,” Amanda told him with a worried look on her face. “You better go to the Hospital Wing.

“All right. I'll see you guys later,” Matt slowly got up from his chair and shuffled out of the common room. “You guys don't have to come,” he said to Albus and John, who had gotten up.

Albus looked at him warily. “If you're sure.” But Matt had already left the common room.

“I hope he's all right. That's the second time he's been sick here and it's only October,” John said.

“Yeah, I know. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how long he spends in the Hospital Wing this time,” Albus told him.

“Well, I'm never going to get this done!” Janie shouted, exhaustedly. “I'm going to bed,” she got up and left, the other 4 girls following her.

“We'd better turn in, too,” Bilius told the other boys.

“Yeah, probably,” Albus agreed. The three boys walked up the circular staircase and got into bed.

*********

Matt didn't get out of the Hospital Wing until Saturday. Although, he spent most of that day sleeping in his four poster bed. His friends weren't all that surprised, since this exact same thing had happened during his previous illness. They gave him his space until classes started again on Monday.

Albus had started to dread Potions class. He was always afraid that Slughorn was going to bring up what happened in the previous Slug Club meeting. Unfortunately for Albus, after double potions that week, Slughorn called Rose and him up to his desk after class.

“See you in Transfiguration, then, Albus,” John told him as he and Matt started to walk out of the room.

“No, stay, please,” Albus hissed at them, “He won't talk about what happened last time if you're here.”

“All right,” John sighed and dropped his bag on the nearest desk.

“Rose and Albus! I just wanted to invite you to my next get together. It's happening on Halloween. It'll be a kind of Halloween party. You can each bring a guest,” Slughorn said, delightedly.

“Cool!” John shouted, running to the front of the room, “Bring me, Albus!”

“No, bring me!” Matt said louder, pushing past John.

“Don't worry, boys, you can both come, all right?” Slughorn told them with a smile on his face.

“But, but-” Albus stammered, staring at John and Matt.

“Well, off you go, don't want to be late for your next class!” Slughorn shooed them out of his classroom.

“John! Matt! Why did you do that?” Albus shouted, once Slughorn was back in his room.

“What? I wanted to see what all the fuss is about with those meetings,” John said innocently.

“Ugh! Now I have to go!” Albus threw his hands up in the air, “You knew I didn't want to go to anymore.”

“Well, we'll be with you, it'll be all right,” Matt said sympathetically.

*********

Before Albus knew it, he, Matt, and John were trudging down to the dungeons for the Halloween party. John and Matt were running along excitedly, while Albus lagged behind. They walked into the dungeon, to find it packed.

“Good, maybe no one will notice me,” Albus said as he gazed around at the crowd. The same members who were at the last meeting were there, along with their guests and numerous adults. “Let's go get some food.”

The three boys walked through the crowd and over to the food table. They each piled a plate high with food. When Albus turned around, he almost ran into someone.

“Watch it!” the boy shouted, he was a rather large Slytherin. The boy looked at Albus and then sneered. “Ah, Potter, can I ask you a few questions about your childhood? Or will that make baby Potter cry?”

“Shut it,” Albus muttered, trying to push past the boy.

“Trying to run away, are we? Well, that won't do. I thought you'd enjoy talking about yourself. I certainly enjoy talking about me. So, I'll talk. I'm Quinton Willinson.” Albus glanced at him again and now recognized him as the Slytherin that Slughorn introduced him to at the previous meeting.

John snorted into his pumpkin juice.

“You think that's funny? Who are you?” Quinton glared at John.

“John Brickston. Pleased to meet you. This is Matt Eckerton,” he gestured towards Matt.

“Enough about you, more about me. My father high up at the Ministry. He does a variety of tasks and makes a load of gold from it. I'm a 7th year. Father's getting me a Ministry job once I'm done here. I can't wait until I get out of here and make gold like he does,” Quinton stole a cookie off of Albus's plate and started to eat it.

“So,” he said in between bites, “What was it like growing up with 'The Chosen One'?

“I said, shut it!” Albus said, a bit louder.

“Oh, are we going to have a repeat of last meeting?” Quinton asked excitedly, stealing another cookie.

“Definitely not,” shouted John, who drew his wand, “After this one, you'll wish you'd never been born.” Matt quickly drew his own wand.

“No, guys, it's okay, don't get in trouble for him, he's not worth it,” Albus told them.

“Gonna curse me, ickle firsties?” Quinton giggled, “I'm so scared.”

“What's going on over here?” James asked as he walked over to the food table, “What do you want, Willinson?”

“Just thought I'd ask Albus about his life growing up,” Quinton told James innocently.

“Well, I think he said to stop, didn't he?” James said, drawing his own wand.

“He might've mentioned it,” Quinton sneered as he, too, drew his wand, “But I don't see what's so wrong about wanting to know about 'The Chosen One'. Maybe you could tell me how he managed to defeat the greatest wizard of all time?”

“Expeliarmus!” James shouted, and Quinton's wand flew across the room.

Slughorn looked up at the shouting and hustled over to see what had happened. “You cannot duel at my party!”

“They started it,” Quinton said, pointing to Albus and his friends, “Little Potter had to have his big brother defend him.”

“Well, you'll all put your wands away now so we can enjoy the rest of the party in peace. Or you'll all get detention,” Slughorn growled as the boys all hastily put their wands away.

Quinton gave Albus one last sneer and he stalked off. Albus watched him go and turned and ran out of the room. He heard his friends following him, but didn't stop to talk. He didn't stop or turn around until he reached the Fat Lady's portrait. He gave the password and ran into the common room and up to his dormitory.

Albus knew going to that party was a bad idea. He shouldn't have gone. Never again. He punched his pillow. What did Quinton want with him anyway. And why did he call Voldemort 'the greatest wizard of all time'? Voldemort was defeated before Quinton was even born, he couldn't possibly have been a Death Eater.

The door to the dormitory opened and Matt and John walked in. “You okay?” Matt asked.

“Oh, I'm just fine,” Albus told them sarcastically, “I'm never going to one of those again, even if you two want to go as my guests. You saw what it's like now, not much fun, is it?”

“Yeah, not that much fun, although wasn't that cool how James disarmed Willinson?” John said excitedly. “I mean, he's 5 years younger than him!”

“Real cool,” Albus said flatly, “I think I just want to go to bed.” Albus pulled the hangings of his bed closed and laid down. He fell asleep relatively quickly, but it wasn't a restful sleep. He had the nightmare again. It happened a few times a week now, and try as he might, Albus couldn't seem to forget about it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sorry for the wait! I had to rewrite something and combine chapters because I thought this one was too short.

As usual, I do not own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



As the first few days of November passed, the weather became gradually colder. The wind was blowing fiercely, and soon snow would be falling. The first year Gryffindors were not at all surprised when Matt got sick again and spent a few days in the hospital wing.

“Hey, Matt! How are you feeling?” Albus asked at dinner when Matt reappeared from the hospital wing.

“All right,” Matt told him while putting food onto his plate.

“You know, you get sick a lot, Matt. Are you sure you're okay?” John chimed in.

“Yeah, I know. I've got this, er, illness. And it makes me get sick quite a bit. I didn't want to worry you, so that's why I never told you,” Matt replied quickly.

“But you're better now, right?” Albus asked, nervously.

“Um, sort of. I mean, I'm better now, but it'll happen again,” Matt told them and quickly changed the subject, “So, first Quidditch match in 2 weeks! Gyrffindor vs. Hufflepuff. Should be a good game!”

“Uh, yeah, it should be,” Albus looked warily at Matt. Clearly he didn't like talking about his illness. Albus and John didn't bring it up again during the meal. Albus, John, and Matt spent the rest of dinner talking about the upcoming match.

The next two weeks dragged by. As the time before the Quidditch match drew shorter, the anticipation and excitement increased. Both captains were holding practices more often than usual. They alternated evenings for the pitch, so each team was practicing every other night. The Gryffindor players trudged back into the common room well after ten o'clock at night on the days of their practices. They were usually muddy and cold, as the weather was not cooperating. Even the professors were getting into the spirit and were not assigning much homework to the players, however they still piled it on the other students.

Excitement was extremely high in the Gryffindor common room the night before the first Quidditch match. No one was getting much homework done. The only ones trying were a few 7th years and Rose, who was reading a book with her fingers in her ears.

“Oi! Rose!” Albus called across the common room as he walked over to her, “You actually trying to get homework done? Why don't you take a break? You've been studying all day.”

“Yes, I know I have,” Rose said irritably, “We've got a big History of Magic exam this week, you know. And we haven't even won the match, so why celebrate yet?”

“You know, you're just like your mum,” Albus laughed as he left Rose to her book. He decided he'd find James and wish him good luck.

James was standing in the middle of the common room, surrounded by his fellow teammates. “James!” Albus shouted, “Could I have a word?”

“Sure!” James shouted back, as he left the group, “What's up?”

“Just wanted to wish you luck, wasn't sure if I'd see you before the match. You know, you'll do fine,” Albus told his brother. “Are you nervous?”

“A bit, yeah,” James responded, “It's just everyone thinks I'll be a great Seeker because Dad was, so I don't want to disappoint them.”

“You won't. I've seen you play. You're the best Seeker this house has, that's why you're on the team,” Albus said reassuringly.

“I suppose. I guess I'd better get back to the team, we're talking strategy,” James told him.

“Ok, see you tomorrow.”

********

Albus was right that he wasn't able to talk to James before the match. Albus saw him briefly at breakfast, he was looking a bit sick and wasn't eating anything. Shortly after Albus arrived at the table, however, the whole team left for the locker rooms. After eating some breakfast, Albus walked down to the pitch with John and Matt. They found themselves seats high in the stands next to Rose, Amanda, Janie, Marina, and Karina.

“Is James nervous?” Rose asked Albus.

“A bit, yeah, he's afraid everyone's going to compare him to Dad, so he's afraid he's going to disappoint everybody,” Albus told her.

“Well, he won't,” Rose said reassuringly.

“I know.”

The weather conditions couldn't have been worse for a game of Quidditch. The wind and rain from the previous week had not let up at all. Albus had a hard time seeing onto the pitch. Visibility was terrible, so the spectators had to mainly rely on the commentary to tell them what was going on.

“Welcome to the first Quidditch match of the season!” a booming voice shouted. Albus recognized it as Todd Smith, one of his cousin Georgia's friends. “Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff!

“And here come the teams! Gryffindor, Samantha Meyers, Ryan O'Malley, James Potter, Bradley Weasley, Fred Weasley, Georgia Weasley, and Heather Weasley. Blimey, that's a lot of Weasleys! Here are the Hufflepuffs! Shawn Ames, Jason Bristol, Lisa Galivant, Jessica Harper, Andy Kaper, and Stacey Manson!

“Captains Meyers and Harper have shaken hands, and the Quaffle is up!”

14 players and Professor Oteski rose up into the sky on their brooms. Albus could just make out the red robed Gryffindors and the yellow robed Hufflepuffs. Although he had no idea who was who.

“Gryffindor is in possession of the Quaffle. Heather Weasley is storming up the pitch, headed for the Hufflepuff goal. Oh! Saved by Keeper Bristol. Hufflepuff now in possession. Nice beater work by Bradley Weasley, too bad Ames swerved just in time to avoid the bludger. And Hufflepuff scores!”

“Darn it!” Albus shouted. John and Matt were hissing at the Hufflepuffs.

“Fred Weasley is in possession of the Quaffle, passes to Meyers, who then passes to Heather Weasley and back to Fred. That's the way to do it! Confuse them! Harper sends bludger to Fred, but it is intercepted by O'Malley! Great job! And Gryffindor scores!”

“Woohoo!!!” Albus shouted. Despite the rain, he was loving every minute of the game. Quidditch games always sounded so exciting when his dad told him about them, but Hogwarts games were much better in person. Albus had been to a few professional games, but it somehow seemed better to watch a game that had your own family on the team.

The game continued on for what seemed like hours. The rain and wind had long since made Albus's hands numb. But he didn't care.

“Blimey, do you think this could go on all day?” John asked as Hufflepuff scored.

“I sure hope so!” Matt shouted over the wind, “I've been putting off an essay for Potions and have no urge to start it anytime soon."

“Matt! You should have done that essay days ago,” Rose scolded, “I hope it ends soon, I still have some more studying to do do for History of Magic.”

“And Heather Weasley scores for Gryffindor!” Smith shouted, “The score is currently 100-90 Gryffindor. With no sign of the Snitch! Both Seekers are flying slowly around the pitch, eyes peeled for that golden ball. Of course, the big excitement this game is James Potter, the new Gryffindor Seeker. His dad, Harry Potter, was one of the best Seekers Gryffindor house has ever seen. But will James live up to his dad's legacy? Only time will tell. Captain Meyers has been quite secretive about their practices and would not let anyone watch James fly until this match.”

“Does Quidditch always last this long?” Amanda asked Albus.

“Not usually, but they do vary quite a bit. One world cup lasted over a month. All depends on the Seekers and the weather, usually. Weather like this, who knows when the Snitch will be seen,” Albus explained.

“Well, I think I like watching Quidditch. Course, I could never play. You saw me on my broom in flying lessons. The thing wouldn't get up in the air,” Amanda laughed.

The first years had had a few flying lessons over the past few weeks. Amanda wasn't the worst in the class, but wasn't having much luck with her broom. Albus was pretty good. Not as good as James, but he thought he might be able to try out for Chaser next year when Samantha Meyers left.

“Gryffindor scores again! Blimey, if the match goes on much longer, we'll be in for a Hogwarts record! It's past lunch time, the match has been going on for 4 hours in case anyone had been wondering. Oh, look at this! I think Galivant has seen the Snitch!” Smith shouted.

Indeed, she had. Lisa Galivant was flying directly towards the ground, where the little golden winged ball was hovering. James was flying a few feet above her and noticed her dive. He quickly pulled his broom into a dive as well.

“And both Seekers are neck in neck, heading towards the ground, where the golden Snitch has been spotted! Potter is now pulling ahead a little. Kaper is headed towards a bludger that is right above both Seekers. And Kaper hits the bludger towards Potter, who hasn't noticed it!”

Whack! The bludger collided with James's skull, just as he reached for the Snitch. He fell, headfirst off his broom from a height of 10 feet, and landed on the ground, not moving.

“James!!!” Albus shouted, as he tried to move past all the students who were standing up in their seats looking at the pitch.

“Potter is knocked off his broom by a bludger sent by Andy Kaper. Surely, Galivant has caught the Snitch. But wait, she's landing empty-handed. Where is the Snitch?”

Albus had managed to extricate himself from the stands, running onto the pitch, followed by John, Matt, Amanda, and Rose.

“James!” Albus shouted again, as he ran towards the crowd of teachers surrounding his brother. He pushed his way in between Profesor Patil and Professor Longbottom and saw his dad leaning down at James's side. He had an extremely worried look on his face.

“I'm taking him to the Hospital Wing,” Harry told the teachers as he picked James up. Harry started walking towards the castle. Albus ran after him, followed by his friends.

They burst through the wooden doors and ran up the stairs to the Hospital Wing. When they got inside, Harry deposited James onto a bed. Madam Pomfrey was striding towards them.

“Well, what's happened? Quidditch, right?” she clicked her tongue, “Such a dangerous sport. I don't know why they still allow it.” She bustled over to James and examined him. “Cracked skull. I'll have it mended in no time, but he's unconscious, so it might be a while before he comes round.”

The doors of the Hospital Wing burst open and a few teachers made their way into the room and stood by Harry.

Madam Pomfrey ran over to a cabinet and grabbed some potion to put on James's head. She went back over to James and started applying potion. Once she was done, she tapped her wand to his head and muttered a spell. She applied bandages and turned to his hand, which was clamped shut around something.

“Looks like he managed to catch the Snitch,” Madam Pomfrey announced as she pried the still struggling golden ball from his hand.

"Wow," Harry smiled, "That's impressive." He took the Snitch from Madam Pomfrey and pocketed it. Harry sat down on a chair next to James's bed and started stroking his hair.

"He's going to be an incredible Seeker," Neville commented.

Albus walked over to the bed and sat down next to Harry. “Is he going to be all right?” Albus whispered.

“I think he'll be fine, Al,” Harry reassured Albus, “Although I can't tell you it didn't scare me half to death when I saw him fall from his broom. I never really thought much about the dangers of Quidditch when I was playing it, but now that my own son is getting hurt....”

Albus stared at his father. “You're not going to make him stop playing, are you?”

Harry laughed, “'Course not! I'd be the hypocrite of the century. I just worry about him. I'm sure he'll be fine, though. This certainly won't be his last Quidditch injury. I had my fair share. I'm just in for a worrisome next 6 years.”

“More than that, Dad,” Albus laughed, “I'm going to try out for Chaser next year.”

“And I'm sure you'll be great at it, Al. I'll worry about you too. Although, Seekers tend to get injured the most out of all the players,” Harry got up from his chair, “Well, I've got to send an owl to your mother. She insisted I tell her how the game went, although she won't be too happy once I've told her. Why don't you and your friends go down and have some dinner? It's been a long day,” Harry kissed James on the forehead and left the Hospital Wing.

James didn't regain consciousness until 3 days after the match. Two days after that, Madam Pomfrey allowed him to leave the Hospital Wing. He was thrilled that he had managed to catch the Snitch and win Gryffindor the match, and was eager to tell the story over and over again to anyone who listened. Once James was out of the Hospital Wing, the Gryffindors had a loud and rowdy party until the wee hours of the morning to celebrate the win.

******

The next few weeks flew by for Albus and his friends. Their work load was steadily increasing as fall term drew to an end.

“Why did Patil have to give us an essay due the same day Slughorn did?” John asked disgustedly, one night in the common room.

“They always do that,” Albus groaned.

“Yeah, I'm never going to get this potions done. Why can't they alternate days for homework giving? It's stupid, really. I think they must all compete to see who can give the most homework,” John told Albus as he feverishly finished up his Transfiguration essay.

“Even my dad is giving us a huge load. I thought he'd go easy on us cause he used to tell me how much he hated how much homework he was given.”

“Done!” John exclaimed, as he slammed his Transfiguration book shut. “Now, on to that potions essay.” He dug around in his bag for his potions book. “Could I borrow your notes, Rose?”

“No, use your own notes,” Rose said coldly. Even she was faltering under the immense work load, and was huddled at a corner table which was buried under all her notes and books, doing her own potions essay.

“Ugh! You know I don't take notes!” John groaned.

“Well, why not?” Rose asked.

“'Cause it's boring,” John explained, “Can I borrow yours, Albus?”

“Sure, they're in my bag,” Albus told John as he frantically finished up a History of Magic homework.

John dug around in Albus's bag until he found the notes. “Thanks, mate! Matt, do you need to use them, too?” John looked over at his friend.

Matt was curled up in an armchair, wincing in pain.

“Hey, are you okay?” John asked with a concerned look on his face. He and Albus had been so preoccupied with their large amounts of homework that they hadn't noticed Matt leave the table.

“Huh?” Matt looked up, with his hand pressed to his head. He yawned. “I guess I must be getting sick again. I think I'll go to the Hospital Wing.” Matt stood up to leave, but he swayed on the spot and had to lean on the armchair for support.

“Matt!” John ran over to his friend and grabbed his arm, “I'll take you, okay? You look like you're about to fall over.”

“Okay, thanks,” Matt mumbled as the two of them left the common room.

Albus had stopped writing his essay and watched the two of them leave.

“I wish I knew some way to help him,” he murmured to Rose. “He hasn't even told us what disease he's got. I wonder if it's some really rare kind that not many people have heard of.”

Rose looked up. “Isn't it obvious?”

“What?”

Rose got up from her table, walked over to Albus, and whispered in his ear. “Haven't you noticed that he always gets sick during the full moon? I realized that after he got sick in November, and I've been watching him the past few days.”

Albus just looked at her with a blank look on his face. “So? And why would I pay attention to full moons?”

“Ugh!” Rose groaned, “Put it together. I don't want to say what I think it is right now with so many people around. And you should pay attention to full moons for Astronomy.”

“Well, then let's wait until they all go to bed. I've certainly got enough homework to do between now and then,” Albus said impatiently.

“Fine, but it still seems obvious to me.”

The cousins spent the next few hours working on their homework, waiting for the common room to empty out. After a half hour or so, John came back. Albus filled him in on what Rose said, and he had no idea what she could be on about. He got out his potions essay and continued to work on it. Eventually, around midnight, Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda were the only ones left in the common room.

“So,” Albus whispered, “What have you figured out?”

“Well,” Rose said slowly, looking up from her Herbology reading, “The clues are that Matt always gets ill around the full moon, the few days before it he sleeps a lot and looks paler than usual. He always goes to the Hospital Wing the night of a full moon, and when he comes back, he usually is covered in cuts and bruises.”

“That's cause he's clumsy,” John said confidently.

“That's what he wants you to think! Don't you get it?” Rose shouted.

“Keep your voice down, Rose, someone'll wake up,” Amanda whispered, “Now what do you think Matt has?”

“He's a werewolf,” Rose said quietly.

“What?!” John shouted, “No way.”

“Werewolf?! You mean, those are real?” Amanda squeaked.

“'Course they're real, Amanda,” John told her, “So are vampires. Muggles just don't think they are.”

"The only thing I'm still wondering about is why he doesn't take Wolfsbane Potion," Rose continued, "You know, that potion Teddy's dad took to keep him from harming himself and others."

Albus had started to pace the common room. “You know, Rose, it fits, it really does. Matt sounds just like Teddy's dad. But I don't know. Why wouldn't he have taken the potion?

“Of course it fits! I've had a hunch about it ever since October, but I wanted to wait a few months to be sure. I don't know why he wouldn't take the potion. But remember one of our first nights here and there was that horrible shrieking?” Rose asked.

“Yeah, I heard that,” Amanda told her.

“Well, it must have come from the Shrieking Shack. That's where Teddy's dad went to transform when he was a student here. You can get in there from the Whomping Willow, but I don't know how that works. Matt must go there to transform as well,” Rose explained.

“I wonder why he wouldn't take the potion?” Albus wondered aloud as he continued to pace. “Dad said Teddy's dad always took it.”

“I dunno, Albus,” Rose said sadly, “But I've heard it's really painful to transform if that potion isn't used.”

“It fits, but I'm still not sure. Are you absolutely sure? I don't know if we should jump to conclusions,” Albus responded.

“I'm pretty sure. I mean, I'm not positive, because I haven't heard him say it or seen him transform. But I've read all about werewolves and Matt fits the description,” Rose persuaded.

“If it's true, and I'm not saying it is or it isn't, what are we going to tell him? I mean, what if it isn't true, and we tell him we think he's a werewolf? He wouldn't be too happy,” John asked. He was sitting completely still in one of the armchairs, apparently in shock. Amanda was doing the same.

“I don't think we should say anything. Especially since we're not entirely sure,” Albus stated, while looking warily at Rose. Rose rolled her eyes. “We won't tell him we know. He obviously doesn't want us to know. Otherwise, he'd have told us himself, if it's true. I'm sure he'll tell us what disease he has when he's ready.”

“But what if he doesn't?” Amanda asked, “I don't know anything about werewolves, but he probably doesn't want anyone to know.”

“That's probably true. Wizards haven't treated werewolves very well. Teddy's dad couldn't get a job after he was done at Hogwarts. He did manage to get a job as DADA teacher here, but he quit once people found out he was a werewolf because parents wouldn't want him teaching their kids,” Rose told Amanda, “It's sad, really. Werewolves are harmless while they're not transformed.”

“He's probably afraid what we would think,” John said, “If he's a werewolf, that is. I say we keep track of when he transforms.”

“Good idea. But if it turns out we're right and he still doesn't tell us, I guess we'll have to let him know that we know,” Albus said.

“Yeah, I suppose we will,” John agreed.

“Oh, and mine and Rose's Uncle Bill was bit by a werewolf, but the werewolf wasn't transformed at the time. Uncle Bill's not a werewolf, but I suppose I could ask him some questions over Christmas Break, to try and get some more information,” Albus told everyone.

“Good idea, Albus! I'll ask him with you,” Rose exclaimed, while walking over to the dormitory door. “I think we should probably go to bed. Good night, everyone.”

“Night,” Albus, Amanda, and John responded.

Albus walked up the stairs to his dormitory. He could not stop thinking about Matt. How could he be a werewolf? Who bit him? When? Albus knew werewolves were perfectly harmless as long as they weren't transformed, but the idea still troubled him. Teddy's dad had been his grandfather's friend at school, and he had been his dad's DADA teacher when he was in school. He had died in the fight against Voldemort. If only he could talk to him. Ask him questions about it. Was there anything Albus could do?

Albus got into bed and pondered these questions. Eventually, he fell into a restless sleep. He started out dreaming about failing a Charms test and Professor Washburn chasing him through the castle with a beater's bat. But soon, the dream shifted and became the nightmare that had plagued him since the first week of school.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Please review! No reviews from the last chapter, but thanks to my sister, Dancer_of_Starlight for reading this and giving me her opinion.

Disclaimer- Like usual, I don't own Harry Potter or anything else you recognize.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Chapter 7: Dueling and Detention

Harry was sitting in a dark empty room. A man in a dark cloak appeared next to him.

“He will return,” the man said.

“Who?” Harry asked. “Voldemort? That's not possible, I made sure of that.”

“He's coming. He'll find a way. He will return.”

“No, he won't!” Harry shouted.

“He will return, he will return, he will return....” the man said over and over again.
Harry awoke with a start, he sat up in bed, breathing fast. That was odd. Harry had not had a dream that seemed so real since before Voldemort had died. But Harry couldn't possibly be seeing things through Voldemort anymore, not if he was dead.

Harry got up and paced the room. What did the dream mean? Was someone trying to bring Voldemort back to life? And was that even possible? And why would he be dreaming about it? Harry didn't think so. Then it hit him, he remembered that Albus had had the same dream months ago! Did this mean something? Was there something significant about their dreams? Or were they just dreams?

Harry walked over to his wardrobe and got out his cloak. He had to discuss this with someone. As much as he thought that the dreams were just dreams, his gut told him they meant something. Harry remembered that Ron was stationed in Hogsmeade tonight. Ever since Professor Torro was murdered, Harry was having an Auror stationed in Hogsmeade at all times. Something just didn't sit right with him about that murder.

Harry quietly left his office and walked into the corridor. It seemed deserted, which wasn't unusual since it was one o'clock in the morning. Harry started to walk down the corridor. He turned a corner and nearly bumped into someone.

“Who's there?” the person shouted and pointed his wand at Harry. “Potter? What are you doing out so late?”

“The same could be said of you, Washburn,” Harry responded. “Put your wand away.”

Washburn stowed his wand back in his cloak. “What are you doing wandering the halls at this hour? I now see where Albus gets his ideas about late night strolls from.”

“It's none of your business, but I need to discuss something with someone,” Harry growled. “And what are you doing? Plotting ways to put my sons in detention? I know you've got something against them, and I will find out what.”

“I've nothing against your sons, Potter, they just seem to misbehave more than the average student,” Washburn sneered at Harry.

“James, yes, I'll believe that. He seems to take after his Uncle George and his grandfather,” Harry agreed, “But Albus? He has only ever gotten detention from you, Washburn. All the other professors say he's quiet in class.”

“Maybe in their classes. He's always making trouble in mine. He talks while I'm talking, irritates the other students, doesn't do his homework, and doesn't listen to me. Not to mention the time he set me on fire!” Washburn shouted.

“Keep your voice down, you'll wake the whole castle,” Harry whispered, “And why on earth would Albus only do that stuff in your class, Washburn?”

“How should I know how a delinquent's mind works? Maybe you should ask him,” Washburn spat.

“Just remember, I'm watching you, Washburn. So are the other professors,” Harry told him, “Now if you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to.” Harry strode past Washburn and ignored any further communication attempts from him.

There was something fishy about Washburn, Harry thought. He had never met the man before starting as a teacher at Hogwarts. But for some reason Washburn seemed to dislike Harry as soon as they met. Maybe it was because James misbehaved so much in class last year? Is that why he hates Albus as well? Harry did not know, but he hoped to find out.

Harry found Ron standing near The Three Broomsticks. “Hey, Ron.”

Ron jumped. “Blimey, Harry, you scared me!” Ron whispered as he lowered his wand.

“Sorry. I've got to talk to you about something,” Harry whispered back.

“What is it?” Ron asked.

Harry relayed both his and Albus's dreams to Ron. “And when Albus told me about his dream, I just thought it was a nightmare, but it seems odd that we would both have the same dream.”

“How could you both have the same dream?” Ron questioned.

“No idea. The only thing I could think of is that someone is using Legilimency on both of us.”

“Well, it's possible. You've never been very good at Occlumency, have you? And Albus has certainly never used it. Plus whoever is doing it must be pretty stupid. Why would someone plant that dream in your head if they wanted to do something evil? Why wouldn't they just read your mind and be done with it?,” Ron reasoned.

“Yeah, that's what I thought of, too. Who would want me to know they're reading my mind and make me think Voldemort is coming back? It would also have to mean someone's either getting into the castle at night or it's a teacher or student,” Harry said worriedly.

“Well, I haven't seen anyone near the castle grounds tonight and how could they get past the protection?” Ron asked.

“I know, that's what makes me think it's a student or teacher. And no student would be able to do Legilimency like that. Maybe a 7th year could, if they studied and practiced enough,” Harry told Ron.

“Well, whoever's doing it, it's pretty worrisome,” Ron stated.

“I know. And what about the dream itself? I mean, if someone is making Albus and I dream this, then they must be trying to bring back Voldemort.”

“But how on earth could they do that?” Ron asked.

“I'm not sure, exactly. But I have a hunch. The Resurrection Stone,” Harry replied.

“But that doesn't really bring people back.”

“I know, but it does bring back a form of them that only the person with the stone can see. And you can talk to them. I talked to my parents, Sirius, and Lupin with it, remember?” Harry explained.

“Yeah, that's true. If whoever's doing this had the stone, then they'd be able to talk to Voldemort?” Ron asked, “Blimey, that's scary. But how could they find the stone? Us and Hermione are the only ones who know where it is.”

“I know, but if they're using Legilimency, then they'd be able to find out from me,” Harry said quietly.

“Well, what are we going to do?” Ron asked nervously.

“I don't know, Ron, I really don't,” Harry confessed, “I'm going to have to think of a plan. If someone's been reading my mind, then they might've already seen where the stone is. I think I'll have to increase the protection near the forest. I'll assign more Aurors to Hogsmeade. Ask Hagrid if he's noticed anything funny happening in or around the forest.”

“Sounds good. But whatever you do, I think it might be best for you to at least try to use Occlumency again,” Ron suggested.

“I know, I'll try. I've gotten better over the years, and hopefully it'll be good enough,” Harry replied.

“What are you going to tell Albus?” Ron asked.

“Nothing. He still thinks the dream means nothing and it's better that way. He'd be so scared if he knew what was going on. Plus, we never told the kids about the Hallows. I wanted to wait until they were older. Didn't want them blabbing about them to half the school. You know how James is.”

“I know, that's why I never told Rose or Hugo either,” Ron agreed.

“Well, I'd better get back up to the school. Keep your eyes peeled and your wand out. As Mad-Eye would have said, 'Constant vigilance'. We still don't really know that it's a student or teacher yet, and I'd prefer not to have to start questioning my colleagues.”

“All right, Harry, you're the boss,” Ron joked. “Good night, then.”

“'Night.”

******

The next few days passed quickly. Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda visited Matt in the hospital wing a few times but nobody mentioned the conversation about him being a werewolf. Instead they just talked about what had been going on in class. Matt left the hospital wing one morning a couple days later and met his friends in the Great Hall for breakfast. Again, nobody mentioned the conversation from the full moon.

Albus looked up from his toast for a few seconds and noticed that Quinton Willinson was striding over to the Gryffindor table with a smug look on his face. What did he want?

“Guess what, Potty?” Quinton leered at Albus. “Slughorn's having a Christmas party. Have you heard? Just told me about it yesterday.”

“So?” Albus said flatly, not looking up from his porridge.

“So, are you going then?” Quinton laughed. “Are we going to be treated to yet another Potty show?”

James walked into the Great Hall and immediately noticed Quinton near his brother. He ran over to see what was going on.

“What are you doing here?” James asked, crossing his arms across his chest.

“Ah, the older Potty! What a pleasure to have them both here at once,” Quinton said excitedly, “I was just telling your dear brother about Slughorn's Christmas party. I was merely wondering if he would be attending.”

“That's none of your business,” James glared at Quinton.

“Will you be going as well?” Quinton asked, ignoring James's comment. “Then we could have a running commentary about your Quidditch skills as well as listen to your brother's outbursts!”

“Shut it!” James shouted, turning beet red and drawing his wand.

“James! It's ok, just ignore him,” Albus told his brother.

“No, it's no ok,” James responded.

“Going to duel me, Potty? I can take both of you,” Quinton drew his wand and pointed it at James.

“Bet you can't take us as well,” John said as he and Matt both drew their wands.

“Easy,” Quinton snorted.

“What is going on here? Dueling at breakfast?” Professor Washburn walked over to the table and sneered at James.

“No, Professor, just defending my brother,” James responded.

“I believe that qualifies as dueling, Potter,” Washburn spat, “Detention for you and your brother, plus Brickston and Eckerton as well. And 50 points from Gryffindor.”

James gaped at him. “But what about Willinson? He started it! And Albus doesn't even have his wand drawn! He didn't do anything.”

“I'd suggest you shut your mouth, Potter, or I'll make it 2 detentions,” Washburn growled as he walked up to the staff table. “I'll tell you all the date and time in your next charms class. And I don't care if you have Quidditch practice during the time of detention.”

“Well, I guess I'll see you at Slughorn's party, then,” Quinton told them as he walked back to the Slytherin table.

“This is ridiculous!” James shouted, “We didn't do anything! He hates me, I tell you.”

“I know, he hates me too,” Albus agreed, “And I haven't even done anything to him. I've had a detention a week from him.”

“Quidditch practice is tonight at 7! He better not make it tonight!” James groaned.

“Wonder what he'll have us do?” John asked.

“Dunno? He usually has me do lines, while he glares at me,” Albus told him.

“I hate lines,” Matt sighed, “They're so boring.”

“Well, there's a lot worse detentions than lines,” James told him.

“True. Blimey, look at the time!” Matt shouted as he glanced at his watch. “We're going to be late for DADA!”

Matt, Albus, and John got up from the table and murmured rushed goodbyes to James, who was rushing off to History of Magic. Albus noticed that the girls had already left for class.

******

“Well, that was boring, John groaned as he, Albus, and Matt left DADA a while later, “Why do we have to read about the spells before we get to do them!”

“Because otherwise you won't understand what the spell does and what the point of it is,” Rose said, exasperatingly. She was often explaining the point of reading to John.

“I'd rather read in DADA than do spells in Charms,” Albus sighed. The Gryffindors were on their way to their least favorite class.

“Me, too,” Matt agreed, “And we'll be learning what our detention will consist of.”

“Ugh! I've done way too many detentions with Washburn,” Albus groaned. “And you can bet that he'll purposely have us doing the detention while James is supposed to have Quidditch practice.”

“Of course,” Matt agreed, as he pushed open the door to the Charms classroom. The boys walked inside and found their usual table at the back of the room.

Washburn stormed into the room a few minutes later, he was obviously in a bad mood. “Today we'll be starting to learn how to make a strawberry walk across the table. It's not very difficult, if you've been practicing the incantation and reading up on it.” Washburn swished his wand and a strawberry appeared in front of each student. “Well, get to it then!”

John looked at Albus, “You been practicing or reading up on this, Mate?”

“Nope, how about you?”

“'Course not,” John laughed. “Looks like Rose has, though.”

Albus looked over at the table Rose was sharing with Marina and Karina. Sure enough, her strawberry was walking across the table. Washburn, who had been glaring at the students from behind his desk, got up and strode over to Rose.

“Apparently someone in this class has shown that they might have a small bit of talent,” he spat at Rose. “I suppose if this were any other class, Gryffindor may have gotten a few points. But I, on the other hand, don't think this is very remarkable, considering you've supposedly been studying this for a few days and every one of you should be capable of doing what Miss Weasley's done. Now, back to work!”

“Blimey, he's mad,” John whispered to Albus and Matt.

“Sure is, I mean, Rose did a good job. None of us can do it,” Matt agreed.

Albus looked around the room and noticed that most of the class's strawberries were not so much as moving a leaf. A few of them had made a feeble attempt to roll over, but that was it. As the class progressed, Washburn started to stand behind the back table and glare as Albus, Matt, and John tried to make their strawberries walk. By the end of the class, they had made no progress whatsoever.

“Pathetic!” he shouted, “For homework, write a foot-long essay on the proper way to make a piece of fruit walk, due on Friday. And Potter, Eckerton, and Brickston come up here to arrange your detention.”

The rest of the class stared at Albus, Matt, and John as they left the room. The three boys walked slowly up to Washburn's desk after the rest of the class had left.

“Your detention will be this Saturday, at noon. You will meet me in the Great Hall, where you will be polishing the portrait frames, house points hourglasses, and whatever else needs cleaning. Potter, you tell your brother this, I expect him there as well, despite his Quidditch practice,” Washburn barked, “You're dismissed.”

Albus, Matt, and John ran out of Washburn's room as fast as they could. They went straight to the Great Hall for lunch.

“Blimey, he was angry about something today,” Matt groaned as he helped himself to some potatoes.

“Yeah, but I wonder why he wants us to clean for our detention?” Albus wondered. “He's always had me do lines, before.”

“Bet he thinks it'll be funny, watching us clean. Plus, it's a Saturday, there'll be lots of people around to stare at us. He'll probably enjoy our humiliation,” John said.

“What are you talking about?” James asked as he sat down next to John.

“Detention. Saturday at noon, cleaning in the Entrance Hall,” Albus told him.

“Bloody hell! I've got Quidditch practice at noon!” James shouted as he slammed his goblet on the table.

“I know, that's probably why he made the detention then,” Albus said.

“He hates us, I swear he does,” James growled, “He's always hated Gryffindors, that's a known fact, but he seems to hate us more than everyone else.”

“Don't you think it's a bit strange?” Albus asked.

“Not really. Some teachers just don't like certain students,” John explained, “'Course, the students never really find out why.”

“Sucks, though. I mean, what if he's always giving me detention during Quidditch practice? This'll be the 4th practice I've missed for Washburn's detentions. Samantha won't be too happy about it.”

“You'll just have to watch yourself around him. Don't say a word during his class,” Albus advised.

“I know, I've been doing that since beginning of last year,” James explained, “After I set off a dungbomb during the second class.”

“Well, that's why he hates you!” Matt laughed, “And he probably thinks Albus is just like you.”

“He does,” Albus groaned.

“I guess I'd better be off to class,” James told them as he got up from his seat. “See you lot later.”

“Bye,” Albus told his brother. He turned to John and Matt. “I guess we'd better go too.”

“Yeah, probably. Double potions,” John said as he got up.

“Ugh, just what I need. Slughorn'll probably invite me to his Christmas party.”

Sure enough, at the end of class, Slughorn asked Albus and Rose to see him after everyone left.

“We'll wait for you,” John told Albus. He, Matt, and Amanda waited at the back of the room.

“Albus and Rose!” Slughorn beckoned them to his desk, “Great job, today, great job. Both of your potions were superb!”

“Thanks,” Albus muttered.

“It was a challenge, but I think I did all right!” Rose said excitedly.

“Well, as you both probably know, I'm having a little Christmas party on the last day of term. You are both invited, of course, and may bring guests. I hope to see you there! I have some interesting people coming that I'm sure you'd like to meet!”

“Who?” Albus asked warily.

“Oh, don't want to spoil the surprise!” Slughorn laughed, “I'll see you later, then!”

“So, you going to go?” John asked Albus nervously as they walked out of the dungeon.

“No way,” Albus mumbled.

“Well, someone told me your dad's going,” Rose said, “So you might have to go.”

“I don't care.”

“Oh, come on, Albus! What if he has really neat famous people there! I heard once he had some Quidditch players come!” John told him.

“I really don't think anyone would start anything with Uncle Harry there,” Rose said reassuringly.

“Well, maybe not. But what about Willinson?” Albus asked.

“He's a git, but he won't do anything with your dad around. Washburn may give Slytherins special treatment, but Professor Potter doesn't,” Matt said confidently.

“If you do go, can I be your guest?” Amanda asked, “I've never been to one.”

“You can be my guest, Amanda,” Rose told her, “I told you I'd take you to the next one after I took Janie to the Halloween one.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Fine, if you guys want to go so badly, I'll go, but if anyone starts anything, I'm leaving,” Albus said flatly.

********

Before Albus knew it, Saturday had arrived and so did detention with Washburn. Albus was used to Washburn's detentions, but he had never had to do one that wasn't lines before. He was a bit nervous about what the detention would involve and about having to do it in public.

When Albus, John, and Matt arrived in the Great Hall, neither James nor Washburn were there yet. “James better get here before Washburn does,” Albus said nervously.

“Yeah, Washburn'll give him another detention if he's late,” Matt agreed.

At that moment, James came bursting through the oak doors. “Oh, good, he's not here yet!”

“You're lucky,” John told him.

“What is Potter lucky about?” a cold voice from behind John said.

John turned around to see Washburn staring down at him. “Nothing, Professor.”

“Good,” Washburn spat. “Now, if you'll each take a bottle of cleaner and a rag, we can get started.” He gestured to a bucket of cleaning supplies at his feet. “We'll be doing Muggle cleaning. I want you each to start out by polishing the House points hourglasses. They must be spotless.”

Albus, James, John, and Matt each took a rag and started to polish the hourglasses. Washburn paced behind them, staring at each one in turn. Every once and a while, he would inspect the cleanliness of the hourglasses.

“You missed a spot, Potter,” Washburn growled at Albus.

While the boys were polishing the hourglasses, various students and professors would walk by and stare at them. Much to Albus's disgust, Quinton Willinson passed by a lot.

“Oh, look, Potty's doing his detention for trying to duel with me,” Quinton laughed, “Funny how he thought he could actually duel me.”

Albus just ignored his taunts and rubbed the Hufflepuff hourglass even harder.

“That slimy git,” John whispered to Albus. “If any of us taunted him in detention, we'd get a detention ourselves.”

“Yeah, and he had his wand drawn, too,” Matt agreed, “Washburn seems to like him best.”

“No surprise there,” Albus told them as he scrubbed a particularly stubborn piece of dirt. “They're both horrible.”

“I just wish it had been some other teacher who passed by our table that morning,” John groaned, “Then Willinson would have at least gotten detention, too.”

“Get back to work, Potter!” Washburn shouted at James, who had stopped polishing the Gryffindor hourglass and was resting his head on it.

“Something wrong, James?” Albus whispered.

“I dunno. My head just felt funny all of a sudden.”

“D'you think you're ill or something?” Albus asked, “Maybe you should go to the Hospital Wing.”

“Nah, Washburn would never let me. He'd think I was faking. I used way too many Skiving Snackboxes in his class last year.”

“Yeah, but if you're really ill, he'll have to let you go,” Albus said with a look of concern on his face.

“I know, but he'd make me do the detention over again.”

“Shut up, Potters! Both of you back to work or I'll give you another detention!” Washburn screamed.

For the rest of the detention, James was very quiet. The boys worked until two o'clock, at which point all four hourglasses were cleaner than they had been in years.

“I think you should go to the Hospital Wing,” Albus told James.

“Yeah, probably,” James agreed.

“I need to go, too,” John told them, “My hand feels like it's going to fall off! I hate Muggle cleaning.”

“Me, too,” Matt agreed, while rubbing his hand.

“I doubt Madam Pomfrey will fix it, though,” Albus told them, “She usually doesn't do that after teachers make us do Muggle cleaning.”

John and Matt decided to go with Albus and James to the Hospital Wing anyway. When they got there, Madam Pomfrey was already tending to Bradley Weasley, who had taken a bludger to the arm during Quidditch practice.

“Yes, yes, what is it?” Madam Pomfrey asked the boys.

“Well, I was doing Muggle cleaning for Washburn's detention-” James started to say, but Madam Pomfrey cut him off.

“You know I don't fix aching hands due to detentions! If I did, you wouldn't learn anything from them!”

“It's not that. I was polishing the Gryffindor hourglass, and my head felt funny all of a sudden. It wasn't like a headache. I've never felt that way before. I kept seeing my own memories.”

Madam Pomfrey quickly looked up from Bradley and bustled over to James. “Really? Well, that sounds an awful lot like someone was using Legilimency on you.”

“What?” James shouted.

“Someone was reading your mind. That's why you were seeing your own memories,” Madam Pomfrey explained, “Who else was in the Great Hall with you?”

“Well, Washburn of course,” Albus told her. James appeared to be in shock and couldn't speak. “And Quinton Willinson, a couple of his friends, the Gryffindor Quidditch team, a variety of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws I don't know, a few other professors. They all wandered in and out of the Great Hall.”

Madam Pomfrey sighed. “That doesn't really help any. We really don't have any way to know who was doing it. Seeing as you're not really ill, there's not much I can do for you. But I will inform the headmaster and your father about this.”

James had found his voice again. “Okay.”

Madam Pomfrey went back to tending to Bradley, and James, Albus, John, and Matt left the room.

“That's so strange,” James told them, “Why would anyone want to read my mind?”

“No idea,” Albus shrugged.

“I bet it was Willinson,” John growled. “What a git.”

“Yeah, he was probably just doing it to scare you,” Matt agreed.

“Was he even in the room when your head felt funny?” Albus asked.

“I don't really remember,” James told him.

“Well, I bet Dad'll take care of it,” Albus reassured his brother.

“I guess,” James said distractedly, “I think I'm going to go back to the common room.”

“Okay, see you at dinner,” Albus waved goodbye as he, Matt, and John walked back down the stairs so they could enjoy the new fallen snow.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! That one was longer than usual, but if I split it up, it would have been two extremely short chapters. Please leave a review and I will answer it! Thanks as always to Dancer_Of_Starlight for reading this before I posted and to my brother and other sister who are not on HPFF.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Chapter 8: Parties and Pranks

During the next few weeks, the teachers had increased their homework, each insisting that the students needed to increase their studying time. Albus found himself doing homework every day after dinner, and finding it hard to have time to have snow ball fights outside.

Albus hadn't forgotten about his cleaning detention with Washburn, and was doing even more to try to stay away from him. During class, Albus wouldn't even look at Washburn. He did not say a single word during Charms anymore. No more talking to John and Matt while they were practicing making fruit walk across their desks.

Albus had noticed that James had changed since the detention. He was quieter, and often sat in a corner of the common room with their cousins Cedric and Ben, whereas he used to be at the center of attention, talking about Quidditch matches. Albus guessed he was still scared about what happened during detention. Albus hadn't mentioned the incident to anyone, so only him, John, and Matt knew. Of course, James had told Cedric, Ben, and his friend Nathan, but Albus rarely noticed them talking about it. He was also a bit afraid of what the incident meant, but not nearly as much as James was.

Before they knew it, Christmas holiday was upon them. There was one day left, which was the day of Slughorn's Christmas party. The entire school was talking about it, and envious students who had not received invitations were constantly dropping hints to invited students about going with them. Albus would have gladly given up his invitation, but since all his cousins, James, and his dad were going, he had to go too.

Albus, John, and Matt had decided they should go a little later than the party actually started, so they could try to slip in unnoticed. John in particular, was very excited about going.

“Which Quidditch player do you think Slughorn's invited?” he asked as they walked down to the dungeons.

“Dunno. Maybe he's invited a couple!” Matt responded excitedly.

“Yeah! I sure hope so,” John said.

“Guess we're about to find out,” Albus told them as he opened the door and walked into the dungeon. It was packed. Albus noticed most of his cousins, with their flaming red hair. The few who had not inherited the hair were blending in with everyone else.

“Blimey! How are we supposed to find the Quidditch players with all these people here?” John exclaimed.

“No idea. How about we head for the food and hope we find them on the way?” Matt asked.

“Sounds good. C'mon, Albus,” John said as he pushed through people to get to the food. Albus and Matt followed.

“You see Willinson anywhere?” Albus whispered.

“No, but it's hard to tell if he's here or not,” John answered.

“I'm sure he's here somewhere. Keep your eyes peeled for him,” Albus told his friends. “I've got to stay away from him.”

When the boys arrived at the food table, they saw that Rose and Amanda were already there. “Hi. Did you just get here?” Rose asked.

“Yup, wanted to slip in unnoticed,” Albus told her as he grabbed a plate and started filling it. “Seen anyone interesting yet?”

“Yeah, actually. The rumor about the Quidditch players was right,” Rose responded.

“Really!? Who's here?” John shouted, as he scanned the crowd.

“Oliver Wood. He used to be Keeper for Puddlemere United,” Rose told him.

“I know who he played for, Rose. He's really here? That's brilliant. Puddlemere United's my team,” John told them.

“We know, you've told us a million times,” Rose said exasperatingly.

“Who else?” Albus asked.

“Helena Yaspies, current Chaser for Chudley Cannons,” Amanda told them.

Matt started choking and spat out his mouthful of butterbeer. Albus slapped him on the back. “You okay, mate?”

“I'm fine!” Matt coughed, “The Chudley Cannons are my team! I've got to find her! Anyone got a quill for an autograph?”

Rose laughed. “You guys are crazy.”

“Nothing crazy about wanting to meet your favorite Quidditch players,” John told her. “Blimey, Oliver Wood...”

“I ever tell you that my dad used to play on the Gryffindor team with Oliver Wood?” Albus asked John.

This time it was John's turn to spit out his butterbeer. “No! You never did! Why not?”

Albus laughed. “You never asked. Anyway, he was captain when my dad joined the team in his first year. They played on the team together until my dad's third year.”

“Blimey! That's brilliant! So, you could have met him?” John asked.

“I have,” Albus smiled.

“You're kidding!” John shouted, “Well, what are we waiting for? Go introduce me!”

Albus laughed. “Ok, let's go find him. You want to come, Rose and Amanda?”

Rose sighed, “Sure, I guess.”

“Any chance you know Helena Yaspies?” Matt asked.

“Nope, sorry. Never met her,” Albus told his friend as they maneuvered their way through the crowd.

“There he is, Albus!” John shouted, pointing to the back of the room. “He's talking to your dad.”

Albus made his way to the back of the room, his friends following behind him. The room was slightly less crowded in the back. There was still no sign of Willinson.

“Hi, Al!” Harry waved at Albus.

“Hi, Dad.”

“What's up? Enjoying the party? I know you're not a fan of these, but thanks for coming,” Harry told Albus. He bent down so only Albus could hear what he next said, “You know, I wasn't a fan of these either, when I was in Hogwarts.”

“How are you, Albus? Enjoying school?” Oliver asked.

“Yeah, it's great!” Albus responded. “These are my friends, John Brickston- he's a big Puddlemere United supporter, Matt Eckerton, and Amanda Tagger.”

“Hi, nice to meet you,” Oliver told Albus's friends. “So, you support Puddlemere United, John?”

“Yeah!” John shouted, his eyes lit up. “I've been to a few matches. I saw you in the last one you played in! I was 9, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Such spectacular saves.”

Oliver laughed, “That was a good game. I'm glad you enjoyed it.”

“It was awesome!” John said.

A tall brunette came walking over to the group, carrying a small boy on her hip. A little girl was trailing behind her with a plate of Christmas biscuits.

“Hey, Heather,” Oliver put his arm around the woman. “John, Matt, Amanda, this is my wife, Heather. And this,” Oliver took the little boy from his wife and put him on his shoulders, “is my 2 year old son, Alex. And my daughter, Holly who is 6.”

“Hi,” John and Matt said together.

“I stopped playing Keeper shortly after Alex was born. Couldn't keep up all the traveling with 2 kids.”

“I remember that,” John told him, “I was kinda mad, but was just glad I got to see your last match.”

Oliver laughed, “I understand. I would have been mad if I were you, too. But I've got high hopes for little Alex here. He can already fly his toy broom expertly. And Holly's already flying a real broom!” Oliver beamed, he was obviously proud of his kids.

“That's pretty neat!” Matt replied, “My mum wouldn't let me on a broom until I was 9.”

“Holly was on one at 5. But just because you start late doesn't mean you'll be a bad Quidditch player,” Oliver explained, “Look at your DADA teacher! Hadn't set one leg over a broom until he was 11.”

“Yeah, but I'm rubbish at Quidditch,” Matt told him.

“Hey, Mr. Wood, could you sign my Quaffle?” John produced a Quaffle from his bag and held it out to Oliver.

“You brought a Quaffle?!” Rose exclaimed.

“'Course! After hearing those rumors, how could I not bring one?”

“Sure, I'll sign it,” Oliver took the Quaffle and signed it with a quill that he pulled out of his robes. He then handed it back to John.

“Thank you,” John whispered, as he stared in awe at the Quaffle.

“How 'bout you, Matt?” Oliver asked, “You want an autograph?”

“Sure! But I don't have a Quaffle.”

“That's okay. I've got some parchment,” Oliver signed some parchment and gave it to Matt.

“Thanks!” Matt pocketed the parchment.

Alex started whining. “Hungy, hungy!”

“Well, boys, I've got to go get some food for little Alex, here,” Oliver told them, “Enjoy the party!” He and Heather walked towards the food table with Holly behind them.

“Wow, just wow,” John told his friends, “That was so cool.”

“I'll say,” Matt replied.

“I can't believe you two know him!” John told Albus and Rose.

Rose rolled her eyes, “It's no big deal.”

“You just don't like Quidditch that much,” Albus told her, “It's cause you're horrible on a broom.”

“Shut it, Albus,” Rose glared at him.

“Where's Helena Yaspies?” John scanned the crowd, “Any of you lot seen her?”

“Nope, not yet,” Albus told them.

“No, but look over there near Slughorn's desk. It's Willinson,” Matt whispred.

Albus groaned.

“Excellent!” John grinned.

“What?” Albus looked at him like he was crazy, “Why on earth do you want to see him?”

“I've been plotting a little prank,” John whispred, “C'mere.” He pulled them behind a table and they all crouched down. John pulled a box out of his bag. “This is an Exploding Eclair.”

“What?” Amanda asked.

“Exploding Eclair,” John repeated, “I bought it through owl-order from your uncle's store, Albus.”

“What are you going to do with it?” Albus eyed him warily, he happened to have been on the receiving end of an Exploding Eclair at the family dinner before start of term. His cousin, Bradley, had done it.

“Plant it on Willinson's plate,” John told them, “But I'll need your help. When Willinson sets his plate down, walk by him. Close enough that he can see you, but far enough that he'll have to leave his plate unattended. Then I'll put the eclair on it. And when he bites into it, bam! It'll explode.”

“Brilliant!” Matt shouted.

“I dunno. It'll make him real mad,” Albus said.

“But he won't know it's us! That's the beauty of it. There's so many people here,” John explained, “But to be on the safe side, we'll leave right after. We don't want to stay if he's here anyway.”

“True,” Albus agreed.

“Everyone in, then?” John asked, grinning.

“Yep,” they all stated.

“Then let's go,” John got up from under the table and his friends followed. Willinson was still by the desk, so Albus, Matt, Amanda, and Rose headed over. They walked next to the food table and waited until Willinson noticed them. It didn't take long. He spotted them, smirked, and set down his food. Albus saw John close in on his plate.

“Hello, Potty, Weasel, and company,” Willinson glared, “Enjoying the party? I'm just waiting until the moment you explode again, Potty.”

“Willinson,” Albus snarled, “I'm not planning on exploding. Are you?”

“'Course not. When have I ever exploded? You on the other hand,” Willinson laughed, “Don't like the popularity, do you, baby Potty?”

“Shut it,” Matt stepped towards Willinson.

“What're you going to do about it, Shrimp?” Willinson towered over Matt by at least a foot.

“You think I'd tell you what I'd do? Think I'm stupid? If I told you, you'd know how to block it,” Matt growled.

“I doubt there's a curse you know that I don't know how to block.”

“Probably, but I know you wouldn't start anything with Professor Potter a few feet away,” Matt jerked his head in the direction of Harry.

At that moment, Albus looked over and saw John. John winked at him and walked away from Willinson's plate.

“Well, I think I've had enough of your company tonight, Willinson,” Albus annonced, “Have a horrible Christmas.” Albus started to walk towards John, and his friends followed.

“Got it planted, then?” Albus asked when they reached John.

“Yup,” John gave him a thumbs up, “We're on.”

They walked over to the door of the dungeon so they could escape easily if needed. Willinson picked up his plate and wandered back over to his friends. As they were talking, he picked up the eclair and bit into it.

The explosion was amazing. As soon as Willinson bit the eclair, cream exploded all over his face and in a 2 foot radius around him. A few bystanders were hit as well. It didn't seem possible that that much cream could fit in one eclair.

“Bloody Hell!” Willinson shouted, and the whole dungeon went silent. Everyone looked at Willinson and started laughing.

Willinson looked around the room and his gaze fell on Albus. “I'll get you for this, Potty,” he seethed as he stormed out of the dungeon.

“That was bloody brilliant,” John said once Willinson had disappeared into the hallway.

“Yeah, it was!” Matt agreed.

The girls and Albus nodded. “But he said he'd get us. We'd better be on the lookout. He knows it was us,” Albus told them.

“He can't know it was us!” Matt said.

“Yeah, I guess. But he'd still get us even if he doesn't know who did it,” Albus reasoned.

“But it's Christmas break tomorrow, so it doesn't matter!” John grinned.

“I suppose you're right,” Albus smiled, “But let's get to the common room anyway. His friends agreed, and the five of them made their way to Gryffindor tower.

*******

It was still early when they made it back to the common room, so it was quite crowded. However, Amanda spotted a few chairs in the back for them to occupy.

“So, who's excited about Christmas?” John asked, “I sure am, I could use a break from studying.”

“You're not going to get a break,” Rose told him, “We've got loads of homework.”

“Way to put a damper on things, Rose,” John answered, “But at least there's no classes!”

“I'm looking forward to Christmas,” Albus said, “I love Christmas.”

“What do you usually do for the holidays?” Amanda asked.

“Oh, it's great! We all go to my grandma and grandpa's house. Everyone. My family, Rose's family, all our aunts, uncles, and cousins. Plus Teddy and his grandma. It's pretty crowded, but it's still fun. I love it. Usually someone winds up having too much to drink and there's loads of jokes played on people,” Albus said excitedly.

“Yeah, it's pretty neat. We don't all stay the whole break, though. Because most of us have other family to visit. My family usually stays until a few days after Christmas and then we spend the rest of the holiday with my mum's parents,” Rose explained, “But Albus's family spends the whole break at the Burrow, that's what we call my grandparents' house.”

“Yep. But most of our cousins go straight to the Burrow from Hogwarts. My family always goes home first, to visit my grandparents' graves. We always do that on Christmas Eve. Dad's been going ever since he was 17, every year on Christmas Eve. Then we get the Burrow late that night.”

“What do you do you lot do for Christmas?” Rose asked.

“Oh, I love Christmas too,” John smiled, “We stay at my house and my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents all come over. They never all come at the same time, though, so it gets pretty crazy. My mum freaks out because she never knows how much to cook. And usually someone starts arguing about something, but it's all right. My family loves to argue, but we never get real mad at each other.”

“Sounds pretty cool. You have a lot of cousins, John?” Amanda asked.

“A fair amount. Most of them are all younger than me, though. 'Course that means they're great to play tricks on,” John laughed.

“Well, my family celebrates Hannukah,” Amanda told everyone.

“Oh, that's neat,” Albus told her.

“Yeah, it's good. I'm just glad Hannukah is late this year, so I'll be home for it. Sometimes it's at the end of November. But anyway, I have a pretty small family. Just 3 cousins and my aunt and uncle. And my little brother and older sister. My cousins usually come over for two days or so and we all exchange presents. It's quiet, but fun.”

“Sounds fun,” John agreed, “But I love my huge loud family. What do you do, Matt? You've been awful quiet.”

Matt looked up from the table. “Christmas has never been all that fun for me, I guess. We usually go down to Australia to visit my grandparents.”

“That sounds like fun to me,” John told Matt.

“Well, it's not. I don't like Australia. That's where-” But Matt suddenly stopped talking.

“Where what?” John asked.

“Nothing, nothing. It's just, that's where I, er, got sick for the first time. You know, how I get sick so much.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, anyway, well, we visit my grandparents. My parents, me and my sister go. My mum's a muggle born, and we visit her parents. It's always very formal when we visit them. They're rich and stuck up. Never let me do anything there. I have to just sit still and they're always staring at me. Guess they don't want me to break anything. Luckily we only visit them at Christmas. I don't have any cousins. My dad's got a brother, but he's living in the States, so we don't see him much either. We sometimes visit him over the summer. My dad's parents died a long time ago, before I was born. So I don't have much family. I just wish we'd spend Christmas at home.”

Albus, John, Amanda, and Rose just looked at Matt. “I'm sorry, Matt. I wish you had a better Christmas,” Rose said sympathetically.

“Why don't you spend Christmas with us?” Albus asked, “No one will notice another person in the Burrow.”

“That's a great idea!” Rose shouted.

“I dunno. I don't think my parents will let me. Especially this short notice,” Matt looked down glumly. “My mum likes all of us to be together on Christmas. She seems to think every year it will be different. That my grandparents will loosen up. But they never do.”

“Blimey,” John whispered, “That stinks.”

“I know,” Matt agreed.

At that moment, James came bursting in with his friend, Nathan. They both made a beeline for Albus's table.

“Was it really you?” James shouted breathlessly, “Did you give Willinson the Exploding Eclair?”

John grinned. “It was my idea.”

“Brilliant, just brilliant,” James smiled, “The look on his face...”

“Yeah, but you lot had better watch out when you next see him. He seemed to know it was you,” Nathan told them.

“I'm not worried,” John answered, “He'll probably forget about it over Christmas.”

“I sure hope so,” Albus stated. He looked at his watch. It was midnight. “Well, I'm off to bed. I'll see you guys in the morning.

“We'd all better go to bed,” Rose stood up, “I think the train is leaving at noon tomorrow.”

Albus got up out of his chair and headed to the staircase. He couldn't wait to go to the Burrow. He missed being surrounded by his family all the time. He missed his grandmother's cooking. Thoughts of the delicious food filed his head as he drifted off into a pleasant, dreamless sleep.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Hope you guys like it! Please read and review. Thanks as always to Dancer_Of_Starlight and my other sister and brother. Also, thanks to QUEEN and teddysxxgirl for their reviews! Next chapter is Christmas Eve.

know this chapter is short, but I didn't want to combine it with anything else. It stands on its own.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




“Lily!” Harry shouted into the living room, “Are you ready to go? All packed?” Harry was standing with Ginny in front of the front door, with a couple trunks and suitcases at his feet. James and Albus were standing nearby, having a sword fight with a couple fake wands. Albus's wand turned into a fake parrot and emitted a loud squawking noise.

“Albus! James!” Ginny scolded them, “Behave yourselves.” James and Albus quickly stowed the wand and parrot into their trunks.

A small, red-headed girl walked into the room, trailing a pink rolling suitcase. “Are we leaving now?”

“Yes, we are. What were you doing in there, dear?” Ginny asked.

“I was packing. I couldn't find all my Wendy Witch dolls and had to look all over the house for them.”

James laughed. “Do you have to take them everywhere?”

“Of course I do! I couldn't leave any of them home. It wouldn't be fair,” Lily explained. Albus and James laughed even harder. “Mum! Tell them to shut up.”

“Boys, be nice to your sister. Now, does everyone have everything? I'm sending the trunks to the Burrow and we won't be coming back after we visit Godric's Hollow,” Ginny informed them.

“Yes, we've got everything,” Albus told them.

“Good,” Ginny waved her wand and the trunks and suitcases disappeared, “Now, then, it's time to go. Lily, take my arm. Boys, take your father's.” And with a loud crack, the Potter family disappeared from their house.

A few seconds later, they reappeared in a field a little ways away from a small town. The sun was setting and their was fresh snow on the ground. From the field, Harry could see tiny people walking along the streets.

“Daddy, why do we have to walk so far?” Lily whined, “Why can't we just Apparate in town?”

“I've told you before, Lily, we can't let the Muggles see us,” Harry explained.

“But I'm tired.”

“Oh, shut it, Lily,” James snapped at his sister, “It's not that far.”

“Is, too,” Lily stomped away from him.

James reached down and made a snowball and then threw it at the back of his sister's head.

“Ow!!!” Lily screeched and ran to Harry.

James and Albus started laughing. “Good one, James,” Albus gave his brother a high five.

“Boys!” Harry shouted, “Enough! Lily, it's not that much further. I'll carry you.” Harry picked up his daughter, who started sobbing into his jacket.

“She's really tired,” Harry whispered to Ginny.

“I know. She's been real excited about you and the boys coming home for the holiday. She's been up until midnight every night the past week,” Ginny said.

“She won't be getting much sleep for the next week either, staying at the Burrow,” Harry told Ginny.

“That's for sure.”

As the Potter family moved into the town, some people occasionally stopped to stare at them. A few stopped to say hello, but hurried off quickly. Others completely ignored them. Many people were finishing up last minute shopping or hurrying off to church.

The little church was already full of people singing. The Potters could hear the carols as they walked by. They crunched through the snow in silence. Even James and Albus were quiet. Lily had fallen asleep on Harry's shoulder shortly after he picked her up. Harry appreciated how his kids were always behaved when he visited his parents graves. It was sort of an unspoken thing. He had never once had to tell them to behave themselves in the cemetery. The kids would fight and bicker along the streets in the village, but would always get along once they entered the cemetery.

Harry walked into the cemetery, with Ginny, James, and Albus following him. As he walked the familiar path to his parents graves, he thought about his previous visits. There was the first visit, of course. He couldn't forget that. Voldemort had showed up and tried to kill him. Ever since then, he had been visiting every Halloween and every Christmas Eve. He had taken Ginny once they were married, and the kids once they were born. Harry always felt sad when he visited, but this year he felt worried as well. Who was attempting to read his and his kids' minds? What about the mysterious death of Professor Torro?

Harry made his way towards his parents' grave and stopped in front of it. He bent down and put his hand over the names. James and Lily Potter.

Before the downfall of Voldemort, mysterious deaths were expected. Of course, nowadays, there were murders every once and a while. These were usually attributed to Death Eaters still at large or witches or wizards who believed in Voldemort's ideals. Harry or one of the other Aurors usually caught them quickly and they were in Azakaban at the moment. Harry had had Aurors on the case of Torro ever since September, but there were still no leads. This reminded him of very much of the days when Voldemort was at large.

What was he supposed to do? He was doing all he could to catch Torro's killer. He couldn't help but think the death was somehow related to the legilimency that was being performed on him, James, and Albus. And what could he do to help reassure his sons? The other teachers had told Harry that James was more subdued in class ever since the episode during his detention with Washburn. James was obviously quite worried about it. Albus was, too. Harry had met with Ron shortly afterward and neither of them could come up with any new ideas of who did it. It must have either been a student or a teacher. As much as Harry hated to do it, he realized he was going to have to investigate his colleagues. Ginny was worried, too. However, she believed that the boys were safe with Harry at the castle. Harry knew she took comfort in knowing he was near them at all times. Harry only wished he felt as confident in his abilities as Ginny did.

Ginny knelt down next to Harry and wordlessly took the sleeping Lily from his arms. Harry reached into his cloak and pulled out a bouquet of lilies. He bent down again and placed them in front of the grave stone. Harry stood up and looked at the grave, his eyes glistening with tears.

“Happy Christmas, Mum and Dad,” Harry whispered. Ginny put her arm around Harry, and the two of them turned around and headed out of the cemetery, with James and Albus in their wake.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Longer chapter is coming up next! It'll be Christmas at the Burrow. Thanks as always to Rain_is_Liquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to siriusgirl1 for reviewing. Please read and review!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter! Although I do own the OCs, the plot, and most of the Weasley cousins!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A little while later, the Potter family appeared in the yard behind the Burrow. They walked up to the back door and Harry opened it. He walked inside, followed by his family, and saw the usual chaos. The entire Weasley family was standing inside. It was a sea of flaming red hair. Most of the children had inherited the Weasley red hair. The few exceptions were Albus, who looked just like Harry, and Victoire and Gabrielle, who had their mother's silvery blonde hair.

“Mum, make him give it back!” six-year-old Lindy shouted as her brother held her doll in the air.

“Cedric! Give her back her doll!” Corrine Weasley yelled at her son. He reluctantly handed Lindy her doll and ran from the room.

The Burrow was crammed with people. There didn't seem to be room for anyone else. Teddy Lupin was currently entertaining the younger Weasley children by changing his ears and hair color. The older kids were eating various sweets and talking about all sorts of things. Many of the adults were drinking eggnog and getting louder and louder by the minute.

Ron was the first to notice the Potters. “Oi! Harry's here!” he shouted and ran towards the door, “Hi Harry! Great to see you, mate!”

“Hey, Ron!”

“Harry, Ginny!” Molly Weasley came bustling into the kitchen, “Come in, come in! Are you hungry? Want any stew?”

“Sure,” Harry told her and he sat down at the table next to Ginny. Molly went over to the stove and got five bowls of stew.

“This is great, Mum, thanks,” Ginny told Molly.

Albus and James were already digging into their stew. Lily ate a few bites and then ran off to find her cousins, apparently not tired at all anymore.

“Well, everyone's here,” Molly told them, “They're all in the living room. I don't know if we'll ever get the kids to bed.”

“It's Christmas Eve, don't even bother,” Harry laughed.

Albus finished his stew and got up from the table. He went into the living room with James and found Rose, along with his cousins Bradley, Cedric, Ben, and Mark sitting together on the floor. Cedric and Ben were second years, and Bradley and Mark were third years.

“What's new?” Albus asked.

“Oh, not much,” Ben told him, “Uncle George and Uncle Charlie are pretty drunk. Grammy is trying to get the younger kids in bed. All the aunts are talking about all kinds of stuff. My dad, Uncle Percy, Uncle Ron, and Grandpa are all drinking eggnog and eating cookies over there,” he pointed to a few chairs grouped together around a small table. “And let's see, Teddy and Victoire were snogging earlier. It was pretty gross. Who wants to see their sister snogging someone? Grammy made them stop. Now Teddy's changing his hair color all the time for the entertainment of the little kids, which is making it hard for Grammy to get them to go to bed.”

James and Albus laughed. “Should be an interesting holiday,” James said, “What have you lot been up to?”

“Oh, not much, just talking about Quidditch,” Cedric said, “Oh, and Rose is trying to get some studying done.”

“Rose! We're on holiday!” James looked shocked, “Now's not the time to study!”

“Well, you'll be scrambling to get your work done on the last day, like always. Maybe you should study tonight, too.”

“You'll never get anything done with all this racket,” Cedric told her. “What's up with you, James and Albus?”

“Oh, not much. Lily's been complaining a lot. She got really mad when I threw a snow ball at her while we were walking into Godric's Hollow,” James told them.

“Yeah, she's been kind of a pain, and we've only been on holiday for a day!” Albus said as he snatched a cookie from a nearby platter. “I'm sure going to enjoy this time off, though. I haven't gone a week without detention in ages.”

“Me too!” James agreed, “I need a break from Washburn, he's crazy.”

“Definitely,” Bradley agreed, “You've missed so much Quidditch practice because of him.”

“He hates me, I tell you. Hates Albus, too.”

“Remember that dung bomb in first year, James?” Cedric asked.

“Yeah, how could I forget that? That's when he started hating me,” James reminisced. “Didn't learn many charms that year due to the amount of times I used nosebleed nougats.”

“I'm hoping I get new Snackboxes for Christmas this year,” Cedric told them, “I'm running out. Can't wait till next year and I can go buy them at Hogsmeade.”

“Definitely. Hogwarts won't know what hit it when we're able to buy prank stuff all the time,” James laughed.

“Going to Hogsmeade's great,” Mark chimed in, “I've bought so many sweets at Honeydukes this year.”

“Not to mention everything else there. Like the Three Broomsticks. What a great place. And the Shrieking Shack. You know it's shrieking again this year,” Bradley added.

Albus and Rose glanced at each other nervously.

“Yeah, I've heard it. But I wonder why? It hasn't shrieked since Teddy's dad was at Hogwarts,” James wondered aloud.

“You don't think-” Cedric started to say, but was cut off by Molly.

“If you're not in Hogwarts yet, it's time for bed!” she shouted, “It's nearly midnight, way past your bedtimes. Go on! Lily, Hugo, Angie, Samantha, Lindy, and Eddie! Bed!”

“But Grammy!” Lily whined, “I don't wanna! I'm not a little kid!”

“No buts, Lily, bed, now!”

Lily pouted and then stomped up the stairs to the room she shared with Angie, Samantha, and Lindy.

“I see what you mean about Lily,” Cedric told James and Albus.

“Yup, she's been doing it all evening. Dad actually carried her at Godric's Hollow. And she fell asleep on his shoulder. 'Course now she doesn't want to go to bed, figures,” James said.

“So, what does everyone think the chances of England making it to the World Cup next year?” Albus asked quickly, before everyone could return to the topic of the Shrieking Shack.

“Ugh!” Rose sighed, “Back to Quidditch again.” She pulled out her copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade One and continued reading.

The subject of Quidditch carried the boys the rest of the night and Albus was very relieved that no one mentioned the Shrieking Shack again. After a while, Molly decided it was time for everyone else to go to bed, too. James, Bradley, Cedric, Mark, Ben, and Albus were all sharing Ron's old bedroom on the top floor. They trudged up the stairs while continuing their Quidditch conversation. When they reached the room, they found three sets of bunk beds crammed into the room, just as they were every other Christmas. It was a bit cramped, but they all had enough room. Albus climbed into the bottom of the bunk he shared with James and fell into a restful sleep.

******

“Albus! Wake up! It's Christmas!” a shrill voice screamed as Albus opened his eyes. He sat up and bumped his head on the bed above him.

“Ouch!” Albus rubbed his aching head. He had forgotten he was at the Burrow. “What is it?”

“It's Christmas, Albus!” Lily screeched.

“What time is it? Is anyone else up?”

“It's six in the morning!” Lily said excitedly. “I'm the first one up. Look, you've got presents!” Lily pointed at the pile near the foot of Albus's bed.

“Excellent! Looks like a good load this year,” Albus smiled. “Have you opened yours?”

“Not yet. I think I will now, though!” Lily grinned and ran from the room.

Albus heard stirring from the bed above him. “You up, James?”

“Yeah, I am now. She's always the first one up on Christmas,” James yawned.

“I know, she's even up before the twins, Angie, and Eddie,” Albus laughed. “Well, mine as well get started on the presents!”

Albus crawled to the end of his bed and examined his presents. He picked up a large, soft package and knew what it was before even opening it. He tore off the wrapping and unfolded a scarlet sweater with a Gryffindor lion on it. Albus knew he'd be getting one of these this year. His grandmother always knitted everyone a sweater every year, but for each kid's first year at Hogwarts, they got a Gryffindor sweater. Albus pulled his over his head and smiled. “What sweater did you get this year, James?”

“Scarlet with a gold Snitch,” James told Albus, “You get the Gryffindor one?”

“Yup.” Albus reached for his next present. It was from his Uncle George and Aunt Alicia. He opened it up and found a Skiving Snackbox. He grinned. He never had much use for these sweets before, but now that he was at Hogwarts, they would definitely come in handy. “What'd you get from Uncle George?”

“Extendable Ears,” James responded.

The next present was in the shape of a book. Albus knew it was from his Aunt Hermione before he even looked at the tag. When he unwrapped it, he found it was Hogwarts, A History. Albus laughed. James had gotten the same book last year.

“Did you get Hogwarts, A History?” James asked.

“Yeah, how'd you know?” Albus sniggered. The next package was from his Uncle Ron, a box of Honeydukes sweets.

Albus reached into his pile of presents and found the one from his parents. It was a long rectangular box. Albus opened it and found a dragon skin wand cover. It was scarlet and embossed with gold lions. Albus stared at it in awe. He had seen one of these in Diagon Alley when he was there buying his school supplies. He had wanted it, but his dad had said no. It came with a small bottle of wand polish. “What'd you get from Mum and Dad?”

“Haven't opened theirs yet,” James said, “Lemme find it.” Albus heard rustling from the bed above and ripping paper. Then silence. “Wow! This is awesome! They got me a wand cover!”

“Me too!” Albus exclaimed, “What's yours have on it?”

“Snitches! It's like my sweater, scarlet with gold Snitches.”

“Mine's scarlet with gold lions.”

“Pretty impressive,” James said.

“Yeah,” Albus agreed.

Albus continued opening his presents until there were none left. He got a lot of sweets and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products. He also got a few books, including Quidditch in the Twentieth Century. But his favorite present was his wand cover, he kept staring at it. When Bradley, Cedric, Mark, and Ben woke up, they opened their own presents.

By the time the boys had all finished opening their presents, everyone else in the house was up. When they went downstairs they found Molly cooking breakfast. All the other adults were sitting around the table talking and having coffee and tea. The younger kids were running around playing with their presents. The older kids were all clustered around one of the armchairs in the living room. The boys went over to investigate.

“What's going on over here?” James asked, while squeezing in between Stanley and Fred.

“Georgia's gotten a new broom!” Fred exclaimed. “Newest model, a Firebolt 3000.”

“Oh, wow!” James exclaimed, “Can I touch it?”

“Sure,” Georgia was sitting in the armchiar, with her new broom resting on her lap. Everyone was admiring it.

“This is so cool,” Heather gazed at the broom, “Wait 'till the Slytherins see we have one of these on our team.”

“Yeah!” Fred agreed, “Supposed to be the fastest broom yet. Just came out last week.”

“Can I fly it later?” James asked.

“Yeah, sure, but I want to try it out first,” Georgia laughed, “We'll go out after breakfast.”

“Do you know if anyone else has one at Hogwarts yet?” Bradley asked.

“No, I don't think anyone else has one!” Georgia said.

“Wow, wait 'till everyone finds out it's my sister who got the first Firebolt 3000,” Bradley sighed, “But I do wish I got one.”

“Well, I was riding a Nimbus 2000. You've got a regular Firebolt.”

“I know, but I hope I get one for my birthday.”

“Breakfast is ready!” Molly called into the room.

Everyone scrambled into the kitchen and got plates of food. There wasn't enough room at the table for everyone to eat at. The kids all went back into the living room to eat. Albus sat down next to Lily, who was playing with her new toys and eating at the same time.

“What'd you get, Lily?” Albus asked his sister.

“New My Little Hippogriffs,” she told him, gesturing to her toys. “And a stuffed owl, which I named Hedwig. Some candy, a few fake wands, a sweater, some socks, a couple books, and a Gryffindor hat and scarf.”

“That's good,” Albus responded, as he started eating his eggs. Rose came and sat down next to Albus.

“Hi, Rose. You get good presents?”

“Yeah, I got a lot of books!” she told him.

“I got a few books. But the best thing is my new wand cover,” Albus grinned, “It's upstairs, I'll show it to you later.”

“Wow, that's neat.”

“Did you see Georgia's new broom?” Albus asked, “Its only been out a week. She's probably one of the first to get one.”

“Yeah, I saw it. It's pretty impressive. You going to try it out?"

“Definitely. It's got to be great to fly. Maybe I'll be able to get a broom next summer. I'm trying out for Chaser next year,” Albus told her.

“I'm sure you'll get it,” Rose told him as she ate her toast.

“I dunno. I mean, there's only one chaser position opening up next year. Samantha'll be leaving. I bet Georgia'll be made Captain.”

“Probably. She's the next oldest. And she's a good leader,” Rose agreed.

“Plus she's got the best broomstick ever!” Albus said.

“True,” Rose said, “But just because you've got a good broom, doesn't mean you're a good captain.”

“Yeah, but Georgia's a great player. Her new broom will only make her better. Slytherin won't stand a chance. I think we're playing them shortly after we go back in January,” Albus told Rose. “You gonna try out the broom?”

“Probably not. I'm not very good and I wouldn't want to break it.”

“I doubt you'd crash it. You're an ok flyer,” Albus told her. “But I'm definitely trying it.”

“Let's go play Quidditch!” Georgia stood up and held her broom over her head. Everyone who had been eating breakfast dropped their plates and either stormed up to the bedrooms to get their own brooms or ran out into the field that was used for Quidditch practice. Albus, since he did not own his own broomstick, went directly outside. Georgia had already ran out the door and was standing in the middle of the field, with a huge grin on her face.

“Ready, Albus?” she asked.

“Definitely! I can't wait!” he told her, and he looked over to the back door of the house. James, and everyone else who had their own broom had come out and were running over to the field.

“Can I try it after you?” Teddy shouted from behind everyone else.

“Sure!” Georgia shouted back.

“Then me!” James waved his arms around.

“And me!” Fred screamed.

“Me!” Heather pushed her way in front of Fred, trying to block him.

“Shut it!” Georgia shouted over the noise, “Everyone will get a turn! But right now, I'm flying it!” Georgia mounted her broom and kicked off from the ground. The speed was amazing. She could make turns at top speed and brake seconds before she would have crashed into the ground.

“Wow!” James screamed excitedly. “That's brilliant!” Everyone started talking at once and Albus was not able to make out anything. Georgia flew around the field for fifteen minutes before landing beside her siblings and cousins. She dismounted and handed the broom to Teddy.

“Thanks!” Teddy grinned and changed his hair to red. He flew into the air did a series of spins and turns. He flew for about ten minutes and landed next to Georgia. “Wow, I wish I'd had that when I was Seeker, we never would have lost a match!”

“We barely lost a match anyway,” Georgia laughed. She took the broom and handed it to James. For the next two hours, everyone took a turn on the broom. Even Rose got into the spirit of things and flew around for a few minutes. After everyone had had a turn, Georgia decided to organize a Quidditch match.

“Ok, I'll be captain of my team and Teddy can captain the other team,” Georgia decided. The two captains took turns picking their team and eventually their were two teams of six players each. As there weren't enough players for full teams, six players for each had to work. Georgia's team consisted of James, Bradley, Cedric, Stanley, and Gabriella. Teddy's team consisted of Heather, Fred, Victoire, Ben, and Mark. Since Albus did not have a broom, he couldn't play. He and Rose watched from the sidelines, while the younger kids played in the snow nearby.

“That was close last night, about the Shrieking Shack, I mean,” Albus whispered to Rose.

“I know,” she whispered back, “Everyone's suspicious about it. I hear people whispering about it sometimes in the Great Hall.”

“That means Matt's hearing it, too,” Albus groaned, “It's got to be horrible for him.”

“Does this mean you definitely believe he's a werewolf, then?” Rose asked.

“I'm not totally convinced, but it does seem that way. I don't think I'll be fully convinced until I hear him say so himself.”

“I suppose you're right, but I'm pretty sure of it,” Rose told him.

“How'd you find out, anyway? How do you know so much about werewolves?” Albus asked.

“I've read about them, of course. Once I found out that Teddy's dad was a werewolf, I read all about them in Mum and Dad's old school books,” Rose said.

“Oh, yeah, that makes sense. You sure do read a lot.”

“I know,” Rose agreed, as she pulled her copy of Hogwarts, A History, out of her jacket.

“You got that for Christmas, too?” Albus questioned.

“Yup, it's quite interesting. I'm already on chapter three.”

“I haven't even started reading it yet.”

Rose laughed and opened up her book. Albus looked out towards the field and watched the rest of the Quidditch match. It was a pretty good match. Quite different than Hogwarts matches, though. There was no referee, so a few arguments erupted. After an hour or so, Teddy caught the Snitch and his team won. Albus and his cousins trooped back into the house, snowy, wet, and cold. It was almost time for Christmas supper, and Molly was cooking in the kitchen, with help from Ginny and Fleur. Albus ran up to the top bedroom and got out his new Quidditch book and read it until supper was ready.

Christmas supper was always an interesting event at the Burrow. The kitchen table was not big enough to seat everyone, so usually the younger children sat there, while the oldest kids and the adults found seats in the living room. There was always a lot of food, too. The food was kept in the kitchen and people got up to get some when they wanted it. As Albus was walking into the kitchen, he distinctly saw James sneaking around the living room doing something with one of the arm chairs.

Sure enough, after Albus sat down at the table and started eating his food, he heard a scream from the living room. He jumped up from his chair and followed his cousins into the room.

“What was that?!” Harry shouted, looking down at the chair he had been sitting in.

Molly came into the room and pushed past Albus. “James Sirius Potter! What did you do?”

James looked sheepishly at her, “How did you know it was me? You didn't see it happen.”

“I raised your Uncle George! I know a guilty look when I see one,” Molly screamed at him, “What did you do?”

“Shocking Seat,” James explained, “It's a little thing you hide on a chair and gives a mild electric shock to the person who sits in it.”

Harry started laughing, “And I suppose it's from your shop, George?”

“Yup, newest product. Just came out a few weeks ago. I got James a few for Christmas. Thought he'd like them,” George told him.

“I'd say he does like them,” Harry grinned, “Just don't use them on any teachers.”

“Too late. I just did,” James laughed. Everyone else started laughing as well, except Molly, who went back into the kitchen.

The rest of supper went by with only a few minor pranks. Someone snuck a Ton Tongue Toffee into Albus's pudding and his tongue grew two feet before Harry found out and fixed it for him. A few glasses exploded and a few bowls of soup crashed to the ground, mostly because Stanley had just turned seventeen and wanted to use magic to bring things to the table for people. Eventually, everyone had enough to eat and they migrated into the living room. The adults had all had quite a bit of eggnog and fire whiskey and were not paying a whole lot of attention to the kids. This enabled Teddy and Victoire to sneak off into the kitchen, to be alone.

Albus and Rose decided to play Wizard's Chess. Lily and Hugo sat down to watch. It didn't take Rose too long to beat Albus. Rose was very good at chess and she was much better than Albus. After that, the four of them played a few rounds of Exploding Snap, most of which Albus won.

Eventually, Molly decided it was time for everyone to go to bed. Albus climbed slowly up the stairs and got into his bunk. He was very tired. It had been a great Christmas. With his stomach full and his heart happy, Albus fell into a deep sleep.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Hope you liked it! I wrote this before Jo posted the Weasley/Potter family tree, so that's why I made up my own Weasley cousins. Although I did guess correctly that James's middle name is Sirius! I know it's a bit confusing with the large amount of cousins I made up, so I'll try and post a family tree with one of the upcoming chapters.

As always, thanks to Rain_is_Liquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my bro. Thanks also to inkheart for their reviews. Please read and review!

Disclaimer- As usual, I do not own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Boxing Day was usually a lazy day at the Burrow. Everyone slept late and ate whatever whenever they wanted. Albus awoke around noon, and found that a few of his aunts, uncles, and cousins were getting ready to leave. His Uncle George and Aunt Alicia and their kids were getting ready to leave to visit Alicia's parents. His Uncle Charlie and Aunt Katherine and their kids were also leaving to visit other family.

“Bye, guys,” Albus waved as his Uncle Charlie stepped into the fireplace with Eddie.

“Bye, Albus,” Charlie waved back, “Have a good time at school.”

Albus walked into the kitchen and found Rose sitting at the table reading Hogwarts, A History. Hugo was also there.

“Morning, Rose,” he said as he sat down next to her.

“Hi,” she said, not looking up from her book.

Albus went to the counter and made some toast. Hugo got up from the table and ran into the living room. When Albus brought his breakfast back to the table, Rose had set her book down.

“Good, he left,” Rose whispered, “I want to talk to you about Matt.”

“What about him?”

“His little 'problem',” Rose said, “Listen, I went snooping around Grandpa's study this morning while everyone was asleep. I want to do some more research about lycanthropy.”

“Well, did you find anything?” Albus asked eagerly.

“Yeah, I did. I found a few books that have information in them. I took them and hid them in my trunk upstairs. Now that Heather's left to see her other grandparents, I've got my room to myself. We can go read them after we're done eating.”

“Sounds good,” Albus whispered back, “And we've got to ask Uncle Bill about it too.”

“I know, I've thought of that too. We'll ask tomorrow. There'll be less people. Uncle Bill, Aunt Fleur, Victoire, Gabriella, and Ben aren't leaving until day after tomorrow. Uncle Percy, Aunt Corrine, Georgia, Bradley, Cedric, and the twins are leaving tomorrow. I don't want to be overheard.”

“Good thinking,” Albus said as he took a bite out of his toast. At that moment, James, Cedric, Bradley, and Ben came in.

“What were you two talking about?” James asked, as he stole a piece of Albus's toast.

“Nothing,” Albus said abruptly.

James looked at him warily, “Hmm, well, we're going to go play Quidditch. You want to watch?”

Rose looked at Albus. “Um, no, me and Rose have, er, homework to do.”

James laughed. “There's plenty of time left to do homework. Oh, well, suit yourself.” Jame shoved the last bit of his toast into his mouth and he, Cedric, and Ben went outside.

“That was close,” Rose whispered, “We can't let anyone find out. Are you ready?”

“Yeah,” Albus said as he got up from the table. Rose got up, too, and Albus followed her to the bedroom she stayed in. They went inside and Rose closed the door quietly. She went over to her trunk, pulled out a few heavy books, and dumped them on her bed.

“If anyone bursts in and asks us what we're doing, we say it's homework,” Rose told Albus. She picked up a book and handed it to him. “Here you go. Just look through it and read anything you find about werewolves.”

Albus took the book and looked at it. It was entitled Modern Magical Remedies. He opened it to the index and looked for 'werewolf', but it wasn't there. However, 'wolfsbane' was. There was a whole chapter on it. Albus turned to the chapter and briefly leafed through it. It was long and the print was very small. It was not the kind of reading Albus would normally do, but his curiosity about Matt's condition triumphed over his dislike of tedious reading. Albus and Rose read for close to two hours. In the time it took Albus to read about the Wolfsbane potion, Rose had gone through two of the other books.

“Well, what did you find?” Rose asked once Albus had finished his chapter. She looked a bit pale and kind of scared.

“Loads, how about you?” Albus told her, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Rose whispered, “It's just, the other books I've read didn't really go over what it's like to transform. These did. Oh, Albus, it sounds horrible! Really dreadful! And painful. I just feel so bad for Matt, if that is what's going on. Apparently, when a werewolf is in wolf form, they must bite other animals or people. They're not in their human mind, they don't know what they're doing! And if there's no other animals or people to bite, they bite themselves. That must be where Matt got all those cuts and bruises from. He's doing it to himself.”

Albus stared at her with his mouth open, “That's horrible! There's got to be something someone could do! Healers or someone must know a cure or something.”

“There's not. There's no cure for lycanthropy. Just the Wolfsbane potion,” Rose told him.

“Oh, yeah,” Albus had momentarily forgotten what he had been reading about, “The Wolfsbane potion does work. If a werewolf takes it every night a few nights prior to transformation, they will transform, but will be harmless to themselves and other people. It's really complicated to make, but apparently it makes the transformations loads better.”

“But why doesn't Matt take it then?” Rose wondered.

“I dunno. I guess the only way we'd find out is to ask him,” Albus told her.

“So you believe me, then? You're convinced he's a werewolf?” Rose asked.

“You know, I think so. I guess I'm still not positive, but I'm as convinced as I could be without him actually telling me.”

Rose got up from the bed. “I guess we've learned everything we can from these books. I'll sneak them back early tomorrow morning.” She picked up all the books and put them back into her trunk.

“I think I'll go see what everyone else is up to,” Albus got up from the floor and opened the door, “You coming?”

“Yeah, sure,” Rose followed Albus out the door.

The cousins walked down the stairs from Rose's room. The house was very quiet. Most of their cousins were outside playing Quidditch or in their rooms enjoying their presents. Since two of the families had already left, it was quite a bit calmer. As Albus and Rose strode past the kitchen, Albus stopped short. Rose bumped into him.

“Ouch!” she screeched as she bumped her head on his back.

“Shush!” Albus whispered as he pressed his head to the door of the kitchen, “I heard someone say my name.”

Rose leaned her head against the door as well and the two of them tried to listen for a minute or so. “It's no use! They're whispering. I can't hear anything.”

“Me neither, but I swear one of them mentioned me!” Albus listened again, “I'm pretty sure it's my mum and dad, and your dad as well.”

The front door banged open and James, Cedric, Ben, and Bradley stormed in, dropping their brooms on the floor. “It's bloody freezing out there!” James shouted as he tore off his gloves and scarf.

“And someone's locked the kitchen door!” Cedric added, as he pulled off his frozen hat.

“Shush!” Albus shouted back.

“What?” James asked as he came rushing over, followed by Cedric, Ben, and Bradley.

“The kitchen's locked because some of the adults are in there talking about me!” Albus whispered back.

“Really?” James looked at him curiously, “What about?”

“I dunno!” Albus whispered back, “I can't hear them, they're being real quiet.”

James thought for a moment, and then a grin appeared on his face. “Time to break out one of my Christmas presents.”

“That's right!” Albus said excitedly, “You got Extendable Ears for Christmas!”

“Yep, sure did I'll go get them!” James announced, and then he ran upstairs. He appeared a minute later holding a blue box with a large ear pictured on it. “Here they are.” James tore open the packaging and pulled out seven fleshy tubes. He handed one to everybody and stowed the extra in his pocket.

Albus hastily pushed one end of the Extendable Ear into his own ear and sent the other end to the bottom of the door. Albus had used Extendables once before, when his cousin Gabriella had bought some at Hogsmeade and let Albus try them out. That was two years ago, and he hadn't heard anything interesting. Gabriella had bought them in order to listen in on Victoire's conversations with her friend who had stayed for Christmas break. Victoire only talked about how much she liked Teddy, and Albus found that rather boring. This time, however, Albus was sure he'd hear more interesting conversations.

“I'm really not sure I should tell them,” Albus heard his dad say.

“I know,” his mother responded back, “If someone invading thieir minds, it's best they did not know right now.”

“I mean, I hadn't really thought about when I was going to tell them,” Harry responded, “I guess I was planning on doing it when they were much older. I worry about what they would do with the information. James especially.”

James turned away from the door and looked at Albus. “They're talking about me, too!”

“I know, shush!” Albus said as he turned his attention back to the conversation in the kitchen.

“I honestly would only trust Rose with the information, Harry,” Ginny told her husband.

This time it was Rose's turn to look at Albus. “Me, too! But whatever it is, they trust me.” Rose couldn't help but grin as she turned back to the door.

“I don't want her to know, given the current circumstances,” Ron said.

“Me neither,” Hermione agreed.

“I know, but it seems as if whoever's doing it is focusing on James and Albus,” Harry informed them. “I was always leery about telling them, but especially now...”

“Harry, we didn't even tell my brothers,” Ron said, “Why are you worrying about telling the kids?”

“Part of me wants them to understand what we think is going on,” Harry went on, “But the other part of me doesn't want them to know.”

“I'm siding with that part of you,” Ginny said, “We shouldn't tell them.”

“Ever?” Hermione asked tentatively, “I do think they should be trusted with that information at some point.”

“I agree, Hermione,” Harry told her, “But not now. I guess I'd just been waiting for the opportunity to present itself, haven't really thought about when I'd tell them. I suppose the best thing to do would be to wait until they're out of school, they'll be more mature and there'll be less of a chance of it leaking out.”

“That sounds reasonable, Harry,” Ginny agreed, “Someday, we'll tell them about the Hallows. But right now I think we need to talk about what's been going on with-”

“James, Bradley, Cedric, Benedict, Rose, and Albus, what on earth are you doing?!” a livid voice caused Albus to drop his Extendable Ear and he was not able to hear what his mum had been about to say.

Molly Weasley ran over to the five cousins, a look of rage on her face. “Have you been listening in on that conversation? Obviously you have! You have no right! Your parents wanted to be alone! And give me those!”

Albus, James, and their cousins did not even think about not listening to their grandmother and handed over their Ears at once. “And the other one?” She eyed James's pocket. Albus glanced at it and noticed the little bit of flesh sticking out of it. James sulkily pulled it out and handed it to her.

“I'll be having a word with your Uncle George! He's lucky he's not here right now. He shouldn't be giving you those for Christmas, honestly, the nerve of him...” Molly stormed over to her desk and grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and started writing while she mumbled to herself. Albus knew she was going to send a Howler to her son.

The commotion outside the kitchen caused Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione to cease their conversation and come out to see what the commotion was about. Once Albus heard the door start to open, he made a mad dash for the stairs, and the thundering behind him told him his brother and cousins did the same.

Albus didn't stop running until he made it to Rose's room, and once James and their cousins were inside, he slammed the door shut.

“What was that all about?” Albus asked as he sat down on one of the beds.

“I dunno,” James responded, “They obviously know something we don't and they don't want to tell us about it. But what did they mean by they didn't want me to know about it especially?” James stomped back and forth across the floor, obviously mad that his parents wouldn't trust him with something.

“Well, that's not the only reason they're keeping it from us!” Rose argued, “They said they trust me, but still won't tell me.”

“Must be something really secretive because only your parents know about it,” Ben reasoned. “I suppose Bradley, Cedric, and I won't ever find out.”

“Yeah, you will!” James insisted as he threw himself onto a bed, “Once I find out, I'll tell you!”

“James!” Rose shouted, “That must be why they won't tell you right now! They don't want anybody to know. If it's something so secretive that they won't even tell any of our uncles, then they must not want a whole lot of people to know.”

“But what would my parents, Aunt Hermione, and Uncle Ron know that none of the other aunts and uncles know about?” Albus asked Rose.

“I dunno,” Rose answered. The five of them sat in silence for a few minutes, trying to think of what this could be.

“You don't think...” James started, “...that maybe it has something to do with the war?”

Albus looked at him, “But Dad said he told us all about the war.”

“It makes sense, Albus,” Rose told him, “What else besides the war do my parents and your parents have, but none of our aunts and uncles do?”

“But my parents were involved in the war!” Cedric insisted.

“I know they were,” James said as he got up from the bed again and started pacing, “But my dad and Rose's parents were a lot more involved. They destroyed most of the horcruxes and they were off by themselves for almost a year doing it.”

“True,” Cedric agreed.

“Whatever it is, they're keeping something from us,” James told everyone as he pounded his fist on the night stand, “And I don't like it. Especially since Dad said he told us everything.”

“Anyone catch what they were talking about?” Bradley asked.

“Yeah,” Albus responded, “Hallows. Whatever they are.”

“Never heard of them,” James said.

“Me neither,” Cedric said. Bradley and Ben shook their heads. Albus looked expectantly at Rose. Whenever someone else didn't know about something, Rose always knew.

“I've never heard anything about them either, Albus, I'm sorry,” Rose sighed, “But once we're back in school, we can look in the library.”

“I guess,” Albus said, looking down at his feet. He did not like the idea of his parents keeping something from him. It made him feel betrayed. Harry had always told Albus that he told him everything about the war. But if these Hallows had anything to do with the war, like James suspected they did, then Harry and Ginny were keeping something from them. What were the Hallows? And why were his parents so intent about not letting him know about them? Why did they think he wasn't trustworthy enough to know about them?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Sorry for the wait! I have been on vacation, so haven't been able to update. Hopefully, I'll get my Weasley family tree up with the next chapter.
Thanks as usual to Rain_is_LIquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my brother. Also thanks to inkheart, Ashley, Black Fires, and e.jones for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I do not own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Chapter 15: Occlumency and Potions

By the time Albus woke up the next morning, his Uncle Percy, Aunt Corrine, and their kids had already left. Albus had not slept very well. Although he hadn't had any nightmares, Albus couldn't stop thinking about what his parents were keeping from him, and the thought had kept him tossing and turning almost the whole night. Once he fell asleep, he slept until it was nearly one o'clock in the afternoon. He never even had the chance to say goodbye to his aunt, uncle and cousins. However, he didn't have long to dwell on it because shortly after he had gotten dressed, James burst into the room.

“Good, you're up,” James greeted him, as he sat down on one of the bottom bunks.

“Yeah, I'm up,” Albus yawned, “Just got up, couldn't sleep well last night.”

“Me, neither, but Cedric woke me up before he left. Tried to get you up, but you were out like a log.”

“Well, what's been going on? Do Mum and Dad know that we listened to them?” Albus asked.

“They do. Grandma told them. I'm never getting those Extendables back,” James groaned. “But I don't think they're too bothered by it.”

“Well, that's good,” Albus told him, “Better they don't know that we're trying to find out what they're keeping from us.”

“Definitely. Oh, but they do want to talk to us in a few minutes,” James informed Albus, “They sent me up here to wake you up.”

“You don't think they want to yell at us about listening in, do you?” Albus asked nervously.

“No, I don't reckon that's what it's about. They just want to talk to us. Not Rose,” James answered.

“That's odd. What else could they want?” Albus wondered.

“Dunno,” James glanced at his watch. “Well, we'd better go. They're waiting in the kitchen.”

Albus followed James slowly down the stairs. He had no idea what this could be about. For a moment, he thought that maybe his parents were going to tell them about whatever 'Hallows' were, but he knew that couldn't be it. They had seemed so adamant about not telling James, Albus, or Rose about them.

Albus made his way into the kitchen after James. His parents were in there, along with Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. Harry gestured for them to sit down. Albus sat down in one of the chairs and James sat next to him, neither of them saying a word. Harry went over to the door, closed it, and pointed his wand at it while muttering a spell. Albus figured it was some kind of spell that rendered Extendable Ears useless.

“First,” Harry told his sons, as he walked over and stood next to Ron, “I want to tell you that I'm not punishing you for what you did yesterday. Both of you look like you're sitting in a detention.”

Albus smiled a little, but James did not move.

“I would have done the same thing if I were you,” Harry grinned and continued, “Well, let me rephrase that. I have done the same thing you did. Plenty of times. Right after your uncles Fred and George invented Extendable Ears."

Harry started pacing around the kitchen. Albus had noticed that his father did this whenever he was thinking about something serious. It was the same kind of pacing that James had done the previous day.

“However, what I do want to talk to you about is a serious matter,” Harry lowered his voice, “It's about what's been going on in the school.”

Albus looked at James. Neither of them really knew what their dad was getting on about.

“James, when you were in detention a few weeks ago and you said your head felt funny. Madam Pomfrey had the suspicion that someone was using Legilimency against you. I think she was right. Well, I'm sure she was right. The way you described it is just like how it feels,” Harry told his son, “James, someone is trying to invade your mind.”

James looked shocked. Albus noticed he was a bit paler than usual. He looked very much the same as he did in the days following that detention. Albus guessed that the days at the Burrow had made James forget about that awful experience.

“Albus, about that dream-” Harry started, but was cut off.

“You said it didn't mean anything!” Albus reminded his dad.

“I thought that it didn't, until I started having the same one,” Harry informed them, “I talked to your Uncle Ron about it and we both agree that they're not normal dreams. Someone is using Legilimency on us as well.”

Albus felt the blood drain from his face and he was sure he looked as pale as James did. “But who's doing it?” he whispered.

“I honestly don't know, Al,” Harry softened his voice and sat down next to his son. “But your Uncle Ron and I are trying very hard to find out who it is.”

“Why does someone want to read our minds?” Albus asked his dad.

“I, have a few ideas,” Harry answered slowly, “But I'm afraid I can't tell you just yet.”

Albus nodded. It was strange that his dad couldn't just solve this problem. During Albus's younger childhood years, Harry had always been able to fix everything for him. Broken toys, minor injuries, his dad was always there to solve the problems. But this time, Harry couldn't just wave his wand and make it better.

Harry drew Albus into his arms. “Now, Al, I do need to know if you've had anymore of those nightmares since that first one.”

“Yeah, I have. I get them a few times a week.”

“Always the same one?” Harry asked.

“Yes.”

“And have you had any while you've been at the Burrow?”

Albus thought for a moment. “You know, I haven't. I hadn't really thought about it, but I haven't had any since I left Hogwarts.”

Harry glanced at Ron and got up from the chair. “I think that's all I need to know about the dreams for now. But if they start changing at all, you've got to let me know right away. Just ask one of the portraits in the common room to find me. Don't leave the common room to tell me, it's very important that you do not wander around at night.”

Harry started pacing again and he turned to face James. “Are you ok? I know it's a scary thought, that someone's invading your mind. But I will find out who's doing it. I don't want you to worry about it too much.”

James just nodded, apparently still unable to speak.

“Good. Now, it's obviously very disturbing that someone is trying to see our thoughts and memories. Ron and I, as well as a few other Aurors are working to figure out who it is and why they're doing it, so we can stop them. But for now, you two have to learn how to protect yourselves.

“Ron and I have decided that you should start to learn Occlumency. I know you both already know what that is, but neither of you have had any training in the subject. If you're able to learn it properly, then no one will be able to read your thoughts.”

“Are you going to teach us, Dad?” James spoke for the first time since he entered the room.

“No, I can't,” Harry told him, “I'm not a very good Occlumens and am having a hard enough time trying to close my own mind, let alone trying to teach you two.”

“Then who's going to teach us?” James asked, with a worried look on his face. He and Albus looked at each other. Harry had told them the stories of when Professor Snape had tried to teach him Occlumency in his fifth year.

“Don't worry,” Harry reassured them, seeing the looks on their faces, “I know from experience that in order to learn Occlumency properly, it's much better if you trust your teacher. That's why your Aunt Hermione will be teaching you.”

Albus breathed a sigh of relief. Although his Aunt Hermione was strict, he knew she would be able to teach him well. There was hardly an aspect of magic that she did not do well.

“I'll be coming to Hogwarts two nights a week until you are both capable of protecting your minds from intruders,” Hermione informed them.

James opened his mouth and was about to speak when Hermione cut him off. “Not to worry, James, it won't interfere with Quidditch practice! I know Quidditch is the most important thing in this family.” She glared at Harry and Ron, who both grinned sheepishly.

“I'll send an owl to the school once the first lesson is set up, telling you which classroom it will be in. We still need to run this by the Headmaster, but I'm sure he will not mind,” Hermione informed them.

“Well, I think that's it, boys,” Harry strode back over to James and Albus and gave them each a hug. “I don't want you to worry about this too much. Your Uncle Ron and I have things under control. Just concentrate on learning Occlumency. Try to keep your guard up, as well. Constant vigilance, as Mad-Eye would have said. I've got to run into the Auror office for a few hours, but I'll be back before dinner.”

When Harry opened the door to the kitchen, Rose fell into the room. She had been leaning on the door, trying to listen in. She stood up, blushing furiously and ran out of the room and up the stairs. James and Albus burst out laughing and ran out of the room after her. They found her up in her room.

“So, what was that about?” she asked eagerly, once Albus had shut the door behind him and James. “Any chance they told you what they're trying to keep from us?”

“No,” James said bitterly, it was obvious to Albus that he was still mad about that.

“Well, what was it then?” Rose pushed.

“Remember that detention that me, James, Matt, and John had to do with Washburn? The one where we cleaned the hourglasses in the Entrance Hall?” Albus asked.

“Yeah,” Rose said warily.

“Well, someone tried to read James's mind during it. And someone's been trying to read my mind and Dad's while we're sleeping, too. I've been having weird dreams ever since school started, and apparently they mean someone's using Legilimency on me.”

Rose stared at him, then she glanced at James, who had sat down on Rose's bed. “You're serious?”

“Yep,” James confirmed, “And Dad wants me and Albus to learn Occlumency to try and stop them. I get the feeling something's happening. I'm not sure what, but all the adults seemed a bit worried when they were telling us this. Dad doesn't know who's doing it or why. Well, he has an idea why, but he won't tell us. Figures.” James punched one of the pillows. “I guess I'm not trustworthy.”

“Who's teaching you?” Rose asked.

“Your mum,” Albus answered. “She's coming to the castle two nights a week as soon as everything's straightened out with Professor Kendrick.”

“Well, that's good, then. I hope you two are good at Occlumency,” Rose said, “But do you two get the feeling this whole mind reading thing might have something to do with what they're keeping from us?”

“Seems likely,” Albus agreed.

James nodded. “We've got to figure out what they're keeping from us. We'll start once we're back at school. And I don't think we should tell anyone what we're doing, since Dad's teaching there. I don't think he'd be too happy if he found out what we're up to.”

“I suppose you're right,” Rose responded.

“Yeah,” Albus said. He didn't like the idea of keeping something this big from John, Matt, and Amanda, but he could see James's point. Their father didn't want them to know about whatever this is, and if he found out they were looking, it would make it harder to discover the secret.

“James!” a voice shouted from downstairs, “Come help with dinner, please! I've got Ben cutting up vegetables and you can help him!”

James got up and went over to the door, “Aw, Mum! Why can't Teddy do it? He can do it by magic and it'd go faster!”

“Teddy's helping Victoire study! Now get down here, please!” Ginny screamed back.

James snorted and looked at Albus and Rose, who were giggling. They were sure that Teddy and Victoire were not studying, but were in fact hiding away somewhere, snogging.

“James!” his mother shrieked.

James stomped out of the room and down the stairs, muttering something about Muggle cooking.

Rose got up from the bed and shut the door behind James. She turned back to Albus. “Ok, we've got to ask Uncle Bill what he knows about werewolves tonight after dinner.”

“Yeah, we should. He's leaving tomorrow. Do you really think he knows something that we haven't already read in the books?” Albus asked.

“I'm not sure. But what I want to know is why someone wouldn't take the Wolfsbane potion or why it wouldn't work,” Rose told Albus as she sat down next to him.

“Good idea. The book I read didn't mention anything like that. But if Matt's a werewolf, then he's definitely not taking that potion every month.”

“Or it's not working for him,” Rose suggested.

“Yeah, that too. But what are we going to tell Uncle Bill when he asks why we want to know about the Wolfsbane potion?”

“I've got it taken care of,” Rose told him, “I'll tell him that Professor Slughorn gave us extra credit to research an advanced potion. And we'll say that Slughorn let us do it in groups of two and you're my partner.”

“Wow! That's good thinking, Rose,” Albus said excitedly, “I'd never be able to come up with that.”

“It just came to me last night. I knew we'd need an excuse because we don't learn about werewolves until third year.”

“Rose! Albus! I need your help for dinner, please!” Ginny screamed up the stairs.

“Alright, Mum!” Albus answered, “We'll be right there!” He and Rose went downstairs, where they were immediately put to work slicing bread.

*****

Supper was late that night, and not nearly as enjoyable as Christmas supper. Everyone wanted to wait until Harry returned from the Auror office to eat, and he did not get back until nearly eight o'clock. Once Harry walked in the door, everyone sat down and started eating.

“I've got some bad news,” Harry announced as he poured some butterbeer for himself. Everyone stopped eating and looked at him. “Someone was found dead this morning in their house. Jasmine Lomski. She worked in the Magical Law Enforcement Office. Avada Kedavra was the cause of death. It's looking very suspicious. I've got someone investigating, but so far nothing's been found.”

“Lomski?” Ben asked, his face was white. He was looking at James, whose face was equally pale. “There's a girl in our class, a Ravenclaw, Rachael Lomski. Are they related?”

Harry nodded, “Yes, that's her mother. Jasmine's husband, Connor, was taking Rachael and the other kids to see their grandparents for Christmas, so they were not home at the time. Jasmine did not go with them because she had to work tomorrow.

“But I want everyone to know that the other Aurors and I are doing all we can to find out who did this, and who killed Professor Torro, and hopefully we'll be able to arrest whoever did it soon.”

“You think the two murders are related, then?” Arthur asked.

“I really can't be sure yet, but I do have a feeling they are,” Harry answered.

The rest of the meal was spent discussing the suspicious killings, and no one really had much of an appetite anymore. Hugo and Lily did not pay much attention to the conversation, and after they finished eating they ran off to play with their Christmas presents. Albus mostly pushed his food around his plate. He couldn't help but wonder if the mysterious killings had something to do with his strange dreams. James seemed to be worried, as well. He was also not eating, and his face had not regained any color since their dad's announcement. Ben and Rose weren't eating either, although they looked less worried than James did. Teddy, Victoire and Gabriella spent much of the meal whispering to each other with worried looks on their faces.

After everyone had eaten whatever they could, Bill excused himself to the kitchen to get a cup of tea. Rose glanced at Albus and they both got up and followed him.

“Um, Uncle Bill?” Rose asked tentatively, “I was wondering if Albus and I could talk to you, er, in private?”

“Sure...” Bill answered warily, he was obviously wondering what they were up to. “Let's go into your grandpa's study.”

Grandpa Weasley's study was always an interesting place to visit. It was filled with all sorts of muggle devices that were in various states of disrepair. When Albus walked into the room, the first thing he noticed was the broken computer sitting on the desk. That had been a present from Albus's Aunt Hermione. Hermione's parents had recently gotten a new computer and Hermione was able to get their old one to give to Arthur. He had been thrilled and had spent much of the holiday taking it apart.

“So, what can I help you with, Rose?” Bill asked.

“Well, um, I was wondering if you knew anything about the Wolfsbane potion,” Rose told him.

Bill spat out the mouthful of tea that was in his mouth. “Wolfsbane potion? Well, I do know a bit about that. But why do you need to know about it?”

“We're doing an extra credit essay for Slughorn on advanced potions. We picked the Wolfsbane potion. Now, we've learned a bit about it from books, but I've got a few other questions,” Rose said.

“Sure, go ahead and ask,” Bill sat down in Arthur's chair and put his feet up on the desk.

Rose and Albus sat down in two other chairs. “I guess I was wondering if there's ever been a case where the Wolfsbane potion hasn't worked?” Rose asked.

“It's rare,” Bill told them, “But not unheard of. There have been a few people that the potion hasn't worked on. It's hard to know for sure how many because there aren't a whole lot of werewolves to begin with anyway. And many do not report how the potion works for them.”

“Ok,” Rose said, while she pretended to take notes on a piece of parchment, “Why wouldn't it work? Or why wouldn't someone take it?”

“A few werewolves have been allergic to the potion, or to one of the ingredients in it, so that's why it doesn't work for some. And they'd obviously stop taking it if that happened. There's also a fairly new study about the affects of emotions on the potion. A few people have reported that the potion does not always work well, depending on what kind of mood the person is at the time of transformation. Which makes sense, since the nature of the transformation depends on emotions as well. Then there's a second study that's trying to figure out why the potion just doesn't work. There are a few werewolves where it has no effect whatsoever. As far as why someone wouldn't take it, it's a very difficult potion to make. Not many people are able to make it. Because of that, it's hard to obtain it.”

“Oh,” Rose looked up from her parchment, “I think that's all I need to know for now. I've gotten loads of information from books. Albus and I should be able to write the report now.”

Bill got up from his chair, “Good. Glad I could help.” He walked quickly out the door, Albus guessed he wanted to get back to the discussion about Jasmine Lomski's murder.

Albus and Rose left the room and went back up to Rose's bedroom. “Well, what do you think?” Rose asked Albus.

“I dunno. Maybe he's not able to get the potion?”

“Or he's allergic to it,” Rose suggested.

“But what about that whole emotions affecting the potion thing?” Albus asked.

“I'm not sure. Do you remember what Matt's been like every time he's gotten sick?”

“No. I mean, usually he's tired, but that's not really emotion. I'd assume he's nervous about it, but I bet all werewolves are nervous about transforming.”

“Probably. I guess we're just going to have to keep watching him,” Rose told Albus.

“I suppose. I wish he'd just tell us.”

“He's probably afraid to. Afraid we won't be friends with him anymore,” Rose said in a pained voice.

“Well, that's not true! We'd never abandon him like that!”

“I know, Albus,” Rose sighed, “I just wish there was a way to let him know that.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Weasley-Potter Family Tree
Bill-Fleur Charlie-Katherine (witch) Percy-Corrine (Muggle)
Victoire, 7th year Stanley, 6th year Georgia, 5th year
Gabriella, 5th year Heather, 4th year Bradley, 3rd year
Ben, 2nd year Mark, 3rd year Cedric, 2nd year
Eddie, 5 years old Samantha & Lindy (twins), 6 years old

George-Alicia Spinnet Ron-Hermione Ginny-Harry
Fred, 4th year Rose, 1st year James, 2nd year
Angie, 8 years old Hugo, 9 years old Albus, 1st year
Lily, 9 years old
*all in Gryffindor*

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: I hope you liked it! My Weaslye-Potter family tree is above. I hope it helps clear up any confusion. I put Ron & Ginny in there even though I don't own their kids. I thought it would be more complete that way. Any similarities between the above (besides Ron & Ginny's families, obviously) are merely a coincidence.

Thanks as always to Rain_is_Liquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks to inkheart for their review. Please read & review!

Disclaimer- I do not own Harry Potter. Nor do I own Nintendo, the Nintendo DS, or Animal Crossing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Before Albus knew it, the Christmas holiday was over. The rest of the break was not nearly as eventful as the first few days. The day after Harry came home with the news of Jasmine Lomski's death, Bill, Fleur, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of Albus's cousins left to visit other family. Life at the Burrow became much calmer. James and Albus spent much of their time playing Quidditch outside. Harry had let Albus use his broomstick. James was able to help Albus practice his skills as a Chaser, and seemed pretty confident by the end of the holiday that Albus would make the team next year. Whenever Teddy wasn't working at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, he visited and played Quidditch with James and Albus. Lily often hung around while the games were taking place and would beg the boys to let her have a go on one of the brooms. Occasionally, one of them would take pity on her and lend her their broom. Eventually, James and Albus realized that they had neglected their homework long enough and had to spend the whole last day of break working on it. It took them much longer than usual, as they did not have Rose there to help.

Harry spent much of the last few days of break popping in and out of the Auror office. He left early in the day and came back late in the evening. He always came home looking tired, and Albus could tell that the investigation was not going well. His mum, grandma, and grandpa, seemed worried as well, although they tried not to mention details in front of the children. James and Albus had tried repeatedly to listen in on their conversations, but Molly was much more watchful of them ever since she caught them using Extendable Ears. She had a hard time keeping Teddy out of the conversations, though, because he was of age and out of school. However, Molly prevented Teddy from giving any information to James or Albus.

On his way back to Hogwarts, Albus found himself wandering down the corridor in the Hogwarts Express with Rose, yet again looking for a compartment. Only this time, he was in search of a specific one, the one that John, Matt, and Amanda were in.

About halfway down the train, Albus and Rose spotted their friends in one of the compartments. There was another girl in it, too. Albus recognized her as Matt's older sister, Amy.

“Hi!” Albus grinned at his friends as he entered the compartment and sat down next to John.

“Hi,” everyone greeted him and Rose.

“So, how was everyone's holiday?” Rose asked.

“Great!” John smiled widely, “Got a good load of presents. All my relatives were there at some point or another. Saved all my homework for yesterday, but somehow managed to get it done.”

“Mine was nice, too,” Amanda answered, as she reached into her bag, “But I've got to show you guys something.” She pulled out a small, rectangular object and opened it to reveal two screens, one above the other.

“What the bloody hell is that?” John asked, gaping at it.

“It's called a Nintendo DS,” Amanda answered, “I got it for Hannukah. It's something you play video games on.”

“Oh, I've heard of video games,” John said, “But I've never seen one before. Do you have any games for it?”

“I've got a few,” Amanda told him, “My favorite is Animal Crossing. You get to make your own town and animals are your neighbors. I've named my town Hogsmeade.”

“Awesome,” Matt smiled. "I got one of those a while ago."

“I hate to tell you, but that's not going to work at Hogwarts,” Rose announced.

“Why not?” John looked at her like she was crazy.

“Too much magic around. Makes electronics not work right,” Rose explained, “It's in Hogwarts, A History.”

“Oh,” Amanda's smile faded as she put her DS away, “I guess I'll just have to play it at home over the summer. My parents thought I would like it and it's pretty fun. They weren't really sure what to get me. They couldn't get me anything to do with magic. It was quite strange, really, not being able to talk much about magic during break..”

“And how was your holiday, Matt?” Rose asked.

Albus turned to look at Matt. He was just now noticing how tired he looked. He also had some nasty looking partially healed cuts all over his face and arms. His arms were bruised as well, and he looked like he was about ready to fall asleep. Albus and Rose exchanged glances, but didn't say anything.

“It stunk,” Matt said flatly. He looked at his sister, who gave him a look.

“Why?” John asked.

“Well, I told you how I hate going to Australia. We spent the whole break there, at my grandparents house. They're so formal, I couldn't do anything fun.”

“How'd you get all those cuts?” John wondered, as he stared at a particularly nasty cut on Matt's forearm.

Matt shifted his eyes and once again looked at Amy, who nodded her head. “I fell out of a tree.”

“What?!” John exclaimed, “How'd you manage that?”

“Well, you know how clumsy I am. And I was outside, trying to have some fun, because my grandparents won't let me do anything in the house. I was up pretty high and I slipped. I fell all the way to the ground, hitting every branch as I went. Got knocked out halfway down. My grandma heard the noise and ran outside and found me unconscious on the ground. She freaked out, saying this is why I needed to stay inside and do homework all day,” Matt informed them. Everyone was staring at him, unable to think of something to say. “Anyway, my mum and dad came rushing out, and I wound up spending a few days in the hospital down there.”

“Whoa,” Amanda whispered, “I'm glad you're all right. That's scary, though.”

“Yeah,” John agreed, “Is that why you're so tired?”

“Nope, that's the jet lag,” Matt answered.

“The what?”

“Jet lag,” Matt repeated, “It's what you get when you fly to different time zones. Your sleep gets all messed up.”

“You flew to Australia?” Albus looked amazed, “Blimey! That's a long time to be on a broom.”

Matt laughed, “Oh, no! We flew in an airplane.”

“Wow!” John looked impressed, “But why didn't you just Apparate or something? Or Flooed?”

“The Australian Ministry doesn't allow out of country Apparition,” Amy said, speaking for the first time. “And our grandparents are Muggles, so we couldn't Floo.”

“That's pretty awesome,” Rose told Matt, “My grandpa loves all things to do with Muggles. One of his life's ambitions is to find out how airplanes stay up.”

Everyone laughed. The compartment door opened and Victoire walked in. “Hi, Amy! I've been looking for you.”

“Hey,” Amy greeted her, “Want to stay her with us?”

“Sure,” Victoire sat down next to Amy. She glanced at Matt, who was leaning up against the window. “Is your brother ok?”

“Yeah, he's fine. He just fell out of a tree over break and spent a few days in the hospital. That and the jet lag are why he's so tired,” Amy said quickly.

At that moment, the compartment door opened again to reveal the person Albus wanted to see the least. A smug looking Quinton Willinson walked in and and shut the door behind him.

“Something you want, Willinson?” Victoire stood up and stared at him.

“Oh, just a word with your cousin,” Willinson glared at Albus, “Mind if we speak in private?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” Victoire growled, “Whatever it is, you can say it here, in front of all of us.”

“Fine,” Willinson turned to Albus, “Just thought I'd let you know that you'd better watch yourself, Potty.”

Victoire stepped between Albus and Willinson. “And why is that?”

“Oh, you didn't know?” Willinson smiled at her, “Baby Potty here put that Exploding Eclair on my plate at Slughorn's party. Him and his little posse here.”

“How d'you figure that?” Victoire continued to stare at him.

“I just know,” he answered, “So, you'd better watch out, Potty and friends.”

Amy got up and stood next to Victoire. “Is that a threat, Willinson? Because anyone who does anything to my little brother regrets it.”

“Oh, maybe it's a threat, maybe it's not,” Willinson sneered at her, “But I wouldn't worry too much about your baby brother. Looks like he's got enough damage already. Looks like he's been hit by a truck.”

In a span of five seconds, Amy had whipped out her wand and had Willinson pinned against the wall, holding her wand to his face. “Do not touch Matt, or you will learn to regret it. You understand? Do not do anything to him. I will find out, and you will wish you'd never even talked to him. Get it?” Amy let him go, but did not put her wand away.

“You wouldn't try anything with the Head Girl here,” Willinson gestured to Victoire, as he pulled out his own wand.

“This Head Girl does not care what Amy does to anyone, if they do anything to her family. And, I can add that if you do anything to my family, you'll regret it as well,” Victoire pulled out her own wand and pointed it at Willinson, “Now I suggest you get out, before we're forced to hex you.”

Willinson, realizing defeat, scowled and put his wand away. He opened the compartment door and with one last glare at Albus, he left.

“Wow,” Albus muttered, gazing at Victoire and Amy, “I've never seen him back down before.”

“When you've spent almost seven years in the same castle as him, you learn that he only does something when he has the upper hand. He'd never try anything when there are a couple people up against him. Especially people who are better witches and wizards than he is. He's really quite stupid, honestly. He brags, but I don't think he'd win a duel against anyone above third year,” Victoire told them.

“Every year, he picks a new first year to torment. We've never been able to figure out why he picks the one he does. Usually it's the smallest or most frightened one. I've got no idea why he's picked you, Albus,” Victoire continued, “He was picked on a lot when he was a first year. Ever since then, he's done the same thing to other first years. It's pretty low, if you ask me. If he's got to torment someone, he ought to do it to someone closer to his age.

“It's because he can't win a duel with someone his own age. If he tried anything with anyone in our class, he'd be hexed so much you couldn't recognize him. But anyway, I would not put it past him to try something on you, Albus. Just make sure you're never alone in the corridors and you'll be fine. He won't try anything where there'd be witnesses or someone to stop him.”

Amy nodded in agreement, “Same with you, Matt,” she looked at her brother, but he'd fallen asleep. “And probably the rest of you, too.”

Albus nodded, “Who'd he pick on last year?”

“James,” Victoire said, “But after James pulled a few pranks on him, he gave up. It was quite funny, really. He tried picking on Ben after that, but I stopped him.”

“How?” Rose asked.

“He's got this weird crush on me. Has ever since second year. But I'd never go out with him, of course. He's such a git. Actually asked me to go to Hogsmeade our third year,” Victoire laughed, “But boy was he mad when I started going out with Teddy. Still hasn't given up. Somehow he thinks that with Teddy out of the castle, I'll decide to go out with him.”

“It's the Veela blood,” Amy told them.

“He's about the only one, though. Everyone else gave up once I started going out with Teddy.”

“Wow,” Rose said, “I just thought he didn't like us for some reason.”

“Well, he doesn't. But I don't know why. It'll be good for everyone when he's gone next year,” Amy stated, “But for now, just make sure you're never alone in the corridors.”

*******

Once the new term started, Albus and his friends found themselves up to their ears in homework. The teachers had already started warning them about final exams, despite the fact that they were months away. It wasn't only the first years that were bombarded with work. It seemed that all the students had more work than normal. The common room often did not empty out until past midnight, with some students falling asleep in their reading. The fifth and seventh years were spending more time than everyone else studying, due to the fact that their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s seemed much closer from this side of Christmas.

Albus and his friends tended to divide their time evenly between the common room and the library. They went wherever it was less crowded. Albus and Rose were finding it difficult to find time to research about whatever Hallows were, especially since they were rarely without John, Matt, and Amanda. Albus doubted whether James was getting any research in either, because Samantha Meyers had increased Quidditch practice to four nights a week due to the impending Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match.

One night, Albus and Rose did manage to find time to research because Matt, John, and Amanda were all doing detention with Filch. Filch had caught them dueling with Scorpius Malfoy and put all four of them in detention. The only reason Albus was not involved was because Harry had been speaking to Albus about his dreams. They had resumed once he was back in school, although they hadn't changed at all. Rose had been talking to Professor Patil about a homework she thought she had messed up on, but it turned out she had a gotten a 100% on it like usual. Albus had been trying to do a charms essay when Rose came up to him and asked him if he wanted to go research. Albus was all too eager, since his charms essay was not going very well. So, the two cousins made their way to the library.

“I suppose we could start by researching about the downfall of Voldemort,” Rose suggested as they browsed through the books, “Since we're pretty sure it has something to do with that.”

“All right,” Albus agreed, “That makes sense.” Albus bent down and picked out a book, “The Rise and Fall of Lord Voldemort, by Minerva McGonagall. Hmm, McGonagall, that sounds so familiar... Where have I heard that before?”

“Professor McGonagall,” Rose reminded him, “She taught Transfiguration when our parents were here, and our grandparents. She was in the last battle, so that'd be a good book to look at.”

Albus took the book over to a table and started reading it. Rose found another book and sat down next to him. Albus decided just to start at the beginning, as he had no idea where Hallows would come into the picture. The first chapter was about Voldemort's childhood. Albus already knew about that, so it was all basically review. But he read intently anyway, just hoping that he'd read the word 'Hallows'. However, as the evening wore on, and Albus grew steadily more tired, he did not find out anything new.

“Find anything yet?” he asked Rose.

Rose looked up from her book, which was entitled The History of the Dark Arts in Great Britain, “No, nothing I don't already know. And no mention of any Hallows.”

Albus sighed, “Me either. Curfew's soon. Why don't we just take the books out?”

“Sounds good to me,” Rose agreed. She walked over to Madam Pince while Albus followed.

Madam Pince glared at them as they handed her the books. She read the names and gave them a strange look, like she was wondering why they wanted to read them. Albus didn't meet her gaze, but he knew why she was staring at them. Why would Harry Potter's son need to read about the downfall of Voldemort? After she seemed satisfied with staring at them, she checked the books out and handed them back. “They're due in a month. Do not write in them or bend them or injure them in any way.”

Once they were out of the library, they relaxed, “She's a nutter,” Albus whispered.

“She's a bit strange, yeah,” Rose agreed.

“Acts like the books are gold,” Albus giggled.

“She thinks we're up to something, the way she stared at us like that,” Rose said.

“I know, but that makes sense.”

“Yes, I suppose it does. I just hope she doesn't tell your dad,” Rose told him as she walked up a set of stairs.

“She probably won't. I don't think they're particularly close. Dad got in a trouble a few times at the library.”

Rose laughed, “Oh, yeah.”

Albus and Rose continued their trek to the common room. Once there, Albus quickly went to the dormitory to hide his book before his friends came back from detention. But after an hour of waiting for them, Albus fell asleep. It was a restless sleep, as he had the same nightmare he usually had. Despite this, he did not wake up when John and Matt came in at midnight.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks as usual to Rain_is_Liquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my brother! Please read and review.

I am not sure when I'll next update, since I might be in school by the time this validates. I will try to update soon, but I can't make any guarantees. But I'll still be writing! I am well into the sequel to this, I'm on chapter 30, I believe. I'm also working on another fic, details to come later, which I will start posting as soon as I get past a certain chapter in this. There are spoilers for this fic in my new one, so it will have to wait a little while to be posted.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter. Or Ron Weasley. Or Hermione Granger. I don't even own the smallest owl in the owlery. Or the owlery for that matter. But I do enjoy writing this for fun!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




“That was brutal last night!” John groaned as he sat down next to Albus at breakfast the next morning. Albus had awoken early and couldn't get back to sleep. John and Matt were both sound asleep, so Albus had just gone down to breakfast with out them.

“I'll say,” Matt sat down on Albus's other side and winced as he did so, “I ache all over.” Matt was just starting to get back to normal after his tree incident over break. In the few days after returning to school, he had walked very slowly and Albus could tell that he was sore. Albus had assumed he had gotten a few broken bones from the incident, but never asked, as Matt didn't seem too keen on discussing it.

“What'd he have you do?” Albus asked while he watched Matt rub his arm.

“Clean Moaning Myrtle's bathroom,” John answered as he piled his plate with eggs and bacon, “It was torture. He had us do it the Muggle way of course. He had us doing it for 3 hours. We couldn't manage to get it clean the way he wanted it. And he made Matt scrub the floor, so he had to be down on his hands and knees the whole night. I could tell it was making his injuries from falling out of that tree hurt worse, so I suggested to Filch that I could do the floor and Matt could do the sinks, but Filch said no. He seemed to take delight in seeing Matt suffer. It was awful. Amanda had to do the toilets with Malfoy. He did something to one of them that made it regurgitate. That was gross. So she had to clean that one again and Matt had to re-scrub the floor.”

“Maybe you should see if Madam Pomfrey can do anything for you?” Albus asked Matt. Matt had only eaten a few bites of toast and was wincing every time he moved.

“You know she doesn't do anything for pain induced by Muggle cleaning,” John said disgustedly.

“Actually, I think I will go see her,” Matt mumbled and got up from the table, “I'll see you in Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Once Matt left, John shook his head, “You know she won't do anything to help him.”

“I know, she probably won't if he says the injuries are from cleaning. But she will if he says they're leftover from that whole tree thing,” Albus reasoned.

“Hope so,” John agreed, “He was worse last night when we were doing the detention. Filch was horrible to him, told him to scrub faster. And Malfoy smirked at him every time he looked over from his toilets.”

“I really don't like that Malfoy kid,” Amanda added. She had come into the Great Hall and sat down across from Albus. Rose sat down in Matt's vacated seat.

“Detention's bad enough with Filch, but Malfoy kept muttering about Matt not even being able to Muggle clean. Filch didn't hear any of it.”

“Ugh,” Rose groaned, “I hope I'm never in detention with him.”

“You're never in detention,” Albus chimed in.

“I know. I never get caught,” she grinned. This was true. Albus knew she had pulled her fair share of pranks on the Slytherins, usually involving some kind of sweet from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes that turned various body parts into different colors. And there was no way anyone could pin it on her.

At that moment, the owls arrived with the mail. “Look, it's Patches,” Rose announced as a large tawny owl arrived at Albus's place. Patches was Rose's family's owl. “He's got a letter for you and James.”

Albus called James over and the two of them looked at the letter. Albus opened it and read it silently.

Dear James and Albus,
I hope the new term is going well. I imagine you
spending much of your time studying. I have managed
to secure an empty classroom for our Occlumency
lessons. They will take place in the Transfiguration
room on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, at eight o'clock.
We will start this Saturday. I'll see you then.
Say hi to Rose for me.
With Love,
Aunt Hermione

Albus looked at James, “Well, I guess we'll go on Saturday.”

“Yeah, I suppose. Blimey, I can't imagine this is going to be fun,” James responded.

“Probably not. But it's got to be better than the Occlumency lessons Dad had,” Albus reminded him.

“Yeah,” James agreed, “Well, I'm off to Potions. I'll see ya later.”

“Bye.”

“Occlumency, cool,” John said, “I wondered when you'd start those.”

Albus had told John, Matt, and Amanda all about the dreams and Legilimency shortly after they arrived back at the castle. “Guess we're starting on Saturday.”

“We'd better be off to DADA,” John reminded them. Albus got up and followed John out of the Hall, with Amanda and Rose following.

Matt never showed up in DADA. Albus doubted that he would because he looked pretty worn out at breakfast. Albus figured his dad must have known that Matt was in the Hospital Wing because he skipped right over his name during attendance. It was a good DADA lesson. They spent the majority of it practicing disarming each other. Albus and John had a good time doing so, as both of them were quite skilled with that particular spell. They were the few who were good at it. Most of the other students had a hard time with it, which was why Harry had them practicing it so often. He stressed that it was one of the most important spells to master. Amanda, in particular, was having a hard time with it, but she did manage to disarm Rose once during the lesson.

Charms, on the other hand, was another disaster. Professor Washbburn stormed into the room, and Albus immediately stopped talking. He was sitting at his usual back table with John, Rose, and Amanda.

Washburn quickly ran down the attendance list, stopping at Matt's name. “Where's Eckerton?” he barked loudly. No one answered. “Potter! Where's Eckerton?”

“In the Hospital Wing,” Albus whispered.

“Speak louder!” Washburn screamed.

“I said he's in the Hospital Wing, Sir,” Albus said.

“He's always in the Hospital Wing. What's wrong with him this time?” Washburn muttered to himself.

Albus chose not to answer that question and he sat lower in his seat.

“Well, we're going to have another attempt at levitation today,” Washburn growled, “But we're not levitating feathers this time. All of you who are somewhat skilled at this class have managed that already,” he glared towards the back table and his eyes rested on Albus. “You'll be levitating books, so don't hit anyone with them. Go on, get started.” The class all took out their books and wands, while Washburn took his usual seat behind his desk and glared at them.

Albus reluctantly muttered the incantation and his book moved an inch off the desk and fell back again. He looked at John, Rose, and Amanda. After a few attempts, Rose had managed to levitate her book, although she received no praise from their professor. John was able to do it after a half hour of practice, not receiving any praise either. Amanda was having a bit more trouble, but was still doing better than Albus.

With ten minutes left in the class, Washburn started making his rounds to all the students, and much to Albus's dismay, he stopped at his table.

“Well, Potter, let's see if you're better with books than feathers. Go ahead, levitate it,” Washburn sneered.

Albus muttered the spell quickly and his book managed to get a few inches off the table before falling back down.

“Do it again,” Washburn glared at him.

Albus did it again, this time making the book float a full foot off the table. Albus was so shocked that he jerked his wand and caused the book to start speeding towards one of the windows. Albus knew what was going to happen right before it did. The book flew right at the window, not stopping when it reached it, and soared straight through. The glass shattered and showered a few students with shards. They screamed as the glass cut their arms.

“Potter!” Washburn shouted, “Must you always make trouble in this class?!”

Albus did not say a word, he just stared down at his desk.

“Detention! Saturday night!” Washburn screamed, “You,” he pointed at the students who were showered with glass, “Go to the Hospital Wing. The rest of you, class dismissed.”

“Um, Professor,” Albus whispered, “I can't do detention on Saturday night.”

“And why on Earth not?” Washburn seethed, “I'll decide when you'll do detention.”

“I've got a meeting with my aunt.”

“Your aunt can wait.”

“No, she can't. I'm supposed to get, er, lessons from her,” Albus said, not wanting to reveal what the lessons were. “You can ask the Headmaster.”

“Fine. I'll do that, then,” Washburn told him, “Now get out!”

Albus ran quickly out of the room and managed to catch up with his friends as they were entering the Great Hall for lunch. “That was horrible.”

“I know,” John agreed.

“I hate charms,” Albus groaned as he sat down at the table, “I don't want to do that detention. It's gonna be worse now that he's got to put it off until after Saturday.”

“He definitely will,” Rose agreed, “Hey! Matt, you're back!”

Matt came over to the table, looking a bit better than he did that morning. “Yeah, sorry I missed two lessons. I heard about what happened in Charms. That Washburn's an idiot.”

“So Madam Pomfrey actually helped?” John looked at Matt in awe.

“Yeah, she did,” Matt told them, “And it's a good thing. I don't think I could have gone to any classes today if she didn't.”

“But why?” John asked, “Did you say the injuries were leftover from the fall?”

“Nope,” Matt responded, “She knew they were from detention. But she healed them anyway. I guess because I wasn't totally over the whole tree thing. She seemed pretty upset about the whole thing. Kept going on about how irresponsible Filch is and how he shouldn't have made me do all that cleaning. Said she was going to talk to the Headmaster about it and everything.”

“Blimey,” John looked at Matt warily, “I've never seen her mad about injuries from Muggle cleaning before. Always says we bring it upon ourselves.”

Matt shrugged and piled his plate with food and started eating, not elaborating on his trip to the Hospital Wing.

Albus had a strange feeling that there was more to the tree story than Matt was letting on about. He could tell that Matt was trying to cover something up, and he couldn't help but think about the werewolf research that he and Rose had done over break. There had been a full moon over the holiday and Albus kept thinking that the tree story was just a cover up. He saw how Matt had looked at his sister before telling the story and he seemed a bit leery on telling it in the first place. As Albus started eating his lunch, he decided to watch Matt carefully around the time of the next full moon, which was in two weeks.

Double potions with the Slytherins was after lunch that day. Albus thought the class went pretty well. Slughorn lectured on the Shrinking Solution during the first half and the second half was spent attempting to make the potion. Albus was partnered with John, and although their potion was a shade lighter than the desired color, both boys thought they did pretty well.

"What's that, Potty?" Scorpius Malfoy appeared behind Albus as he was putting his vial of Shrinking Solution on Slughorn's desk at the end of class.

"A potion, what else do you think it could be?" Albus answered flatly.

"Looks more like cat sick," Malfoy laughed as he put his potion, which happened to be the perfect color, onto Slughorn's desk. "Can't even brew a simple Shrinking Solution."

"At least I can disarm someone, which is a whole lot more useful than making potions," Albus retorted as he started to leave the room. Malfoy had extreme difficulty in disarming his partner during that morning's DADA class.

"As if I'd try disarming if someone were attacking me," Malfoy laughed. A few of his cronies giggled behind him. "A hex would work loads better."

"You know perfectly well that disarming works better than hexes, Malfoy," Matt had caught up to them in the dungeon corridor, "Professor Potter says that every time we practice disarming."

"And I suppose you're an expert on defense now, Eckerton? Judging by the way you looked last night, a five year old could beat you in a duel," Malfoy sneered at him. "By the way, rumor has it that Madam Pomfrey actually healed your injuries from last night's detention. That true?"

Matt froze and stared at Malfoy. "Yeah, so?" he whispered.

Malfoy smirked, "After I heard that I went up to see if she'd heal my injuries. My hand's been aching all day. She glared at me and told me if I should think about my hand the next time I'm about to break the rules, then she shooed me out and said to get to class."

"Good for you," Matt answered.

"Well, why? Why'd she heal you, but not me? What's so special about you?" Malfoy asked.

"I dunno," Matt glanced around at his friends.

"There's something weird about you," Malfoy stepped towards Matt.

"Why don't you just shut it?" John shouted and pulled out his wand.

"Gonna rescue your friend, Brickston?" Malfoy pulled out his own wand, "Or maybe you could tell me why he's always in the Hospital Wing."

"Don't reckon I can," John answered, "But I could make sure you spend the rest of the day there, if you like."

"Ooo, gonna duel me?" Malfoy turned to John, "Well, I dunno what's up with Eckerton, but I'm going to find out."

"What's going on here?" Amy came running up behind Malfoy, "What do you think you're doing!?" she shouted at Malfoy, once she realized that his wand was still pointed at Matt.

"Ah, Eckerton's sister! Maybe she'll tell me why Madam Pomfrey treats him special?" Malfoy grinned maliciously at Amy.

Amy stood between Malfoy and Matt and glared at Malfoy, "That's none of your business. And if you point your wand at him again, you'll regret it." She turned around, threw her arm around Matt, and dragged him away towards the stairs.

"Believe me, I'll find out," Malfoy smirked at John, put his wand away, and sauntered off towards the Slytherin common room.

"Blimey," John said, once Malfoy was out of earshot, "He's mad."

"Yeah, he is," Albus agreed, "He knows something's up with Matt, too. And I don't think he's going to give up until he finds out."

"Well, we can't let him find out, then," John stated.

"But we don't even know for sure!" Albus reminded him.

"True," John shrugged, "But I think we're right. And Amy's so protective of him. Did you see her face when Malfoy asked her to tell him?"

"She was seething. Just like on the train after break," Albus said, while starting to walk up the stairs to the Entrance Hall.

"We've got to find out for sure."

"He'll tell us what it is eventually," Albus insisted, "He'll realize that he can trust us."

"That's the thing, I don't know if he will, especially if it is what we think it is," John sighed.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Thanks as always to Rain_is_Liquid_Moonlight, my brother, and my other sister! Also thanks to inkheart for the review. Please read and review!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, or anything related to it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Albus and his friends spent the next few days trying to avoid Malfoy. It wasn't difficult since most of their spare time was spent in the common room doing homework. Matt was especially leery of Malfoy and made sure to hide behind John, who was a head taller than him, whenever they passed Malfoy in the halls. Despite this, Matt seemed to act like the confrontation with Malfoy had never happened, and did not appear to want to tell Albus or his other friends what his secret was. John did not seem surprised at this, but Albus had thought that maybe after what had happened with Malfoy, Matt might want to confide in someone. Amy also had started keeping a close eye on Matt after this event, which was odd because during fall term, she would often go a day or two without talking to Matt. Now it seemed that she was checking up on him at least once a day.

"Hi, guys," Amy greeted Albus and his friends on Saturday evening. Albus, John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda were all clustered around a table in the common room, working on various homework assignments. "What's everyone up to?"

"Homework," Matt groaned. He was working on a particularly difficult essay for Potions.

"Well, some of us are working on it," Rose chimed in, glaring at John.

"What?" John smiled innocently, "I've got all tomorrow to do it."

Rose sighed, "You'd do better to start it today."

"I know," John agreed, "But right now I'm enjoying watching you study, while I sit and do nothing." Rose groaned and went back to her reading.

"So," Amy started, as she sat down next to Matt, "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Matt replied, "But I'd be better if you'd do this essay for me."

"Not gonna happen," Amy grinned, "I'm glad you're doing good. Have you all been staying away from Willinson? He hasn't bothered any of you, has he? If he has, I'll get Victoire to put him in his place."

"No," Albus answered, "Haven't talked to him since the train. Strange, really."

"Well, good," Amy said, "Hopefully it'll stay that way. But don't go alone anywhere. He doesn't give up this quickly."

"We know, Amy," Matt snapped, "You're not our mum."

Albus looked up from his work at the sound of the impending argument. He could have sworn he saw Matt's eyes flash gold, but they were back to their usual blue within a second.

"Jeez, Matt. I'm just making sure he doesn't bother you. Mum said-"

"I know what Mum said!" Matt cut her off loudly.

"Could you please be a bit quieter?" Amanda asked in a frazzled tone.

"Sorry," Amy and Matt mumbled and continued arguing in softer voices.

Albus glanced over and saw that she was working on her astronomy charts. She had been having a tough time in astronomy all year. "Need any help?"

"Ugh," Amanda groaned, "It's astronomy. I'm rubbish at it. I've been doing this chart for the past hour. Anyone know when the next full moon is?"

Both Amy and Matt jerked their heads toward Amanda. "Two weeks from tonight. The 24th," Matt whispered quickly, then looked back at Amy. Amy glared at him and they resumed their argument.

"Uh, thanks," Amanda looked cautiously at both Matt and Amy, and then started writing furiously on her chart.

Albus glanced across the table at Rose, who was already trying to catch his attention. The cousins looked at each other for a few seconds, and then quickly returned to their homework. Nobody said anything for a few minutes, with the exception of Amy and Matt, who were still arguing. However, they were doing so so quietly that Albus was unable to make out any of the words.

"Blimey!" James had walked over to the table and standing behind Rose. "Who died?"

"Huh?" Albus looked up from his work.

"You're so quiet!" James replied.

"Oh, uh," Albus glanced at Amy and Matt, "They were arguing about something."

"Ah, sibling love, it's a wonderful thing," James grinned, "So, you ready to get your mind read by Aunt Hermione?"

Albus looked up at the clock, it was quarter to eight, "Bloody hell, I forgot about that!"

"Good thing I remembered," James said.

"Yeah," Albus put his books into his bag and got up, "I'm ready."

Rose got up as well, "I'm going too. I want to see Mum."

"Ok," James turned around and started walking towards the entrance.

"Good luck," John waved as Albus followed his brother. Amanda waved, but didn't look up from her work. Matt and Amy were too busy arguing to notice Albus and Rose leave.

Albus, James, and Rose left the common room to find a deserted corridor. "Good, no one's out here," Rose whispered.

"Why?" James asked.

"Wanted to talk to you two alone about our, er, research," Rose answered. "Have either of you found anything?"

"Nope," Albus told her, "I've been reading bits of McGonagall's book before I go to bed every night. It's the only time I can do it in secret. I just pull the hangings closed, and everyone thinks I'm sleeping."

"I've been doing the same thing," Rose revealed, "But I haven't so much as read the word 'Hallows'."

"Er, I haven't even found a book to read yet," James confessed.

"Well, find one soon!" Rose scolded, "We've got to find out what our parents are hiding from us!"

"I know, I know," James said.

"I've read a couple so far, and Madam Pince keeps eying me when I check them out," Rose told them, "But I've got a feeling we're not going to find anything in books."

"Really?" James grinned, "Are you doubting books?"

"Shut it, James," Rose warned, "I'm going to start looking at the old Prophet articles they have in the library."

"Sounds good," Albus said as they rounded the corner and walked towards the transfiguration room.

When they walked in, Hermione was standing near a stone basin that Albus recognized as the Pensive. Hermione was pulling thoughts out of her head with her wand and placing them into the basin. Albus wondered if maybe those thoughts had to do with what his parents were keeping from him. If only he could see the memories without Hermione knowing.

Hermione turned around when Albus shut the door behind them, "Hi, boys!" she greeted.

"Hi," James and Albus said back.

"Oh, and Rose, you're here too!" Hermione walked over to her daughter and gave her a hug.

"Hi, Mum!"

"How's term going?" Hermione asked.

"Oh, pretty good," Rose answered, "Loads of homework, but I'm getting it done. I'm afraid I lost a few points on the last Charms essay. I hope I didn't, though."

"I'm sure you did fine on it," Hermione reassured her. "How about you two? How are your classes going?"

"All right," James replied, "But I'm afraid I lost more than just a few points on my last Charms essay." James laughed.

"And I'm not so sure you did fine on it," Hermione responded, "And you, Albus?"

"Oh, it's going well, I suppose," Albus told his aunt, "And I'm afraid I completely failed the Charms essay."

"Don't worry, I'm sure you at least scraped a passing grade," Hermione said.

"I dunno, Washburn hates me."

"Professor Washburn, and I don't think that's true," Hermione told him, "But that's not why we're her tonight. Tonight, you will start learning Occlumency. Rose, are you staying?"

"Can I?" Rose asked, "I've read a bit about Occlumency and it sounds very interesting."

"Of course you can stay. I don't think I will have you do any practical work, but you're welcome to learn the theory," Hermione informed her.

"You mean, we're going to have reading to do?" James asked disgustedly.

"Of course," Hermione laughed, "What did you expect?"

"I dunno, Dad's Occlumency lessons were all practical," James reminded her.

"I know, but I feel it's better for you to learn the theory as well," Hermione informed them, "Now, could you all sit down?"

Albus, James, and Rose all sat at the table closest to the teacher's desk.

"Good, now I've got some books for you," Hermione picked up two books and placed them in front of Albus and James, "Rose, I didn't know you'd be studying this as well, so I don't have a book for you. You can look on with your cousins and if you decide to keep coming to our lessons then I'll get you a book, too."

Albus looked at his book. It was entitled, Legilimency and Occlumency: The Art of Seeing Others' Thoughts and Protecting Your Own Mind.

"Creative title," James whispered and they both laughed.

"Open the books to page five, please," Hermione told them, "Now, as you are both aware, Legilimency is what is used to see into another person's thoughts, or as some say, read their minds. When the spell, Legilimens, is used, a person can see into another's thoughts. This can be done if the person getting the spell performed on is awake or asleep. When the person is awake, they feel an odd sensation in their head, kind of like a headache, but not exactly. They often also see their own memories. If the person is asleep, then they often have strange dreams or dreams about their memories."

"Hey, Voldemort's in this book!" Rose exclaimed. Albus notice that she was leafing through the first chapter.

"Yes, he is," Hermione responded briskly, "Lord Voldemort, although he was a horrible, evil person, was one of the most skilled Legilimens and Occlumens the Wizarding World has ever seen. He is a perfect example of why Legilimency and Occlumency are both very dangerous if used in the wrong way. Voldemort was able to tell exactly where his Death Eaters loyalties really lay, as well as keep others from knowing his innermost thoughts and secrets."

Hermione continued her lecturing for a half hour, giving a brief overview of the first chapter. This chapter explained what Legilimency and Occlumency were and went over the basics needed to try Occlumency. James and Albus were expected to read the first chapter and answer a few questions before the next class.

"Now, for the next half hour, I'd like to start the practical aspect of this lesson," Hermione stood up and picked up her wand. "Who wants to go first?"

James and Albus looked at each other. "You're older, you go first," Albus told his brother.

"All right," James stood up and pointed his wand at his aunt.

"Remember, there's no spell. You've got to close your mind. Take a few minutes to try to clear all thoughts from your head."

James lowered his wand and started to stare directly at the wall behind Hermione. After a few minutes, a blank look appeared on his face.

"Good," Hermione said, "Ready?"

James looked back at her with a nervous look on his face, "I suppose."

"Legilimens!" Hermione shouted.

James looked horrified as he stared at his aunt. He dropped his wand and pressed his hand to his forehead. Hermione continued to point her wand at him, but it was obvious that he wasn't succeeding at closing his mind. He had sunk down to the floor, with his hands on his head. Hermione lowered her wand and walked over to him.

"Are you all right?" she asked, extending her hand for James to grab.

"Fine," James mumbled as he took Hermione's hand and stood up again, "It's just, that's exactly what it felt like when someone did that to me during detention."

"That's because that was what someone did to you during detention," Hermione explained.

"But I didn't hear anyone shouting 'Legilimens'," James told her.

"They were doing it non-verbally. We'll get to that point in our lessons eventually, but for now I will do it verbally so you know what's going on," Hermione said, "Now, that was a pretty good attempt for the first time. You see now how hard it is to close your mind."

"Yeah," James agreed as he sat back down.

"Your turn, Albus," Hermione announced.

Albus had momentarily forgotten that he, too, had to have his aunt read his mind. He got up, his heart beating fast. He had never had Legilimency performed on him while he was awake, and he did not know what to expect.

"Try to clear your mind," Hermione told him as she walked a few feet away and turned around to wait.

Albus tried to clear his mind, but it was hard. His thoughts were consumed with whether Matt was a werewolf or not. He was also constantly thinking about what 'Hallows' could possibly be. Not to mention the reason why he was having these lessons in the first place. It was difficult not to think about someone seeing his thoughts.

"Ready?" Hermione asked. Albus nodded with a nervous look on his face.

"Legilimens!" she shouted.

The classroom seemed to disappear as Albus was thrown into his own memories. He was four years old and James had stolen the toy broom he had received on his birthday. James was flying it around while Albus chased him. The scene changed and he saw the time he dropped a sharp knife onto his foot, but instead of slicing it open, the knife just bounced off it. He had been four then, as well, and that was the first magical thing he did. The scene changed yet again and Albus was seven and was playing with his cousins at the Burrow. Then he was at home, reading his Hogwarts letter. The scene changed for a final time, he and Rose were sitting in Rose's bedroom at the Burrow, researching about werewolves. Albus's heart beat faster. He couldn't let his aunt see that.

"No!" Albus exclaimed, and the classroom reappeared in front of him. He glanced around and was half surprised that he was still standing up, since James had collapsed during his attempt.

Hermione was looking at him and then she glanced at Rose, then back to Albus. She had obviously seen a bit of the last memory. "Well, you actually managed to stop me, although not by normal means of Occlumency. But that is very good for a first try. What was that last memory?"

"Nothing, nothing," Albus replied quickly, averting his gaze from his aunt.

"Very well, I think that is enough for tonight. Albus, James, keep practicing. Try to close your minds before you go to bed. I'll see you all on Tuesday. Good luck with all your classes. And try to behave yourselves during Charms," Hermione added.

"We do!" James insisted, "Professor Washburn just doesn't like us."

"Be that as it may, you do need to pass his class," Hermione reminded them, "Good night."

"Night," Albus, James, and Rose said as they left the classroom.

"So, what was that memory that you didn't want my mum to see?" Rose asked curiously once they were out of earshot of the classroom.

"Later," Albus whispered, glancing at James.

"Blimey, that's some strange stuff, Legilimency and Occlumency," James announced after a few moments of silence, "But you seem good at it, Albus."

"Maybe," Albus responded.

"Better than me. I couldn't do anything during it. Just kind of forgot everything except the memories I was seeing. Couldn't think of anything to do about it," James explained.

"You've just got to practice it," Albus told him, "Plus, this was just the first time. And anyway, I've got to think of something better to do than just shouting out random things. People will think I'm a nutter if I'm just shouting out 'no' all the time."

James laughed, "Well, I already know you're a nutter."

"Oh, shut it, James," Albus laughed and punched James in the arm. James punched him back and they continued that until they reached the Fat Lady. Rose followed behind and muttered something that sounded like 'boys'.

When they arrived back at the common room, James immediately went to his dormitory so he could tell his friends about the lesson.

"So, what was the memory?" Rose whispered to Albus.

"When we were researching about werewolves," Albus told her, "I didn't want Aunt Hermione to know about that."

"Why not?" Rose asked.

"I dunno, really. I mean, it's not like she had a problem with Teddy's dad. I guess she just came awfully close to seeing our other research," Albus explained.

"Good point," Rose agreed, "But you know, you've got to practice this. What if she does find out about that? She'll tell Uncle Harry."

"I know, I know, I'll practice," Albus assured her.

"Good," Rose seemed satisfied, "Now, we'd better get to bed. Good night."

"Night," Albus said as he walked to the door to the dormitory. As he lay in bed trying to get to sleep, listening to Bilius's snoring, he tried to close his mind. 'Think about nothing,' he kept repeating in his mind. But it didn't work, because Albus yet again had the same nightmare.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A/N: Hope everyone liked it! I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I have been typing my own sister's username wrong in the past few Author's Note I've done for this fic. Her name is Dancer_Of_Starlight. I must be mixing it up with another site. So thanks, Dancer_Of_Starlight for reading this and helping me with it! Thanks also to my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart, for the review, you're awesome! Please read and review, everyone!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



During the next two weeks, tensions ran high between the Gryffindors and Slytherins. As the impending Quidditch match grew nearer, there were more and more duels in the corridors. These usually resulted in various players having to go to the Hospital Wing. Luckily, no one had been severely injured yet. However, both Houses were starting to be very protective of their players. Samantha Meyers forbade anyone on the Gryffindor team from wandering the corridors alone. She was also getting more and more intense with her practice schedules. Samantha had started scheduling a practice for every night of the week. Every evening, the Gryffindor team came trooping back into the common room well after dark, looking tired and worn out. Slytherin was also practicing each day, but they got an earlier time in the evening.

Nightly Quidditch practices did not bode well for James's Occlumency lessons. He had asked Hermione if he could skip the lessons until after the match, but she would not allow it. James grudgingly skipped his Quidditch practice, much to Samantha's dismay. She was not happy about James missing practice. Hermione actually sent her a letter, which got her to stop badgering James about practice.

Albus thought he was making a bit of progress with his Occlumency. He had been reading the book and doing the homework, although he did not enjoy it. Occlumency was like having another class to take, so he wound up with more homework than the rest of his classmates. Albus had not yet succeeded in preventing Hermione from entering his mind, but he usually managed to force her out after a little while. He was relieved that he had so far prevented her from discovering his Hallows research. Despite this, he was still having strange nightmares a couple of nights a week. James was not making nearly as much progress as Albus. He had yet to stop Hermione's Legilimency at all, and was still collapsing on the floor occasionally. James was getting increasingly fed up with Occlumency and did not enjoy the lessons at all.

As the Quidditch match, and the full moon, grew closer, Albus started to watch Matt for signs of illness. The day before the match, Matt almost slept through breakfast. John had to wake him up before he left for the Great Hall. Albus watched him throughout DADA and noticed that he was much more tired than usual. He kept his head on the desk the entire class and didn't take any notes. Harry did not say anything about this, which Albus thought was strange because whenever anyone else fell asleep in other classes, the teacher woke them up. Albus couldn't remember a time when someone fell asleep in DADA, though, because usually that class was exciting.

"Are you ok?" Albus asked Matt as they were walking to Charms.

"Fine," Matt responded. He was walking a bit slower than usual, "Just tired."

"Ok," Albus said warily, "But if you want to go to the Hospital Wing during Charms, I'll volunteer to take you."

"I will too," John agreed, "Anything to get out of that class."

The boys immediately stopped talking once they entered the Charms classroom and went to their usual back table. Once he sat down, Matt put his head down on top of his book. Washburn stormed into the room a few seconds later and started taking attendance.

"I'm lecturing today, take out your notes," he barked at the class. Everyone silently found quills and parchment as Washburn pointed his wand at the board. Notes appeared on it and Albus started copying them down. Washburn started talking and droned on for about half the period without stopping, even when students raised their hands to ask questions. Albus did not glance up to look at him at all. Once he finished copying his notes, he looked over at Matt and noticed that he had fallen asleep. Unfortunately, Washburn had noticed, too.

"Eckerton!" Washburn shouted while he walked towards the back table, "This is not nap time!"

"I don't think he's feeling well, sir," John said tentatively.

"I didn't ask how he's feeling!" Washburn growled at John. "Now wake up and pay attention!" he shouted again.

Matt slowly picked up his head and stared at Washburn, "Huh?"

"I said this is not nap time!" Washburn screamed.

"Oh, sorry," Matt mumbled. He stared down at his book and rested his head on his hand.

Washburn grumbled something incoherent and got back to his lecture. Matt kept his head up the rest of the class, but didn't take any notes. Although he did go to Astronomy after lunch, Matt did not seem to pay much attention in that class either. After class was over, he went up to the dormitory and slept straight through dinner.

"What other explanation could there be?" Rose wondered aloud in the common room that night. She, Albus, John, and Amanda were sitting around a table after dinner. The pre-Quidditch match excitement kept the chaos and noise in the common room up, so no one was paying much attention to what they were talking about.

"I don't think there is another one," Albus told her, "He's got to be a werewolf. He gets sick every full moon and leaves overnight. When he comes back he's still sick and he's got injuries."

"I'm sure he is one," John agreed, "Just hope he tells us soon, or I'm just going to have to tell him I know. It's gonna be hard to hide that we know."

"Think how hard it is for Matt? Hiding that from everyone," Albus reminded him.

"True."

"So, who thinks we'll win the match tomorrow?" Albus asked, changing the subject.

"I do!" John shouted, "With your cousin's new broom, we'll be unbeatable."

"Definitely," Amanda agreed, "I can't wait to see it in action."

"You've really gotten into Quidditch, haven't you?" Rose giggled.

"Sure have, it's so much better than football," Amanda told her.

******

The match was to be held in the early afternoon, which was a bit later than the previous Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff match. Albus and his friends spent the earlier part of the day playing Wizard's Chess and Exploding Snap in the common room. Matt seemed too tired to play anything, so he laid on one of the couches and watched the games. Albus noticed the Gryffindor team huddled in one corner of the room, reviewing last minute tactics. James looked a bit nervous, which was understandable considering the last match landed him in the Hospital Wing.

The morning dragged by, but eventually, everyone started to make their way down to the pitch after lunch.

"Should be a good game," Albus said to John as they were walking towards the pitch.

"Definitely. I've been looking forward to a Gryffindor vs. Slytherin game. I've heard they're the best ones," John told him.

"That's what I've heard, too. Dad says they were usually the most exciting ones in his days here," Albus informed John.

"Conditions couldn't be worse, though," John lamented. He was right. The weather was not cooperating for a game of Quidditch. Although the visibility seemed to be a bit better than Gryffindor's last match, the snow was falling at a steady rate and it was bitterly cold.

"Hopefully it won't last as long as last time," Rose pulled her cloak tighter, "I'm freezing."

"Me, too," Matt agreed. He was already shivering, and was a few paces behind everyone else.

Albus and the rest of the group slowed down to allow Matt to catch up with them. "Well, I just hope James doesn't get injured again," Albus said.

"Hope not," Amanda agreed.

The five first years made their way through the crowds and found their way to a few seats on Gryffindor's side of the stands. As they were walking slowly to match Matt's pace, they were some of the last people in the stands. They found their seats just before the commentary started.

"Welcome to the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match!" Todd Smith shouted over the crowd, "This is a highly anticipated match that should prove to be as exciting as always. The weather's brutal, but that shouldn't stop a well trained team.

"And here come the teams! First onto the pitch is the Gryffindor team. Captain Samantha Meyers, followed by Georgia Weasley, Fred Weasley, Heather Weasley, Bradley Weasley, Ryan O'Malley, and James Potter!"

The team flew around the pitch once and then landed next to each other on the ground.

"Here are the Slytherins. Captain Talan Flint, followed by Lance Goyle, Jackson Naiser, Ferris Fielding, Peyton Haines, Hailey Odele, and Glenna Dabney."

The Slytherins flew once around the pitch and landed in front of the Gryffindors. The referee, Alan Oteski, had the captains shake hands, and the teams were off.

"Professor Oteski releases the Quaffle, Bludgers, and Snitch, and the players are up! Quaffle goes to Fielding and he's flying towards the Gryffindor goal posts. Oh, nice Bludger work by O'Malley! Quaffle goes to Meyers, she flies down the pitch, passing to the two Weasley chasers. And Heather Weasley scores the first goal!"

The Gryffindor team scored three goals within the first five minutes. Slytherin had not managed to get any goals past Georgia.

"Of course, the exciting part of this game is Georgia Weasley's new broom. It's a Firebolt 3000. The fastest broom yet! It seems to be proving itself in this game. What with Georgia's incredible skill, and that broom, I'd be surprised if Slytherin scores any goals at all!" Todd shouted excitedly.

"She's amazing!" John exclaimed, "I want one of those brooms!"

"Me, too," Albus agreed, "I flew it over holiday. It was amazing."

"Wow! Think she'd let me ride it?" John asked.

"Maybe. If you come to my place over the summer, I'll ask her," Albus told him.

"Awesome!" John grinned.

"Another goal scored for Gryffindor! Making the score 40-0 in favor of Gryffindor! Fred Wealsey has the Quaffle, he's storming up the pitch, headed to the Slytherin goal posts. Ouch! Hit in the back with a Bludger sent from Naiser. Odele has the Quaffle now and is headed towards Georgia Weasley. She passes to Fielding, who attempts to score a goal. And saved! Wow, I didn't think a broom could move that fast," Todd was jumping up and down at the commentator's podium now.

"Flint does not look happy," Albus commented.

"No, he doesn't. Looks like he's ready to hex someone," John agreed.

"Wouldn't put it past him," Rose chimed in, "These matches are known to get ugly."

The game continued for a while, with Gryffindor scoring a few more goals. Slytherin did manage to get one goal after Flint sent a Bludger at Georgia right when Odele was attempting to score.

"Think this match will last much longer?" Matt asked.

"Dunno. Doesn't look like James or Dabney have seen the Snitch yet," Albus peered out at the field. "They're just hovering above everyone else. Looks like they're trying to stay out of it. I can see why. The Bludger work is getting nasty."

And it was. All the Gryffindor chasers were sporting some kind of injury. Georgia had a nose bleed, but seemed to be ignoring it. Odele and Haines both had taken Bludgers to arm and it seemed to have affected their ability to catch the Quaffle.

Albus looked over at Matt. He was sitting down, shivering, with his head resting on his hand. "You ok?"

"I guess. I just hope the match is done soon," Matt winced.

"Want to go back inside?" Albus asked.

"No, I'll be fine," Matt insisted.

"Another goal for Gryffindor! Making the match 110-10 Gryffindor!" Todd bellowed, "And the match is getting ugly. Ouch! Fred Weasley takes a Bludger to the head, causing him to drop the Quaffle. But it's caught by Meyers! She passes to Heather, who scores another goal!

"Flint appears to have abandoned the Bludgers and is soaring up towards Potter and Dabney. What's he up to? Meanwhile, Bradley Weasley hits a well aimed Bludger towards Fielding, who drops the Quaffle. Back to Flint. It appears that he is getting into an argument with Dabney. I wonder what they're saying? Hope it's important. Looks like his neglect of beater duties has caused his uninjured Chaser to get hit."

Flint turned his head around and flew straight towards Georgia. Odele was flying towards the goal posts with the Quaffle. "What's he doing now? He's grabbed hold of Georgia's broom! Foul! Flint has grabbed Georgia's broom and appears to be preventing her from keeping! Foul!" Todd screamed angrily. Odele took advantage of the situation and scored a goal.

Oteski blew his whistle, "Penalty shot for Gryffindor! Unnecessary grabbing of opposing keeper's broomstick. Honestly, you should know better! Such an obvious foul! And that goal does not count!"

"Gryffindor captain, Meyers, easily scores the penalty shot, bringing the score up to 130-10 Gryffindor," Todd announced, "Slytherin chaser, Fielding, manages to get the Quaffle and is flying towards the Gryffindor goal posts. Bradley Weasley sends a Bludger towards him and, ouch! He's knocked off his broom. Lucky for him, he was low to the ground. But looks like he's out for the rest of the game, probably broke his arm or something."

"This is amazing!" John exclaimed, "I've never seen Quidditch like this. I wonder if Slytherin's ever lost by this much before."

"I dunno," Albus responded, "But I don't think their Seeker's very good. All she's doing is following James around. And Flint was yelling at her for something."

"Probably telling her just to catch the Snitch so they can end the misery," John laughed.

"James better catch the Snitch soon," Matt groaned, "I don't think I can take much more of this." He was huddled on his seat, holding his stomach in pain.

"Sure you don't want to go in?" Albus asked.

"I dunno," Matt moaned, "Maybe."

"Looks like Potter's seen the Snitch!" Todd shouted. James had started speeding towards the Gryffindor goal posts, with Dabney following closely behind. "The Slytherin beaters seem to be trying to hit Potter with the Bludgers. But, hang on, the Gryffindor chasers and beaters seem to have surrounded Potter, protecting him from Naiser and Flint. Blimey! I've never seen anything like it! And it worked! Potter caught the Snitch!"

The crowd erupted into applause, Gryffindors storming the ground, lifting James up into the air. They started walking back to the castle. The Slytherin team was looking murderous and Flint was screaming at Dabney.

"Let's go," Rose said, looking at Matt.

"Oh, good," Matt moaned as he slowly stood up.

"You want to go to the Hospital Wing?" Albus asked.

"No, I don't think so," Matt said, leaning on John for support.

The five friends slowly made their way up to the castle. By the time they got there, everyone else had already made it back. It took them a while to climb the stairs to Gryffindor Tower, but eventually, they made it.

When they entered the common room, a party was already in full swing. Matt made a beeline for the dormitory and didn't look back.

"Albus!" James came running up to him, butterbeer in hand, "We did it! Beat Slytherin! They are pathetic. And here I was, thinking they actually had a good team. No way they're in the running for the Cup now. Blimey, losing 10 to 300..."

"You did great!" Albus grinned at him, "Dad would be very proud."

"Proud of what?" a voice came from behind them.

Albus turned around, "Dad?!"

"What are you doing here?" James asked.

"Came for the party. Blimey, things haven't changed a bit. The parties after we beat Slytherin were always best. Anyway, congratulations, James!"

"Thanks!"

"We're not being too loud, are we, Professor Potter?" Samantha Meyers had come over to see what was going on.

"No, 'course not!" Harry grinned, "Can't expect you to be quiet after that win. Just quiet down by midnight."

"Sure, no problem! It was amazing, wasn't it?" Samantha said excitedly.

"Oh, it was brilliant," Harry agreed. Harry and Samantha quickly settled down to rehashing every bit of the match, and were soon joined by Georgia.

"Never grow out of Quidditch, right?" James laughed.

"Right," Albus agreed, "Honestly, I thought it'd be a bit strange having him as our teacher, but it hasn't been weird at all."

"Yeah, it's been pretty neat."

******

The party in the Gryffindor common room lasted well into the evening. Most of the Gryffindors did not even go down for dinner. Albus's cousins had managed to bring a good bit of food up to the common room, so there was really no need to go to the Great Hall. Harry left shortly before dinner, though, so he could join the rest of the staff for the meal.

"Honestly, I'll never get any work done with this noise," Rose sighed. She, Albus, John, and Amanda were sitting around one of the tables in the common room eating sweets. Rose was the only one trying to get any work done.

"Why bother? You've still got tomorrow," John commented, "Hey, I got your dad, Albus." John held up a Chocolate Frog card.

"I don't see why everybody's got to party so late into the evening," Rose said, "It wasn't that spectacular a win. Slytherin was dreadful."

"That's the point," John told her, "Slytherin's usually got a pretty good team. It's the principle of the thing. Gryffindor and Slytherin are huge rivals, and when we beat them, it's a reason to celebrate. Even if they're rubbish."

"Whatever," Rose put her fingers in her ears and continued to read.

"And their new Seeker's horrible," Albus said, "I bet she couldn't see the Snitch if it was right in front of her face."

"Yeah, she's no match for James," John agreed, "I've heard from some of the older students that he's as good as Ted Lupin was."

"Well, he should be," Albus laughed, "Teddy's been training him ever since James could get on a broom. I think they started when James was about five."

"But he's got it in his blood, too," Amanda chimed in, "I mean, Albus, your dad was the best Seeker Gryffindor's ever seen. And your Uncle Charlie was a great Seeker, too. Plus, your mum played for the Holyhead Harpies."

"Yup," Albus grinned, "Quidditch is a high priority in my family."

"Guess Rose just didn't get any of those Quidditch genes," John poked Rose and she jumped.

"Shut it, John," Rose told him, "Where's Matt?"

"Still sleeping," Albus said, glancing at the door to the dormitories, "Been there ever since the end of the match."

"Well, why don't you go check on him?" Rose suggested.

"All right," Albus got up from his chair and walked to the dormitory. When he got there, he saw that Matt was sound asleep in his bed.

"Matt!" Albus whispered, "Hey, Matt! Get up!" Albus lifted Matt's arm up and it fell limply back onto the mattress when he let go. "Wake up!" Albus shouted a little louder.

"Huh? Wha'?" Matt groggily lifted his head and grimaced.

"You all right?" Albus asked with a look of concern on his face.

"Ugh," Matt groaned and sat up. "What time is it?"

"Almost six," Albus told him.

"Ohh," Matt slowly got up off the bed and swayed, "I've got to go to the Hospital Wing."

"Well, I'll take you," Albus grabbed Matt's arm so he wouldn't fall.

"No, I'll be fine," Matt said.

"No, I'm taking you," Albus insisted. Matt did not protest any further and leaned on Albus for support. They made their way down into the common room, where the party was still in full swing. Albus led Matt straight out of portrait hole and into the corridor towards the Hospital Wing.

"C'mon, we're almost there," Albus said as they walked down a flight of stairs.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Matt groaned and clutched his stomach.

"It's ok, we'll be there soon," Albus winced under Matt's weight. Matt was leaning on Albus more and more by the minute, "Madam Pomfrey will fix it."

"No she won't. She can't," Matt's voice wavered as he talked.

"Here we are," Albus opened the door to the Hospital Wing and led Matt inside. Madam Pomfrey was waiting and rushed over to Albus and Matt.

"It's ok, dear, come on," she pulled Matt away from Albus and let him lean on her, "I'll take it from here, Albus. You'd best go back to your common room."

Albus turned to leave, but not before seeing Madam Pomfrey soothing Matt, who had started to cry. Albus shut the door, wishing he could do something to help. Matt seemed to be doing worse this month than he had the past months. He hadn't seemed any different during the past few days, but maybe he was just good at hiding his emotions. Albus had forgotten to focus on figuring out what Matt was feeling in the days leading up to the full moon due to being preoccupied with homework and Occlumency lessons. Why did this month seem worse? What was going on?

Albus pondered these thoughts as he walked slowly back to the common room. How could he convince Matt that it would be safe to tell Albus his secret? Would he ever tell? And more importantly, was there anything anyone could do to help?

"Something troubling you, Potty?" a cold voice said. Albus looked up and saw Quinton Willinson, flanked by two other Slytherns, standing at the top of the stairs that Albus was climbing. "Fancy a stroll by yourself?"

"Go away, Willinson," Albus growled as he reached the top of the stairs.

"It's a free castle. Not curfew yet. I'm free to wander the corridors just as you are, Potty," Willinson sneered at Albus.

"Just leave me alone," Albus tried to walk past him, but the other two Slytherins blocked his path.

"No, don't think I will. I still haven't forgotten that Exploding Eclair," Willinson said, drawing his wand and pointing it at Albus, "I know it was you."

"How?" Albus asked nervously as he drew his own wand and pointed it at Willinson.

"I just do," Willinson snapped his fingers and his cronies pulled out their wands and pointed them at Albus, "And now you'll pay."

"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted, and Willinson's wand flew out of his hand and landed on the floor. A split second later, two jets of light came from the other two Slytherins's wands and hit Albus in the chest. Before he knew what was happening, he stumbled backwards and fell down the stairs. He blacked out halfway down, and the last thing he saw was Willinson and his two friends running in the opposite direction.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Sorry for the cliffie! Well, not really, I do like putting them in. Originally, this chapter did not have a cliffie, but it was quite short so I stuck about half the next chapter at the end of this one. So now it's a bit longer than usual.

Thanks as usual to my sister and now official beta, Dancer_Of_Starlight. Thanks as well to my brother and my other sister. Please read and review!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





"You have no idea who did it, then?" Albus heard his dad ask.

"No, when Neville found him, there was no sign that anybody else had been there," Madam Pomfrey whispered.

"Well, when I find out who did it, there'll be trouble," Albus heard a bang and he figured his dad had just slammed his fist onto something hard.

"Harry, please be a bit quieter. I'm sure whoever it is will be punished."

"I'll be sure of that."

Albus opened his eyes and looked around. He was in the Hospital Wing. Judging by the darkness outside, it must have been the middle of the night. He had no idea how many hours had passed, but he guessed it must have been quite a few. Albus tried to sit up, but was immediately hit by a searing pain in his head and had to lay back down.

Harry rushed over upon seeing that he was awake, "Albus! What on earth happened?"

"How'd I get here?" Albus groaned.

Harry bent over and hugged Albus tight. "Ouch!" Albus winced.

"Really, Harry, I've only just healed those bones!" Madam Pomfrey pulled Harry away.

"Neville found you a couple hours ago. You were laying unconscious at the bottom of one of the staircases. It was obvious you'd fallen down, but it looked like someone had stunned you as well. You've got a cracked skull, a few broken ribs, and a broken arm." Harry answered, once he sat down in the chair next to the bed. "But who did it?"

"Quinton Willinson, and two other Slytherins I don't know," Albus told him.

"What year are they in?"

"Willinson's a seventh year, I dunno about the others," Albus answered.

Harry slammed his hand onto the bedside table and stood up, "Seventh year?! Bloody hell! What in the name of Merlin's saggy left-"

"Harry, calm down!" Madam Pomfrey rushed over to pick up the water jug that had fallen off the table.

"Sorry," Harry resumed his seat, "But honestly, what seventh year gangs up on a first year?"

"Victoire and Amy Eckerton warned me. They said he picks a first year every year to torment. And they told me not to go anywhere alone, because he never picks a fight unless you're alone. Apparently he's not a very good dueler. But I totally forgot about that when I took Matt here," Albus looked around at the empty beds around him, "By the way, where is he?"

"Nothing to worry about now," Madam Pomfrey said shortly.

"Well, Willinson will be getting detention, and loads of it. And those two other Slytherins as well. I'll be talking to Slughorn," Harry muttered.

"Oh, Dad, I disarmed Willinson!" Albus said excitedly, "I'd forgotten about that. Right after I disarmed him, the other two stunned me and I fell down the stairs."

Harry grinned, "Brilliant. You're great at disarming. And if the other two weren't there, you'd have been fine. But, it's hard to disarm three wizards at once."

"It's getting late, I think you'd better give Albus a chance to sleep, Harry," Madam Pomfrey came over holding a goblet of potion.

"All right," Harry stood up and gave Albus a gentle hug, "I'll be back in the morning. G'night, Al, I love you."

"Love you, too," Albus awkwardly hugged his dad back, "Good night."

"I've got a potion to help you sleep," Madam Pomfrey handed him the potion, "Drink up."

Albus took the goblet and downed it in one gulp.

"Knew it was only a matter of time before you showed up here," Madam Pomfrey muttered, "Potters seem to be unable to keep themselves out of this place..."

*****

"What happened, Poppy?" Albus heard someone ask.

"Bad transformation, really bad," Madam Pomfrey replied grimly.

"What can you do?" the voice asked, Albus recognized it now as Neville.

"I'm really not sure," Madam Pomfrey sighed, "I'll administer the usual potions and heal the bones, but other than that... I've got to contact St. Mungo's."

"I'll do it," Neville announced, "Is Albus ok?"

"He'll be fine," Madam Pomfrey assured him, "I'll keep him here until tomorrow morning."

Albus heard Neville leave and Madam Pomfrey tug the curtains shut around one of the beds. She moved quickly around the room whispering to herself and loudly grabbing bottles off of shelves. Albus opened his eyes briefly and saw that the bed at the end of the row had the curtains shut. That's where Matt was. And Albus had been right. He was a werewolf. Any doubt that Albus had was gone. He felt sick with dread at the thought of Matt going through that transformation every month. Stuck with a curse that prevented him from living a normal life. Albus knew what life was like for a werewolf. He heard about Teddy's dad's life. After Hogwarts, what would Matt do? Would he be able to get a job?

"Are you awake?" Madam Pomfrey came bustling over with a breakfast tray, "Good, eat up."

"Is Matt going to be ok?" Albus asked nervously.

"Never you mind," Madam Pomfrey answered as she walked back to Matt's bed and disappeared behind the curtains. She spent much of the next hour bustling back and forth between Matt's bed and her study, where Albus could see her consulting books and mixing potions. Albus watched her and noticed she looked much more worried than usual. What was going on?

Neville returned about an hour later, followed by a tall, balding man in lime green robes. Albus recognized them as Healer robes. Madam Pomfrey came out from behind the curtains when she heard the door open and walked quickly over to the two men.

"I'd better go find Amy, Poppy," Neville announced.

"Yes, I suppose you should," Madam Pomfrey answered, "Poor dear will be worried sick when she sees him."

"I know," Neville sighed and left the room.

Madam Pomfrey turned to the other man, "Oh, good, they've sent you, Healer Sterling," she welcomed the Healer with a sigh of relief, "I was afraid they'd send one of the trainee Healers."

"No, no, I insisted on coming," Healer Sterling assured her, "I'm the one in charge of the study-"

Madam Pomfrey cut him off and gestured to Albus's bed, "Shush! We'll discuss it shortly. Albus, why don't you finish your breakfast?"

"I'm not hungry," Albus mumbled.

Madam Pomfrey's face softened, "Albus, Matt will be ok. You mustn't worry."

"But what's going on?" Albus asked, "I've already figured it out. I know he's a werewolf."

"Be that as it may, I cannot inform you about the situation," Madam Pomfrey said as she and Healer Sterling walked towards Matt's bed, "Now, it's best for you to get some rest."

Madam Pomfrey drew her wand, muttered a spell, and she and the two men disappeared behind the curtains. Albus knew she had casted the Muffliato charm on him. He had witnessed his parents using that spell before. He sighed and picked at his eggs, but he really couldn't eat anything. He knew that Madam Pomfrey really was not sure whether Matt would be ok. Albus sat pondering about what could be wrong, when a loud bang jolted him out of his thoughts.

Albus turned around in his bed and noticed that the banging was coming from the door. Madam Pomfrey ran out from behind the curtains and headed towards the door. "Who's there?" she shouted.

"Rose Weasley," Albus heard his cousin's voice, "Why are the doors locked? Can't we come in and see Albus?"

"I'd rather you didn't. I've got another student in here who needs quiet," Madam Pomfrey said through the closed door.

"Is it Matt?" Rose asked, "Because he's still not back yet."

Madam Pomfrey sighed, "Yes."

"We'll be quiet," Rose answered, "I promise."

"Oh, all right," Madam Pomfrey opened the door, "But only for a little while."

Rose walked through the door, followed by John, Amanda, and James. "Oh, Albus, are you all right?" she whispered as they neared Albus's bed.

"I'll be fine," Albus told them.

"What on earth happened? Never saw you after you took Matt here last night," John asked. He, James, Amanda, and Rose sat down on the bed next to Albus's.

"Met up with Willinson," Albus groaned, "Him and two other Slytherins."

"He's trouble, I tell ya," James shook his head, "Drove me mad until Victoire talked to him last year."

"Yeah, well, he doesn't seem to be listening to Victoire this year, does he?" Albus responded, "Anyway, I disarmed him, but his two friends stunned me at the same time and I fell down the stairs. Got knocked out halfway down and woke up here."

"Whoa, are you ok?" Amanda asked.

"I'm fine. Got a few broken bones, but they're healed now. My head still hurts, though," Albus rubbed his forehead.

"We were so worried when you were still gone this morning," Rose told him, "Went straight to Uncle Harry's study and he told us you were here. By the way, he said he'd be visiting later this morning."

"Dad was here last night, too," Albus said, "He's really angry about it. He's going to give Willinson loads of detention."

John grinned, "Excellent. He'll finally be getting what he deserves."

"Well, I've got to get going. Quidditch practice," James announced as he got up from the bed.

"But you just had a match yesterday," Rose shook her head.

"Doesn't matter. Sunday's one of our usual practice days," James reminded her. "Glad you're better, Albus." James waved and left the room. As he left, Neville, Victoire, and Amy came rushing through. Amy ran straight to Matt's bed with tears in her eyes and Neville following quickly behind. Victoire stared at her questioningly, but turned to Albus's bed.

"I told you not to go anywhere alone!" she sighed.

"I know!" Albus replied, "Sorry. I was just taking Matt here. He was pretty sick last night, and it didn't occur to me that I'd be walking back to the common room alone."

"Oh, I understand that," Victoire answered, "But just be careful from now on."

"I will," Albus assured her. Sometimes, it felt like his older cousins were just extra parents.

"Well, Uncle Harry's furious, so I don't think you'll have to worry much anymore," Victoire told him, "I heard him talking to Slughorn earlier. Apparently, Harry and Professor Longbottom are going to take turns overseeing his detentions and let's just say he's not going to have much free time in the coming weeks."

"Good," Albus responded.

"I'd better be off," Victoire said, "I'm due to tutor Mark in Transfiguration in a few minutes. I was just with Amy, she started getting hysterical when Neville came and found her in the common room. But she wouldn't tell me what's going on. I don't suppose you know?"

"Nope," Albus said.

"Well, I'll see you later," Victoire started to head towards the door, "Whatever it is, I hope Matt's ok."

"Ok, now that she's gone, I've got to tell you about Matt," Albus whispered, "Come closer, I don't want Madam Pomfrey to hear."

Rose, John, and Amanda climbed onto Albus's bed. "What about him?" John asked.

"He's a werewolf," Albus muttered.

"What?" John exclaimed a bit too loudly, "How do you know for sure?"

"Shush!" Albus whispered, "He wasn't here last night when I woke up. And this morning, Professor Longbottom and Madam Pomfrey brought him here, but he was unconscious."

"I knew it," Rose whispered.

"Anyway, Madam Pomfrey said he'd had a really bad transformation," Albus told them, "He's still unconscious. And there's a Healer from St. Mungo's here. They're all behind the curtains on Matt's bed. They won't tell me anything. They casted Muffliato, so I can't hear anything."

"Figures," Rose groaned, "Adults never let us know anything."

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "But what are we going to do about Matt?"

"Well, we've got to figure out how to tell him we know," John answered.

"I don't know about that," Albus responded, "There's a reason he's not telling us. I think we should let him tell us."

"How do we hide that we know, Albus?" John asked.

"We just do," Albus said adamantly, "Anyway, it's got to be harder for Matt to keep this secret than us hiding the fact that we know. He's got to tell us sooner or later."

"I think Albus is right, John," Rose agreed, "He'll tell us soon. This has got to be something he tells us. He has to be ready."

"Fine," John sighed. The four friends sat in silence for a moment, succumbing to their own thoughts about Matt's lycanthropy.

Madam Pomfrey and Healer Sterling came rushing out behind the curtains, and once they did, the Muffliato charm broke.

"I think I can treat him here, Poppy," Sterling said to Madam Pomfrey, "I don't think there's any need to move him to St. Mungo's, unless he gets worse."

"Oh, good," Madam Pomfrey sighed with relief, "That must mean it's not as bad as I thought."

"No, it's not quite that bad. It will take a while to treat, but he will recover perfectly fine," Sterling assured her, "Right now I've got to take these notes back to St. Mungo's and consult with some other Healers. I'll also contact his parents. I should be back sometime in the afternoon. Just keep administering the potions every hour until then."

"I'll see you later, then," Madam Pomfrey bade him goodbye as he left the room.

"I think it's time for you three to leave," she announced, "Mr. Potter needs his rest and he's got to take a few more potions."

"See you, Albus," John got up and started towards the door.

"Bye," Amanda followed behind John.

"Glad you're ok," Rose got up, "When do you get to leave?"

"Tomorrow morning," Madam Pomfrey answered.

"Can we see Matt?" Rose asked.

"Absolutely not," Madam Pomfrey said sternly, "He's in no condition for visitors."

"Ok, ok," Rose responded, "Bye, Albus."

"Bye."

******

Throughout the rest of the day, Healer Sterling popped in and out of the Hospital Wing, bringing with him various potions from St. Mungo's. Shortly after lunch, Matt's parents showed up and they stayed until the evening. Everyone kept using the Muffliato charm against Albus, so he was unable to listen in on any conversations. Eventually he gave up on trying to find out any information about Matt's condition and fell asleep. Madam Pomfrey let Albus leave the Hospital Wing early Monday morning, while breakfast was still going on in the Great Hall. Albus was quite bored with the Hospital Wing and once Madam Pomfrey had deemed him well, he ran straight to the Great Hall. John, Amanda, and Rose were all sitting together, whispering.

"Albus!" John shouted once Albus had sat down next to him, "All better then?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Albus assured him, "Bit hungry, though." Albus piled his plate with eggs and toast.

"We were just talking about Matt," Rose informed him, "How is he doing?"

"I'm really not sure," Albus said through a mouthful of toast, "I couldn't hear a word anyone was saying. They're being very secretive."

"Is he awake yet?" Amanda asked.

"No, he's not," Albus sighed, "At least I don't think so. The bits of conversation that I have been able to hear are mostly about figuring out how to wake him up."

"No chance of visiting him, then?" John wondered aloud.

"Don't think so," Albus told him, "I mean, Madam Pomfrey's still keeping the door locked. You have to say who you are and what you want in order to get in. The only ones who've been allowed to visit are his parents and Amy."

"Oh," John sounded disappointed, "I hope she lets us in soon."

"Scorpius Malfoy tried to get in," Albus lowered his voice, "Last night."

"What the hell did he want?" John growled, "Slimy git."

"Wanted to find out what's wrong with Matt," Albus answered, "He's way too nosy. Anyway, he banged on the door and told Madam Pomfrey he had a nose bleed. But he'd only taken a Nose Bleed Nougat, because once he got in, I saw him eat the other half and the blood stopped immediately. While Madam Pomfrey was shutting the door after him and locking it, he ran over to Matt's bed."

"He didn't see him, did he?" Rose asked anxiously.

"No, the curtains were up. Amy noticed him and she was looking murderous. She yelled at him to go away and mind his own business. Then Madam Pomfrey came back over and noticed he wasn't bleeding anymore and made him leave. Said she was going to tell Slughorn about it. I hope he gets detention."

"Wow, he doesn't give up, does he?" John responded.

"No, he doesn't," Albus agreed, "We're gonna have to be careful about him."

"Post is here," Amanda looked up and commented on the owls swooping into the room.

"Albus, look," Rose pointed to a copy of the Daily Prophet that had been delivered to the girl sitting across from them.

Albus glanced at the paper and immediately noticed what Rose was showing him. The front page headline was 'Mysterious Deaths Mystify Ministry Aurors' with a rather large picture of Harry below it. Albus turned to Rose, "What's that about?"

"I don't know, but I don't like the sound of it," Rose answered. "Can I borrow that?" she asked the girl.

The girl looked at them, and then the article, "Sure, but I'd like it back when you're done." She gave them one last look and then turned to her friend and the two of them started whispering.

Rose took the paper and put it in between her and Albus.

Mysterious Deaths Mystify Ministry Aurors

It started with the murder of Hogwart DADA teacher, Eric Torro, in the beginning of September. Supposedly, the Aurors looked into the death immediately, but there have been no leads. Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, Head Auror, and Hogwarts DADA teacher, has been leading the investigation. But are his teaching duties getting in the way of his Auror duties? There have also been no leads in the death of Jasmine Lamski, which occurred a month ago. We asked if these deaths are connected, but the Auror office responded with 'no comment'. Do they know more than they're telling us? It is these kinds of murders that remind many of us of Lord Voldemort's time of terror. Could there still be Dark Wizards among us? Is the Auror Office doing enough to stop them? And more importantly, should Harry Potter be teaching kids when his efforts are obviously needed in the Auror Office? Despite this, Harry Potter assures the Wizarding World that things 'are under control and there is no need to worry.' People are being murdered and the murderers are not being caught. It might indeed be time to worry.

"That's rubbish!" Albus shouted when he finished the article.

"What?" John asked, trying to read upside down.

"Read this," Albus grumbled as he handed John and Amanda the paper. "Who wrote it?" he asked Rose.

"Rita Skeeter," Rose told him.

"Figures!" Albus shouted, "She's always twisting the truth."

"Doesn't look like the teachers are too happy about it," Rose pointed to the staff table, where all the teachers were whispering amongst themselves. Most of them wore looks of worry and anger. The only one who wasn't whispering was Washburn, who was glaring at the students, just like he usually did. Harry was noticeably absent from the table.

"Blimey," John let out a low whistle, "That's the way to scare everybody."

"There aren't really still Dark Wizards are there?" Amanda asked quietly, she was pale as a ghost.

"'Course there are," Albus told her, "There's always evil in the world. But it's not like Voldemort's coming back or anything. If my dad says there's nothing to worry about, then there isn't."

"Ok, but it's still scary," Amanda responded.

"That's what Rita Skeeter wants," Albus informed her, "That's what she does. She's rarely ever written anything that's she hasn't stretched the truth."

"But what about those dreams and Legilimency?" Rose asked, "Even your dad admits there's something going on with that?"

"I know, but he's taking care of it," Albus assured her, "I mean sure, it's scary, but I don't think it required an article that strikes worry and fear into everyone. No one besides you lot and my family know anything about those dreams. So to them, it's just like someone just started randomly killing a few people."

"That's true," John agreed, "Where's your dad?"

"I dunno," Albus told him, "I saw him last night in the Hospital Wing. He's probably at the Ministry, trying to smooth everything over with this article. If people start complaining that the Aurors aren't doing enough, then he could lose his job here."

"Bloody hell," John exclaimed, "That wouldn't be right. I'm sure the Aurors are doing a good job."

"Quiet!" Professor Kendrick had stood up. The room fell silent as he did so. "Thank you. Now, I'm sure most of you have read today's front page article in the Prophet. I want to assure you all that we are perfectly safe and there is no need to worry. Certain journalists often have the habit of stretching the truth in order to scare people, and that is what is going on here. The Aurors are doing everything in their power to catch whoever murdered Professor Torro and Jasmine Lamski. I also need to inform you that DADA lessons will not take place today, because Professor Potter is spending the day at the Auror Office and the Ministry, trying to calm everyone down. If you have DADA today, please use the time to study for your upcoming exams. That is all." Professor Kendrick sat back down and resumed his conversation with Neville.

Once Kendrick had finished his speech, whispering resumed amongst the students. Anyone who had not seen the article before, was now scrambling to find a copy of the Prophet.

"Well, what're we going to do with our free period, then?" John asked. The Gryffindor first years had DADA first that day.

"I've got homework to finish," Amanda groaned, "Essay for Herbology."

"Ugh, don't remind me," John groaned as well, "I haven't finished it either."

"Well, then you do need reminding!" Rose exclaimed, "I finished that over the weekend."

"Me, too," Albus commented.

"Why don't we go finish it, then, John?" Amanda suggested, "The common room will be pretty quiet with everyone off in class."

"Fine," John reluctantly agreed. He stood up and headed off with Amanda to finish the essay.

"That couldn't have worked out better," Rose whispered to Albus, "Now we can go to the library and resume our research."

"Good thinking," Albus told her, "I've finished that other book. Returned it a few days ago. I'd better get another."

"I've looked through three, but there's loads others," Rose informed him. She started walking out of the Great Hall, with Albus following, "But I haven't found anything useful."

"Me, neither."

Albus and Rose were pleased to find that the library was rather empty. There were a few older students who had a free period, but all of them seemed too busy studying to notice the two first years. They headed straight to the book shelf that held the books they had previously looked at.

"Are we really going to have to look through all of these?" Albus wondered aloud.

"Hopefully not," Rose said as she pulled out a rather large book, "Once we find something about Hallows, we can stop."

"I'm beginning to doubt if that's going to happen," Albus responded.

"I sure hope we find something soon," Rose opened her book and glanced quickly at the table of contents, "Exams will be in a few months, so we're going to have to start studying more, which means less time for this."

"Yeah, maybe we'll get lucky today," Albus hoped, "Want to go find a table?" He had picked out two books to look at.

"Sure," Rose followed Albus into a secluded part of the library, away from Madam Pince and the other students. They read silently for fifteen minutes.

"Well, this book's absolute rubbish," Albus closed his first book, "Says Dad and Voldemort dueled for half a day before Voldemort finally died."

Rose broke out laughing, "Really?! Wow, amazing that got published."

Albus set aside that book and opened the other one, "This looks a bit better."

"Well, look who it is?" someone said from behind Rose.

Albus glanced up. "And what do you want, Malfoy?"

"Just seeing what you're up to on your free time," Malfoy smiled smugly, "I'm assuming you read the article."

"Yeah, I did," Albus said coldly, "But it's not true. Just someone trying to stir up trouble."

"Never can tell, though, can you?" Malfoy sat down at their table, "The Ministry's often hushing things up."

"What do you know about that?" Rose asked.

"Nothing, nothing, just stuff I've overheard my father saying," Malfoy looked over at the book Rose was reading.

"A History of Lord Voldemort," Malfoy read the title, "Interesting title. Why are you reading it?"

"Just a bit of background reading, never can learn too much."

"Hmm," Malfoy looked at Albus, "So, I hear you got into a bit of a duel the other day."

Albus turned red, "Uh, yeah."

Malfoy smirked, "Can't really take on three seventh years."

"He disarmed Willinson," Rose said angrily, "And is it really your business?"

"No, not really, but I still want to know."

"I could've taken on Willinson," Albus added, "He's horrible at dueling. But his two mates got me."

"That's true, Willinson's dueling skills leave a lot to be desired," Malfoy agreed, "But he's smart enough not to duel without others on his side."

"Good for him," Albus mumbled.

"Well, we'd better be off to Charms," Rose slammed her book shut and got up.

"Yeah, bye," Albus muttered and followed Rose. They checked out their books, which got them more inquiring glares from Madam Pince, and headed off to Charms.

Charms was surprisingly uneventful. Professor Washburn did inquire where Matt was, but he seemed satisfied with 'in the Hospital Wing' as an answer. Double Herbology went as usual, although Neville seemed kind of tense and distracted during the class. Albus had assumed this was because of Rita Skeeter's article. Both John and Amanda had managed to finish their essays, although John's wasn't long enough.

"We should see if we can visit Matt tomorrow evening," Rose announced at dinner.

"Definitely," John agreed, "If Madam Pomfrey lets us."

"I can't," Albus said, "I've got Occlumency tomorrow."

"Oh, that's right!" Rose responded, "I'd completely forgotten. I'll just skip that lesson, then."

Albus laughed, "Well, you don't even have to do it anyway."

"I know, but it's really interesting stuff."

"I hope Matt's ok," Albus said in a worried tone, "Madam Pomfrey seemed so worried."

"I wonder how long he'll be stuck in there," John asked.

"I dunno," Albus answered, "I just hope he's conscious now."

"We should probably bring his homework," Rose suggested.

"That'll cheer him up," John said sarcastically.

"He needs to do it if he's going to keep up with classes!"

"True," John agreed, "Speaking of homework, has anyone finished that essay for Slughorn that's due tomorrow?"

"I did," Rose said, "But let me guess, you haven't?"

"Nope," John grinned, "Want to lend me your notes?"

"Not really," Rose shook her head.

"I finished it," Amanda added, she had been rather quiet throughout the whole conversation. Albus could tell that the idea of Matt being a werewolf freaked her out a little bit. He could understand, considering up until a few months ago, she hadn't even known werewolves were real. But he did hope Amanda wouldn't start treating Matt differently.

"Good, I'll use your notes!"

"I'm not quite finished with it either," Albus informed them, "I've just got to write three more inches, then it'll be done."

The four friends finished up their pudding and headed back to the common room. John worked on his essay with Amanda's help, while Albus finished his. Rose did other homework, and eventually she decided to help John as well.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




A/N: Longest chapter yet, I think! I didn't want to split it up because then it would have been two really short chapters. And I know when I read stories, I prefer longer chapters.

Thanks as usual to my sister and beta Dancer_of_Starlight, and my brother and other sister. Thanks as well to inkheart for the reviews.

I'd also like to share that it was about a year ago that I started writing this. So, happy birthday to the story! I finished it about six months ago.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, or any of his many relatives.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Shortly before seven the next evening, James and Albus headed to Occlumency, while John, Rose, and Amanda went to the Hospital Wing. As it turned out, the teachers told Rose that they had already sent Matt's homework to the Hospital Wing and there was no need for her to collect it.

"People talking about that article in your classes?" Albus asked his brother on the way to the Transfiguration classroom.

"Yeah," James responded, "They always stop right when the teacher comes in, though."

"Everyone in my classes have been whispering about it. They try to talk quietly so I can't hear them, but I can," Albus informed him.

"That's what it's like for me, too," James said, "But you know Peyton Haines, the Slytherin Chaser? Well, he keeps loudly discussing how the Auror Department unable to do anything and everyone's in severe danger. Always within earshot of me, too."

"Git," Albus growled.

"I heard he scared the hell out of the Hufflepuffs in Charms today. Said he heard all the Death Eaters had broken out of Azkaban and no one had caught them yet. Load of rubbish. Got away with it, too, because Washburn wasn't in the room yet."

"Probably wouldn't have mattered if he was in the room," Albus muttered, "Slytherins can do no wrong in his eyes."

James opened the door to the Transfiguration room and walked inside, Albus followed. Hermione was already there.

"Hi, boys!" she smiled and gave them each a hug.

"Hi, Aunt Hermione," Albus and James greeted her.

"When's Dad coming back?" Albus asked.

"Yeah, good question," James chimed in, "And what's with that article?"

Hermione's smile faded and she gestured for the boys to sit down. "He'll be back later tonight, so don't worry about that. And as for the article... Well, you both know that most everything Rita Skeeter writes is rubbish."

James and Albus nodded.

"That article was written for the sole purpose of scaring people. All the it did was raise questions. The article itself was just a load of questions. The murders do remind people of Voldemort's reign, so it was quite easy to just write this article and send people into a panic. The fact that the Aurors have no leads in either murder just fueled the fire. But I can assure you that whatever is going on, your father and the other Aurors are taking care of it. And he is perfectly capable of teaching here and heading the Auror department," Hermione told them.

"So there is something going on?" Albus asked.

"Yes, of course something's going on. There have been two mysterious murders, and someone is trying to see your thoughts," Hermione explained, "But it is nothing the Ministry can't handle."

"So, do you know what's going on?" James asked.

"Your dad has a few inklings and he has expressed them to me, but I can't tell you them," Hermione answered, "Now we've got to start the lesson. Open your books to page 50."

Albus and James opened their books and Hermione lectured them for a half hour. Albus found this part of the lessons extremely boring, but every lesson started this way. Albus didn't expect any different from his Aunt Hermione, who was always trying to get him to read a lot of books. Eventually, the lecture part of the lesson was over and the practical part began.

Albus had been getting better at Occlumency. He had yet to prevent Hermione from entering his mind, but usually managed to force her out after a few minutes.

"Albus, you first."

Albus got up from his chair and stood in front of his aunt. "Remember to close your mind. Legilimens!" she shouted.

Albus stood there, being flooded with his own memories, for a few minutes. He saw James levitating Albus's glass of pumpkin juice at last summer's family reunion, the time he got lost in a Muggle grocery store when he was five, and the first time he ever rode a broom. Albus concentrated hard on blocking out all thoughts, and he was able to force Hermione out of his mind.

"Good job, Al!" Hermione congratulated him, "It took you less time than last lesson."

Albus tried two more times, both times producing the same results as the first, and then he sat down to watch James.

James had been having a much more difficult time than Albus. He had only been successful once, and it had taken him nearly ten minutes. This time proved to be no different, and after fifteen minutes, James had not been able to force Hermione out of his mind. The last try, he had even wound up laying on the floor. Hermione had thought that was enough, and James and Albus went back to the common room.

"How'd it go?" Rose asked, when Albus sat down next to her. Rose, John, and Amanda were all sitting at one of the tables, doing homework.

"Pretty good," Albus answered, "It's taking me less time to get your mum out of my mind. But James can't get her out at all."

"He'll get there eventually," Rose responded.

"Did you get to see Matt?" Albus asked as he pulled out his Potions homework.

"No," John said sadly, "He's still unconscious. And Madam Pomfrey still has the doors locked. She's got a really short temper, too."

"Yeah, Scorpius Malfoy was skulking around!" Rose exclaimed, "We went up there and he was trying to listen in through the door."

"Little git," Albus muttered, "So what happened?"

"We told him to go away, but he wouldn't," John explained, "He whipped out his wand and tried to hex Amanda, but missed her. Madam Pomfrey came out when she heard the commotion and told him to get back to his common room or she'd get Slughorn. Then she told us Matt was still unconscious and we wouldn't be able to see him."

"Malfoy's really got to stop investigating this," Albus responded, "He can't find out. He's got to mind his own business."

"We can't let anyone find out," Rose agreed.

"But he's still not up?" Albus sighed, "Whatever is going on, it sounds really bad."

"I know," Rose shook her head.

"Well, his birthday is next week," John reminded them.

"Oh, yeah, on the sixth, Wednesday," Albus remembered.

"I think we should do something for it," John stated, "Even if he's still in the Hospital Wing."

"I bet he will be," Rose said, "But we can still do something if we're allowed in."

"Let's plan it, then," John announced, "Our first Hogwarts birthday party. Because you guys didn't do anything for mine," he added.

"Your birthday was over the holiday!" Rose lightly smacked him with her DADA book.

"I know," John grinned, "Anyway, we could bring some food into the Hospital Wing and have the party there."

"Great idea!" Albus grinned.

"But none of us know where the kitchens are," Amanda reminded them.

"No problem," Albus glanced around the common room, "Oi! Bradley, Mark!" he waved his two cousins over.

"Whatcha need, Albus?" Bradley asked as he sat down in an empty chair at the table.

"We're going to have a little birthday party for our friend, Matt," Albus told them, "But none of us know where the kitchens are. So, since there's a Hogsmeade visit on Saturday, could you get us some stuff?"

"Sure, no problem," Mark said, "Butterbeers and some stuff from Honeyduke's sound good?"

"Yeah, that'd be great."

"What should we get him for a present?" Rose asked.

"Hmm, I dunno..." John stopped to think, "Stuff from Weasley's is always good."

"How about a Chudley Cannons jersey?" Albus suggested.

"Sounds good!" John agreed. Rose and Amanda nodded their heads.

"Anywhere in Hogsmeade that you could get one of those?" Albus asked his cousins.

"The Quaffle Shop should have it. I've only been there once. It just opened up this past summer," Bradley told them, "I can get you one."

"Thanks!" Albus grinned.

"But you'll have to give us money for everything," Mark told them.

Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda each forked over a couple sickles and handed them to Mark.

"Ok, we'll get the stuff and give it to you when we get back," Bradley said, and he and Mark rejoined their friends on the other side of the common room.

"It's really rotten luck that he's going to be in the Hospital Wing on his birthday," John commented.

"Yeah, but we'll try to cheer him up," Albus reasoned.

"What if Madam Pomfrey doesn't let us in?" Amanda wondered.

"She better," Rose stated, "But she's got to, it'll be his birthday. If anything, we can always get Amy to let us in."

"True, she'd be able to convince Madam Pomfrey. She's got some temper," John laughed.

"Just as long as we don't ask her too many questions," Rose said, "Amy obviously doesn't want anyone knowing about Matt's, er, problem."

"We won't," Albus told her, "Hopefully Madam Pomfrey will just let us in and we won't need Amy to do any convincing."

Rose glanced at her watch, "Well, it's getting kind of late. I'm going to bed," she started packing up her books, "Did you all finish your homework?"

"Yep," they all answered.

"Good night, then," Rose got up and walked over to the girl's dormitories.

"I guess I'll go to bed, too," Albus put his books away and got up.

"Me, too," John and Amanda put their stuff away. Amanda caught up with Rose and followed her up the stairs.

John headed up to the boy's dormitories with Albus. As Albus got ready for bed, he thought about Matt's birthday party. He hoped that Matt would be up for it, and that Madam Pomfrey would let them in. Hopefully, they would be able to have the party and that it would cheer him up. He also wondered how much longer Matt would be able to keep his secret from his friends. Albus only hoped that someday, he would trust them enough to tell them. He got into bed and his thoughts drifted to Scorpius Malfoy and how suspicious he was about Matt. Would they be able to keep him from finding out? And what would happen if he did find out one day? The thought of Scorpius finding out worried Albus right until he fell asleep.

******

"His ideals will be realized," a cold voice surrounded Albus.

"Whose ideals?" Albus asked.

"The one you fear the most," the voice answered. It was coming from a cloaked figure that was circling Albus. They were in a dark, small room. Albus was sitting in a hard chair in the middle.

"Voldemort?" Albus responded nervously, "But he's dead."

"It doesn't matter!" the voice screamed, "There are others to carry out his plans!"

"They're all in Azkaban." Albus tried to make out who the cloaked figure was, but it was too dark.

"Not all of them. There are some who roam free," the figure whispered in Albus's ear, "Now, perhaps you can help me."

"Sorry, I can't," Albus glared at him, feeling braver than he had a second ago.

"Oh, I think you can," the figure pulled out his wand and pointed it at Albus. He muttered a spell and Albus's hands and feet became bound by magical rope. "Now, maybe you can tell me where the Hallows are?"

Albus's eyes widened and he stared at the man, "What do you know about Hallows?"

"Not nearly as much as you do," the man answered, "Now tell me where they are!"

"I don't know!" Albus shouted, feeling the ropes constrict his hands. He winced in pain.

"I'm sure you do!"

"NO! I don't!" The ropes dug into his wrists even more as he felt the circulation to his hands being cut off.

"Tell me!" The man forcefully shook Albus's chair. "You don't want to know what I'll do if you don't!"

"But I don't even know what Hallows are!" Albus screamed in pain, "What are they?!"

"You know perfectly well what they are! Now tell me where they are!"

"NO!"

"Tell!" the man shook the chair so hard it fell over, taking Albus with it. He screamed as his head hit the cold, hard floor.
"Albus!" an anxious voice whispered, "Wake up!"

"No, no, no, I don't know what they are..." Albus moaned in his sleep.

"It's just a dream, wake up," a warm hand shook him gently, and Albus wrenched his eyes open. He saw John looking down at him with a scared look on his face. Bilius and Ethan were behind him, glancing around nervously.

Albus rubbed his eyes and noticed he was not on his bed anymore. He was laying on the floor, in a tangle of blankets. He was sweating profusely and his heart was beating fast.

"Should I get Madam Pomfrey?" Bilius asked tentatively.

"Maybe we should get Professor Potter," John responded.

"Is he back yet?" Ethan questioned.

Albus started to detangle himself from the bedclothes. He knew what the dream had been. And he knew he needed to see his dad as soon as possible. "I'm fine, I've just got to go talk to my dad."

"D'you want me to go with you?" John asked.

"No, I'll be fine," Albus got up and rummaged in his trunk for his dressing robe.

"Are you sure? You don't look too good."

Albus pulled on his robe and stepped into his shoes, "I told you, I'll be fine." He left the dormitory and went down to the deserted common room. A glance at the clock told him it was just past four a.m. He was about to exit through the portrait hole, when he remembered what his dad had told him over Christmas. No more wandering the corridors. He looked around the room to try and find a portrait that was awake. He spotted one in a picture of a herd of cattle, it was a short knight riding atop a fat pony.

"Excuse me," Albus asked tentatively as he walked over to the picture, "I was wondering if you could do something for me? If it's not too much trouble. I need you to go get someone for me."

The knight puffed out his chest and turned his pony towards Albus, "A quest?"

"Er, well, I suppose you could consider it a quest. Who are you?"

"I, am Sir Cadogan, at your service!" the knight saluted Albus and bowed his head low.

"Um, ok, and I'm Albus Potter. I was wondering if you could go get my dad. Harry Potter."

"Harry Potter! Quite the nice young lad, I remember him well. I helped him on a quest once! And you are his son. Well, I shall help you on your quest. I shall not let scoundrel nor beast stop me! I will find your dad or I shall perish trying!"

"Thanks, then," Albus responded, thinking that this was the strangest portrait he'd ever met. And that he'd have to ask his dad about the 'quest' Sir Cadogan had helped him with. "Just tell him to come to Gryffindor Tower, and that it's very important."

"I will do just that!" the strange knight replied, "Off I go then! Nothing shall stop me. Sir Cadogan lets nothing get in the way of his quests. A quest to find the great Harry Potter! On with ye, then!" he shouted at his pony. Sir Cadogan traveled through a few portraits in the common room, waking up the occupants and earning nasty looks from them as he went. Eventually, the noise died down and Sir Cadogan exited the room.

Albus looked around the common room as he waited for his dad. It was very different in the dead of night. He was the sole occupant and had his choice of places to sit. As a first year, Albus rarely got the good arm chairs near the fire. He walked over and sat down in one, but as the fire had died away hours ago, it was just as cold as the rest of the room. Albus sighed as he stared into the empty fireplace. What had that dream meant? Who was the hooded figure and why did they think that Albus knew where the 'Hallows' were? As Albus thought about this, he realized that as horrible as the dream had been, it did give him more information on the 'Hallows'. He now knew that they were objects. Objects that someone was trying to locate and probably steal. He would have to tell Rose when she got up. But what were the 'Hallows'? And why did this person want them? It must have something to do with Voldemort's 'ideals', of course. Whoever was creating these dreams in Albus's mind must want to try to carry out Voldemort's plans. The very thought of another Voldemort sent shivers up Albus's spine. He jumped as he heard a noise behind him. When he turned around, he noticed that Sir Cadogan was back in the picture of the cows. Albus got up and walked over to it.

Sir Cadogan placed his sword into its holster and saluted Albus, "I have had success with the quest! The Great Harry Potter has been found and shall be entering the room shortly!"

Albus looked at the knight and grinned nervously, "Thanks, Sir Cadogan."

"Anytime! Anytime!" the knight said excitedly, "I must be off now, for I spotted someone on the way back and I've got to see what they are up to! No scoundrel gets past Sir Cadogan!"

"Right," Albus responded.

"Well, then, I'll be off!" Sir Cadogan drew his sword again, "But if you are ever in need of knightly service again, be sure to call on Sir Cadogan!" The strange knight and his pony sped out of the portrait, yet again waking the occupants of the portraits he passed through, and left the room.

The portrait hole opened and a very tired looking Harry crawled through. He looked at his son and grinned, "Ah, the amount of times I snuck back through here in the dead of night..."

Albus ran towards his dad and hugged him tight. Harry hugged him back and led him over to the large arm chairs near the fire. Harry sat down in one and pulled Albus onto his lap. "What's going on? I was just getting to sleep when that mad knight came in and told me you needed to talk to me. Wouldn't give me any details, just said it was urgent. I thought he was going to wake half the castle, the way he was shouting through the corridors," Harry laughed.

Albus looked at his dad and laughed nervously, "He was the only one awake. Seemed very eager to go on a quest. And he said he'd taken you on a quest once. I'd like to know all about that."

Harry grinned, thinking back to the time in his third year when Sir Cadogan had led him, Ron, and Hermione to the Divination classroom. "Of course. How could I forget that? I was in third year and your Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione, and I were trying to find the Divination room. Sir Cadogan helped us find it. We did get there, but he is a bit insane. Later on that year he was recruited to guard the Gryffindor common room entrance after Sirius slashed the Fat Lady's portrait. Of course, everyone thought he was a mass murderer and when Sir Cadogan let him into the tower later on, his days as the guard of the room were over."

Albus stared at him, "Wow. Well, he's got to be the most insane portrait I've ever met."

"Me, too, Al," Harry agreed, "Now, what was so urgent?"

"I had another dream," Albus whispered, "Only this one was different."

Harry's smile faded away and was replaced by a more serious look, "What happened in this one?"

Albus quickly rehashed the dream to his dad, and by the end he was shaking again and almost in tears. Harry wrapped his arms around Albus and held him close.

"It's ok, Al," Harry reassured him, "But thanks for letting me know. I hate to say it, but that dream does help confirm what I thought this was leading to."

"And what would that be?" Albus asked, blinking back his tears.

"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you. You will find out, though, once it's all sorted out."

"But what are Hallows?"

"That's another thing I can't tell you. I will tell you sometime down the road, though," Harry responded, "Anyway, Hermione tells me your Occlumency lessons are going well."

"Apparently not well enough," Albus groaned, "After tonight's nightmare."

"It takes a while, Al, and it's harder when you're sleeping."

"I know, and I am trying."

"I know you are."

"So," Albus said, changing the subject, "Did everything go ok at the Ministry?"

"Oh, that went fine," Harry told him, "Everything's smoothed over. Rita Skeeter's received a warning and so has the editor of the Prophet."

"Everyone here's been pretty worried. Rita Skeeter succeeded in scaring everyone," Albus responded.

"Yeah, but it'll die down. Once the next Quidditch match comes around it'll all be forgotten," Harry grinned, "Nothing like Quidditch to take your mind off everything."

"Definitely," Albus agreed, "Next match is in three weeks. Hufflepuff vs. Ravenclaw. I bet Ravenclaw will win."

"You're probably right. I'm betting it'll be between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw for the cup."

"Yeah, and I hope we win it!" Albus said excitedly.

"Me, too, Al," Harry smiled and lifted Albus off his lap, "Now, I've got to get a few hours sleep and you probably should, too."

"Ok," Albus yawned.

"I'll see you in class later on, Al," Harry stood up and gave his son one last hug, "I love you."

"Love you too," Albus watched as his dad left the common room. He smiled as he walked up the circular staircase to the dormitory. He felt a whole lot better after talking to his dad.

"Albus," John whispered from his four poster bed, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," Albus whispered back as he climbed into bed, "Are Ethan and Bilius sleeping?"

"I think so, one of them started snoring a few minutes ago," John told him.

"Good. I had another one of those dreams where someone's using Legilimency on me."

"I figured. Was it the same one?"

"No, this one was different. My dad says it confirms some of his suspicions, which isn't really good. He'll take care of it, though."

"Good. So he's back, then?"

"Yup, everything's fine with the Ministry and the Prophet, now. Well, Rita Skeeter and the editor of the Prophet got into a bit of trouble," Albus laughed.

"That's great! I'm glad your dad's back. Now things can get back to normal. Well, as normal as they ever are around here."

"Yeah," Albus said softly, "Well, good night."

"'Night."

******

Albus didn't get much sleep that night. Thoughts of his new nightmare kept him up the rest of the night. He gave up trying to sleep by 7am and got up. By the time John woke up, he was ready to go to breakfast. The two boys met Rose and Amanda at the Gryffindor table and had breakfast. Albus noticed that there was a lot of whispering going on and he suspected it was due to the fact that Harry was back from the Ministry. Albus continued thinking about his nightmare during breakfast and was very quiet. John and Amanda did not notice this because they were in the middle of arguing about whether the Potions essay had to be a foot of parchment or just six inches. Albus suspected Amanda was right and the essay had to be a foot. Rose, however, kept looking at Albus while she ate her food.

"Is something wrong?" she asked him.

Albus glanced around to check if anyone was paying attention to them, luckily, no one was. "Yeah, I had another weird dream last night. This one was different."

"Really?" Rose stared at him with wide eyes. "What was it about?"

"Can't tell you here. I'll tell you at lunch. I've got to tell James, too. The common room should be empty when everyone's at lunch," Albus whispered.

Morning classes seemed to drag on forever. Albus kept looking at the clock throughout both DADA and charms, waiting for lunch. He really wanted Rose's opinion of the dream and couldn't wait to tell her about the Hallows aspect of it. Harry started DADA by telling the class that everything was straightened out with the Ministry and they had nothing to worry about. Albus suspected he was going to tell every class that. Charms was just as horrible as usual, and it ended with Washburn rescheduling the detention that Albus couldn't attend earlier due to Occlumency. He would be doing lines at noon on Saturday.

Once Charms was over, Albus and Rose went to find James. Rose had told John and Amanda that the Potions essay did have to be a foot, so John was spending his lunch in the library trying to come up with another half foot of essay. Amanda had gone along to help him. Albus and Rose found James in the Great Hall and after the three of them ate a rushed lunch, they headed up to the common room. It was, as suspected, deserted.

"Ok, so what's so important that I had to practically skip lunch for?" James asked once they were in the room.

"I had another funny dream last night," Albus told him, "This one was different." Albus explained the dream in detail, including the parts about the Hallows.

James and Rose stared at Albus for a few moments before Rose spoke, "Well, this is is kind of good. Now we know that the Hallows are objects. I was almost thinking that they were a series of spells or something."

"But we still don't know what they are," James sighed.

"Or why I should know where they are," Albus stated, "This would be a whole lot easier if Dad would just tell us."

"But he won't," James replied angrily.

"And I hate to say it, but I don't think we're going to find any answers in the library. We've looked in practically all the books that have to do with the war and I've looked through all the Prophets from that year, too," Rose told them.

The three of them stood in silence for a few minutes, trying to think of some answers. James had started pacing. Albus sat down in a chair and tried to think of some other way they could find out what the Hallows were.

"Well, let's go over the clues again," Rose announced, "The Hallows are something secretive, and our parents won't tell us what they are because they don't want us to tell anyone. None of our aunts or uncles or cousins know about them either. So, maybe it's just our parents who know about them? If that's true, then no wonder we couldn't find the answer in a book. None of our parents have ever written a book."

"Yeah," James agreed, "It's got to be something just our parents know about."

"Well, they were the ones who destroyed most of the Horcruxes. Maybe it's got something to do with that?" Albus suggested.

"That could be," James agreed, "If only there was someone else we could ask about it."

The room fell silent again, as they sank into their thoughts again. Suddenly Rose jumped up from her chair. "I've got it!"

"What?" James and Albus asked at the same time.

"Who we can ask about the Hallows! I can't believe I didn't think of it before!"

"Well, who is it?" Albus asked.

"Dumbledore!"

"What?!" James shouted, "But he's dead!"

"I know that," Rose said, "But there's a portrait of him in Kendrick's office!"

"Oh, yeah."

"Anyway," Rose began, "Dumbledore's the one who told Uncle Harry about the Horcruxes, so he might know something about the Hallows, too!"

"That's genius, Rose!" Albus grinned at her.

"Thanks. We just have to figure out how to get into Kendrick's office."

"That could be tricky," Albus said, "Either of you know where his office is?"

Rose and James shook their heads. "Neither do I," Albus sighed.

A mischievous grin spread across Rose's face, "But I know how we can get in."

The boys looked at her skeptically. "How?" James asked.

"Well, if you get in enough trouble, you get taken to Kendrick's office."

"But what if we get expelled?" Albus asked warily.

"Don't worry, you won't."

"You've got a plan, then?" James inquired.

"Sort of," Rose told them, "I've got a vague idea. It'll be me and Albus who are doing it. I'm going to cause some kind of mayhem in Washubrn's class-"

"Washburn?! Are you crazy?" Albus shouted.

"Just let me explain. Washburn doesn't hate me nearly as much as he hates you. So he's going to assume the chaos was caused by you since we sit at the same table. He'll start screaming, which will probably cause another teacher to come running. Washburn will tell that teacher what you supposedly did and you'll get taken to Kendrick's office. You'll talk to Dumbledore's portrait about the Hallows. Simple as that."

James and Albus looked at her with shocked expressions on their faces. "But I'll get in huge trouble," Albus said flatly.

"No, you won't," Rose assured him, "I might, but you won't. After Washburn dismisses the class, I'll run to Uncle Harry and tell him it was really me who caused the distraction."

"But I don't want you to get in trouble, either," Albus told her.

"It's ok. I have hardly been in trouble at all this year. Anyway, all we need is the distraction."

"I've got it," James announced, "One of Uncle George's fireworks. I've got a whole supply up in my dormitory."

"Excellent!" Rose said excitedly, "And I'll just tell Uncle Harry that it went off accidentally. I'll probably just end up with lines or something for having a banned object in my possession."

"Perfect," Albus smiled, finally satisfied that no one would get in huge trouble.

"I think we ought to wait a few weeks to do it, since you just got a detention from Washburn, Albus," Rose told them.

"Ok, just let us know when you think we ought to do it," James responded.

"I will," Rose assured him, "We'd better be off to class. See you later."

"Bye," Albus said to James as he followed Rose to Potions. He was excited and nervous at the same time at the prospect of talking with Dumbledore about the Hallows. Would he finally learn what was being kept from him? Only time would tell.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: I've done it again! I merged 2 chapters, due to the shortness of each. This resulted in the longest chapter yet. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks as always to my beta and sister, Dancer_of_Starlight. She has been especially helpful in coming up with characters for Albus's third year. Thanks as well to my brother and other sister, and to inkheart for the review!

Disclaimer- As usual, I do not own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The rest of the week flew by in a flurry of classes and homework. Albus and his friends found that they had no time to do anything other than homework during their spare time. They had not even found time to visit Matt, but they didn't even know if he was awake yet. Rose was already freaking out over the end of term exams, which were still over four months away, and was using every waking moment to study. Albus was not yet worried about exams and was more concerned about just completing all the assigned homework.

Quinton Willinson had not bothered Albus or any of his friends since Albus had left the Hospital Wing. Albus was not sure whether this was due to Willinson's upcoming N.E.W.T. exams, the large amount of detentions he received, or fear of what Harry would do if he continued tormenting Albus. Albus did not care which one it was, he was just glad Willinson had given up for the time being. However, the same could not be said about Scorpius Malfoy. Malfoy continued to pester Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda about what was wrong with Matt whenever they were in class together. Albus found this more annoying than anything else, because Malfoy rarely ever brought out his wand during these confrontations. Malfoy kind of reminded Albus of his Great Aunt Petunia because she was also very nosy. Malfoy stood no chance of ever finding out about Matt from Albus or the others, but Albus did worry about what would happen if Malfoy found out on his own.

Albus slept late on Saturday morning and woke up with just enough time to grab a bite to eat in the Great Hall before rushing off to his detention with Washburn. As much as Albus hated these detentions, he had become kind of immune to them. Albus had been upset about the first few, but lately he had started to take them in stride. As long as it was just lines, Albus didn't worry about them too much.

When Albus arrived in the Charms classroom at noon, Professor Washburn was sitting at his desk with the usual scowl on his face. "Sit down, Potter," he barked.

"Yes, sir," Albus responded quietly while taking a seat at the front table.

"Get out your parchment and ink. Write 'I will not misbehave in Charms' until I tell you to stop."

"Yes, sir," Albus repeated as he took out a roll of parchment and a quill. He started to write. Washburn never told Albus how many times he would have to write the line. He supposed Washburn liked to keep Albus there until he looked sufficiently tired and uncomfortable. Washburn had no way of knowing how many lines that would take. However, he never kept Albus in detention for less than an hour. Albus kept repeating the line on his parchment while trying hard not to look at the clock. He found that looking at the clock just made the time go by slower. Eventually, Albus stole a glance at the clock and found that it had only been 45 minutes. He sighed.

"You say something?" Washburn growled.

"No, sir," Albus said without looking up from his paper. He wrote a few more lines and was startled when he heard footsteps come into the room. He glanced up to see that a tall man he didn't recognize walking towards Washburn. The man was wearing a black cloak and had short brown hair. It reminded Albus of the kind of haircut Muggles in the army had. Washburn got up from his seat when the man approached.

Washburn turned to Albus, "Don't go anywhere. If you do, I'll have you in detention for the rest of term."

Albus nodded, but didn't say a word. The strange man followed Washburn into his office and shut the door behind them. There was silence for a moment and then Albus was able to hear raised voices coming from the office. They had forgotten to cast Muffliato before they started talking. It sounded like they were arguing about something, but Albus couldn't make out what it was. He wished they'd argue a bit louder. Albus put down his quill and strained to hear what they were saying. The two men stayed in the office for about fifteen minutes before Washburn stormed out of it, looking quite angry, followed by the other man who seemed rather calm. Albus quickly picked up his quill and continued his lines.

Washburn returned to his desk while the strange man walked over to the door. He turned around to look at Washburn and said icily, "Remember, this is your job, no one else's. And I expect you to complete it soon." Then the man left, shutting the door behind him.

Washburn stared at the back of the door for a few minutes, before turning and glaring at Albus. "You're done. Get back to your common room," he seethed.

Albus did not hesitate. He got up quickly and ran out of the room. Today's detention had been much shorter than others. Albus suspected that this was due to whatever Washburn and the other wizard were talking about. Washburn was definitely up to something. Apparently he had a job to do. But what could it be? Albus couldn't help but wonder if the Charms professor was involved with something evil. He ran all the way to the common room to tell his friends what he had overheard.

When Albus rushed through the portrait hole, he immediately spotted his friends at one of the tables. He grabbed a chair and sat down next to Rose.

"That was short," Rose commented.

"I know, I lucked out today," Albus responded, "But I've got to tell you about Washburn."

"What about him?" John asked, looking up from his book.

"In the middle of my detention, some strange wizard came barging into the room," Albus told them.

"Who was he?" Rose asked.

"I dunno, that's the thing. I'd never seen him before."

"What did he look like?" Amanda asked. Albus described the man, but none of his friends recognized the description either.

"Maybe he was a parent of one of the students," Rose suggested.

"Who knows?" Albus said, "But he got into a huge argument with Washburn."

"Well, that's not difficult," John laughed, "Anything will set him off."

"What did they argue about?" Rose asked.

"I'm not sure. They were in Washburn's office. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but they were definitely rowing about something. And then, right before the guy left, he said 'remember, this is your job to do and I want it done soon' to Washburn. Or something like that."

Rose, John, and Amanda stared at Albus for a moment before Rose replied, "That's so strange. So Washburn's doing something for this wizard?"

"Yeah, I think so. He's definitely up to something. And I don't think it's anything good," Albus informed them.

"You think they're doing something evil?" John asked skeptically.

"Maybe, but I don't really know."

"I dunno," John said warily, "I mean, Washburn's horrible to you and James, and all the Gryffindors, really. But I don't know if he's really into the Dark Arts or anything."

"Yeah," Rose agreed, "That 'job' could be anything. It doesn't have to be something bad."

"But Washburn seemed so mad about it. Just seems weird to me."

"It's definitely fishy, but I don't think we should jump to conclusions," Rose replied, "I mean, look at Snape. Uncle Harry thought he was evil, but he wasn't."

"I suppose," Albus sighed.

"Anyone want to go see if we can visit Matt?" John asked a few minutes later.

"Good idea," Albus agreed, "I hope Madam Pomfrey lets us."

"I hope he's awake," Rose closed her books and put them away in her bag.

"We can at least try to convince Madam Pomfrey to let us visit him on his birthday if she doesn't let us today," John reasoned.

The four friends packed up their books and put them away in their dormitories. A few minutes later, they found themselves walking to the Hospital Wing. They walked in silence the whole way there, each one knowing what the other was thinking about. All four of them were hoping Matt was awake and worrying about him. Albus had been worrying ever since the morning he found out Matt was a werewolf. But at the same time, Albus felt a bit angry that Matt wouldn't trust him with his secret. Albus's rational side knew why Matt wasn't very trusting, but couldn't help wishing that Matt would confide in him. Albus supposed that part of this was due to his dad not trusting him with knowing what the 'Hallows' were. He wished more people would trust him.

When they reached the Hospital Wing, they noticed that the doors were still shut, and when John tried to open them, they found out that they were still locked as well.

"This isn't a good sign," John sighed.

Rose banged on the doors and shouted, "Madam Pomfrey!"

A minute later, Madam Pomfrey opened the door a crack and stuck her head out. "What do you need?"

"Is Matt awake?" Rose whispered.

"Yes, he woke up last night."

"Well, can we see him?" Rose asked hopefully.

"No, I'm sorry, but he really can't have visitors right now," Madam Pomfrey sighed.

"Is he all right?" John interrupted.

"He'll be fine in a couple of weeks or so."

"Can we come visit him on his birthday? It's next Wednesday. Please?" Albus pleaded.

Madam Pomfrey's expression softened, "I think that would be all right. Not before Wednesday, though. I'll see you then."

"Great! Thanks, Madam Pomfrey," Albus smiled as she closed the door to the ward.

"I'm glad he's awake now," Rose said as they walked back to the common room, "And we get to see him on his birthday."

"Yeah, and we didn't even need Amy to convince her!" John grinned.

"Can't wait until Wednesday," Albus said.

"Definitely," Amanda agreed.

"Boo!" a voice said from behind them. Amanda shrieked and they all turned around. Bradley and Mark were laughing.

"Gotcha!" Bradley shouted.

"We got your stuff from Hogsmeade," Mark told them. He handed them two bags filled with butterbeer and sweets.

"Awesome," Albus took the bags.

"And here's the Chudley Cannons jersey. Although, what he sees in them..." Bradley shook his head as he handed John the jersey.

"Thanks, guys," Albus said to his cousins.

"No problem," Bradley said, "I remember the days of not being able to go to Hogsmeade. We always got Stanley and Heather to get our stuff for us. Glad those days are over now."

"I can't wait to go to Hogsmeade," John announced, "Think of all the pranking stuff we'll be able to buy. There's only so much you can fit in your trunk and bring from home."

"Endless possibilities, Mate," Mark told John, "Well, we'd better be off. We've put off the homework long enough. Play first, work later. That's our motto."

"Bad motto, if you ask me," Rose whispered as her cousins took off for the common room.

"They'll survive," Albus assured her, "Haven't failed a class yet, have they?"

"No, they haven't," Rose agreed, "We'd better go, too."

"Yeah, I've still got to write that whole essay for Potions," Amanda sighed.

Albus groaned, "I'd forgotten about that. Haven't even started."

Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda continued walking to the common room. Once they were there, they spent the remainder of the afternoon writing essays about the properties of moonstone.

******

During the next few days, Albus and his friends debated about whether they should ask Matt how he wound up in the Hospital Wing when they went to see him on his birthday. Albus thought they should avoid the topic altogether, still believing that Matt would tell them when he was ready. However, Rose thought it would seem suspicious if they didn't ask what happened, because if your friend gets injured, you would want to know what happened. As it stood right now, the only people in the castle who knew what really happened were the teachers, Amy, Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda. Of course, no one knew that Albus and his friends knew what happened. Despite this, many people asked them what happened. Albus just told them he had no idea and after a few days, they gave up asking. Albus had heard quite a few ridiculous rumors about it. He overheard a few second year Hufflepuffs telling a couple Ravenclaws that Matt had been attacked by a thestral. This same story had been repeated throughout the castle, only with a different creature being substituted each time, including a Hippogriff and a centaur. The centaur story was especially ridiculous and Albus was sure the centaurs would not be happy if that story reached their ears.

In the end, Albus and his friends decided that they would ask Matt what happened, but they would not dwell on the subject. Albus was sure that Matt, or maybe even Amy, had come up with some kind of story to cover up what happened. Despite this, Amy was not telling anyone the story. She just ignored anyone who brought it up. Her friends, including Victoire, stayed close by her at all times and wouldn't let anyone push the matter. Albus suspected that Victoire had already been fed the fake story, but he didn't ask her about it.

After dinner on February sixth, Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda found themselves walking to the Hospital Wing armed with party supplies and a wrapped present.

Rose was the first to reach the door and when she went to knock, everyone was surprised to find that the door pushed open. "It's unlocked!" Rose gasped.

"That must mean Matt's doing better!" Albus said excitedly.

"Let's go, then!" John pushed past Albus and Rose and walked into the room. Amanda followed him and then Albus and Rose walked in. Albus spotted Matt's bed, but the curtains were pulled around it. He didn't see Madam Pomfrey anywhere.

"Madam Pomfrey!" Rose shouted, "Are you here?"

Madam Pomfrey peeked her head out from behind the curtains and smiled at them. "Rose! You can visit as soon as I'm done giving him his evening potions."
"Ok, thanks, Madam Pomfrey," Rose responded.

A few minutes later, the nurse came back out and walked over to where Albus and his friends were standing. "What do you have in those bags?" she eyed their packages suspiciously.

"Oh, just some Honeydukes stuff, Butterbeer, and a present," Albus told her.

"But none of it's Weasley products, is it?"

"No."

Madam Pomfrey relaxed, "Ok, good. The last thing I need is to have this place destroyed while you have your party! You can go see him now."

Albus ran to the bed, followed by his friends, and pulled back the curtain. Amy was sitting in a chair next to the bed and whispering to Matt. She stopped abruptly when the curtain opened.

"Hey, Matt!" Albus grinned and sat down at the end of the bed. "How are you?"

"I'm all right," Matt replied hoarsely, "But I've been better."

"Glad to see you're awake, mate," John sat down next to Albus and set the bag of party stuff on the floor.

Rose and Amanda smiled and sat in chairs that Amy had conjured after they came in. Rose pulled the curtains closed and handed Matt his present. "Happy Birthday!" everyone shouted.

"Thanks, guys!" Matt grinned and tore open the wrapping. "Wow! A Chudley Canons jersey! This is brilliant!"

"I'm glad you like it," Albus said, "My cousins picked it up in Hogsmeade for us. They also got us butterbeers and sweets."

"Excellent!" Matt replied excitedly.

John picked up the bag and passed out butterbeer and jelly slugs. "So," he began once everyone started eating, "What exactly happened to you? We've heard the craziest rumors. You didn't really get attacked by a herd of thestrals, did you?"

Matt started choking on his butterbeer and Amy slapped him on the back. He gave her a worried look and then looked back at John. "Really?" he sputtered.

It was a bit hard to believe that Matt had been attacked by thestrals, when Hagrid had the school thestrals very well trained. But on the other hand, Matt did look like he'd been attacked by a large creature. He had partially healed cuts, bites, and scratches all over all his body. His arms and legs were covered in bandages and just about all of his body was bruised. Albus could see how someone would suspect he was attacked by a thestral.

"Well, that's what the Hufflepuffs are saying," John told him.

"The Ravenclaws think it was a Hippogriff," Amanda chimed in.

Matt sighed and glanced at Amy, who gave him a look. "It wasn't either," Matt began, "I got a bit too close to the Whomping Willow."

"What?!" John exclaimed, "Really?

"Er, yeah," Matt said.

Albus was debating about whether to ask Matt to elaborate or not when he continued.

"I spent the night here when Albus took me that one night. Then I left in the morning and went for a walk on the grounds. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and the tree gave me quite a beating."

"Wow," Albus responded, "I'm glad you're ok."

"Yeah," John said, "But when do you get to leave here?"

"I'm not really sure," Matt told them, "Not for at least another week. Madam Pomfrey wants the cuts healed and the bruises faded before I leave. And I can't really walk that well."

"A whole week?" Rose exclaimed.

"At least," Matt responded, "I hope it's not more. I'm getting so bored. What's been going on in the rest of the castle?"

"Well, did you see that article Rita Skeeter wrote last week?" Albus asked.

"Yeah, I read it yesterday. But Amy told me there wasn't anything to worry about."

"She's right. But the whole castle's talking about it. Dad thinks it'll blow over when the next Quidditch match arrives."

"He's probably right," Rose agreed.

"I hope I get to leave here before the next match. I don't want to miss it," Matt said.

"I hope so too," John took a sip of butterbeer, "Nothing worse than missing Quidditch."

"I can think of no less than ten things," Rose muttered.

"I think we might have a chance of winning the cup," Albus said excitedly.

"That would be so cool!" Amanda shouted, "I love Quidditch. I was never into Muggle sports, but Quidditch is awesome."

"Definitely," John agreed, "I never saw the point of Muggle sports, but I guess if you can't play Quidditch..."

They spent the next hour talking about Quidditch and everything else that was going on in the castle. Albus told Matt about how Xavier Goyle had melted his cauldron in potions the other day. The potion had spread across the floor and burned through Scorpius Malfoy and his friend, Jackson Limbert's, shoes. The Gryffindors had thought this was very funny, especially when they found out that the potion had turned both boys feet pink. Other than that, nothing too exciting had happened in class during Matt's absence. Washburn had continued being horrible to Albus and the other Gryffindors. In Transfiguration, they had started transfiguring Muggle pencils into quills. Rose, John, and a couple of the Ravenclaws were the only ones who had managed to do it.

After they had exhausted the topic of lessons, the conversation turned back to Quidditch. Professional Quidditch this time. No one seemed to think the Chudley Canons had any hope of ever making it to the Cup. Even Matt seemed to agree. No one had any idea who would be playing in the Cup this year, but it didn't matter much because it had already been decided that the Cup would take place in Russia and none of them would get to go anyway.

Amy spent the entire visit sitting next to Matt, so Albus was unable to share the contents of his newest dream or what had happened in detention the previous Saturday. Albus found out that Amy spent most of her spare time visiting Matt. He had never seen such a devoted sister before. Albus had thought his older cousins were protective, but they were nothing compared to Amy.

Eventually, Madam Pomfrey came back to tell them that they had stayed long enough and it was time for them to leave.

"Well, I hope you can leave soon," Albus said as he stood up.

"'Night, Matt," John cleaned up the leftover food and put it back in the bag.

"See you soon," Rose told him.

"Bye," Amanda stood up and followed everyone out from behind the curtains.

"Bye, guys," Matt yawned as they left.

"He doesn't look good," Albus whispered once they had left the room.

"No, he doesn't," Rose agreed, "But at least he's awake."

"Good point, but I can see why Madam Pomfrey won't let him leave yet. Everyone would bombard him with questions about what happened," John pointed out.

"I don't think he knows you were in the Hospital Wing that night, Albus," Amanda said, "He says he spent the night in the Hospital Wing, but you know he didn't."

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "And they brought him back there so early, there wouldn't have been any time for him to wander the grounds."

"Don't point it out, though," Rose warned him.

"I won't," Albus assured her, "We agreed that we wouldn't say anything about what happened now that we've heard the story."

"He'll have to tell us eventually," John reasoned.

"I know. I hope it's soon," Albus said.

"I bet it will be soon," Rose told them, "How many stories can he come up with about what happens every full moon?"

"Yeah," Albus said, "I just hope it's not worse next month."

No one said anything else the rest of the way to the common room. Albus knew that everyone else was thinking what he was thinking. That it was very much a possibility that next month would be worse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, and thanks to my other sister and my brother. Thanks to inkheart for the review.

You may have noticed that I lost practically all my reviews for this story during the site crash. I had around 40 and lost all but 8. So please read and review!

I thought I'd share that I've finished the sequel to this! Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind, which is about Albus's 2nd year, will be posted as soon as I've posted all of this one.

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



As February progressed, the castle grounds were blanketed in even more snow. The students found themselves going outside for snowball fights during much of their free time. These games started out as informal fun, but soon groups of people formed large teams that eventually led to each house having their own team. On occasion, half the school would be outside participating. The games usually resulted in a few students going to the hospital wing. The students also tracked quite a bit of snow and mud into the castle and Filch was not happy about it. He spent his time lurking near the front doors, waiting to yell at anyone who came inside with muddy shoes. Albus and his friends participated in a few snowball fights, but soon found that the older students were able to bewitch snowballs and it was hard for them to keep up. It was fun nonetheless, and even Rose took breaks from studying to join in.

They also made sure to visit Matt every night. They told him the latest news of the castle and helped him with his homework. No one mentioned his injuries beyond a simple 'how are you?' and Albus could tell that Matt wanted to avoid the subject. Eventually, after a full three weeks in the hospital wing, Madam Pomfrey finally let him leave. His bruises had faded, cuts had healed, and was looking almost normal. By now, the entire castle had heard the Whomping Willow story, and Albus hoped that no one would ask any questions about it.

"I am so glad to be out of there," Matt said as he set his books down on a table in the common room the night he left the hospital wing.

"I'm glad you are, too," Albus sat down and took out his transfiguration book.

"We all are," Rose grinned, but didn't sit down. She walked over to Albus and whispered in his ear, "I've got to talk to you, alone. James, too. We'll go up to your dormitory. Bilius and Ethan are down here, so it'll be empty."

"We'll be right back," Albus told Matt, John, and Amanda as he got up. He went up to his dormitory and sat on the bed, waiting for his brother and cousin.

A few minutes later, Rose came into the room followed by a bewildered looking James. "What is it?" James asked.

"I think it's time for our plan, you know, about getting Albus to talk to Dumbledore," Rose told them.

"Now?" Albus asked in a shocked tone. The more he had thought about that plan, the more nervous he became. It could go wrong in so many ways.

"Yes, I think so," Rose replied adamantly, "I've given up the library research."

"Really?!" James laughed, "I'd better call the Prophet!"

"Shut it, James," Rose said. "Tomorrow, during Charms, I'll set off the fireworks and you'll get sent to Kendrick's office. And then maybe we'll finally get some answers."

"All right," Albus sighed. His curiosity trumped his desire to not cause anymore trouble in Washburn's class.

"We'll let you know how it goes, James," Rose told her cousin.

James grinned, "Somehow, I think I'm going to hear about it before I see you. This is brilliant, setting off fireworks in Washburn's class...."

"I'm not talking about that!" Rose sighed, "I'm talking about the stuff with Dumbledore."

"I know, but still. Blimey, I wish I'd be there to see the look on Washburn's face...."

"No, you don't," Albus replied, "He's going to be livid."

"Yeah, but that's what we're hoping for," Rose said, "It's the only way to get into Kendrick's office."

"I know, I just wish there was a better way," Albus sighed.

"Me, too," Rose said softly.

******

Albus hardly slept at all that night. He tossed and turned while worrying about the next day's charms class. He finally gave up sleeping around six in the morning and got up. Once John and Matt were up, the three of them headed down to breakfast.

Albus sat next to Rose, who was already there, and served himself some toast. However, Albus was too nervous to eat it. He just kept glancing up at the staff table, where Washburn was doing his usual morning glare at the students.

"Are you ok, Albus?" Matt asked, "You don't look too good."

"I'm just tired, I guess," Albus said quietly while glancing at Rose. She gave him a sympathetic look, but didn't say anything. Amanda, John, and Matt had no idea what would be happening in Charms, of course, so they just thought Albus was sick.

"Maybe you should go to the Hospital Wing," Matt suggested while stuffing eggs in his mouth.

"No, I'll be fine," Albus assured him.

Albus couldn't pay attention during DADA. Harry lectured during the whole class, but Albus spent the whole time worrying about Charms. The class seemed to go by twice as fast as normal and before Albus knew it, it was over.

Albus walked to Charms with Rose, who told him that everything was set. The Weasley fireworks were in her bag, and ready to be set off. She didn't tell him when it would be happening, but Albus assumed it would be during the practical part of the class.

Washburn stormed into the room in his usual burst of fury. He went to his desk and took attendance. When he got to Matt's name, a strange grin appeared on his face.

"Nice of you to finally join us in class, Eckerton," he sneered, "What's it been? Three weeks? I certainly hope you've been studying Charms while you skipped class."

Albus glanced over at Matt, who was turning red and slouching down in his seat.

Washburn continued the attendance and when he was done, he started lecturing. Albus's heart was pounding loudly now and he couldn't make out a word Washburn said. All he noticed was that Washburn was calling on Matt to answer every single question he asked. Matt had no idea what any of the answers were and was looking more miserable each minute. Eventually, Washburn announced that they would be charming paper birds to fly. He said that this charm was much like levitation, and if one was capable of levitating a paper bird, they'd be capable of making one fly.

Albus groaned as he pulled out his wand. Levitation never ended well in this class, and he knew for a fact it wouldn't end well today. He glanced down at Rose's bag, which was sitting in between them on the floor. Once Washburn settled down to grade homework at his desk, Albus noticed Rose turn her wand from her paper bird and towards her bag, which had been emptied of everything except the fireworks earlier. She gave Albus a nervous look and muttered an incantation.

A loud explosion erupted from the bag and a large hippogriff made of fire floated towards the ceiling. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at it. A few people screamed. Albus put on a mortified face while Rose tried her best to look surprised.

"Potter!" Washburn ran out from behind his desk and was in front of Albus within five seconds. Albus had never heard him scream so loud. "What on earth are you doing?! Must you always disrupt my class like this?! Never have I seen such a blatant disruption!" He was shouting so loud now that Albus was sure everyone in the castle had heard him.

"I'll have you expelled from this castle!" Washburn continued, "I'll make sure you-"

"What is going on in here?" Professor Patil came charging into the room and interrupted Washburn's tirade. She saw the firework and pointed her wand at it. It disappeared immediately.

"Potter has disrupted my class yet again! He set off a firework while I was trying to teach!" Washburn informed her, "And I will make sure there is some punishment! He has gotten away with far too much."

"Well, I think this is a matter that is better taken up with the Headmaster," Professor Patil replied, "Come along, Potter."

Albus nodded and got up from the table. So far, so good. The plan was going as well as it could be. He was going to make it to the Headmaster's office. He followed Patil out into the hallway. Washburn glared at him as he left, his mouth opening and closing, but no words were coming out.

Professor Patil did not say a word the whole way to the Headmaster's office. She led him up a few flights of stairs and stopped in front of a stone gargoyle.

"I'm in the middle of teaching a class, so I'll leave you here to see the Headmaster," she informed him. "Rubber duck," she said to the gargoyle.

The gargoyle opened to reveal a circular staircase. Albus stepped inside and climbed up. His heart was pounding as he stepped off the last stair and came into a circular room. It was adorned with the portraits of past headmasters. There were all sorts of silver instruments on every surface, along with bookcases overflowing with books. In the back was a desk with a comfy looking chair behind it. Behind the chair was Professor Dumbledore's portrait. Albus glanced around and noticed that he was alone in the room. Luckily, Professor Kendrick was not there. Albus breathed a sigh of relief. That was the one thing that could have gone wrong with the plan. If Kendrick was there, then Albus would not have a chance to talk to Dumbledore.

Albus ran to Dumbledore's portrait, eager to get this over with, as Kendrick could return any minute. As he approached Dumbledore, he passed the only other portrait that was currently awake. It was a portrait of a greasy haired, hooked nose man. "Getting into trouble, Potter? Just like your father," the man said. It was Professor Snape.

Albus chose to ignore him as he reached Dumbledore. "Um, excuse me, Sir," he started.

"Hello, Albus," Dumbledore smiled, "I wondered when I'd be seeing you. But I must ask, what kind of trouble did you cause to be sent here?"

"I, um, er, well, it wasn't me, exactly. It was Rose. But we assumed, hoped rather, that I'd get blamed for it," Albus stammered.

"Ah, you've been wanting to talk to me?" Dumbledore asked.

"Yes, sir," Albus replied.

"I will be glad to help you, but first I really must know what you and Rose did," Dumbledore insisted, "I am rather curious."

"Well, Rose set off a Weasley firework in Professor Washburn's class," Albus confessed.

"Interesting. I seem to remember her mother doing the same in my class once, although I never could prove it," Snape commented.

"That's certainly a creative way of getting to talk to me," Dumbledore replied, "But I must tell you that a better way would be to send word with another portrait and I'd be able to meet you in the common room."

Albus slapped his head, "I can't believe I didn't think of that! Too late now. Anyway, what I want to talk about is private."

"Oh, I understand. Ask away."

"Um, well, over Christmas, Rose, James, and I, and a few other of our cousins overheard our parents talking," Albus paused, waiting for the reprimand for listening in on a conversation.

"Perfectly understandable. I do believe that if adults don't want children hearing their conversations, they ought to use the proper charms against eavesdropping."

Albus grinned, "That's what I thought, but Grandma was pretty mad. She took away all of James's Extendable Ears."

"What a shame. I always thought those were ingenious. I wish they had been invented when I was your age."

"Anyway, we overheard that they are keeping something from us. A secret, I guess. We always thought they told us everything about Voldemort, the horcruxes, and the Battle at Hogwarts. But now we're not so sure. They were talking about figuring out when to tell us something. Something they don't want us to spread around," Albus informed him.

"I see," Dumbledore replied with a thoughtful look on his face, "Go on."

"Well, Professor, we think we sort of know what it is. Well, I heard them say one word and the same word was mentioned in these weird dreams I've been having. I've been having dreams due to someone doing Legilimency on me. I'm learning Occlumency, though."

"That's good," Dumbledore said, "I hope it's going well."

"Mine is, but James isn't doing so well with his."

"Who's teaching you?" Snape interrupted, "It's not your father, is it?" Snape laughed at the very thought.

"No," Albus replied coldly, "But he could if he wanted to."

"No, he couldn't," Snape replied, "I tried to teach him, and he is incapable of the task."

"He's doing better now," Albus said defensively.

"Who is teaching you, then?" Snape pressed.

"My Aunt Hermione."

"Well, as much of a know it all she was, she's probably a competent teacher," Snape approved.

"Thank you, Severus," Dumbledore said, "Now, continue, Albus."

"Um, right. Anyway, I guess I was wondering if you could tell me anything about the Hallows," Albus held his breath, waiting for Dumbledore's reaction.

Dumbledore sighed, "I was afraid that's what you were going to ask. What do you know about them?"

"Not much. My parents haven't told me anything, but I'm pretty sure that's what they're keeping from us. Rose, James, and I have been researching in the library about them, but we haven't found anything. All I know is that they are objects and I learned that from my dreams."

"Be careful not to believe everything those dreams tell you," Snape warned, "That was one of your father's problems."

"Severus," Dumbledore said warningly and turned back to Albus. "You will not find any information about the Hallows in the history books about Voldemort. And this is because there are few who know about their importance in the final battle. Many of those who do, do not believe it."

"So, they do have to do with the battle?" Albus asked.

"Yes, they do," Dumbledore confirmed.

"Will you tell me what they are?"

Dumbledore sighed again, "I am afraid that it is not my place to tell you. That responsibility remains with your father. I will tell you that they played an important role in defeating Voldemort, but beyond that, you'll have to wait until your father is ready to tell you."

Albus groaned, "But why? Why won't he tell me?"

"Adults have a habit of keeping things from children because they think they are protecting them. This is not always the case, as I have learned on many occasion. I made the same mistake numerous times, most of them involving Harry and the information about his past."

"Oh," Albus responded, "Do you know when he'll tell me?"

"No, although I do think it will be soon. Perhaps within the next few months," Dumbledore revealed.

"Months?!" Albus shouted, "I can't wait that long!"

"Patience is a mighty virtue, Albus," Dumbledore said, "I know it's hard to wait that long. Which is why I will give you a little hint."

"A hint? Like where we can find out about the Hallows without asking my dad?" Albus asked hopefully.

"Not exactly. But before I get to that, I sense there is something else troubling you."

Albus thought for a moment before responding. "Well, I guess there is one thing..." he paused, wondering if he should tell Dumbledore about Matt.

Dumbledore smiled, but didn't say anything.

Albus sighed. "Ok, it's my friend Matt. He gets sick a lot, once a month to be exact. And I just found out he's a werewolf. Not that that matters or anything. I still want to be friends with him," Albus said quickly.

"Ah, yes, Matthew Eckerton," Dumbledore replied.

"You know him?"

"Yes, he voiced a few concerns to me before the school year started. He and his parents had a meeting with Professor Kendrick."

"That was quick, Potter. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised that you found out so quickly. Your father never was able to put the clues together to figure out that Lupin was a werewolf. Miss Granger told him," Snape interjected.

Albus averted his eyes from Snape and mumbled, "Er, Rose is the one who really found out. I just confirmed it when I was in the Hospital Wing the same time as Matt."

"Of course," Snape said flatly.

"Severus," Dumbledore warned, "Continue, Albus."

"It's just, Matt hasn't told us yet. He's still trying to hide it from us. I just wish he'd trust me. It just kind of feels like no one trusts me. Matt won't tell me he's a werewolf and my dad won't tell me about the Hallows. Why won't anyone trust me?" Albus told Dumbledore.

"I understand," Dumbledore responded, "But I do think it's more complicated than you not being trustworthy. You, I believe, are very trustworthy. As far as Matt trusting you, I will tell you that he had a very rough childhood. He's been through horrors you can't even imagine. I do think he trusts you, but I don't think he tells many people about his lycanthropy. I know that he is very afraid about what will happen if people find out-"

"But it doesn't matter to me! Or John or Rose or Amanda!" Albus interrupted.

"I know. But past experiences have caused Matt to be reluctant to tell anyone. Although I do think he will confide in you eventually."

"So you agree that I shouldn't tell him that I know?" Albus asked.

"As long as he doesn't know that you know, I think that would be a wise choice."

"No, I don't think he has any idea that I know," Albus said.

"Good," Dumbledore continued, "Now, I believe trust is a two-way street. You want Matt to confide in you, but can you think of anything that you are keeping from him, and John, and Amanda as well?"

Albus wracked his brain, "Well, just the Hallows, but I don't even know what they are."

"The Hallows, that's exactly what I suspected you were keeping secret. But why?"

"Um, I guess I'm not sure. It just seems like something that I should keep to myself. Since my parents haven't even told anyone," Albus reasoned.

"Ah, but you wish your parents would tell you about them?"

"Yes, but-"

"It might be wise to tell your friends, Albus. Just because your parents haven't told anyone, doesn't mean you have to keep it to yourself."

"Really?" Albus asked.

"Yes, and that is my hint to you. Tell your friends what you know about the Hallows. They just might be able to help you," Dumbledore told him.

"You think they would know more than we could get from books?" Albus asked skeptically.

"There's only one way to find out," Dumbledore winked.

"All right, if you're sure," Albus responded.

"Good luck with that, Potter," Snape smirked.

Albus heard a door open behind him and he jumped. He had momentarily forgotten what he had done to get to Kendrick's office. As he remembered the chaos in Washburn's class, dread consumed him once more. What was going to happen? Albus turned around and saw Professor Kendrick standing in the doorway.

"Sit down, Albus," Kendrick said as he walked towards his desk.

Albus sat down in the chair in front of the desk while Kendrick sat down in his chair.

"Professor Patil told me what happened. Before we start discussing, I'm going to ask Professor Washburn to come in. Along with your dad. Hopefully we'll be able to get to the bottom of this," Kendrick got up from the desk and went over to the fireplace. He threw a handful of floo powder in and thrust his head into the emerald flames.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks to Moonylupin for the review!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




"Now, don't expect to create much more than a wisp of silvery fog on your first attempt," Harry told his class of eager seventh years, "Patronuses are difficult for even the best wizards to conjure."

"But my mum and dad said you managed it in your third year," Christina Davies interrupted.

"Well, yes, I did," Harry told his class, "But I had wonderful teacher and the motivation I needed to manage it at such a young age. Now, everyone think of a happy memory, just as we discussed-"

"Excuse me, Harry?" The flames in the classroom fireplace turned a bright emerald green and the headmaster's face appeared in it. The whole class turned to look towards the fireplace and were shocked to see Professor Kendrick's head.

"Yes, Professor?" Harry answered in a confused tone. Fireplaces had been installed in all the classrooms during the rebuilding of Hogwarts after the Battle in order for the teachers to communicate faster in the event of an emergency. Harry had never used his fireplace before and was a bit worried when he saw Kendrick in it.

"Your son caused a disruption in Charms just now-"

"What did James do this time?" Harry sighed.

"No, not James. It was Albus," Kendrick told Harry.

"What?!" Harry was baffled. He never imagined Albus would cause enough trouble to be sent to the Headmaster's office. Even James had avoided that so far.

"Yes, it was Albus. He's in my office right now and I'd like to discuss it with you and Professor Washburn," Kendrick said

"All right. I'll meet you in your office in a few minutes."

"I'll see you then," Kendrick's head disappeared and the flames returned to their usual orange.

The seventh years all turned their heads back to Harry, with looks of shock on their faces.

"What did Albus do?" Victoire asked, "I can't imagine him getting in trouble."

"I really don't know what happened, Victoire," Harry answered.

"Were his friends in on this, too?" Amy asked anxiously. Harry could tell she was worried about her brother getting in trouble.

"I'm not sure. I just heard about this now," Harry responded, "I've got to go. I'm dismissing class now. I trust you'll all use this time responsibly," Harry grinned, knowing they'd all use the time to goof off. "We'll continue with Patronuses next class."

Harry left the classroom as his students were packing up. He made it to Kendrick's office in record time, gave the password, and entered the room. Kendrick was sitting behind his desk, with Albus and Washburn sitting in front of it. There was an empty chair between them. Nobody was saying a word. Both Dumbledore and Snape's portraits seemed to be paying close attention. Harry walked over to the empty chair and he noticed that Albus was shaking and he looked extremely scared.

"Hi, Al," Harry whispered and gave his son a quick hug before taking the middle seat. Albus remained quiet and he was staring straight at Dumbledore's portrait.

"Daddy won't be able to save you this time, Potter," Washburn sneered.

"That's enough, Jameson," Kendrick said calmly, "Now that Harry is here, could you please explain to both of us what happened?"

"I was trying to teach and all of a sudden, there was an explosion and a firework emerged from the table he was sitting at," Washburn spat, "He set it off to cause a disruption. He's been doing it ever since the beginning of the year."

"Is this true, Albus?" Kendrick asked. All three adults turned to look at Albus, who was sinking lower in his seat. He did not say a word.

"Of course it's true!" Washburn growled after a few moments of silence.

A loud banging disrupted their discussion. Harry turned away from Albus and looked at the office door. "Do you want me to get that?"

"Yes, I suppose," Kendrick replied.

Harry got up and went over to the door. He opened it and Rose came bursting in. She was out of breath and looked flushed. "Don't. Expel. Him." she panted.

"What?!" Kendrick said, "I wasn't planning on expelling Albus."

"You should!" Washburn stood up and glared at Kendrick.

"Sit down," Kendrick responded, "You have to respect my decisions. I will not expel Albus, but there will be a punishment."

"No!" Rose shouted. She walked towards Kendrick's desk and stood in front of it. Harry followed and stood behind Albus's chair. "It wasn't him!" she announced.

"What do you mean?!" Washburn exclaimed, "Of course it was him! I saw him!"

"No, you didn't. You saw it came from our table, there was no way you could tell who actually did it. John, Matt, and I were also sitting at that table," Rose explained.

"What are you getting at, Rose?" Harry asked. Now he was thoroughly confused about the whole event.

"It was me," Rose said simply, "It was my firework."

"You set off a firework during a class?" Harry was mystified. If there was anyone who was less likely than Albus to cause trouble during class, it was Rose. Rose did love causing trouble, but she never did it during classes.

"Well, not really," Rose glanced shiftily at Washburn and then returned her gaze to Harry. "Not intentionally, that is. It was one of those new fireworks that Uncle George is working on. They're still in the testing stage. The ones that are supposed to actually disappear if you vanish them, but then reappear an hour or so later. Only right now they permanently disappear."

"That's good," Harry breathed a sigh of relief. There were much worse experimental products that could have accidentally gotten set off.

"Anyway, they're very unstable right now and they go off if there's a lot of magic around, and we were practicing charming paper birds," Rose told him.

"Why did you have it?" Harry asked.

"I, um, took it during Christmas break," Rose mumbled while looking at her feet.

"What?!" Harry exclaimed.

"I found it at the Burrow and didn't realize it was one of the experimental ones. I just realized that the other day."

"And why was it in your bag?"

"I was meaning to give it to you during DADA, but I forgot," Rose confessed.

Harry sighed, "All right. I guess that mystery is solved."

"What about punishment! They need to be punished!" Washburn shouted while glaring at Rose.

"Rose will get lines, but seeing as Albus wasn't actually involved, I can't punish him," Kendrick explained.

"But, but," Washburn sputtered.

"And that is final, Jameson," Kendrick said firmly, "Now, Albus and Rose, you should get going to your next class. Rose, you can do your lines with Professor Washburn tomorrow night at seven."

Albus and Rose nodded. Albus got up and gave Harry a hug before he followed Rose out of the room. He still didn't say anything, but he looked a bit less scared than he had earlier and he had stopped shaking.

Kendrick stood up, "I'm glad we got this all straightened out. I shall see both of you later."

Washburn glared at Harry and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Harry turned to leave as well, but stopped when he heard a familiar voice. "Harry, I would like to discuss something with you, if you have time."

Harry turned around and saw the familiar face of Albus Dumbledore looking at him. "Yeah, I've got time."

"I'll leave you to your conversation, then," Kendrick said as he left his office.

Harry walked over to Dumbledore's portrait, "What is it, Professor?"

"I had an interesting conversation with Albus earlier."

"Really?" Harry was very curious as to what the two of them would have talked about.

"Oh, yes," Dumbledore continued, "He has been wondering about the Hallows."

"The, the, Hallows?" Harry stammered. He didn't think his kids had ever even heard of the Hallows.

"The Hallows. He overheard you talking about them over Christmas holiday. He, James, and Rose have been attempting to research them in the library ever since."

"They have?"

"That's what Albus told me. Naturally, they did not find any answers," Dumbledore went on, "So, Albus asked me what I knew about them."

"And did you tell him?" Harry asked anxiously.

"I told him I do know about them, but that I could not give him the answers he wanted. I believe that is your duty, Harry," Dumbledore responded.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank you."

"Why haven't you told them, Harry?"

Harry stopped to think. Dumbledore gazed at him while waiting patiently. "Well, I guess because I don't want a whole lot of people knowing about them. The last thing we need is to have someone seeking them out."

"But you fear that is what's happening."

"Yes, I do. I'm afraid that's what the dreams mean," Harry told him.

"Are you afraid the kids will tell the whole school?"

"I guess I am," Harry confessed, "Especially James. He's always so eager to tell everyone he meets stories about me."

"He is proud of being your son," Dumbledore said, "And I think if you expressed your concern about others knowing about the Hallows, they would keep the secret."

"You're probably right," Harry sighed, "But I'm also afraid about whoever's doing the Legilimency finding out about them. If I tell the kids, then whoever wants the Hallows will be able to find out where they are."

"Perhaps. It is a tough call. But I'm sure you'll always make the right decision in the end," Dumbledore replied, "Were you ever planning on telling them?"

"Yes, I was."

"When?"

"I'm not sure, I guess," Harry responded, "When they were a bit older, I suppose. But I was waiting for the right moment."

"And that moment might be approaching earlier then you thought," Dumbledore replied, "Albus thinks you don't trust him."

"He does?" Harry sighed. This was getting more complicated by the moment.

"Yes, he told me. He is a bit upset about it. But it is aided by the fact that you aren't the only one keeping a big secret from him."

Harry paused to think. Who else was keeping secrets from his son? "Oh, his friend, Matt, right? He hasn't told Albus yet, has he?"

"No, he hasn't. But Albus and Rose have figured it out on their own. I don't think he fully understands why Matt hasn't told him. He just sees it as the people he loves aren't trusting him ."

"Oh, no, it's so much more complicated than that," Harry responded.

"That's what I told him. But that is an issue that's between him and Matt and there isn't much you can do about it. What you can do is reconsider when you are going to tell your children about the Hallows."

"Yeah, I guess I will. I just don't want to rush into it. Maybe at the end of term would be good. That way they can process the idea over the summer at home where they won't be tempted to tell others about it."

"That would be wise," Dumbledore smiled.

"Thanks for telling me, Professor. I should probably get going," Harry said.

"I shall see you soon, Harry."

"Bye," Harry turned around and left the office. He thought about what Dumbledore said on his way to the Great Hall for lunch. What Dumbledore said made sense, but he was still reluctant about telling his kids about the Hallows.

******

"That was an impressive lie the Weasley girl told," Snape said curtly to Dumbledore after Harry left.

"Yes, it was," Dumbledore agreed.

"But you didn't tell Potter about it."

"No, I did not feel it was necessary. I don't think anymore punishment would have accomplished anything. I can't imagine Albus or Rose will do anything like that again in the near future," Dumbledore explained.

"They did lie, though. They lied to the Headmaster. That deserves punishment," Snape responded.

"Perhaps, perhaps," Dumbledore said calmly, "But, Severus, you did not tell Harry either."

******

"That was crazy," Albus shouted after he left the headmaster's office with Rose. As soon as the gargoyle closed behind them, James appeared in front of them.

"Well, are you in huge trouble, Albus?" he asked anxiously.

"Luckily, no," Albus told his brother.

"What happened, then?" James pushed, "Are you going to tell us about your talk with Dumbledore?"

"Of course!" Albus said, "Just not here. What if someone heard us?"

"There's still an hour until our next class, why don't we go up to the common room? It might be empty now," Rose suggested.

"Good idea," Albus agreed. He started walking towards Gryffindor Tower. James and Rose followed, neither of them saying a word.

The common room was empty. Albus, James, and Rose hurried inside and snagged the good armchairs near the fire. James and Rose looked at Albus expectantly, waiting for him to begin.

Albus launched into a lengthy explanation about his conversation with Dumbledore. James and Rose sat quietly and didn't interrupt him. Albus told them every bit of the conversation, except for the parts about Matt. Albus would tell Rose about that later, after James left.

"So, Dumbledore knows?" James said after Albus finished.

"Yes, he does, but he won't tell me much," Albus explained, "Just told me to ask my friends."

"That's so strange," Rose furrowed her brow, "Why would they know anything about the Hallows if we don't?"

"Dunno," James commented, "He was a bit mad, though."

"Yeah, but he was brilliant. He hasn't been wrong about much," Albus reminded them.

"So, you think we should tell our friends?" Rose asked.

"I'm not really sure," Albus confided, "I'd be willing to try anything right now to figure out what the Hallows are, but what if Dad's mad that we told people?"

"He can't be mad if we don't even know what they are," James reasoned, "As far as he knows, we've never even heard the word 'Hallows'."

"That's true," Rose said.

"Well, Dumbledore seems to think that Dad's going to tell us soon, possibly this year," Albus reminded them.

"Maybe we should give it another month or so?" Rose suggested, "Maybe something will turn up in the library."

"Dumbledore said we won't find anything in the library. The Hallows do have to do with Voldemort's downfall. He told me that much. And hardly anyone knows about that part, of course."

"I guess we could give it a little while longer, to see if he tells us about them," James sighed.

"Ok, then, we'll wait a bit longer," Albus agreed, "Anyway, if Dad won't tell us, he certainly won't want our friends to know."

"Yeah," James said, "Oh, what punishment did you wind up with?"

"I got detention tomorrow night," Rose told him.

"I got nothing," Albus grinned.

"What?!" James shouted, "Nothing?"

"Nope, nothing."

"I convinced them it was me. Well, I convinced them the firework went off accidentally," Rose explained the story she told about the experimental firework.

"That's amazing," James grinned, "You must be an excellent liar."

Rose blushed and suppressed a smile.

"Speaking of amazing," Albus started, "How did you find out where Kendrick's office is?"

"That would be all me," James continued grinning, "All my brilliance."

"What did you do?" Albus asked suspiciously.

"Well, I expected to find Uncle Harry in his office after class, but he wasn't there. I was so worried you'd get expelled before I was able to explain. So I went to find James so we could figure out what to do-"

"Let me tell him, Rose," James interrupted, "We ran back to Dad's office and that's when I thought of how we could find the office. Mind you, I wish I'd thought of it earlier and then you wouldn't have had to do the whole firework thing."

"Well, what was it?" Albus asked impatiently.

James reached into his robes and pulled a rather old looking piece of parchment out. "The Marauder's Map."

Albus stared at it and smacked his forehead. "Of course! Why didn't we think of it before?"

"I dunno, but the thought just popped into my head. I'm so glad Dad told us how it worked. We were able to find Kendrick's office, but of course the door was closed and we didn't know the password. But then we looked at the map and the little dot labeled 'Rose Weasley' had a speech bubble that said 'Rubber duck'. So Rose said that and she was in. Easy as that."

Albus continued to stare in awe at the map. "So now you've got the map? You're going to be in huge trouble. What if Dad's using it?"

"I don't think he is. It wasn't sitting out or anything. We weren't even sure it was there, thought he might have left it at home. I summoned it. It came flying out of the bottom of a trunk that was shoved in the back of the storage cupboard," James explained.

"Are you going to keep it?" Albus asked.

"For now," James told him, "At least until I hear anything about Dad wondering where it is."

"I hope you don't get in trouble, James," Rose warned, "Be careful."

"I will, don't worry. I'd just like to get some mischief in," James grinned.

"Be careful about who sees it, too," Rose insisted.

"I'm just letting Nathan and Bradley see it. And Cedric and Ben, of course. They know all about it. And they keep asking when I'd manage to nick it."

Rose sighed, "Fine. Well, we'd best get going to class." She stood up and walked towards the portrait hole.

Albus got up and followed Rose, "See ya later, James."

"Bye," James waved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to inkheart, Moonylupin, and Peter for their reviews!
Please read and review!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




As the week progressed, Albus fell back into his usual Hogwarts routine. His homework drove most of the thoughts about the Hallows out of his head. He occasionally thought about telling John, Matt, and Amanda about them, but he decided not to. James, who was even more busy than Albus, did not seem to be lingering on thoughts of the Hallows either. Between homework, Quidditch practice, and Occlumency lessons, he hardly had any leisure time at all. Albus had yet to hear about any amazing pranks that James had been able to pull off with the help of the Marauder's Map.

Towards the end of the week, Albus and his friends had something else to worry about that succeeded in Albus momentarily forgetting about the Hallows all together. The full moon. It fell on a Monday this month. The Sunday before it, Albus and his friends were enjoying a snowball fight on the grounds.

SMACK! John had sent a snowball at the back of Albus's head and the force caused him to fall face first into the deep snow. "I'll get you!" Albus shouted as he stood back up and formed a large snowball. He sent it flying across the nearly empty Quidditch Pitch towards John. But John was too quick. He jumped aside and the snowball hit Matt instead.

"Ha, ha!" John shouted gleefully. They were having a team snow ball fight. It was John and Rose versus Albus, Matt, and Amanda. John seemed delighted that Albus had hit one of his own teammates instead. John rolled another snow ball and threw it at Amanda. It hit her square in the back. She in turn quickly made a snowball and threw it at Rose. Rose jumped aside and the snowball sailed into the ground behind her. Despite the fact that Albus's team had three people and John and Rose were only two, John and Rose seemed to be doing much better. John had a good arm and very good aim and was great at dodging snowballs.

Albus quickly made another snowball and was about to throw it, but he noticed that Matt still hadn't gotten up. He dropped his snowball and ran over to Matt and was hit in the head by a snowball sent by John.

"Stop the game!" Albus shouted and pointed to Matt. John, Rose, and Amanda glanced over and immediately dropped their snowballs.

"Matt, are you all right?" Albus poked Matt's arm, but he didn't respond.

"Matt?" John rolled him over onto his back. Matt groaned. John pulled him up into a sitting position. "We should probably go inside," John said to Albus.

"Yeah," Albus agreed. He grabbed Matt's other arm and he and John pulled Matt to his feet. "I'm sorry, I didn't think I threw it that hard."

"I didn't think you did either," John agreed. They walked back towards the castle, supporting Matt between them.

"Maybe we should go to the Hospital Wing," Rose suggested.

"No, no Hospital Wing," Matt whispered, "I'm fine. I've just got to lie down."

"Are you sure?" Amanda asked.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. Let's just go back to Gryffindor," Matt said.

They walked slowly back to Gryffindor Tower. By the time they were at the common room, Matt was able to walk unsupported, although he still didn't look good. Once they were in the room, Matt made a beeline for the dormitory. Albus and John went with him so they could dump their wet cloaks and scarves.

"Are you going to stay up here?" Albus asked Matt.

"I think so," Matt said as he climbed into his bed.

"Ok, well I hope you're feeling better," Albus replied.

"Me, too," John said. But by the time the two boys left the room, Matt had already fallen asleep.

Albus and John headed back down the circular staircase and back into the common room. The room was packed and very noisy. Rose and Amanda had already settled themselves to doing homework at a small secluded table in a corner of the room. Albus and John sat down across from the girls and took out their books.

"So," Albus whispered, "Is the full moon sometime soon?"

"Yep," Rose told him without looking up from her homework, "It's tomorrow."

"D'you think it'll be as bad as last time?" Amanda asked.

"I dunno," Rose answered, "I really don't know why his transformations are so bad."

"I think he's part of that study Uncle Bill was talking about," Albus told them, "When I was in the Hospital Wing last month, the Healer mentioned a study, but Madam Pomfrey shushed him before he elaborated."

"Then that might explain it. But why would he be in the study if it's just making things worse?" John asked.

"Who knows what it was like before it, though," Rose commented.

"Good point," John responded. The four friends sank into their thoughts and continued working on their homework in silence for a half hour. The noise in the common room made it difficult to carry on a conversation. Albus managed to finish his Charms homework, but it took him longer than usual since he was distracted by worrying about Matt.

Albus closed his Charms book and put it back into his bag. When he looked up, he was surprised to see Matt coming over towards them. Albus sat back up and poked John, who was still working diligently on his Herbology essay that was due the next day. John looked up as Matt sat down next to Rose.

"What are you guys talking about?" Matt asked.

"Not much, really, we're just doing homework," John told him, "I guess I'll have to finish this after dinner." He closed his Herbology book and stuffed it in his bag.

"You coming to dinner?" Albus asked Matt, "We weren't sure if you'd be up."

A look of panic flashed across Matt's face, "Why would you think that?" he asked quickly.

Albus glanced shiftily at John, "Er, just because you didn't look too good after getting hit by that snowball."

Matt visibly relaxed, "Oh, um, I'm feeling better now."

"That's good," Albus answered. Matt did look a bit better, although he was still much paler than usual. "Let's go eat, then. I'm starved."

Rose and Amanda packed up their work and the group headed down to the Great Hall. Even though Matt went to dinner, Albus noticed that he didn't eat much. After dinner, they headed back up to the common room to finish their homework.

"I'm still three inches short," John announced after he worked for another twenty minutes on his Herbology essay.

"Let me see it," Rose reached over and took John's essay. She read it silently for a few minutes. "You can elaborate on the uses of Devil's Snare in Potions."

"Devil's Snare has uses in Potions?" John asked.

"Yes, in more advanced Potions. It's in the book," Rose told him. John flipped through his book and began working on his essay again.

Albus had finished his Herbology essay the previous day and was currently working on a DADA essay that was also due the next day. "Have you guys all finished the DADA essay?" he asked.

"Yes," Rose responded without glancing up from her book.

"Yeah," Amanda answered while working furiously on her star chart.

"Huh?" Matt picked his head up from his book. He had fallen asleep in his DADA book.

"Have you finished the DADA essay?" Albus repeated.

"Oh, no, but I'll get it done," Matt said tiredly and put his head back down on his book.

Albus glanced at Rose, who gave him a worried look. Albus had a feeling that Matt would not be getting the essay done. They both went back to their work without saying a word. A few minutes later, someone tapped Albus on the shoulder.

"Hey," someone said from behind him.

Albus turned around and saw Victoire standing behind his chair. "Oh, hi, Victoire. What's up?"

"Not much," Victoire sat down in the chair next to Albus. "Amy and I just have to tell you something." Amy had sat down next to Matt and was trying to wake him up.

"What is it?" Albus asked. John, Rose, and Amanda had all looked up from their work and were waiting for Victoire to get on with it.

"Quinton Willinson has finished his detentions," Victoire told him.

"Oh, great," Albus groaned.

"I just thought you should know," Victoire said.

"Do you think he's going to bother me anymore?" Albus asked.

"He might. Detention certainly deterred him for a month, but who knows what could happen now that he's done with detention. I'd just watch out, if I were you. All of you."

They all nodded, except for Matt, who was sleepily paying attention to something Amy was whispering in his ear.

"Well, I've got studying to do," Victoire stood up, "You coming, Amy? I still haven't finished that Arithmancy stuff."

Amy stopped whispering to Matt and looked at Victoire. "Uh, yeah, I haven't finished it either." She said something else to Matt and then stood up and left with Victoire, while glancing once more at her brother.

"Well, this could be bad," Rose said once they left.

"I know. He's going to be livid after having detention for a month," Albus replied.

"You've got to be careful. He's going to want revenge again," John said.

"Yeah, he will," Albus agreed.

"Has Slughorn mentioned anymore parties?" John asked.

"No, surprisingly not. But I'm not going to any even if he does."

"I think that's a good idea. I won't either. We should try and avoid Willinson," Rose responded.

They worked on their homework for another hour before going to bed. Matt had fallen asleep again shortly after Amy and Victoire left, and Albus had to poke him rather hard to wake him up. Once they got up to the dormitory, Matt collapsed onto his bed and was asleep within minutes.

Albus lay awake for a while before he managed to fall asleep. He was worried about Matt and about what Willinson was going to do now that he was free from detention. Albus tried to clear his mind, but there were so many things worrying him that he found it impossible. His sleep was filled with strange dreams, involving Willinson, along with the usual nightmare about the Hallows.

Albus went down to breakfast the next morning with John and Matt. They were running late because it had taken John and Albus a while to wake Matt up. By the time they made it to the Great Hall, Rose and Amanda had already finished breakfast and were getting ready to go to DADA.

"There you are!" Rose said when Albus sat down next to her, "You'd better eat fast. We've got to go to class in five minutes."

"I know, it took us forever to get him up," Albus gestured to Matt, who was leaning his head on his arm and not eating anything. Rose nodded and glanced at Matt sympathetically.

Albus and John shoved a few slices of toast into their mouths and then the group was off to DADA. They managed to run into the room before the bell rang, but they were the last ones there. There was only one table available, the one in front, which happened to be right in front of the table Scorpius Malfoy and his friends sat at. Albus groaned silently and sat down at the table, hoping Malfoy wouldn't mention Matt's fatigue.

"I'll collect your essays now," Harry announced once he'd finished taking attendance. He got up and went around the room to collect the essays.

Albus handed his dad his essay and Harry moved on to Matt. Matt was laying his head on his book and seemed to be asleep. Harry lightly tapped him on the shoulder. "Huh?" Matt glanced up.

Malfoy snorted loudly behind them and Albus turned around and glared at him.

"Do you have the essay done?" Harry asked quietly.

"Oh, no. I'm sorry, Professor," Matt whispered, "I tried to get it done last night, but I just..." his voice trailed off.

"It's all right," Harry replied, "Try to have it done by next week. I know I didn't give you much time, since I just assigned it Friday."

Matt nodded and put his head back down on the table. Harry went back to his desk and started the day's lecture. "Today we are going to continue-"

"Sir," Malfoy interrupted, "Sir, why does he get extra time for his essay?" Malfoy pointed at Matt.

Harry sighed, "I do not think that is any of your concern, Mr. Malfoy."

"But it's not very fair, is it? Why can't I have extra time?"

"You handed in your essay today, didn't you?" Harry asked.

"Yes, why?"

"Well, then, you obviously are in no need of extra time. If you ever think you need extra time for an assignment, just tell me why and I may grant it to you."

"But-"

"That's the end of this discussion, Mr. Malfoy," Harry cut him off, "Now, back to the lesson...."

Harry lectured for the entire class. Throughout the first half of class, Malfoy repeatedly poked Matt with his wand to try and wake him up. Albus turned around and glared at him numerous times but Malfoy kept doing it. Eventually, Harry noticed and threatened Malfoy with detention if it continued. Albus was relieved when class was over, but they still had to make it through Charms with the Slytherins. Although Albus knew even Malfoy wouldn't poke anyone with his wand in Washburn's class.

"So, first you get special treatment from Madam Pomfrey and now from Professor Potter, too?" Malfoy glared icily at Matt after they left the DADA room.

"Just leave him alone," Albus growled.

"I will find out why, you can count on it," Malfoy stared at Matt, who had gone as pale as a ghost when Malfoy said this.

"Is there a problem?" Harry had just left the classroom and was standing behind Malfoy.

Malfoy jumped as he heard Harry's voice, "No, Professor." He gave Matt one more glare before taking off for the Charms classroom.

"I'll see you later, Al," Harry gave Albus a hug before going back into the classroom.

"Bye, Dad," Albus hugged him back. Albus and Matt started to walk to Charms. John, Rose, and Amanda had gone on ahead, but Albus was staying behind to walk with Matt, who was walking considerably slower.

"Late again, Potter, Eckerton," Washburn growled as they walked into the room. They headed for their usual back table and passed Malfoy on the way. He was smiling smugly at them, noticeably happy that they were late. The class went by in its usual agony. Washburn seemed to have increased his hatred for Albus since the firework incident, if that was possible. He called on Albus for every question, even though Albus never raised his hand. The only times he didn't do this was when he chose to call on Matt, which was every time he fell asleep.

Much to Albus's surprise, Matt made it through double Herbology without going to the Hospital Wing. Albus was sure that Neville would have made him go after he tripped over a pot and banged his arm on the bench. But Neville just asked if he was all right and continued teaching.

After dinner, Albus and his friends found themselves taking a much needed break from studying. They had all finished the homework that was due the next day and were relaxing at their usual table. Albus was losing horribly at Wizard's Chess to Rose, whose knight was currently beating up Albus's queen. John and Amanda were playing a rather loud game of Exploding Snap.

"You want to play, Matt?" John asked as he was dealing cards for the next round.

"No," Matt groaned. He was curled up in an armchair near the table and was wincing every few minutes.

"All right," John gave him a worried look, "Do you want me to go with you to the Hospital Wing?"

"Not right now," Matt whispered and closed his eyes again.

Albus glanced up and looked at his friends. They all had worried looks on their faces. Albus watched Matt fall back asleep, which only took two minutes.

"Queen to D4," Rose announced, "And checkmate." Rose's queen moved to the square, beat up Albus's remaining bishop, and won the game. "Good game."

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Have you ever lost?"

"I've lost to my dad quite a few times," Rose said as she put her chessmen away.

Albus put his chessmen back in their case and folded up the board. He looked up once he was done and saw Amy coming over. She walked over to Matt and started gently shaking him awake.

"Hi, Amy," Albus said.

Amy looked over at Albus, "Oh, hi, Albus," she said quietly and went back to waking Matt up. Matt opened his eyes and groaned.

"C'mon, it's time to go," Albus heard Amy whisper. Albus looked at Rose, John, and Amanda. They were all watching Amy, too.

"Ugh, no," Matt whispered. But he sat up and winced.

"It's ok, come on," Amy grabbed Matt's arm and pulled him gently out of the chair. Matt got up and let Amy lead him out of the common room.

"Has she ever taken him to the Hospital Wing before?" Albus asked once they left.

"No, I don't think so," Rose said.

"She must think it's going to be bad this time," John said glumly.

"Guess so," Albus responded quietly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart and Moonylupin for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The four friends were very subdued the rest of the evening. They all joined in a game of Exploding Snap, but none of them were very into it. Although they didn't talk about Matt the rest of the evening, Albus knew they were all thinking about him. Eventually, they just decided to go to bed.

Albus climbed into his four-poster bed and tried to fall asleep. He tossed and turned for hours, but sleep wouldn't come to him. He was too worried about Matt.

"Are you awake, John?" Albus asked once he was sure Bilius and Ethan were asleep.

Albus heard the bed to his right creak as John turned over. "Yeah, can't sleep."

"Me neither."

"Maybe this month won't be as bad," John suggested.

"Hope so," Albus said, "But even if it isn't as bad, he won't be in class tomorrow."

"Which means that Malfoy's going to say something," John groaned.

"Yeah, we've got to do something about that," Albus decided.

"We could hex him," John suggested.

"That'd be good, but I don't mean like that. I mean something that'll throw him off the trail. We can't let him find out," Albus explained.

"Oh, right," John thought for a moment, "How about, since Matt won't lie about where he is, we'll do it for him."

"That's what I was thinking, too," Albus said, "I know, if someone asks, we'll just tell them Matt's visiting his sick gran."

"Good idea," John agreed.

Albus yawned, "Well, I suppose we should try and get some sleep."

"Probably. Good night, then."

"'Night." After another hour of laying awake, Albus finally fell asleep.

Albus woke up feeling very tired, after only a few hours sleep. He went down to breakfast with John and met Rose and Amanda there, who were looking worried and not eating much.

"Have you heard anything yet?" Rose asked once Albus sat down.

"No, have you?"

"No. I haven't seen Amy at all and haven't had time to go to the Hospital Wing."

"We could try and go during lunch," John suggested.

Everyone agreed to that plan and managed to eat a bit of breakfast before heading off to Potions. By the time they got there, Slughorn was ready to start class, which meant Malfoy didn't have any time to ask where Matt was. Since it was just a single period, Slughorn lectured during the entire class and Albus had a hard time staying awake. He managed to take a few notes, but by the time the class was over, he felt in need of a nap.

"Hey, there, Potter," Malfoy ran up beside Albus just outside the door of the Potions classroom.

"Malfoy," Albus mumbled and kept walking.

"Couldn't help but notice that Eckerton wasn't in class today. You gonna tell me where he is?"

"Visiting his gran. She's not doing too well," Albus lied.

"Really? That's interesting," Malfoy raised his eyebrows, "After seeing him yesterday, I'd have guessed he was the one who's ill."

"Maybe he's just worried about his gran," John said shortly, before turning down the corridor towards the Transfiguration room, "Now we've got to go to class."

"See you, then," Albus said to Malfoy as he followed John to Transfiguration. Malfoy turned around and left without saying a word. "I hope that worked."

"Me, too," John agreed.

After Transfiguration, Albus and his friends ate a hurried lunch and went to the Hospital Wing. When they got there, Albus noticed that the doors were open. "Well, that's a good sign."

"Definitely," Rose agreed and walked inside. Albus, John, and Amanda followed her. The bed at the far end of the ward had the curtains drawn and all the other beds were empty. "He must be in there," Rose pointed to the curtained bed.

"Where's Madam Pomfrey?" Albus whispered. The nurse didn't appear to be in the room.

John pointed to the curtains, which started to rustle, "She must be back there."

A gap appeared in the curtains and Madam Pomfrey came out from behind them. She was carrying an empty glass and a clipboard. When she noticed the group of Gryffindor first years, she came rushing over to them. "I thought I'd be seeing you lot here."

"Is Matt all right?" Rose whispered anxiously.

"Yes, he should be fine in a couple days," Madam Pomfrey smiled.

"So, it's not nearly as bad as last time?" Albus asked.

"Oh, no, he's much better this month," Madam Pomfrey set the empty glass down on a table and started writing on the clipboard.

"Well, can we see him?" John asked tentatively.

"Sorry, but no. He's sleeping right now. And I don't think he wants visitors. He hasn't told you yet, has he?"

"No," John answered.

Madam Pomfrey sighed, "Of course. Well, I do hope he tells you soon. I have a feeling this whole thing would be easier on him if he wasn't keeping it to himself."

"I guess we'll just see him when he leaves, then," Albus said.

"I think that would be best. He should be ready to leave on Thursday or Friday. You'd best be off to class," Madam Pomfrey picked up the empty glass and strode into her office.

As Albus walked to the common room to collect his books, he thought about what Matt was going to do when he found out that they knew about his secret. Matt seemed so keen on keeping it from everyone. He didn't even want his friends to visit him in the Hospital Wing. Yet, he hadn't done a very good job at hiding it. Or had they found out so easily just because Rose knew so much about werewolves? Albus wasn't sure he would have figured it out without her. But even so, if Albus had found out so quickly, how long would it be until Malfoy found out?

******

"Hey, Potty," a cold voice from behind Albus said. It was Friday night and Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda were eating dinner while wondering when Matt would come back. Albus turned around at the voice and choked on his pumpkin juice when he saw who it was.

"Willinson," Albus coughed.

"What do you want?" John said shortly as he slapped Albus on the back.

"Oh, not much," Willinson replied, "Haven't seen you much since our little duel last month, Potty."

"Yeah, I hear you've been quite occupied with detention," Albus laughed.

"Laugh now, but the detention is over. I'll have plenty of time on my hands now."

"And what are you going to do? You couldn't even hex me. Your friends did it."

"Doesn't matter. I'm not the one who wound up in the Hospital Wing, am I?" Willinson snorted.

"And I suppose you're proud that a first year could disarm you?" Albus grinned, "Because if I were you, I'd be a bit embarrassed."

"Shut it, Potty, I planned that."

"No, you didn't. Quite the look of shock on your face after I did it," Albus responded. Willinson glared at him.

"What's going on here?" someone from behind Albus asked.

"N-nothing, Professor," Willinson said quickly.

"Then I'd suggest returning to the Slytherin table, Mr. Willinson," Neville replied. Willinson turned on the spot and headed to the Slytherin table without saying another word.

"He wasn't bothering you, was he?" Neville asked once Willinson left.

"Not really," Albus told Neville.

"Good. If he's causing trouble, just let me know. I think the detentions may have set him straight, though. He's not nearly as smug when he's in the forest," Neville responded and left for the staff table.

Albus laughed, "I guess he's not as brave as we thought he was."

"Course he's not!" John exclaimed, "He's a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor."

"Yeah, we're the brave ones!" Albus agreed.

After dinner, Albus and his friends went to the common room to spend the evening. The room was quite a bit emptier than usual. There was a big dueling club meeting and most of the Gryffindors were attending it. First years were not allowed to join the dueling club, so all of them were in the common room, along with some older students who weren't part of the club. Since it was so empty, Albus and his friends were able to snag a few of the good armchairs in front of the fire. They were all putting off homework, except for Rose who was reading a book, since it was the weekend.

"You going to join the dueling club next year?" Albus asked, while sorting through his Chocolate Frog cards. "I can't wait to join. James says it's awesome."

"Of course!" John shouted, "Hey, have you got any Snape cards?"

"Yeah, I've got quite a few," Albus shifted his deck of cards and pulled out five Snapes, "Want one?"

"Yeah, I still haven't gotten any," John told him. Albus handed him one of his cards.

"Is it normal to get injured badly in the dueling club?" Amanda asked.

"It's possible, but it doesn't usually happen," Albus told her. "The teachers make sure nothing bad happens."

"Then I might join. How about you, Rose?" Amanda said.

"Sure, probably," Rose responded absentmindedly.

"Are you ok? You're awfully quiet," Amanda commented.

"I'm all right," Rose answered, "I'm just thinking about Matt. Madam Pomfrey said he was supposed to be back today."

"I've been thinking about that, too," Albus told her, "I hope he's ok."

"Well, even if he doesn't come back until tomorrow, it's still better than last month," John whispered, "But I wonder when he's going to tell us."

"Why don't we go up to the dormitory and talk about it," Albus suggested, "It's too quiet in here, someone's going to hear us. And Bilius and Ethan are down here anyway." Albus pointed to a table to their left, where the other two Gryffindor first year boys were sitting playing gobstones.

"Good idea," Rose agreed and closed her book. The group got up from their chairs and followed Albus to the boys' dormitory.

When they got up to the dormitory, Albus sat down on his bed. Rose and Amanda looked around a bit before sitting down next to him.

"I can't take it anymore, we've got to tell him!" John shouted and started pacing around the room, "I'm not sure he's ever going to tell us!"

"He will, we've just got to give him some more time!" Albus insisted.

"I'm not so sure, Albus. He hasn't told us yet, what makes you so sure he'll ever do it?" John questioned.

"I don't know, I just think he will."

"Well, I don't. And I'm not so sure I can keep pretending I have no clue why he leaves every month. I mean, how long has it been since we've known? And we've known him since September. Isn't that enough time for him to trust us?" John stormed over to his bed and threw himself on it.

"Honestly, John, that's really not a long time. September wasn't even six months ago," Rose reasoned.

"So you're on Albus's side, then? You think we should just pretend we're clueless about his disappearances?" John asked.

"Yes, I do. I think he will tell us, once he realizes he can trust us," Rose told him.

"Well, what more do we have to do?" John huffed.

"It's not that simple!" Albus shouted, remembering his conversation with Dumbledore. "Do you know how hard it must be for him? He's probably had people abandoning him because of this his whole life!"

"And I suppose you know more about it than I do? Last I checked, you weren't a werewolf," John shouted.

"Yeah, I do know more than you!" Albus shouted back, getting up from the bed and walking towards John.

"Really, and how would that be?" John got up and stood in front of Albus, staring at him.

"Because Teddy's dad was a werewolf! I've told you that! And my dad's told me all about what he went through! You know he wasn't even going to be allowed to come to Hogwarts, but then Dumbledore became headmaster and let him! And then he couldn't even keep a job because no one wanted to hire a werewolf! So, yeah, I do know a bit more than you do!"

"Fine, so you know more about it than me, but how do you know that Matt will tell us?"

"I just do, ok?" Albus insisted, thinking of what Dumbledore had said.

"Well, I think that it might be easier if we just told him we know. Then he could just talk to us about it and we could stop keeping secrets!" John shouted.

"Albus," Rose said from behind Albus and started tugging on his robes.

"Not now, Rose," Albus pushed her hand away, "It probably would be easier, but it's his secret, so let's just let him tell us!"

"But what if he doesn't!" John threw his hands up in the air. "Are we just going to go our whole seven years at Hogwarts pretending we don't know?"

Rose poked Albus more persistently and Albus pushed her hand away again. "Of course not, because he'll tell us soon!"

"Albus!" Rose shouted louder and pointed to the doorway.

Albus turned his head away from John and glanced at the doorway. Matt was standing there, looking tired and run down, with a shocked look on his face. He stared at Albus for a few seconds before turning and running back down the stairs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: I know it's shorter than usual, but I wanted the cliffhanger. The next chapter will be quite a bit longer, as I'm planning on combining two chapters again.

Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart and Moonylupin for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Albus turned back to John and they stared at each other. "How long had he been standing there?" Albus asked quietly.

Rose sighed, "Since right after you finished talking about Teddy's dad."

"So he definitely knows we know," Albus responded.

"I'd say so," Rose agreed.

Albus and John looked at each other again, and with their argument forgotten they both turned and ran out of the dormitory to follow Matt. Albus didn't look back, but the sound of footsteps told him that Rose and Amanda weren't far behind. Albus didn't know what he was going to say to Matt when they found him, he just knew he had to do something. This was not how Albus imagined Matt telling them about his lycanthropy. And he was sure that it was not what Dumbledore had in mind. But what's done is done, and Albus could only hope that Matt wasn't too mad at them.

When they reached the common room, it was packed. Albus realized that dueling club practice must have just let out. He glanced quickly around the room, thinking they'd never find Matt amongst all the other Gryffindors. John elbowed Albus in the side and pointed towards the Fat Lady's portrait. It was opening, and then it closed again, but they didn't see anyone enter or leave. Someone short must have left. Albus knew it was Matt. He motioned for his friends to follow. They pushed their way through the throngs of older students and eventually made it to the portrait. The group scrambled through the hole and landed in the seventh floor corridor.

"Where is he?" Amanda asked.

"I dunno," Albus said, glancing around. Matt was no where in sight. "I wish we had the Marauder's Map."

"The what?" John asked.

"The Marauder's Map. It's that map of Hogwarts my grandpa and his friends made. Remember? I told you about it."

"Oh, yeah."

"Well, we don't have it. But we'd better get going if we have any hopes of finding him," Rose started running down the corridor.

Albus, John, and Amanda followed Rose down the corridor. After a minute or so, Albus spotted Matt. "There he is!" he whispered to his friends. They continued running and it didn't take long to catch up to Matt. Since it was right after a full moon, Matt was going slower than usual.

Albus and his friends stopped a few meters in front of him. "Matt?" Albus asked tentatively.

Matt turned around and walked slowly towards his friends, past a tapestry of
Barnabas the Barmy trying to teach trolls to dance ballet, and stopped a few feet in front of Albus. "So, you know?" he asked in a voice so soft, Albus could hardly hear it. He stared at the ground.

"Er, yeah," Albus answered in an equally quiet voice.

Matt didn't look up and turned around and paced slowly down the hallway. He seemed to be thinking hard. When he got just past the tapestry, he stopped and walked back towards Albus. Albus knew he was trying to think of something to say. Albus glanced at his friends and all of them looked very uncomfortable. They stood completely still, not saying a word, while Matt continued pacing up and down the hallway.

On his third or fourth time returning to Albus, Albus wasn't sure as he had lost count, Matt finally looked up at him with a scared expression on his face. Matt opened his mouth and was about to say something when he stopped. He turned and looked at the wall facing the tapestry.

Albus turned to see what Matt was staring at. When his gaze reached the wall, his mouth fell open. A door was sitting upon the wall, where there hadn't been a door before. Albus turned around and looked at Rose. Albus had a feeling he knew where the door came from, and Rose's knowing look of awe confirmed it. John was staring at it as if he had been stupefied. Amanda was blinking and rubbing her eyes, as if the door was just a figment of her imagination.

Matt glanced at Albus and then he walked towards the door. When he reached it, he grasped the handle and opened it. He walked slowly inside, leaving the door open behind him. Once Matt was inside, Albus nodded to his friends and walked inside. John, Rose, and Amanda followed.

When Albus got into the room, he gazed around in awe. The entire room was decorated in Gryffindor scarlet and gold. The high ceiling was painted gold and the walls were covered in scarlet drapery. The floor was covered in scarlet and gold patterned carpet. In the back of the room was a large fireplace complete with a crackling fire. In front of the fire, were three large comfy looking scarlet armchairs and a big gold couch.

"What is this place?" Amanda asked as she walked around the room.

"I think it's the Room of Requirement," Albus told her, "It's also called the Come and Go Room. It only appears when you're in need of it. And it changes according to your needs."

"Dad's told me about this before, but he wouldn't tell me where it was or how to find it," John told them.

"Same with me," Rose said.

"Me, too," Albus replied.

"It's incredible!" Amanda grinned, "Looks just like the Gryffindor common room."

"Only better," John responded, "We can sit near the fire."

"It looks like it was made for us," Albus commented.

"It does," Rose agreed, "Matt, did you...request this?"

"Yeah," Matt sighed.

"So, you knew about the Room?" John asked.

"Yes," Matt answered, "Amy told me about it before I came to Hogwarts. She thought, it well, might be useful, for me." He sighed, "Sometimes I come here after I get out of the Hospital Wing, if I want to just be alone and sleep."

"And does it look like this then?" Amanda asked.

"No, usually it's got a four-poster bed and the fireplace, and that's it."

"So, it'll give you whatever you ask for?" Amanda responded.

"Er, I think so, within reason," Matt told her, "Like, if you wanted a room full of Galleons, I don't think it would be able to do it. And it can't give you food. Something about the laws of Transfiguration or something."

"Is this where you've been all day?" John asked as he wandered around the room. "Because we went to see you on Tuesday and Madam Pomfrey said you'd get to leave Thursday or today."

Matt sighed and slowly walked towards one of the armchairs and sat down in it. Albus followed and sat down on the couch. Rose sat down next to him while John and Amanda took the remaining chairs. "Yeah, I was here," Matt said quietly after a few moments of silence. "I was just so tired and I couldn't face going to Charms and dealing with Washburn and Malfoy."

Albus could understand that. Looking back on the previous months, he realized that Washburn did tend to call on Matt more right after he got back from the Hospital Wing.

"You were still tired? Even after spending three days in the Hospital Wing? Why?" John asked while he pulled a Chocolate Frog out of his pocket and opened it. "Oh, look, Albus. Now I've got Snape!"

"I dunno. That's just how it is," Matt mumbled.

The group sat in silence for a few moments. John pulled out a few more frogs and offered them around. Albus, Rose, and Amanda each took one and ate them. Albus got Minerva McGonagall, which he gave to Amanda since he already had about seven of her.

"You guys have to promise me something," Matt broke the silence, "Don't tell anyone."

Albus stared at him. "Of course we won't," he said solemnly. John, Rose, and Amanda nodded their heads in agreement.

"Thanks," Matt whispered, and got up from his chair.

"Where are you going?" Albus asked.

"I dunno. I just figured you wouldn't want to hang out with me anymore," Matt looked nervously at Albus.

"What?!" Albus shouted, "Of course we still want to hang out with you!"

"Really?" Matt asked, while a smile slowly crept up on his face.

"Definitely!" John assured him.

"Of course," Amanda smiled.

"We won't abandon you," Rose said adamantly.

Matt visibly relaxed and sat back down in his chair. "I guess I just thought that you wouldn't. Since, well, everyone I've ever been friends with stopped talking to me once they found out."

"That won't happen with us," Albus assured him.

"But doesn't it scare you, just a bit?" Matt asked tentatively.

"Nope," Albus replied, grinning. He glanced at Rose, who grinned back.

"What's so funny?" Matt looked from Albus to Rose.

"Did Professor Kendrick tell you that you aren't the first werewolf to attend Hogwarts?" Albus asked.

"Yeah..." Matt responded warily, "He said there was one other, a couple decades ago."

"And I'm guessing he never told you who that was?" Rose replied.

"Er, no, he didn't," Matt answered, "But Amy told me that Teddy's dad was a werewolf and he went here, so I assumed it was him."

"Exactly," Albus grinned, "And my dad's Teddy's godfather."

"Really?" Matt asked.

"Yup," Rose said. "I'll let Albus tell you the rest."

"You mean, there's more?" Matt stared in awe at Albus.

"Yup, you want to know why my dad's Teddy's godfather, don't you?"

"Of course!"

"Well, here it goes. My grandpa, the one who was killed by Voldemort, went to Hogwarts the same time Remus Lupin did. Along with Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. They all became pretty good friends. Remus Lupin tried to keep the fact that he was a werewolf secret, but eventually, my grandpa, Sirius, and Peter found out. And they didn't abandon him. In fact, they all became illegal animagi and spent the full moons with him."

"Really?" Matt glanced around at his friends.

"Really," Albus continued, "They stayed friends right up until Pettigrew betrayed my grandparents. And you know that story. Then, Remus met Nymphadora Tonks, who was somehow related to Sirius, I think she was his cousin's daughter. Anyway, they got married and had a son, Teddy, right in the height of Voldemort's reign. They both were killed in the Battle. But Remus had made my dad Teddy's godfather, so he's kind of like a brother. So, you can see that no way would I abandon you."

"Wow," Matt grinned at Albus, "But what about the rest of you?"

"Nope, you don't have to worry about me," Rose answered, "Teddy's like my cousin."

"I'm not related to any werewolves, heck, you're the first one I've met. But don't worry. You're my friend and nothing can change that," John replied.

"Honestly, it scared me a bit when I first found out," Amanda admitted, "But I'm Muggle-born, so the only idea of werewolves I'd had were in Muggle fairy tales."

Matt looked at her and the smile on his face disappeared. He glanced nervously at Albus.

"But I'm fine with it now. Rose taught me a lot. I know now that real werewolves aren't anything like the ones in fairy tales. And besides, just because you get furry once a month doesn't mean you're a different person the rest of the month. I was friends with you before I knew and I'll stay friends with you now," Amanda assured him.

Matt relaxed, "Thanks, guys. I've never had better friends. But how long have you known?"

"Well, Rose figured it out in November, but we weren't positive until I wound up in the Hospital Wing at the same time as you last month."

"What?!" Matt's mouth fell open, "How did that happen?"

Albus explained the duel with Quinton Willinson and how he had overheard Madam Pomfrey and the Healer talking early the next morning.

"Why didn't you tell me you knew?" Matt asked quietly.

"I thought it would be better for you to tell us when you're ready, but I guess that didn't happen," Albus answered.

"Guess not, but thanks anyway, for the thought," Matt replied. Everyone sat quietly for a few moments, before Albus broke the silence.

"Could we, er, ask you questions about it?" Albus asked tentatively.

Matt sighed, "Sure, I guess."

"If you don't want to-" Albus started.

"No, it's fine, it's just I've never actually told anyone about it. It's always been my parents or Amy. But yeah, ask whatever you want," Matt told them.

"All right, if you're sure," Albus paused, "Well, when did it happen?"

Matt took a deep breath. "When I was five. We were Muggle camping at the time. My mum's Muggle-born, and she had gone camping when she was a kid, and she wanted me and Amy to get the experience. You guys do know what Muggles do when they camp, right?"

"That's when they live in those cramped, tiny tents that are just big enough to sleep in, right? And they don't use electricity or any of that stuff they use instead of magic?" John asked.

Amanda stifled a giggle at his description of camping. "Well, that's the general idea, I suppose, but it's usually a lot funner than you describe it."

"Right," Matt said, "Well, that's what my mum wanted to do. So Dad agreed because he thought it sounded crazy enough to be fun. And it was, at first. We didn't use any magic. I don't remember a whole lot, but I do remember Dad playing with matches trying to get the campfire lit. It took him a half hour. Amy says that after that first campfire, Mum lit all the rest of them.

"We were going to camp for three nights, I think. The second night was a full moon. It was a blue moon. You know, when there are two moons in a month, they call the second one a blue moon. They don't happen often. Only every 2 or 3 years. It was the end of December, remember that the seasons are opposite in Australia, so it was warm. We were all in one tent, and in the middle of the night I had to go to the bathroom. There was a long walk to the bathroom, through the woods. I was halfway there when I heard this deep growl. The last thing I remember is a huge animal pouncing on me and a searing pain in my back, and then I blacked out."

Albus listened but didn't say anything. He heard Amanda gasped. Albus sort of felt sick to his stomach. Ever since he found out that Matt was a werewolf, he knew he must have been bit, but he never really thought about the details. Now, hearing about it, he felt awful that his friend had been through it.

"And then what happened?" John whispered.

"Well, my parents told me what happened a while after I woke up. Amy is a really light sleeper and she heard the growls and my screaming. She woke up my parents and my dad went noticed that I was gone and he ran out of the tent with his wand. There were a bunch of Muggles who had woken up and were running around screaming. They told my parents that a kid was being attacked by a wolf. That kid of course, was me. My parents kept running towards the growls until they found me. Dad saw what was happening and started shooting off all sorts of spells that somehow had great effect on the werewolf. Then my mum started trying to stun the werewolf, too. After a few spells, the werewolf was stunned."

"Muggles saw it?" Rose asked.

"Yeah," Matt continued, "My mum sent word to the Ministry and they sent Obliviators and representatives from the Werewolf Control Unit. Dad was head of that department at the time. None of the Muggles remember anything from it of course, but it was in the paper, so all the wizards and witches found out about it. But they didn't know it was me who got attacked. The law prevents the names of underage werewolves from being released."

"Wow," Albus said, "I guess that's good that no one knew it was you."

"It didn't really help, though," Matt replied bitterly. "But there's more before I get to that. After the Ministry people showed up, my dad Apparated with me to Eastworth, that's one of the hospitals in Australia. I spent nearly a month there. Right up until the next full moon. I woke up two weeks after it happened. Spent the next two weeks waiting for all the injuries to heal, but they didn't heal all the way. That took a couple months. Anyway, the first full moon was awful. I hardly remember any of it. Just the pain and illness in the few days before it and the two weeks it took to heal after it."

"But what about the Wolfsbane Potion?" Rose asked tentatively.

Matt sighed, "The thing is, that doesn't work for me. The Healers haven't been able to figure out why yet. I took it during the first few full moons and it had no effect on me at all, so my parents stopped giving it to me."

Albus couldn't think of what to say. He now knew the story. Matt had told them the whole thing. It seemed like once he started, he just didn't stop. Maybe it felt good to finally tell someone about it? Albus figured that was it. He couldn't imagine carrying around a secret like that for twelve years. Then Albus remembered something Matt had told him on the train. "Um, Matt? Why did your family move to here?" Albus had the feeling that had something to do with his being a werewolf. Matt hadn't mentioned much about moving to England, and when he talked about it on the train, he changed the subject quickly.

"Um, well, because of me," Matt replied glumly, "I never told you before, but my parents were really well-known in Australia. Not really famous like your family is, Albus, but just kind of upper class types. Both of them were. My dad comes from a long line of pure bloods. But not the kinds who despise Muggles and Muggle-borns. They were just always involved in the Ministry and had a load of gold, that kind of thing.

"And my mum, her family is really rich. They were always involved in all sorts of celebrity type stuff. They knew all sorts of famous people and hosted fancy parties and things like that. Then my mum got her letter telling her she was a witch. My grandparents were horrified and excited at the same time. They obviously couldn't tell any of their friends about it, and they had a hard time keeping it a secret.

"My parents met in school and got married a few years later. Put together, they were the ideal magical couple. My dad got a job at the Ministry in the Werewolf Control Unit. Eventually, shortly after I was born, he worked his way up to Head. Then, a few months after I was bitten, he became Head of the entire Department for the Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures. Kind of ironic, isn't it?"

"That's how he knew how to stun the werewolf," Rose commented.

"Yeah, and it's a good thing he did," Matt said, "Anyway, my family was involved in all sorts of fancy events and committees, both magical and Muggle. My parents were living the perfect life. Then, I got bit."

"And it all had to stop, didn't it?" Albus said softly.

"Yes, and slowly it did. First, they stopped doing the Muggle things. Muggles don't know werewolves are real, so they couldn't do much Muggle stuff anymore. The Muggles would ask what was wrong with me and my parents couldn't tell them. If they lied and said it was some sort of Muggle disease, it would have been all over their news. So, my parents just told everyone that they were going to relax and raise their family away from all the fame.

"The magic stuff was a little more complicated. Everyone who worked in my dad's office knew that I had been bit and they kept it a secret for a long time. For over two years, no one knew it happened. Then, there were more werewolf attacks down there. So people started drafting anti-werewolf legislation. My dad immediately rejected all of it. People got suspicious, and one of his colleagues got pretty fired up about it. He was all for more restriction. So, he leaked that I was a werewolf to other parts of the Ministry. Of course, they couldn't really fire him for me being a werewolf. But right before that happened, the Ministry managed to pass a law requiring all places of transformation to be separate buildings. The department overruled Dad's veto and the minister signed it into law. Dad refused to comply and got fired for breaking the law."

John let out a low whistle, "Matt, I'm so sorry, did you think it was your fault?"

"Yeah, I did, actually," Matt said darkly, "Mum and Dad kept telling me it wasn't and not to think that way, but I couldn't help it.

"But it was just all downhill from there. My parents had already sent a letter to Amy's school, the Australian School of Sorcery, to see if I could still attend. They wouldn't let me. So they were planning on moving anyway."

"They wouldn't?!" John shouted, "But why?"

"Said it was too dangerous. I was really depressed after that. The transformations got worse. I always held out hope that I'd be able to go to school. Amy would come home with stories and I looked forward to when I'd get to go. So, just to seek out the options, my parents sent letters to a few other schools. The Salem Witch Institute in Massachusetts, Hogwarts, and the Adirondack Academy of Magic in New York State. And a couple others that I don't remember the names. Hogwarts, Salem, and Adirondack both said I could still attend. Adirondack had never had any werewolves attend, but they said they would work it out. Salem turned out to be a really bad idea. My parents and Amy didn't like it.

"By then, my parents were definitely willing to move so I could go to school. They were debating which school I should go to when they read about a study St. Mungo's was doing. It would try to figure out why Wolfsbane wouldn't work for some people. That was the deciding factor. They decided on Hogwarts and signed me up for the study. We moved that summer."

Albus sat and thought. He now knew what Dumbledore had meant by 'true horrors in his past'. It wasn't just being bit by a werewolf and becoming one himself. It was the fact that Matt's family's whole life was drastically changed because of what had happened. They moved halfway across the world because of it. "What about Amy? She had already been at school in Australia for a few years," Albus commented.

"Yeah, she had. She was 14 when we moved, going into her fourth year. And she wasn't too happy about it. I know you guys just see her as a protective older sister, but she wasn't always," Matt paused, "She was really upset when my parents told her that we had to move. She didn't want to leave her friends. She blamed me."

"But she's always looking out for you!" Rose replied, "I can't imagine her being mad at you."

"I know," Matt said, "But it's true. You see, my parents didn't let her be anywhere near me when I transformed. She stayed with my grandparents every full moon that she wasn't in school. She stayed with them for a few days after the full moon, too. By the time she got back, I was mostly better."

"Oh," Rose said, "But what happened?"

"Well, once we moved, she couldn't go stay with my grandparents every full moon anymore. We moved in June, right after the full moon. There were two more full moons before she started school. Dad still had connections with the Ministry in Australia, so he managed to set up portkeys for her to take to my grandparents' house, even after we moved. She was still mad at me when she left for school and it made me feel horrible. But after a few weeks, she settled into Hogwarts and made new friends, including Victoire.

"Then the summer came and my parents had to face that she would be there during full moons. Something happened and Dad couldn't get portkeys to Australia anymore. By then I'd been a werewolf for over three years and she still hadn't been there. She was 15, then, so my parents figured she was old enough anyway. Anyway, the night came and I, er, went to the place where I transform when I'm home. In the morning, my parents always came and got me really early, so they could take me to my bed and give me my potions and stuff. Well, apparently that night Amy hadn't slept at all. She told me later that she couldn't once she heard my screaming and howling. She stayed awake all night, waiting for the moon to set, and once it did, she went and got me even before my parents did.

"Well, once she saw me, she realized what I was going through. That morning, she saw me unconscious, with broken bones, and covered in blood and cuts. It made her realize how bad it really is. She told me later that once she saw me, she started crying and she started trying to heal my cuts. Then my parents came and found her. They started crying with her and let her help them do everything they do after a transformation. When I woke up, we had a long talk, all four of us. Amy completely forgave me for moving here and she's been very protective ever since, especially when it comes to someone being rude about my condition."

"Oh, Matt," Rose whispered, "I'm so glad that Amy isn't mad at you anymore. I just can't believe you have to go through all this."

"It's all right, I'll survive," Matt assured her.

"I know, it just doesn't seem fair," Rose said.

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Do you know what happened to the werewolf that bit you?"

"My dad told me," Matt answered, "He got in a load of trouble, because of what did happen and what could have happened. He could have attacked some of the Muggles that were there, instead of me. It was only by chance that it happened to be me, a wizard, he bit. We were probably the only wizards anywhere near that campsite, but there were loads of Muggles around. Anyway, he got sentenced to ten years in prison."

"So he's still there?" John asked.

"Yup," Matt replied. He paused for a few moments, watching his friends. "So, now you know the whole story."

"Were you really planning on keeping it a secret the whole time you were at Hogwarts?" Albus asked.

"Er, I'm not sure. I guess so. That's what my parents told me to do anyway. They told me not to tell anyone, and I didn't want to tell anyone either. I didn't really think anyone would find out."

"Rose is pretty smart, though," Albus said, "I wouldn't have figured it out without her, well, until I wound up in the Hospital Wing with you last month."

"I guess I wouldn't have been able to go all through school without anyone finding out."

"So who does know?" Albus asked.

"Hardly anyone. The teachers, of course. Most of them have been really nice about it, especially your dad, Albus," Matt answered.

Albus grinned, "Yeah, like that essay that was due the other day."

"Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that," Matt groaned, "I'll have to do it this weekend. Washburn's been pretty rude, but he's rude to every Gryffindor. Amy had warned me about that."

"What about over Christmas holiday, did you really fall out of a tree, or was that just another cover-up story?" Albus asked, suddenly remembering that.

Matt blushed, "Er, yeah, it was. There was a full moon over the holiday. The second one of December to be exact. It was a blue moon. Only the second one since the one when I got bit. The first one was when I was 8 and it was awful. Much worse than the regular full moons. And the one in December was just as awful. Plus, I had to transform at my grandparents house. In their attic, which my dad sound proofed and strengthened the walls with magic. So, yeah, those injuries were from the full moon, not falling out of a tree."

"I had a feeling about that," Albus commented, "So, no other students know?"

"Nope," Matt answered, "You're the only ones, besides Amy. She's not allowed to tell her friends. She hasn't even told Victoire."

"Thanks for telling us the whole story," Rose said.

"You know, it feels good to finally tell someone. Kind of like I can relax now. I was always afraid you'd find out and tell someone and I'd have to leave."

"We'd never do that," Albus assured him.

"Thanks," Matt smiled.

Just then the door to the room burst open and Amy came running in, out of breath. "There you are!" she shouted and ran towards Matt.

"How'd you get in here?" John asked. "We're already using the Room."

"I made all the requests for it and I always request that Amy be able to find me, but to keep everyone else out," Matt answered.

"And it's a good thing, too! It's half past midnight! I was worried sick! Madam Pomfrey said you left ages ago, but I haven't seen you all day," Amy gave him a hug.

"Ouch!" Matt winced.

"Oh, sorry!" Amy released her grip, "Have you been here all day?"

"Pretty much."

"You skipped class? Are you sure you're better?" Amy asked in a worried tone.

"I'm just tired and I didn't want to face Washburn today. He always calls on me when I'm tired, he does it on purpose," Matt yawned.

"Oh, he's such a git," Amy replied, "But are you sure you're ok? I could take you back to the Hospital Wing."

"I'm fine, honestly," Matt said adamantly.

"How did they know how to get in here?" Amy glanced around at Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda, and then leaned over and whispered something in Matt's ear.

"It's all right, Amy," Matt sighed, "They know. I told them. I told them everything."

"What?!" Amy opened her eyes wide and stared at Matt. "Mum and Dad told you not to!"

"I know, but it's all right. They figured it out months ago and were just waiting until I was ready to tell them."

"They'd better not tell," Amy glanced around at Albus and the others.

"Don't worry, they won't," Matt assured her, "Albus's dad is Teddy's godfather. So, they definitely won't tell. Albus's grandpa was really good friends with Teddy's dad."

"I knew that," Amy said, "Guess I just never really put it together."

"Yup, and you know, I'm really glad I told them everything. I can relax a little bit."

"Just be sure no one else finds out," Amy warned.

"I know, I'll be careful," Matt said, "But you know, you could tell Victoire, if you want. I don't think she'd tell anyone, do you, Albus?"

"No, she wouldn't tell anyone," Albus assured them.

"Yeah, I know she wouldn't. I've been tempted to tell her ever since she told me that her dad was attacked by Fenrir Greyback," Amy revealed, "But Mum and Dad don't want me to tell anyone."

"I know, they didn't want me to tell anyone either, but that didn't work out," Matt replied, "I just wanted you to know that I wouldn't mind if you told Victoire."

"Ok, I'll think about it. But thanks for telling me that. It's hard keeping it a secret. Sometimes I just want to talk about it."

"Me, too. That's why I'm kinda relieved they know now," Matt gestured to his friends.

"I guess you should let Mum and Dad know that you told them."

"I will, I'll send them a letter this weekend," Matt yawned.

"You really ought to go to bed," Amy suggested.

"That'd probably be a good idea," Albus agreed, "Quidditch is tomorrow."

"Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten!" Matt said excitedly.

"Should be a good game," John commented.

"Ravenclaw will probably win," Amanda predicted.

Albus and his friends walked back to Gryffindor Tower with Amy, and the common room was practically deserted by the time they got back. Victoire was there, along with Samantha Meyers, and a couple other seventh years who Albus vaguely recognized. Amy bid them goodnight and went to sit with her friends. When Albus, John, and Matt went up to their dormitory, Bilius and Ethan were already asleep. Albus climbed into his bed feeling very content. He was happy that Matt had finally opened up to them, but still felt a bit worried about what Matt was going through. Albus was also quite thrilled with the idea of having the Room of Requirement available to them. He didn't think he'd manage to find that until he was much older, but now he would be able to use it during all his years at Hogwarts. With that and the Marauder's Map, if James let him borrow it, Albus and his friends would certainly be able to have some fun. If only he had the Invisibility Cloak. And with thoughts of his dad actually giving him the Cloak, Albus fell into a surprisingly restful sleep.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: So, there it is! The chapter you've been waiting for! I really hope you liked it. I wound up re-writing a bunch of it, since parts had contradicted my other story. It was originally two chapters, but I combined them to make up for the last chapter which was quite short!

Speaking of my other story, I will be posting it very soon! It's called In Moonlight's Shadow and it's basically the product of me having too much background story about Matt to possibly put into a story that focuses on Albus. The story goes into great detail about why Matt and his family moved to England. It's done in first person, from Amy's point of view. I have thirty chapters written so far. I hope you'll all check it out once I post it!

Thanks as usual to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart, Moonylupin, and mamaykay for the reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Albus woke up late the next morning, but he was still up before John or Matt were. Bilius and Ethan's beds were empty, so they were already up. Albus was surprised that John wasn't up yet. He rarely ever missed breakfast, even on the weekends. The Quidditch match wasn't for another two hours, so Albus quietly got dressed and read a bit of his Quidditch in the Twentieth Century book. He had been reading for a half hour when he heard someone come into the room.

"Albus?" a voice called out, "Aren't you up yet?"

Albus looked up from his book, "Oh, hi Rose, Amanda. I've been up for a while, but those two are still asleep." He jerked his head towards John and Matt's beds.

"I don't think I've ever seen John miss breakfast before," Rose commented while looking at his sleeping form.

"Me neither. But we did stay up pretty late last night," Albus said.

"Yeah. We've been up for a while, doing homework," Rose responded.

"Still have loads more to do, though," Amanda sighed, "I haven't made much progress on my phases of the moon essay for Astronomy."

"Bet Matt could have that done in fifteen minutes," Albus commented, "He could probably help you."

"Good idea, I'll ask him after the match," Amanda decided, "We should probably get them up, though."

Albus agreed and pulled back the curtains on Matt's bed while Rose and Amanda prodded John awake. Albus looked down at Matt, who was sleeping soundly. Albus almost felt bad waking him up, but he knew Matt wanted to watch the match and would be mad if no one woke him up in time. Albus pulled back the blankets and gently poked his arm.

"Wha's going on?" Matt mumbled. He sat up and rubbed his eyes.

"We almost slept through Quidditch," John replied sleepily as he got up out of bed and headed to the bathroom.

"Oh, right!" Matt yawned and got up immediately.

Fifteen minutes later, Albus headed down to the Great Hall with his friends to have lunch before the match. The usual excitement that accompanied a Quidditch match was in the air when they walked into the room. Harry had been right when he said that Quidditch would take people's minds off Rita Skeeter's article. Albus hadn't heard anyone mention it in days. It seemed as if everyone had finally forgotten about it.

"Why can't the conditions be like this when we play?" James groaned as he sat down next to Albus.

The weather was unusually good. It was still bitterly cold, but it was relatively sunny.

"Well, it doesn't matter, because our team can play in any weather!" Samantha Meyers announced. "The Hufflepuffs on the other hand...."

"They're better than the Slytherins this year," James commented.

"True, but the Slytherins haven't totally lost the Cup yet. Ravenclaw only beat them by 30 points in their match. Now, if they lose to Hufflepuff in the next match, they'll be out of the running," Samantha explained.

After lunch, everyone made their way to the Quidditch pitch. Albus and his friends managed to get good seats, but none of them really knew which team to root for. The match lasted almost two hours before the Ravenclaw Seeker finally caught the Snitch. Both Seekers spent most of the match hovering above the other players, neither of them managing to see the Snitch. James was sitting a few seats down from Albus and Albus heard him shouting to the Seekers on numerous occasions because he had seen the Snitch. In the end, the Ravenclaw Seeker saw it hovering near the Hufflepuff goal posts, caught it, and won the game.

Albus and his friends spent the remainder of the day working on their homework. Matt was able to help Amanda finish her essay, and everyone helped him catch up on all the work he had missed the previous week.

******

"Fifteen minutes left!" Professor Slughorn announced during double potions one March afternoon, a few weeks later. "Bring a sample of your potion up to my desk for grading and clean up, please!"

Albus poured a bit of his boil-cure potion into a vial and took it up to Professor Slughorn while John cleaned out their cauldron.

"Albus, m'boy!" Slughorn grinned at him and took his potion. He held it up to the light and shook it. "Near perfect, I think! Could have done with a few more porcupine quills, but very good.

"Now, I am planning on having another little meeting this Sunday evening," Slughorn went on, as he put Albus's potion on his desk with the others. "I was hoping you and Miss Weasley would be able to attend."

Albus inwardly groaned. He did not want to go to another Slug Club meeting. The thought of being that close to Quinton Willinson again made him shudder. "Er, well, actually, I've got lessons with my Aunt Hermione every Sunday. Rose does, too."

"Oh, what a shame," Slughorn replied, "Maybe next time, then?"

"Er, maybe," Albus shifted nervously. He had no intentions of ever going to another Slug Club meeting. At least not while Willinson was still at Hogwarts.

Albus went back to his table, got his bag, and left the room with his friends. As they walked up the stairs to the Entrance Hall, Albus told them about the Slug Club meeting.

"You're not going, are you, Albus?" John questioned.

"Definitely not," Albus replied adamantly, "Plus, I've got Occlumency that night anyway."

"I'm glad he made the meeting for a Sunday, then," Rose commented.

"Yeah, me too. But he won't do it again, though. Now that he knows we have lessons that night. I guess next time I'll just have to say I've got too much homework or something," Albus said.

"Or use a Puking Pastille or Fever Fudge or something," John suggested.

"That could work," Albus replied as they emerged into the Entrance Hall. They started to cross towards the Great Hall when Albus noticed someone walking towards them. He grabbed the backs of Rose and Matt's robes and stopped them.

"What?" Matt turned around and looked quizzically at Albus.

"Shush!" Albus whispered, "Come here." Albus lead them over to a broom cupboard and pulled them inside it.

"What are we doing in here?" John asked loudly.

"Shush!" Albus said again and opened the door a crack. "Look at that man. He's who I saw arguing with Washburn!"

Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda each took a turn peering out the door to look at the wizard. "Are you sure?" Rose asked.

"Positive," Albus replied.

"Wait, you saw him arguing with Washburn?" Matt asked.

"Oh, right, you were in the Hospital Wing then," Albus remembered. He quickly rehashed what he had overheard while doing detention for Washburn.

"So Washburn's doing some kind of job for that wizard?"

"Yeah," Albus said, "And I think they're up to something. I say we follow him."

"But it's time for supper!" John whined.

"Exactly. Which means no one will be around to wonder what we're up to," Albus reasoned. "Plus, we'll get supper after."

John sighed, "Fine. Where do you think they went?"

"Probably Washburn's office."

Rose opened the door. "Let's go then."

Albus followed Rose out the door and they crept up the stairs towards Washburn's office, with John, Matt, and Amanda following. The corridors were empty since everyone was in the Great Hall. They reached the Charms classroom and Albus peeked inside. Washburn and the other wizard were standing near his desk, arguing in hushed voices. Albus motioned for his friends to move closer and the five of them huddled near the open door, being careful not to make too much noise.

"You haven't done it yet," the strange man hissed, "Why haven't you done it?"

"I'm sorry!" Washburn replied, "I haven't been able to yet!"

"Well, why not? It doesn't seem that difficult to me."

"It's harder than you'd think! I don't know where they are!" Washburn answered.

"I've told you how to find out!"

"I know and I've been trying. I have, really!" Washburn moaned.

Albus looked quizzically at his friends. He had never seen Washburn like this before. Usually, it was Washburn who was doing the bullying, not the other way around. But this man was obviously angry that Washburn hadn't finished whatever he wanted him to do.

"Well, hurry up then. Try harder!" the strange wizard insisted.

"I will, I will."

"You know we cannot proceed without them. I'm positive I know where one of them is, but it will prove very difficult to get. Once we find out where the others are, we'll do them first. They're the more important ones anyway. So, you must do it soon. Just find out where they are. I'll retrieve them. You've obviously had difficulties with even doing the simple task of finding them, let alone retrieving them," the wizard growled.

"Yes, I know. I will try harder, I will. It's just...," Washburn trailed off.

"What?!" the wizard demanded.

Albus leaned his head closer to the doorway, but Washburn remained silent. Then Albus felt a wet object collide with his head. "Argh!" he screamed and turned around.

"Ickle firsties!" Peeves was bobbing up and down in the air, cackling madly. "Spying on teachers? Very naughty!

"Peeves!" Rose shouted as the poltergeist heaved a water balloon at her head. Peeves cackled and threw another water balloon at Albus.

"What is going on out here?!" Washburn appeared in the doorway, his voice returning to the usual rage that Albus was used to.

"Firsties spying on your meeting, Professor, Sir!" Peeves saluted Washburn and flew down the hallway, laughing hysterically.

"Potter!" Washburn spat, glaring at Albus. Albus stood trembling and soaking wet, waiting for whatever was coming next. At the time, spying on Washburn seemed like a great idea. But now that he thought about it, it was inevitable that they would be caught.

The strange wizard came sauntering out of the room with a smug look on his face. "I think that concludes our discussion. I shall be speaking with you shortly." He walked down the corridor and disappeared around a corner.

Washburn watched him leave and once he was gone, Washburn turned back to Albus. "Just what, do you lot, think you were doing?" he seethed.

Albus stood still, but said nothing. Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda remained silent as well. Washburn looked at each of them in turn and returned his gaze to Albus. "100 points from Gryffindor. And detention, this Monday at 7 pm, all of you. I'll have you polishing the trophies," he spat.

Albus nodded. 100 points, that was the most Washburn had ever taken from them before. The detention was no big deal, but the points would set Gryffindor quite a ways back in the running for the House Cup.

"Um, Professor," Matt whispered, "Is there any chance we could do it this weekend, maybe, instead of Monday?"

Washburn turned to glare at Matt, looking livid. "NO! I've got other detentions scheduled for the weekend! You'll meet me in the Trophy Room at 7 pm on Monday, or I'll report you to the headmaster!" He gave Matt one more piercing stare and went back into his room, slamming the door behind him.

Albus turned and looked at his friends. They all had shocked expressions on their faces and Matt looked quite worried. Rose's hair was dripping with water.

"Told you we should have gone to supper instead," John commented, as they started walking down the corridor.

"Shut it," Albus replied, "We may have gotten detention, but we did hear some useful information."

"He's got a point," Rose said, "Washburn's definitely up to something. That man wants him to find something out, find out where something is, and then they're going to try to steal it."

"I guess, but we don't even know what they're trying to find out. We can't really do anything about it," John responded.

"And Washburn's even more angry with us," Matt said dryly.

"Yeah, but he already hates me so much that it doesn't matter," Albus pointed out, "By the way, why did you want the detention switched? That's not the, you know, is it?" Albus asked, not wanting to say 'full moon' out loud, in case anyone was lurking around.

"No," Matt whispered, "But it's two nights after the detention, so I'll already be feeling miserable."

"Oh," Albus said, remembering how tired Matt always was in the days preceding the full moon. "Maybe you could talk to my dad or Professor Longbottom? They'd make Washburn switch it."

"I know they would, but then word would get around to Malfoy. The last thing I need is him wondering why I can choose when I have my detentions. You know Washburn would somehow mention it in class."

"Yeah, he would," Albus said darkly.

"We'll just polish your trophies for you," John assured him, "Just make it look like you're doing something and we'll cover for you."

Matt smiled weakly, "Thanks."

"So, we going to go eat supper or not?" John turned towards the stairs.

"You guys go ahead," Albus answered, "I've got to go change out of these wet robes." He gave Rose a meaningful glance.

"I've got to change, too," Rose told them and gestured to her soaking robes.

"All right," John said, and started down the stairs with Matt and Amanda.

Albus and Rose set off for Gryffindor Tower. Once they entered the deserted common room, Rose turned to look at Albus. "You thought of the Hallows when you heard Washburn talking, didn't you?"

"Yeah," Albus said, "Did you?"

Rose nodded, "It does seem suspicious."

"It's got to be him. It fits. That's why he hates me. He thought I'd know where the Hallows are, but I don't."

"I dunno. I mean, it does fit, but still, Washburn's a teacher."

"So what? Teachers can be Dark wizards, too."

"I know, but we don't have any proof! We didn't even hear him say 'Hallows'," Rose reasoned.

"I know, so I don't think we should tell my dad yet, we can't get him in trouble, but it's a start. And we learned more about the Hallows," Albus pointed out, "They already know where one of them is, but it's going to be hard to get. Maybe it's heavily guarded?"

"Probably. Anyway, I think we'll probably have to take Dumbledore's advice and talk to John, Matt, and Amanda about it. We've got to find out what they are."

"Yeah, we should. We'll do it soon," Albus assured her.

"Albus, do you think that Washburn, or whoever is trying to get the Hallows, will be able to bring back Voldemort?" Rose asked quietly.

"I don't think so. I mean, he's dead, right? So how could he come back? Plus, in my dream, the wizard said he was going to bring about Voldemort's 'ideals'."

"Well, his 'ideals' are pretty scary," Rose shuddered, "And the idea of a second Voldemort's almost as scary as the first one."

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Which is why we've got to keep Washburn from getting the Hallows."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Also, thanks to Moonylupin, XXEveryinchXX, and TheNobleHouseofPotter for their reviews!

I've posted my next story, In Moonlight's Shadow. Please check it out on my author page!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Word spread like wildfire that a group of first years had lost Gryffindor 100 points in one night. Quite a few older students were very angry about this, especially since the loss of points placed them below both Slytherin and Hufflepuff in the running for the House Cup. After classes the next day, Albus and his friends were bombarded by a couple fifth years, including his cousins Georgia and Gabriella, demanding to know why the points were taking away. Albus quickly explained what had happened with Washburn, and silence fell around the common room. After a few moments, someone started clapping. Soon after, a couple more people joined in and eventually the entire common room was cheering and slapping Albus and his friends on the back. Albus stared quizzically at everyone, wondering why they were all cheering that he had lost them so many points.

"Why's everyone clapping?" Albus asked James.

James grinned, "Because you made Washburn so angry! Everyone hates him! No one's had the nerve to spy on him before. It's brilliant, really. I've heard people have been trying to get him to quit since he first started teaching when Victoire was a first year. You've done so much stuff to him this year. First you set him on fire-"

"That was a complete accident!"

"Doesn't matter, the point is, he's horrible to everyone, except the Slytherins. And you're rebelling against him. Honestly, you've got more nerve than I thought," James stared in awe at his brother.

"Thanks," Albus smiled at James. Albus had felt horrible about losing so many points, but if the other Gryffindors weren't going to care, than maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

For the next few days, whenever Albus and his friends were in the common room, the other Gryffindors would ask Albus for help in planning pranks to pull on Washburn. Apparently, the other Gryffindors saw Albus's spying as inspiration to figure out their own ways to drive the Charms professor crazy. Albus, however, wanted nothing to do with it. He was far too worried about the idea of Washburn and that other wizard trying to find the Hallows and use them to complete Voldemort's plans. He spent the weekend trying to do homework, but always wound up thinking about the Hallows and trying to think of something that was heavily guarded that could be used to gain power.

By the time Monday arrived, Albus had exhausted every possible powerful object and couldn't think of anymore. Monday meant that it was time for their detention with Washburn. After dinner, Albus and his friends walked slowly to the trophy room. Albus was not looking forward to being in close vicinity with the person who was most likely performing Legilimency on him.

"Are you all right, Matt?" Rose asked, jolting Albus out of his thoughts. He turned around to look at Matt, who was lagging behind the rest of them, even though they were all walking slow.

"Yeah," Matt yawned, "Just tired, no big deal."

"You should go to Madam Pomfrey. She'll make Washburn reschedule the detention," Rose suggested.

"And have Malfoy find out? No. Plus, if I do it another time, I'll have to do it alone," Matt shuddered at the thought of being alone with Washburn.

No one said another word the rest of the way to the trophy room. When they got there, Washburn was already there, looking murderous, and standing next to a large bucket of cleaning supplies.

"It's 7:05. You're late," he growled.

"Sorry, sir," Matt mumbled, "It was my fault."

"I don't care who's fault it was. It just means you'll be here later," Washburn barked, "You'll be staying until every one of these trophies is spotless. No magic, of course."

Washburn strode over to a large armchair that was sitting near the door, sat down in it, and started his usual glaring. Albus picked up a bottle of polish and a rag and wandered over to a trophy for the Gobstones Club. John and Matt started polishing trophies on either side of Albus, while Rose and Amanda started on the other side of the room. The trophy room was quite large and Albus guessed it would take them at least two hours, perhaps more, to polish all the trophies and cases. They polished in silence for a half hour, moving along the wall of trophies as they went on. Albus was polishing a Wizard's Chess Championship trophy from 1922 when he felt a sharp poke in his side. He turned to his right and saw John, who had stopped polishing his trophy. "What?" Albus whispered.

John silently pointed to Albus's other side and Albus turned to look. Matt was standing with his head slumped up against the trophy case. He was fast asleep. Albus glanced nervously back at John. Albus didn't want to know what Washburn would do to Matt if he discovered that he wasn't awake.

"Matt," Albus prodded his friend gently, "Wake up."

Matt groaned a little and lifted his head off the glass. Albus glanced nervously at Washburn. Luckily he was currently pointing out a spot of dirt that Rose had missed on a Quidditch trophy. Albus poked Matt again, a little harder this time.

"Ouch!" Matt winced and opened his eyes. He glanced around with a confused look on his face.

"Shush!" Albus whispered. "You fell asleep. Keep polishing."

"Oh, right," Matt picked up his rag that had fallen on the floor when he drifted off and went back to polishing.

The three boys continued polishing in silence for the next hour. Occasionally, either Albus or John would have to wake Matt up. Matt was not getting a whole lot of polishing done, but since he was working right next to Albus and John, Washburn didn't seem to notice.

"Albus," John whispered a while later.

"What?" Albus looked over at John. John pointed at the trophy he was polishing. Albus looked at it and saw that it was a plaque of everyone who received an award for special services to the school.

John pointed at two names on it, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. "What did they do?" he whispered.

"Saved my mum from Voldemort and a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets," Albus whispered back. "And discovered that it was Voldemort attacking students in the first place. He possessed my mum through a diary he wrote when he was 16."

John stared wide-eyed at Albus. "Whoa. I think I remember my parents telling me about that. They weren't in Hogwarts yet when that happened."

"Quiet back there," Washburn growled.

Matt jerked awake at the sound of Washburn's voice. "Wha's going on?" he said a little too loudly.

"Oh, wake up, Eckerton! It's only 9 pm!" Washburn shouted, "The sooner you finish, the sooner you can go to bed."

"Sorry, sir," Matt replied and went back to polishing a trophy.

As Albus continued polishing, he thought about the award his dad had gotten all those years ago. He had been a hero every year he had been in school. He still was a hero. 'Will I ever do anything like that?' Albus thought. 'Will I ever live up to what people think I will do? Everyone thinks I'll do great things just because my dad did, but what if I can't?' Albus doubted that he would ever get an award for special services to the school.

"Eckerton!" Washburn shouted, causing Albus to come out of his thoughts. "Why can't you stay awake?! Get up!"

Albus looked over at Matt. He was slumped yet again on one of the glass display cases, looking very pale. He opened his eyes and started slowly dragging his rag along the glass with his eyes drooping.

"Why don't you lay off him already?" John shouted disgustedly. "You know perfectly well why he's tired."

Washburn got up from his chair and started towards John. Albus glanced nervously from one to the other. Rose and Amanda both stopped polishing and were paying close attention. Matt had fallen asleep on the glass again. "What did you say?" Washburn spat once he was within two feet of John.

John stared at him, not breaking eye contact. "I said, why don't you leave him alone? You knew he'd be tired today and you still made him do detention! Just let him sleep and we'll finish the cleaning. We're almost done anyway."

Washburn's face turned a shade of purple that Albus had only seen on his Great-Uncle Vernon. He stepped closer to John, but John didn't look away. "50 more points from Gryffindor for talking back. And another detention, I think. Tomorrow night. Lines. My office. But just you. Sleeping Beauty will be even worse tomorrow and as much as I'd love to give more detention to Potter, Weasley, and Tagger, they haven't done anything. This was all you. Go on, get out of here!" He shouted stormed out of the room.

Albus stared in shock as he left. He glanced around at John, who was still glaring at the door, his face as red with anger as Rose's hair. "C'mon, let's go," he said quietly as he prodded Matt awake.

"Huh?" Matt mumbled.

"Detention's over," Albus told him as he walked towards the door.

"Oh, ok," Matt yawned and followed the rest of them out of the door.

"He's kept us past curfew," Rose commented as they made their way through the corridors.

"Figures," John grunted.

"That was brilliant, by the way," Albus said.

"What was brilliant?" Matt asked.

"John flipped out on Washburn while you were asleep," Albus told him.

"What did you do?" Matt asked John in an astonished voice. "Why do I always miss the good stuff?"

John was still too angry to say much, so Albus explained. "He told Washburn off for yelling at you. It was after Washburn woke you up that second time. And you had just fallen asleep again. John started yelling at him about how he shouldn't have shouted at you when he knew why you were tired and how he shouldn't have assigned you detention for today."

"What?!" Matt shouted, "Are you mad? What did he do to you?"

"Detention tomorrow night. And fifty points lost," John replied.

"You are mad," Matt said quietly, "You didn't have to do that. I don't want you getting in trouble for me."

"Yes, I did," John said, "It's not fair what he did. He should have made the detention over the weekend, like you suggested. He's deliberately trying to run you down. It's just not fair."

"Yeah, well, life's not fair. I found that out six years ago," Matt said bluntly.

"Yeah, but it doesn't mean it's okay for people to treat you like dung," John replied softly.

******

By the time John trudged back into the common room after his detention the next night, most of the rest of the Gryffindors had gone to bed. There were a few fifth years huddled up at one table, studying for their O.W.L.s, and Victoire and Amy were up talking quietly while studying for their N.E.W.T.s. Albus and his friends had managed to get the good armchairs near the fire once the fourth years occupying them had gone to bed. Rose was reading a book while Albus and Amanda played gobstones. Matt was sound asleep in his chair.

"How'd it go?" Albus asked as John collapsed in one of the chairs.

"It was bloody miserable," John groaned, "He stared at me the whole time. Had me write 'I will respect my elders and not talk back' about 300 times."

"Yeah, that's what he does. I've gotten used to it, but it drove me mad during the first few detentions," Albus told him.

"He's an evil git," John growled.

"I know," Albus agreed.

"Well, I don't want to talk about him anymore. I just spent two hours with him. Anyway, what have you been up to?" John asked.

"Not much. We finished all our homework a while ago. We've just been sitting around waiting for you," Albus said.

"When did he fall asleep?" John jerked his head towards Matt.

"About an hour ago," Amanda answered.

John sighed, "You know, it's almost like he expects everyone to be rude to him."

"I'm pretty sure he does," Albus whispered.

"Well, it's probably because most people have," Rose commented, "I mean, most people aren't exactly nice to, well, people like him."

"I know, but he shouldn't just accept it. I'm going to stick up for him," John said.

"We will, too," Rose agreed, "But he's just not used to it."

"I guess, but I'm not going to let anyone treat him badly. Especially not someone like Washburn," John replied.

"Me neither," Albus said.

"Definitely," Amanda replied.

"We should probably go to bed," Albus said after glancing at his watch, "We've got Astronomy tomorrow."

Amanda groaned, "Oh, yeah. Should be a miserable night."

"Yours won't be as miserable as his will be," John pointed to Matt.

******

The next day went by fast for Albus. Charms was thoroughly miserable for Albus and all his friends. John had made it onto the list of people Washburn clearly disliked more than the others. Now, the only one of Albus's friends who wasn't, was Amanda. However, Washburn did dislike her more than the other Gryffindors, just because she was friends with Albus. Washburn spent the whole class lecturing and shouting at Matt whenever he fell asleep. Albus could tell that John was trying hard to behave himself whenever this happened. It didn't help that Malfoy spent the whole class with a smug look on his face, clearly enjoying that Washburn was shouting at Matt every five minutes.

"Evil git. We ought to sneak a few puking pastilles in his pumpkin juice," John muttered under his breath after Washburn woke Matt up for the fourth time.

"What did you say, Brickston?" Washburn shouted.

"Nothing, sir," John answered.

"Didn't sound like nothing," Washburn growled, "Ten points from Gryffindor."

Matt wound up skipping Potions because he couldn't face a second class with Malfoy that day. Malfoy interrogated Albus again as to where Matt was, and Albus told him that Matt had left after lunch to visit his sick gran.

After dinner, Albus and his friends decided to see if Matt was in the Room of Requirement. He never showed up at dinner. When they arrived in the Room, Amy was already there, trying to wake Matt up.

"Hey, Amy," Albus said quietly.

Amy turned around, "Oh, hi, Albus."

"Are you going to the Hospital Wing now?" Rose asked.

"Yeah, I'll see you guys tomorrow, I guess," Matt yawned as Amy helped him out of the bed.

"All right," Albus replied.

"Bye," John, Rose, and Amanda said quietly.

"Bye," Matt winced as he followed his sister out of the room.

Albus and his friends spent the rest of the evening in the Room, working on their homework. After a few hours, in which Albus managed to get the latest Potions homework done, it was time for Astronomy.

Professor Polo announced that they would be finishing their March star charts that night. Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda set up their telescopes and got to work.

"This is the first full moon on a Wednesday, isn't it?" Albus whispered to Rose after a few minutes.

"Yeah, I think so," Rose said, "I'm just glad we don't have this with the Slytherins.

"Where's your friend, Matt?" Jackie Pierce, the Hufflepuff on Albus's other side asked.

"He's visiting his sick gran," Albus said automatically.

"Oh, I hope she's better soon," Jackie replied.

Albus focused his telescope and marked down a few stars. He moved his telescope and pointed it towards the moon. He sighed as he thought about how something as beautiful as the moon could control someone's life as much as it controlled Matt's.

Albus managed to finish his star chart just as the class was ending. John and Rose were able to finish theirs as well.

"I hope he doesn't take off a whole lot of points for not getting all the stars," Amanda sighed as they climbed into the portrait hole.

"If you only forgot a couple, I don't think you'll loose that many points," Rose assured her.

Albus sat down in one of the armchairs in front of the empty fireplace. "Are any of you tired?"

John sat down next to Albus, "No, not really."

Rose and Amanda shook their heads and sat down. "Let's stay up. We can go see Matt in the morning," Rose suggested.

"Good idea," Albus agreed. The friends spent much of the night playing numerous games of chess, Exploding Snap, and Gobstones. Eventually, the sun started to rise and morning came.

"Should we go, then?" John asked once they finished their game of Exploding Snap.

"Yeah, it's probably a good time," Rose said. "But maybe you should go get the map, Albus. I don't fancy running into Filch."

Albus agreed and ran up to James's dormitory. James and the rest of the second year boys were all sound asleep. Albus ran to James's trunk and rummaged around in it until he found the Marauder's Map. He left a quick note to James telling him that he took the map, quickly left the room, and went back to the common room.

Albus spread the map out on the floor and tapped it with his wand, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

"Blimey, that is brilliant!," John grinned as the writing appeared on the map. Albus had told his friends about the map before, but he had never showed it to them.

"Wow!" Amanda stared in awe at the map. "That is awesome."

"Let's see," Albus scanned the map, "Filch is still in his office."

"What about Washburn?" John asked.

"Hmm," Albus looked back at the map.

"There he is!" Rose pointed at the map, "He's in his office, too."

"Good," John said in a relieved voice, "Oh, and there's Madam Pomfrey. She's walking through the Entrance Hall."

"Let's go, then," Albus stood up, "Mischief Managed." He stuffed the map into his robe pocket and left the room, with Rose, John, and Amanda following.

When they arrived at the Hospital Wing, it was completely deserted. Albus and his friends settled themselves on the bed next to the one Matt usually stayed in. The door opened a few minutes later, but it wasn't Madam Pomfrey who came through. It was Amy, followed by Victoire.

"What are you doing here?" Amy asked when she saw Albus and the others.

"We had Astronomy last night and weren't tired, so we just stayed up and figured we'd come see Matt," Albus told her.

"Oh, all right," Amy replied. She walked over to the bed where Albus and his friends were sitting and Victoire followed. "I told her," Amy said to Albus, "about Matt."

"I still can't believe you kept this from me all these years," Victoire said.

"You're not mad, are you?" Amy asked quietly.

"No, of course not," Victoire assured her and sat down next to Rose on the bed. "It just must have been so hard to keep that a secret."

Amy sat down next to Victoire, "It was. But I didn't really have a choice. My parents forbid me from telling anyone."

"Well, I'm glad you told me now. Your parents aren't going to be mad, are they?"

"No, I asked them a couple weeks ago and they said it would be all right if I told you," Amy answered.

"Good," Victoire said and turned to Albus, "How long have you guys known?"

"Since January. Well, Rose put the clues together in November, but we didn't know for sure until January. But we didn't talk to Matt about it until last month," Albus responded.

The group sat in silence for a few moments, before Victoire asked, "When's he coming back?"

"Should be any time," Amy stood up and glanced at the door. "But just to let you guys know, he's not going to be in any shape to talk to you."

"We know, we just want to be here for him," John replied.

"I honestly don't even know if he's going to want you here. He never likes anyone seeing him right after a transformation."

"We don't care what he looks like," John said adamantly.

"I know you don't, but I think he's still afraid you're going to abandon him. He's never had such supportive friends before. The few friends he had went running in the other direction once they found out," Amy explained.

"Gits," John muttered under his breath.

The door to the Hospital Wing opened and Albus looked up. Madam Pomfrey came bustling through while using her wand to float a stretcher through the door. Matt was laying upon it, covered in a thick green blanket. Amy immediately rushed over to them. "How is he?" she asked anxiously.

"Not that bad, actually," Madam Pomfrey replied, "A few broken bones and a fair bit of cuts and bruises, but not as bad as past months."

"Oh, good," Amy replied.

Madam Pomfrey directed the stretcher towards the bed next to the one Albus and his friends were sitting on. "What are you lot doing here?" she asked briskly once she noticed them.

"We, er, just wanted to see if Matt was okay," Albus answered nervously. He suddenly wasn't sure if they should have gone to the Hospital Wing after all.

"He knows you know, then?" Madam Pomfrey asked.

"Yeah, and he explained everything last month," Albus told her.

"And you know, too?" Madam Pomfrey gestured to Victoire.

"Yes, I do," Victoire answered.

Madam Pomfrey smiled, "Good. It's about time he had some loyal friends. Now, I've got to heal him up a bit and then if he's awake, you can see him." She pulled the curtains closed behind her and Amy. A minute later, she came out, went to her office, and came back with numerous potions and bandages. Albus watched as she went back through the curtains and listened to the various healing spells she was performing.

Victoire, Albus, and his friends all sat on the bed, no one saying a word. Albus was still a bit worried about Matt's reaction to them being there. He hadn't thought about it before, but now he realized that Amy was right and Matt probably didn't want them to see him like this. He glanced at his friends, who were also looking a bit nervous. They didn't have long to dwell on it, though, because a little while later, Madam Pomfrey and Amy appeared from behind the curtains.

"He's awake," Madam Pomfrey told them, "You can see him for a few minutes, but not very long. He needs rest."

Albus glanced at his friends and they stood up. He walked through the curtains, with Rose, John, and Amanda following. Matt was laying on the bed, looking thoroughly miserable. His face was covered in cuts and there was a large bruise on his left cheek. Both of his arms were heavily bandaged and he looked very tired.

"What are you guys doing here?" he asked hoarsely when he saw Albus and the others.

"We wanted to come see you. Are you all right?" Albus asked.

"I've been better," Matt answered bluntly.

"I hope you don't mind that we came," Rose said softly.

"It's all right," Matt sighed, "I just thought you wouldn't have wanted to."

"'Course we do," John said, "You're our friend."

Matt grinned tiredly at them. "Oh, did you tell Victoire?" he asked Amy, who had just come back through the curtains with Victoire.

"Yeah, I told her this morning," Amy replied.

"And it doesn't bother me in the least," Victoire assured him. Matt yawned and smiled at her.

Madam Pomfrey came back with another steaming potion in a goblet. "Time for you lot to go," she told them, "He needs to sleep."

"Ok," Albus said, "Bye, Matt. Hope you feel better."

"We'll come see you tonight," Rose told him.

"Ok, have fun in class," Matt yawned. John and Amanda waved as the group left. Amy and Victoire followed behind them, whispering to each other.

Albus walked to the Great Hall for breakfast with his friends. He was feeling quite tired after staying up the whole night. Albus was glad that Matt didn't seem to mind them coming to see him so soon after the full moon, but he could tell that Matt still wasn't completely comfortable with them knowing his secret. Albus figured that after a couple weeks or so Matt would gradually relax about it. Now, all Albus had to do was decide when to tell his friends about the Hallows. He had been putting it off, but decided to take Dumbledore's advice and see if they knew anything about them. It was the only clue he had, and if he was going to stop Washburn from getting the Hallows, he he had to use it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to inkheart, Moonylupin, and Mamaykay for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or any of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Albus did not have a chance to ask John, Matt, and Amanda about the Hallows until after the Easter holiday. Matt spent the rest of the week in the Hospital Wing, and Albus didn't want to talk about the Hallows there. He preferred to do it in private. The Easter holiday began the day after Matt left the Hospital Wing. Neither Albus nor his friends stayed at the castle over the holiday. Albus quite enjoyed the break and spent much of it playing Quidditch with James. Rose and her family came to stay for a few days, but Albus didn't see the rest of his extended family. Albus, Rose, and James did spend a bit of time sneaking around Grimmauld Place, looking for clues that would lead them to finding out what the Hallows were, but they didn't find anything useful.

By the time Albus was back at Hogwarts, the snow had melted and it was relatively warm. April was upon them, which meant that the end of term exams were only two months away. The teachers made sure to remind them of this during every class. Albus had not thought it possible, but they were being assigned even more homework than before. Of course, no one was feeling the pressure more than the fifth and seventh years, who were preparing for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. All of them could be seen studying in the common room and library until late at night. A few of them were already cracking under the pressure. Albus was glad that his O.W.L.s were still four years away, but he was not looking forward to them. Even Victoire was becoming nervous about the exams and had started threatening younger students with detentions if they were too loud in the common room. Usually Victoire was very level headed and not much bothered her, but she was afraid she wouldn't have enough N.E.W.T.s to get her into the Healer program.

"I am not looking forward to my O.W.L.s," John sighed as he watched as a fifth year nodded off while reading her notes.

"Me neither," Matt agreed.

"You'll be fine if you study," Rose assured them.

"That's the part I'm not looking forward to," John laughed, "I'm having enough trouble studying for this year's exams."

"Have you finished your Herbology?" Albus asked John.

"I'm working on it now," John told him.

"I haven't even started it," Amanda commented. Matt was helping her finish this week's Astronomy assignment.

"Well, it's not due until day after tomorrow," Albus told them.

"Good thing!" John shouted and threw down his quill, "I need a break from all this!"

"Shush!" Victoire came storming over to their table. She looked very tired. "This is study time!"

"Sorry, Victoire," John said, "I'm just sick of studying."

"Just wait until seventh year..." Victoire muttered as she went back to the table she was sharing with Amy.

"Want to go to the Room?" Albus whispered.

"Yeah, let's go," Matt replied and got up. Albus, Rose, Amanda, and John all picked up their books and followed Matt out of the common room. They walked to the Room and Matt paced three times in front of it. The door appeared and they all walked inside. The Room looked just as it did when Matt told them about the night he was bit.

Albus walked inside and sat down on one of the chairs. His friends followed and they all resumed their studying, except for John, who was wandering around the Room.

"I've got to tell you guys something," Albus said quietly after a few minutes. Everyone looked up from their books and John came over to the fire and sat down on the couch next to Matt.

"Are you going to tell us where you disappear to with Rose and your brother?" John asked.

"Er, yeah, you noticed that?" Albus asked nervously.

"Yes, we all did," Amanda told him.

"Well, I'm going to tell you why," Albus said. "I guess first I've got to tell you that this past summer, I thought my dad had told me everything about the defeat of Voldemort."

"You mean, he didn't?" John asked.

"No, I don't think he did," Albus replied quietly, "Over Christmas, Rose, James, and I, and a couple of our cousins, overheard mine and Rose's parents whispering about something in the kitchen. They were talking about whether or not to tell us something, something they've been hiding from us. I don't know what it was. I just heard them say one word, 'Hallows'. James, Rose, and I researched in the library to try and find out what 'Hallows' were. But we didn't find anything. The only thing we had to go on was the fact that I heard the word 'Hallows' in those Legilimency dreams I have. Someone wants to find the Hallows and steal them, whatever they are.

"Rose came up with the idea that I should talk to Dumbledore's portrait about it. We figured that the Hallows had something to do with Voldemort's downfall because they seem to be something just our parents know about. Since Dumbledore told my dad about the Horcruxes, we figured he'd know something about the Hallows. So, Rose came up with the whole idea to set off a firework in Washburn's class in order to get me into the Headmaster's office so I could talk to Dumbledore."

"Wait, you did that on purpose?" John asked in awe.

"Yeah, we did," Rose grinned.

"That's, that's brilliant, but stupid!" John laughed.

"We know," Albus said grimly, "It could have gone much worse. Anyway, Dumbledore did know about the Hallows, but he wouldn't tell us about them. He said it was something my dad had to tell me. But he did give me a clue. He told me to ask you about them," Albus said.

"He thinks we'd know what they are?" Amanda asked.

"Well, yeah, that's what he said. He said to specifically ask John and Matt about them," Albus replied.

"He got that right, I've never heard of Hallows before," Amanda responded.

"You haven't heard of them, have you?" Albus turned to John and Matt.

John and Matt looked at each other and then glanced at Albus. "Well, I've never heard of them," John said.

"I have, my dad told me about them once," Matt commented.

"You know what they are?" Albus asked in shock. He looked at Rose. She looked as clueless as Albus did.

"Yeah, I do," Matt repeated, "Haven't you two ever heard The Tales of Beedle the Bard?"

"Of course," Albus nodded.

"The what?" Amanda looked quizzically at Matt.

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard," he repeated, "A book of Wizard fairy tales. The Warlock's Hairy Heart, Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune-"

"My parents read me those when I was little. Mum's actually got the original copy!" Rose interrupted excitedly.

"Does she really?" Matt stared at her in awe.

"Yeah, Dumbledore left it to her in his will," Rose told him. "But what do a bunch of fairy tales have to do with 'Hallows'?"

"You didn't let me finish. There's one more. The Tale of the Three Brothers," Matt told them. "And that has everything to do with the Hallows."

Albus and Rose glanced at each other. Like Rose, Albus had been read those fairy tales when he was little, and he remembered The Tale of the Three Brothers. He remembered his Aunt Hermione reading it to him from the original copy. He hadn't been able to read a word of it, since it was written in Runes, but he definitely remembered the story.

"But I don't remember anything about any Hallows in that story," Rose commented.

"You wouldn't," Matt told her, "The story doesn't mention the word Hallows, but the story itself is about the Hallows."

"That doesn't make sense," John announced.

"Could someone explain this story, please?" Amanda asked with a look of confusion on her face.

"Sure," Matt leaned back on the couch and gazed around the room. "This would be easier if I had the book. I haven't heard it in ages." Matt got up from the couch and walked over to a book shelf that was behind Albus's chair. "Perfect! Here's one," Matt picked a book up off the shelf, walked back over to the couch and sat down.

"'There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight," Matt began. He read the whole story straight through. It was just as Albus remembered, with no mention of the word Hallows.

"'And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, as equals, they departed this life.'" Matt looked up at Amanda and closed the book. "That's the story."

Amanda stared at him, "That's quite a bit different than Muggle fairy tales. Although I'm still confused."

"So am I. What's that got anything to do with 'Hallows'?" Albus asked.

"Everything," Matt sighed, "Just let me explain it. The Hallows, or the Deathly Hallows as they're really known as, are the Invisibility Cloak, the Resurrection Stone, and the Elder Wand. Some people believe that the story tells of the creation of the Deathly Hallows, but most people think it's just a story.

"My dad told me about it ages ago. He's one of the few people who think they actually exist. When he was younger, before he got married, he actually tried to find them. Looked in loads of books all over the world, trying to trace where they might be. My Uncle Jack went with them, too. They kept searching even after my parents got married. Mum went with them. He gave up his search after he and Mum wanted to start a family. They never did find out anything about the Hallows that would tell him where they were. Uncle Jack kept looking for years afterwards, but eventually settled in New York. He still thinks they're out there, someplace, and hasn't truly given up."

"You mean, those three objects actually exist?" Rose asked skeptically.

"I dunno," Matt replied, "My dad seems to think so. And he's met a few other people who think so."

"But if they don't exist, why would my dad want to keep me from knowing about them?" Albus asked quietly. Albus was not sure what to think about what Matt had said about the Hallows. It was a far-fetched idea, but there was one thing Albus knew might prove their existence. His father's Invisibility Cloak. Albus had not really connected The Tale of the Three Brothers to his dad's Cloak, but now that he thought about it, the connection made sense.

"Oh, come on, Albus, you can't honestly be thinking that they exist?" Rose said exasperatingly.

"We already know one of them exists!" Albus told her, "What about Dad's Invisibility Cloak?"

"Your dad's got an Invisibility Cloak?" Matt asked. "Really?"

"Yeah," Albus told him.

"But that doesn't mean it's the one from the story," John said, "I mean, there are loads of Invisibility Cloaks out there. One of my uncles used to have one. But it wore out and he never got another."

"Exactly!," Albus said excitedly, "My dad's Cloak is different from all other Invisibility Cloaks. It doesn't wear out! I know most Invisibility Cloaks just have a charm or something put on them and it wears off eventually. That must have been the kind your uncle had, John. But my grandpa had that cloak before my dad did, and my dad still has it. It still works as good now as it ever has."

"Whoa," Matt stared at Albus with a glint of excitement in his eyes, "Then that could be the Cloak from the story!"

"But what about the other Hallows?" Rose asked. "I don't think they exist."

"They might," John said, "I know I've heard of super wands being passed from wizard to wizard centuries ago."

"Ok," Rose began, "Say there is a 'super wand' out there, and Uncle Harry's cloak is 'The Invisibility Cloak'. But how on earth would a 'Resurrection Stone' work?"

Albus couldn't answer that, but he did think that the Deathly Hallows existed. Why else would his dad have kept all this secret? The Deathly Hallows had something to do with Voldemort's downfall, and Albus was going to find out what. "Well, if these three objects are the 'Hallows' that I heard mentioned in my dream, than someone is trying to find them," Albus realized.

"That can't be good," John said, "Whoever's been doing that Legilimency wants to continue what Voldemort was doing, right?"

"Right," Albus confirmed, "Do you know if anything special happens if you've got all three Hallows?"

"Dad said that if one person unites all three, they will be the Master of Death," Matt answered.

"Master of Death?" Albus repeated, "Well, I can imagine that Voldemort would have loved to have them, then. Especially that wand."

"That's a scary thought," John said, "Voldemort with an unbeatable wand."

Albus silently agreed. "Anyone evil with that wand would be scary. Remember that time we spied on Washburn?"

Matt shuddered, "How could I not? That resulted in one of the worst detentions ever."

"I know, and I'm sorry about that," Albus said quietly. He still felt a bit guilty about causing all his friends to end up in detention with Washburn. "But that strange wizard was yelling at Washburn because he hadn't found out where something was."

"And we didn't even hear what it was he had to find," Matt interrupted.

"But I think I know what it is. I think that Washburn is trying to find out where the Hallows are," Albus told them.

"What?!" John shouted, "I know he's horrible, but you think he is trying to unite the Hallows and continue what Voldemort wanted to do?"

"Er, yeah," Albus said.

"I told him it was ridiculous," Rose sighed, "But he still thinks it's Washburn."

"It makes sense, Rose!" Albus shouted.

"It does fit, but still, he's a teacher," Rose replied.

"So what? He makes it clear that he hates me and James, and you, and Matt. He's been giving Matt a hard time since the beginning of the year! And now he hates John, too."

"I know, but maybe he just doesn't like Gryffindors. He was a Slytherin, you know," Rose commented.

"Yeah, I know that. But what if he hates us because he was on Voldemort's side?" Albus suggested.

"But do you really think he'd do this right under your dad's nose, Albus? I mean, come on! Your dad's head Auror!" John argued.

Albus shrugged. He really hadn't thought of that. "Dunno. Maybe he's just stupid? Or maybe that bloke he was arguing with is threatening him or something and he hasn't got a choice?"

"Well, I suppose it could be that, but still..." John replied.

"Ok, so what if it is Washburn?" Matt said, "What do we do about it?"

"I dunno. I don't think we have enough proof to tell anyone," Albus answered. "We've just got to hope that he doesn't find out where the Hallows are. I only know where the Invisibility Cloak is, Dad's got it in his office somewhere, and Washburn probably already knows where that is, if he's the one doing the Legilimency."

"All right," Matt replied, "But this is mad, I never thought I'd actually find out the Hallows existed, let alone know where they are! Do you think you could show me the Cloak sometime?"

"Sure," Albus told him, "But please don't tell your dad about this. Not yet. I know he'd want to know, but I think you ought to wait until after my dad tells me their significance in the war."

"All right," Matt sighed, "I won't tell him yet."

"Swear you won't?"

"I swear," Matt said, "I'll keep it secret. I've got years of experience keeping things secret. Don't worry."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, and my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to XXEveryinchXX, Moonylupin, inkheart, and leezdz for their reviews!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Over the next few weeks, Albus thought a lot about the Hallows. He found it hard to concentrate on his homework, and Rose would often scold him for not spending enough time studying. He continued having his strange dreams almost every night, but he didn't think that Washburn had found out anything new about the Hallows. Washburn continued to yell at Albus during every Charms class and give him at least a detention a week. With detention, homework, and Occlumency lessons, Albus had hardly any time for anything else. Life at Hogwarts was just as chaotic as ever. Albus did manage to find time to tell James about what Matt had told him about the Hallows, but James didn't have any ideas as to where the other Hallows could be either. He did agree with Albus that it was highly possible that Washburn was the one trying to unite them.

Before Albus knew it, exams were upon them. The night before they began was very tense. Almost all the Gryffindors were either in the common room, studying, or in the library doing the same. Albus and his friends were studying at a table next to the one Victoire and Amy were at. Both the seventh year girls were extremely nervous, and Victoire insisted on absolute quiet in the common room. Albus did not mind this, because he needed to study anyway. Their first exam was Charms, and Albus was particularly nervous about this exam.

"I'm not sure I've passed," Albus groaned as he walked out of the room with Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda after the Charms exam.

"I'm sure I've failed," Matt replied, "Washburn was breathing down my neck during half of it."

"I hate when teachers do that," John said.

"Me, too," Amanda agreed.

"Well, I think I passed, but-" Rose started.

"Of course you passed," John interrupted, "You've been preparing for exams since September."

Albus thought the rest of the exams went fairly well. He thought he at least passed Potions. Herbology and DADA went extremely well, and Albus thought he got decent marks in Astronomy, Transfiguration, and History of Magic. However, even though exams were over, O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s were still going on, and Victoire was still mandating a quiet common room in the evening. The night of their last exam, Albus and his friends decided to just go to the Room of Requirement and celebrate.

"What a relief!" John shouted as he flopped down onto the couch, "No more exams until next year!"

"Yep, a study free summer!" Matt grinned as he pulled a chocolate frog out of his pocket.

"You've got homework, you know," Rose laughed.

"I know, but I'll save it for the last minute," Matt replied, "So, anyone got plans for the summer?"

"I'm going to Ireland with my family," Amanda told them, "For two weeks. I can't wait!"

"Are you going on an airplane?" John asked, excitedly.

Amanda laughed, "Yeah."

"Brilliant!" John shouted, "Maybe I can convince my parents to take us on an airplane."

"It's not that great," Matt commented. "Are you doing anything?"

"Erm, not sure. We usually visit all my cousins," John said.

"Well, you've all got to come stay at my house," Albus told them. "Rose and I always have a big birthday party at the Burrow."

"My birthday's at the end of August and Albus's is the end of this month," Rose said. "So we always have a party together. But usually it's just our family. And our parents' friends and their kids."

"'Course I'll come!" John smiled, "I want to see your house and the Burrow."

"My parents should let me come. We're not going to Ireland until the middle of August," Amanda answered, "As long as they meet your parents first."

"They can meet at King's Cross," Rose replied.

"Can you come, Matt?" Albus asked.

"Er, I dunno," Matt said slowly, "My parents have never let me stay over at someone's house before. Not that anyone would has ever wanted me to stay over at their house before. Do you know when it will be?"

Albus looked at Rose, who shrugged. "I'm not sure. I don't think our parents have planned it yet. But we'll make sure it's not around the full moon."

"Then I might be able to go," Matt smiled.

"Great!" Albus said, "We'll have loads of fun! We can play Quidditch."

"I can't believe this year is almost over," Rose began.

"Yeah, I mean, a year ago, I didn't even know I was a witch," Amanda laughed, "Going to be strange to go back home."

"And last year, I never even knew about the Hallows, and now Washburn's trying to steal them," Albus said quietly.

"Well, at least over the summer you won't be anywhere near Washburn," Rose said, "And maybe Uncle Harry will tell us the whole story."

"And then you can tell it to us!" John replied. "And to stay on topic, this time last year, I was about the same as I am now." Everyone laughed.

"Well, this time last year, I didn't have any friends," Matt said quietly.

"But you do now," John pointed out.

Matt grinned, "Yeah, I do. Never thought I would, though. It's been a great year."

"I haven't showed you the Marauder's Map, have I?" Albus asked Matt.

"No, I don't think so," Matt answered.

"It's brilliant," John grinned, "Saw it a couple months ago."

"Yeah, you were in the Hospital Wing," Albus remembered, "But I've got it now." Albus pulled the Map out of his robe pocket.

"You haven't given it back to James yet?" Rose asked.

"Nope," Albus laughed, "I don't really want to give it back. Maybe we'll just share it." Albus got up from his chair and set the Map down on the table.

"Looks just like a regular piece of parchment," Matt commented.

"That's what's so great about it!" Albus grinned, "Anyway, this is the map that my grandpa, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and of course, Teddy's dad made, when they were at Hogwarts."

"Yeah, I remember you telling me that," Matt replied.

"Here it is," Albus tapped his wand on the parchment and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Ink spread across the map while Matt stared in awe at it. "That's brilliant!" He stared at the map and all the labeled dots milling around it. His eyes stopped on the Whomping Willow. "This shows the passageway to the Shrieking Shack?" he asked nervously.

"Sure does," Albus said, "It shows all the passageways out of the school. But don't worry, hardly anyone knows about the Map. Just us, James, my parents, Rose's parents, my Uncle George, and probably some of my cousins. But none of them, except my parents and Rose's parents, know how to get in the tunnel."

"Do you know how to get into the tunnel?" Matt asked.

"Nope," Albus answered. Harry had told him all about the passageways, but hadn't told him how to get into them. Harry had told Albus that he didn't want to ruin all the fun of discovering things for himself.

"Good," Matt breathed a sigh of relief and went back to inspecting the map. "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs," he murmured. "Are those, their nicknames?"

"Yup," Albus confirmed, "Moony was-"

"Teddy's dad, I figured that one out," Matt said, "But what about the others?"

"Wormtail was Pettigrew, he was a rat in more ways than one," Albus said grimly, "And Padfoot was Sirius, because he was a big shaggy dog. And Prongs was my grandpa because he was a stag."

"Wow," Matt said softly, "This is amazing."

"See?" Albus began, "Moony had awesome friends, well most of them were," Albus said, thinking of Pettigrew. "And they didn't dessert him. We won't dessert you."

"Yeah, you're our Moony," John agreed.

Matt smiled at them, "Thanks, guys. I know you won't, now."

The group quietly watched the map for a few minutes, noting that all the fifth and seventh years were still cooped up in the library, studying for their exams. "Who's that?" Albus pointed to a dot that was lingering near the forest.

Rose leaned in closer and read, "Jarett Willinson. Never heard of him."

"Willinson. Do you think he's related to Quinton Willinson?" Albus asked.

"Probably," John said, "But Quinton doesn't have any siblings at school."

"What's that bloke doing here, then?" Albus wondered.

"Look!" Matt pointed at a dot that was traveling from the castle towards Jarret Willinson. "It's Washburn!"

Albus looked at the dot, and sure enough, it was Washburn. He was heading towards Jarett Willinson. "What are they doing?"

"I dunno," Matt answered.

"What if they're going to try and find the Hallows?" Albus asked. "We should go see what they're up to."

"What?!" Matt shouted, "Last time we went to see what Washburn was up to, we wound up in detention."

"But what if he is trying to steal the Hallows? If he is, then we won't get in trouble from him. He'll get fired," Albus pointed out.

Matt sighed, "I guess. Let's go before they leave."

"Are you coming, Rose?" Albus asked.

"I suppose," Rose said. She looked at Amanda and the two of them stood up.

"Let's go, then!" John grinned. He was clearly excited about spying on Washburn again.

Albus and his friends left the room and set off towards the front doors. They saw hardly anyone on their way down the stairs. Peeves was lurking on the second floor corridor, but luckily he didn't notice the first years sneaking off.

"Are they still there?" Rose whispered as they walked onto the grounds.

Albus checked the map. "Yeah, they're there. They must be talking or something."

"You ought to wipe it clean before we meet up with them," Rose suggested.

"Good idea," Albus agreed, "Mischief managed."

Albus walked slowly towards the edge of the forest, where he could just make out two cloaked figures. The sun was setting and it was nearly dark. Once Albus was a couple feet away from the two wizards, he recognized who Jarret Willinson was, and stopped abruptly.

"Ouch!" Amanda shouted as she ran into Albus.

"Shush!" Albus whispered, and he pulled his friends behind a tree.

"What is it?" Rose asked.

"That wizard! Jarett Willinson! He's the bloke that was arguing with Washburn when we spied on him! And the time I had detention and they argued in Washburn's study. I'm sure of it."

"That means-" Rose replied.

"That they're going after the Hallows. Remember, when we spied on them, that Jarett Willinson told Washburn that he would come and they would steal the Hallows together," Albus said.

"We've got to stop them," John replied.

"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Let's go." Albus walked out from behind the tree, with his friends following. They slowly approached Washburn and Jarett Willinson. They were soon close enough to hear what the two wizards were saying.

"You've discovered the location of one of the Hallows?" Jarett asked.

"I believe so. Potter finally cracked. I'd heard that his Occlumency skills were abysmal, but I didn't think it would take me this long. The two kids don't know a thing about the Hallows," Washburn stated.

Jarett laughed, "They will soon. Which one did you discover?"

"The Resurrection Stone," Washburn said.

"Perfect. And where is it?"

"In here," Washburn pointed to the forest. "But I don't know where."

"How are we supposed to find it?!" Jarett shouted angrily.

"Don't ask me!" Washburn shouted back.

"It was your job to find out where it is," Jarett said icily and took a step closer to Washburn. "And you haven't found the exact place."

"Sorry, but Potter didn't know either," Washburn answered nervously. "Shouldn't we just start searching?"

"We will, but I've told Quinton he could come with us, and he's not here yet," Jarett answered. "And we've got another job to do tonight, anyway."

"And what is that?" Washburn asked.

"Kill Potter," Jarett said.

Albus let out a gasp. They were going to kill his dad? But why? Albus turned around and looked at his friends. They were all standing stock still and wearing looks of utter fear on their faces.

"I don't think we're alone anymore," Washburn informed Jarett and a grin appeared across his face.

Albus turned back around to face the two wizards and backed up. Jarett and Washburn turned towards Albus and started walking towards him and his friends.

"I believe you are right," Jarett responded, "Mr. Potter, how nice of you to join us."

"What are we going to do with them?" Washburn asked while glaring at the five fist years.

"Oh, I don't know, what do you think?" Jarett replied.

"Well, Potter seems incapable of doing the simplest charms. The Weasley girl is a right know-it-all. Eckerton is asleep half the time, so I doubt he's capable of doing much magic. Brickston doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. And the other girl doesn't seem too bright either," Washburn said, "I say we just let them hang around and if they interfere, I'll take care of them." He stared Albus in the eye, with a look of complete loathing.

"Very well," Jarett agreed, "You know them better than I do. Now, let's get back to business."

"Right. Now, why do we have to kill Potter? Isn't he the one who knows where all the Hallows are?" Washburn asked.

"I know that!" Jarett shouted, "But he's the one who's got the Elder Wand! And if we want it, we've got to kill him."

"Oh, right," Washburn responded.

Albus watched the two wizards and glanced nervously at his friends. He had no idea what he was going to do next. Albus had been right, Washburn and this other wizard were after the Hallows. Albus heard footsteps behind him and turned around, pulling out his wand at the same time.

"Quinton," Jarett said, "You're late."

"Sorry, Father," Quinton mumbled, "Filch was lurking around. I had to wait for him to leave."

Jarett Willinson was Quinton's dad. As Albus watched them, he only hoped that Jarett was as hopeless at dueling as his son was.

"Put your wand away, Potter!" Washburn growled at Albus.

"Leave it out, Al," a voice said from behind Albus. Albus turned around and saw his dad pulling off the Invisibility Cloak. Albus let out a sigh of relief. His dad was there, everything would be okay.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks to my other sister and my brother, too. And thanks to inkheart, TheNobleHouseofPotter, XDNLxtlz99, drownzer, and Moonylupin for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



"Nice of you to join us, Potter," Jarett stepped towards Harry. "How did you find us?"

Harry drew his wand and stared at Jarett. "Followed your son. Students aren't supposed to be out of their common rooms after hours."

"I don't think it matters what he does now," Jarett replied icily. "Once we have the Hallows, we will have power you know nothing of."

"So it's you," Harry said, "You've been after the Hallows. And you've been doing the Legilimency, Washburn?"

"Yes, I have," Washburn confirmed. "Only your sons don't know anything about the Hallows, so it proved pointless. You, however, provided us with a great deal of information."

"No, I haven't told them about the Hallows yet. But I suppose I'll have to after tonight," Harry said.

"I don't think you'll have the chance, Potter," Jarett growled.

"You've found out where the Hallows are, then?" Harry asked.

Washburn nodded, "The Resurrection Stone is in the forest. I managed to break through your pathetic Occlumency. The Invisibility Cloak is in your hand. And you've got the Elder Wand, we already knew that."

Harry held up his wand, "I'm afraid I don't."

"What?!" Jarett shouted and looked at Harry's wand, "But you had it! That's how you defeated Voldemort!"

"Maybe so," Harry began, "But I haven't got it now, have I?"

"You've got it somewhere!" Jarett growled. "Enough talk! Give me the Cloak!"

"Don't think so," Harry shoved the Cloak into his pocket and raised his wand higher. "We'll duel if you want, but if you come with me now, you'll have less time in Azkaban."

"I don't care about Azkaban!" Jarett shouted. "Crucio!"

"Protego!" Harry shouted at the same time. A shield formed in front of Harry, protecting him, Albus, and Albus's friends from Jarett's spell.

Washburn and Quinton ran from behind Jarett, holding their wands out. Harry stepped towards Jarett and Jarett stepped closer to Harry. Albus watched them, his heart beating fast. Jarett sent more spells towards Harry, but Harry blocked each of them. Albus smiled a little as he saw how much better at dueling his dad was than Jarett.

Jets of light flew out of both Harry and Jarett's wand, lighting up the night around them. Harry sent a spell towards Jarett and he flew back and landed on the ground. Jarett stumbled back to his feet and sent a stunning spell at Harry.

"Just tell me where the wand is!" Jarett shouted as he dodged Harry's curse.

"No!" Harry shouted back and leaped out of the way of another stunner. The two wizards continued dueling, each one sending spells and curses towards the other. Albus stared at them. He had never seen dueling like this before. Neither wizard seemed to be slowing down. Harry was noticeably faster and dodged spells more easily than Jarett, but Jarett didn't appear to be giving up anytime soon.

"What do we do?" Rose whispered to Albus.

Albus turned away from the duel. "I dunno!" Albus heard footsteps behind him again and turned to see Quinton standing with his wand facing Albus.

"So, we duel again, Potter," Quinton smirked. "Impedimenta!"

Albus dodged the spell easily, but didn't know what to do next. He hadn't learned many dueling spells yet. He held his wand up higher and watched Quinton.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Quinton shouted. Albus jumped to the side and dodged the new spell.

"Ahh!" someone screamed behind Albus. He turned around and saw John, Rose, and Matt standing around Amanda, who was laying rigid on the ground. The spell meant for Albus had hit Amanda square in the chest.

Quinton laughed. "One down, four to go!"

"Watch out!" Albus shouted to his friends. They held up their wands and stood next to Albus.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Quinton shouted again. Albus and his friends darted to one side and Quinton's spell hit a nearby bush.

Albus regained his balance and turned to Quinton. He raised his wand and shouted, "Expelliarmus!"

Quinton dodged the spell and smirked at Albus, "Think that'll work again? Petrificus Totalus!"

Albus and his friends dodged the spell yet again. "Don't you know any other spells?" John laughed.

"Shut it!" Quinton shouted, breathing heavily.

Albus whispered to Rose, "We'll all disarm him at once. On the count of three. Tell them." Albus waited until Rose had passed the word on to John and Matt and began to count. "One..."

"What are you doing?" Quinton asked nervously.

"Two...Three!" Albus shouted.

"Expelliarmus!" All four first years screamed the spell before Quinton realized what was going on. He was knocked off his feet and his wand flew out of his hand and sailed through the air, landing near Matt. Matt picked it up and stowed it in his robe.

"Urgh," Quinton picked his head up off the ground.

"Let me take it from here," Washburn stormed over to where Quinton was laying. "Pathetic..."

Albus's heart started beating even faster. He had never seen Washburn duel before. It would surely be a whole lot harder to disarm him than it was to disarm Quinton. Albus had no desire whatsoever to start dueling with one of his teachers.

"So you four, well five, if you count Tagger," Washburn began, "Decided to find out what I was doing. Thought that it was a good idea to meddle in my business?"

"Er," Albus mumbled.

"Don't deny it, Potter!" Washburn shouted. "You came here tonight! You spied on me months ago!"

"If you're going to kill my dad, than it is my business!" Albus shouted.

"You could see it that way, if you'd like. But if it's your business, and you get in the way, we'll kill you, too," Washburn growled at Albus.

Albus's stomach churned with fear and he looked over to where Harry was dueling Jarett. Harry had just sent a spell at Jarett that had completely knocked him off his feet. Harry looked over to Albus while Jarett was trying to get up. "Don't do anything to my son, Washburn!" Harry shouted. "Protego!" He sent a shield charm in between where Albus and Washburn were standing. "You'll regret it!"

"I don't think I will, Potter!" Washburn shouted back, aimed his wand at Harry, and sent a silent curse towards him. Harry easily dodged it.

"Crucio!" Jarett had regained his balance and was pointing his wand at Harry. Harry turned back and ran out of the way of the unforgivable curse just in time. He returned to his duel with Jarett, sending more jets of light at him.

"Are you Death Eaters?" John asked once Washburn returned his gaze to the group of first years.

Washburn smirked at John. "You still haven't learned to shut your mouth, have you? No, we're not Death Eaters. Although Jarett's father was. He's in Azkaban now. Albus's bloody father captured him!"

"So, what are you going to do? If you were planning on killing us, you would've done it by now," John replied.

Washburn stepped closer to John, "Maybe I like to drag it out. But enough of that. Potter!" He looked at Albus and pointed his wand at Albus's chest. "I don't suppose you know if your father has any spare wands laying around? One that might be the Elder Wand?"

"I dunno," Albus whispered, "I don't think so."

"'Course not," Washburn growled, "And you probably wouldn't tell me if you did."

"Don't think so," Albus said.

"Now, I think you four would be a whole lot easier to deal with if you didn't have your wands," Washburn seethed. "Expelliarmus!" he pointed his wand at Matt. Harry's shield charm had worn off and disappeared moments before.

Albus looked over to where Matt was. Matt collapsed to the ground when the spell hit his chest,and his wand and Willinson's wand flew through the air, landing next to Washburn. Albus darted over to where Matt was laying to see if he was ok.

"Expelliarmus!" Albus shouted at Washburn after he realized that Matt was knocked out cold. "What did you do to him?!"

Washburn deflected the spell and picked up the two wands. "I just disarmed him, that usually doesn't knock you out unless there are multiple people casting it. Always knew he was weak," Washburn sneered.

"Shut it!" John shouted as he bent down to try and wake Matt up, "Why don't you ever leave him alone?!"

"Ahh, looks like you'll be next," Washburn pointed his wand at John, "Expelliarmus!" John's wand sailed out of his hand and Washburn caught it. "Now for the Weasley girl. Expelliarmus!" Rose's wand left her hand and landed in between Washburn and Albus.

Albus ran forward to pick up Rose's wand. "I don't think so, Potter," Washburn reached the wand first and picked it up. "You're next. Expelliarmus!"

Albus felt his wand leave his hand and saw Washburn catch it. He glanced nervously at his friends. They weren't doing too well. No wands, and two of them were unconscious. Albus looked at Washburn, who had started pacing in a circle around them.

"Defenseless students," he smirked, "I think you'll be much more willing to do what I say now. Time to go into the forest, we're going on a little scavenger hunt."

"No," Albus told him, "We're not."

"You're not in a position to negotiate, Potter. You'll help me find the Resurrection Stone," Washburn barked, "Now, follow me!" Washburn started to walk towards the forest, but Albus did not follow. "Let's go, Potter!"

"We're not going," Rose said, crossing her arms across her chest.

"You'll regret that," Washburn said icily. He walked back to where Albus, Rose, and John were standing. "Crucio!" he shouted at Rose.

Rose screamed and jumped to the side, just missing the curse. Washburn started sending curses towards all three of them. Albus jumped behind a tree to avoid a jinx that wound up hitting the tree. He looked over to where Harry and Jarett were dueling. As far as Albus could tell, Harry was winning. Jarett appeared to be slowing down, but Albus noticed that his dad was limping a bit as he dodged Jarett's spells.

"What are we going to do?" Rose asked anxiously.

"I don't know!" Albus shouted back. He peeked his head out from behind the tree and saw John running towards them. Washburn pointed his wand at John's back and hit him with a Trip Jinx. John fell forward and he landed on the ground with a sickening crunch. "John!" Albus shouted and ran out from behind the tree.

"Just you and the Weasley girl now, Potter," Washburn growled. "Sectumsempra!" he shouted at Rose.

"No!" Albus shouted as the curse hit one of her arms. She sank down onto the ground, screaming in pain. Albus could see blood seeping out of her robes. "Stop it!" Albus shouted again. Albus glanced over to his dad again. Both of the wizards were slowing down. Willinson was definitely the worse off, he was leaning against a tree, trying to hold up his wand with a broken arm. "Dad! Help!"

Harry turned away from his duel and came limping over when he heard Albus's shout. "Expelliarmus!" he shouted at Washburn, and all five wands the Charms teacher was holding sailed out of his hands. Washburn turned away from Rose and looked at Harry. "Don't go near my niece," Harry growled at Washburn.

"Let's go," Washburn lifted Quinton onto his feet, "You all right?"

"Fine," Quinton grunted. The two of them took one look at Harry and ran off into the night. Albus saw them disapparate just as they left the Hogwarts grounds.

Albus glanced over to where Jarett had been moments before. He was gone. "Aren't you going to go after them, Dad?"

"Can't," Harry lifted his robe and revealed a nasty cut on his leg, "Took all my strength to get over here and save you." Harry sank down onto the ground, breathing heavily. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Albus sat down next to his dad and leaned up against him. "But I want to know the whole story about the Hallows."

"I know, and I will tell you," Harry sighed, "After we get back to the castle."

"Ok," Albus whispered. He looked over to where Rose had collapsed and saw her getting up. She walked slowly over to Albus and Harry and sank down on Harry's other side.

"Uncle Harry? Can we go back to the castle now?" she asked quietly. Her voice was shaking. She was holding one of her hands down over her arm, stopping the bleeding that Washburn's curse had caused.

"I think that would be a good idea," Harry replied.

"Harry?" a new voice said from behind them. "What happened?"

Albus, Harry, and Rose turned around. Neville was standing behind them. "Bit of a nasty duel," Harry answered, and went on to explain the entire evening.

Neville shook his head, "Blimey, Washburn's always been a little cold, but I'd never have expected that. What was he after?"

"I'll explain that later," Harry said, while trying to stand up, "But right now we've got to get back to the castle."

"Right," Neville agreed, "Give me your hand." Harry extended his arm and Neville helped him up. Albus and Rose got up after him.

Harry leaned on Neville and Neville helped him walk over to where John was laying. Neville conjured a stretcher and with a flick of his wand, John was laying upon it. He did the same with Matt and Amanda. "What happened to them?" Harry asked quietly.

"John got hit by a trip jinx and hit his head on a rock, Amanda got a full-body-bind curse, and Matt just got hit by Expelliarmus," Albus explained.

"That's nothing Madam Pomfrey can't fix, then," Harry replied. "Let's go."

The group slowly made their way back to the castle. It took them quite a while. Albus was fine, except for a few cuts and being completely worn out. The bleeding on Rose's arm seemed to have slowed down, but it would need to be magically healed or else it would surely open up again. Harry was walking quite slowly, and Albus could tell by the way he winced every time they went up the stairs, that he was in a great deal of pain. Eventually, they made it up to the Hospital Wing. When they got into the ward, Madam Pomfrey was already bustling around, and when she saw them come in, she immediately descended upon them.

"There you are, Harry!" the nurse shouted, "I've been trying to contact you all evening. James got into a nasty duel with a couple Slytherins and he's been unconscious ever since." She gestured to one of the beds at the far end of the room and looked back at Harry. She gazed upon the group and her mouth fell open. "What in the name of Merlin happened to you lot?"

"Quinton Willinson's father, Jarett Willinson, tried to kill me," Harry said simply. "Had quite the duel with him down near the forest. Him, along with Quinton, plus Professor Washburn."

Madam Pomfrey's eyes became large with shock. "Professor Washburn? And where are they now?" she asked quietly.

"They took off, disapparated once they left the grounds," Harry told her, "I couldn't catch them with this nasty cut on my leg."

"Well, come on, then," the nurse said, "Harry, you go in bed one, since it's closest. Albus, bed two, and Rose, bed three." Madam Pomfrey gestured to the beds and then approached the stretchers that Neville was holding up with his wand. "And let's see, Neville, take them to beds four, five, and seven, since James is in bed six."

Neville nodded and directed the stretchers to the empty beds. Albus walked over to the second bed and lay down. He stared at the ceiling, thinking about what had happened. Washburn thought Harry had the Elder Wand, but Harry didn't. Where was it? Who had it? And why did Washburn think that Harry had it? At least Harry said that he would tell Albus everything. It was only a matter of time before Albus knew the whole story about the Hallows.

Madam Pomfrey came bustling over to Albus's bed. "Here, drink this," she handed him a potion. "Dreamless sleep." Madam Pomfrey turned away from Albus and strode across the room to one of her cabinets. She rummaged around inside. "All the Potters in the Hospital Wing at once, it was bound to happen sooner or later..." she muttered.

Albus gratefully took the potion, and a few minutes later, he fell into a restful sleep.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight and my other sister and brother. Thanks as well to XDNLxtlz99, drownzer, inkheart, Moonylupin, and MiZzPrInCeZz for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



When Albus awoke the sun was shining into the window next to his bed. He sat up and peered at the clock on the wall. It was two o'clock. Albus looked over at Rose's bed; she was still asleep.

Madam Pomfrey came out from behind the curtains around one of the beds. She walked over to Albus once she noticed he was awake. "How are you, dear?"

"I'm fine," Albus told her, while trying to peek at the other beds, to see how everyone else was.

"Are you sure?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "Nothing hurts?"

"No, I'm fine," Albus answered truthfully, "But what about everyone else? Where's my dad?"

"They're all fine, too," Madam Pomfrey assured him, "They're asleep. And your dad left a few hours ago. He had to take care of some things at the Ministry. He said he'd be back later. Now, do you want something to eat?"

"Sure," Albus said, suddenly realizing how hungry he was. Madam Pomfrey left the room for a few minutes and came back with a tray filled with sandwiches and pumpkin juice. She set it down on Albus's bedside table and Albus started eating. Rose and James woke up a few minutes later, and they joined Albus in his lunch. James immediately asked them what had happened last night. Albus and Rose explained the whole thing.

"Blimey," James said quietly, once they had finished, "I always knew Washburn was evil."

"Explains why he hates us so much," Albus replied, "We knew nothing about the Hallows, and he thought he'd be able to find out where they were by reading our minds."

"Guess so," James agreed. "So, Dad said he'd tell us about the Hallows?"

"Yeah, he did," Albus told him, "I guess he will when he gets back from the Ministry."

John, Matt, and Amanda woke up an hour later, and Albus and Rose told them the rest of what had happened the previous night. They were all happy that Washburn, Jarett, and Quinton hadn't gotten any of the Hallows, but were worried that they had gotten away. They spent much of the afternoon discussing what would happen next.

Albus was sure that, somehow, the rest of the school already knew what had happened the night before. They had no idea what Washburn, Quinton, and Jarett were after, but they knew about the duel that had taken place on the grounds. Madam Pomfrey spent a lot of time keeping curious students out of the Hospital Wing, and eventually she locked the door. Victoire and Amy were the first ones to visit Albus and the others in the Hospital Wing, followed by the rest of Albus's cousins. They all wanted to know what went on, and Albus told them most of the story. He left out the part about the Hallows, since none of Albus's cousins knew about them. Amanda, John, and Matt's parents showed up for a few hours each and were all relieved that their kids were ok.

Once evening arrived, Madam Pomfrey made all of Albus's cousins and Amy leave, and she gave Albus and the others a large platter of food for their dinner. After they finished eating, Albus heard someone trying to get into the room.

"Bloody hell, I think she locked it!" a voice shouted out.

"Oh, Ron, honestly. Just knock," a female voice said. Albus heard a loud knock, and Madam Pomfrey came running out of her office. She flung the door open and Ron and Hermione came running in. "Rose!" Hermione shouted and descended upon her daughter. She wrapped Rose in a big hug. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, Mum," Rose hugged Hermione back. Ron sat down on the bed and wrapped his arms around Rose as well.

"Where's Harry?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "I thought he was coming with you?"

"He was behind us," Ron glanced at the door.

"I'm here," Harry appeared in the doorway and limped over to Albus's bed. He sank down on it and gave Albus a hug.

"I told you not to walk on that leg yet," Madam Pomfrey scolded.

"Didn't have much of a choice. I had to alert the Ministry. I've got Aurors looking for Washburn and both Willinsons right now," Harry explained.

"Good," Madam Pomfrey handed Harry a goblet of potion, "Drink that."

Harry took the potion and downed it in one mouthful. "Disgusting."

"Dad?" Albus asked tentatively, "Are you going to tell us about the Hallows now?"

Harry sighed, "I suppose."

"You've got to let John, Matt, and Amanda listen to," Albus insisted.

"I know, they've got to know what happened, too," Harry agreed, "We just need some place private."

"How about the Room of Requirement?" Albus suggested.

"You've found that already?" Harry grinned.

"Well, Matt showed it to us," Albus explained.

"Oh," Harry replied, "Well, that would be the perfect place." Harry stood up. "Poppy, I've got a bit of explaining to do to the kids."

"Can't you do it here?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "It really would be best for them all to stay here a while longer."

"I promise we'll all come back once I'm done," Harry said.

"Really, Harry, they need rest!" Madam Pomfrey insisted.

"I owe them an explanation, Poppy," Harry said quietly.

"Oh, fine!" Madam Pomfrey threw her hands up in disgust, "But don't have them out too long."

Harry grinned. Albus got up out of the bed. James, Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda all got up as well. They followed Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the door.

"I'm getting too old for this," Madam Pomfrey muttered as they left.

"You're not leaving, are you?" Matt asked nervously.

Madam Pomfrey smiled, "Of course not, dear. Don't you worry."

The group made their way slowly to the seventh floor. Once they reached the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy, Harry started pacing. After a few moments, a door appeared where it hadn't been previously. Harry opened it and everyone followed him inside. The room looked a lot like it did when Matt asked for it. The only noticeable difference was that this time there were more armchairs and another couch.

Harry sat down on one of the couches. Albus and James sat on either side of him. Ron, Hermione, and Rose took the other couch, while John, Matt, and Amanda took the chairs.

"Dad," Albus began, "We already know about the Hallows."

"You do?" Harry asked.

"Er, yeah, we know about the connection to the Tale of the Three Brothers, and we know that the Deathly Hallows are the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. We just don't know why you've kept it a secret."

Harry sighed, "How long have you known?"

"A few months now. Since April. Matt told us about them."

"Really?" Harry looked at Matt, "You knew about them?"

"Yeah, my dad told me," Matt answered, "But I wasn't sure if I believed they existed or not, until Albus told me about the Cloak."

"Not many people think they're real," Harry replied, "I first heard the Tale of the Three Brothers when I was 17. It was the year that Ron, Hermione, and I were hunting Horcruxes. When Dumbledore was killed, he left each of us something in his will. You already know that he left Hermione the original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, written completely in ancient runes. Ron got the Deluminator, and I got the first Snitch I ever caught.

"Hermione decoded the runes and noticed a symbol in a drawing that went with the Tale of the Three Brothers." Harry pulled a piece of parchment and a quill out of his pocket. He drew a triangle, with a circle inside it, and a line connecting the top of the triangle to the bottom. "This was the symbol. We recognized it because at Bill and Fleur's wedding, Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing it on his robes. Viktor Krum approached him about it because this symbol is also Grindelwald's symbol."

"Grindelwald, that evil wizard Dumbledore defeated?" Matt asked.

"Yes," Harry continued, "But at one point, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends-"

"What?!" Matt shouted.

"They were," Harry said. Albus already knew this part of the story, but it must have had relevance to the Hallows, if Harry was telling it again. "They were friends, who were obsessed with uniting the Hallows. That symbol is the symbol of the Hallows. The triangle is the Cloak, the circle, the Stone, and the line, the Elder Wand. Grindelwald and Dumbledore's friendship fell apart after Dumbledore's sister was killed. Eventually, Dumbledore had to confront Grindelwald and defeat him. Grindelwald had the Elder Wand, and when Dumbledore defeated him, the Wand changed its allegiance, and Dumbledore became the new master."

"Dumbledore had the Elder Wand?" Albus asked.

"Yes, he did," Harry said, "Now, after Hermione decoded the story, we went to see Xenophilius Lovegood, and he explained the Hallows to us. We were skeptical, but we knew that the Cloak existed. You may have already guessed this, but Voldemort found out about the Elder Wand and he wanted to get it, because he believed it would enable him to kill me. That is why he wanted someone to kill Dumbledore. However, before Snape killed Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy disarmed him. The Wand changed allegiance once again. You see, the Elder Wand doesn't change allegiance when a wizard kills the wizard it belongs to. That wizard just needs to be defeated. Defeat doesn't always equal death. Since Snape killed Dumbledore, Voldemort assumed that the wand had shifted its allegiance to Snape, but in actuality, it belonged to Draco.

"When we got captured and taken to the Malfoy Manor, I disarmed Draco. I defeated him. Even though he did not have the Elder Wand in his possession at the time, it was still his wand. But when I disarmed him, it became mine. The Elder Wand had been buried with Dumbledore, but Voldemort stole it. Voldemort assumed that the wand had allegiance to Snape, so Voldemort used his snake to kill Snape.

"After Snape died, I viewed his memories in the Pensieve, and found out that I was a Horcrux and I would have to die in order for Voldemort to die. As I was walking into the forest, I tried once again to open the Snitch that had failed to open earlier in the year. It opened, and inside was the Resurrection Stone. In the forest, Voldemort tried once again to kill me, but he only succeeded in killing the Horcrux inside me. When I came back, Voldemort and I had one final duel. He had the Elder Wand, but it's allegiance belonged to me. He tried to kill me with a wand that was mine. A wand will not work properly against its rightful owner. So, when we dueled, Voldemort's killing curse bounced off my disarming spell, and hit him."

Albus stared at his dad, "But what about the fact that Voldemort used your blood to come back to life? Isn't that why you survived?"

"That's part of it, Al," Harry told him.

Albus didn't know what to say. He finally had the answers he had been looking for. This was why no one else knew about them. The Hallows did have to do with Voldemort's downfall, a big part.

"Where's the Elder Wand now?" James asked, "Do you have it?"

"No," Harry answered, "That wand is too much trouble. It's back with Dumbledore. And if I die a natural death, it will have no allegiance."

"Oh," James replied, "Would've been cool, though, having an unbeatable wand."

"And the Stone?" Albus asked, "Is it really somewhere in the forest?"

"Yes," Harry answered, "And I have no idea where. The only Hallow I've got is the Invisibility Cloak."

"But you did unite them, the Hallows?" Albus asked.

"For a little while, yes," Harry said. "I was the Master of Death."

"That's what Washburn and the Willinsons wanted to do, right?"

"Yes, that was their plan," Harry answered. "But they did not succeed."

"Do you think they'll try again?" Albus asked quietly.

"Yes, Albus, they probably will," Harry replied, "But I'm hoping that they will be in Azkaban soon. There are Aurors looking for them right now."

"I hope they're caught," Albus said.

"Me, too," Harry agreed, "I'll do everything I can to make sure that they are."

Albus sat quietly, thinking about everything his dad had said. Harry had united the Hallows, he had been the 'Master of Death'. Albus was relieved that he finally knew the whole story, but he still had more questions. Had his dad ever used the Resurrection Stone? How did it wind up in the forest? But Albus decided to ask the question that had been pulling at him since he first heard 'Hallows' mentioned months ago. "Dad, why didn't you tell us?"

Harry sighed, "It was a mistake not telling you sooner. I want you to know that. I should have told you last summer, when I told you everything else. But at the same time, I didn't want you to tell anyone about it. I wanted to wait until you were older and more mature."

"So you didn't trust me?" Albus asked. He hated it when people told him he wasn't old enough to do something, or know about something.

"Not exactly. I didn't want you to be tempted to tell people about the Hallows. If word got out that there is an unbeatable wand out there, especially one that is on the Hogwarts grounds, the result could be bad. Look at what Washburn and the two Willinsons did. And they are just three people. Imagine if half the school was going after that wand? I'm not saying everyone would want to use the wand for evil, but if a lot of people were going after it we could have a disaster on our hands. The idea of power, whether one is going to use it for good or evil, does crazy things to people. And that is why I didn't tell you. I didn't want a lot of people to know about it. But that didn't work at all. Now, more people than just you and James and Rose know about it.

"Which brings me to my next point," Harry said in a more serious tone, "None of you can tell anyone anything I have told you tonight. You can't tell anyone that the Hallows exist, and that they are all currently residing somewhere in or around Hogwarts. A lot of people know about my Cloak, but without knowledge of the Resurrection Stone or the Elder Wand, they won't think anything of it."

"I can't even tell our cousins?" James asked.

"No, I'm sorry, but you can't," Harry replied

"I won't tell," Albus assured Harry. Rose, John, and Amanda all nodded.

"Wish I could tell my dad," Matt said, "He'd love to hear about it."

"Is he interested in the Hallows?" Harry asked.

"Yeah, he was. He went all over the world researching them when he was younger. Never found out where they were. Gave up after he and my mum decided to start a family, though. He still believes they exist," Matt replied.

"Maybe I'll tell him, someday," Harry answered, "But for now, please don't tell him."

"All right," Matt agreed.

"Well, then, I think we ought to get back to the Hospital Wing," Harry stood up, "Madam Pomfrey will have my head if I keep you up much later."

******

Madam Pomfrey let Albus and the others leave the Hospital Wing two days later. Albus was quite happy about this, as he was getting bored with the Hospital Wing. Albus and his friends spent much of the days following talking or playing games in the common room or on the grounds. Shortly after they were released, O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s finished, and the common room returned to its usual noisy state. A few students asked Albus and his friends about what had happened with Washburn and the Willinsons, but Albus didn't tell them anything. The students' attention was soon turned towards the Quidditch final. Just as Albus and Harry had predicted a few months prior, it would be Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, and my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart, smirkyhaha, and harshabc for their reviews!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



"You're going to be fine, James," Albus assured his brother at breakfast a few mornings later. James was sitting across from him, but wasn't eating anything. With the exception of James, everyone else at the Gryffindor table was in high spirits. Exams were over, and it was the last Quidditch match of the year. The only one besides James who wasn't eating anything was Matt, and considering that the full moon was that night, it wasn't surprising.

"James, you've got to eat something," Samantha Meyers had appeared behind James and was pouring him a glass of pumpkin juice, "At least drink this." James nodded and took the goblet, but he only drank a few sips. He glanced nervously at Albus, and then looked up at the staff table.

Albus turned and looked as well. Harry wasn't there. The past few days, Harry had been away from Hogwarts more than he had been there. He had been spending a lot of time at the Ministry, organizing the search for Washburn and both Willinsons. "He'll be there, James. He said he would. You know he wouldn't miss the match for the world."

"Ok, team, let's go!" Samantha stood up and beckoned her team to follow her. James followed the rest of the team, with one last glance at the staff table. As they left, the entire Gryffindor table stood up and cheered.

A few minutes later, Albus and his friends walked down to the pitch. "Last Quidditch match of the year," Albus sighed.

"Yeah, just hope we win!" John shouted.

"Hope so, too. But Ravenclaw will be hard to beat. They've got a good team," Albus replied.

"At least the weather's good," John pointed out, "I don't think we've played in better conditions than this the whole year." John was right about that. It was warm, hardly windy at all, and there was just enough cloud cover to mask the glare from the sun.

"I hope it's a quick match," Matt yawned as they climbed into the stands.

"It probably won't be," Albus said, "We're pretty evenly matched with Ravenclaw."

Matt groaned, "Maybe James will spot the Snitch early."

"Wouldn't count on it," Albus responded, "James told me that in order to win the Cup, we've got to be at least 40 points up before he catches the Snitch. Otherwise, we'll win the match, but Ravenclaw will get the Cup. And Samantha has made it clear she wants the Cup. It's her only chance. She's only been captain for this year. Before her, it was Teddy."

"Maybe you should've stayed in the castle," Rose said sympathetically.

"And miss Quidditch?" Matt stared at her like she had three heads.

Rose sighed. "I don't know what's with you guys and Quidditch," she muttered.

"It's a good game!" Amanda grinned, "Way better than football."

"Doesn't take much for something to be more interesting than football," John laughed, "I mean, honestly, what were the Muggles thinking? How can a game be exciting with one ball?"

Albus laughed. He had to agree. He had been to one football match before. It was a community league, and Harry had taken him and James to see if they had been interesting in playing it. Throughout the whole match, both Albus and James had commented on how much better Quidditch was.

Albus watched the stands fill up, hoping to catch a glimpse of his dad. He looked at the part of the stands where the staff sat, but the seat next to Neville that Harry usually occupied during Quidditch matches remained empty. Where was he? The match was about to start. He promised James that he would be there.

"Welcome, Hogwarts students and staff to the Quidditch Final!" Todd Smith's voice boomed over the crowd. "Today's match is between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw! And here come the teams!

"First is Ravenclaw. Captain Tyler Pike, followed by Dan Burke, Natalie Cable, Allie Davies, Damien Waverly, Kate Waverly, and Zack Valentino!" Seven players in blue robes walked out onto the field, with their brooms over their shoulders.

"Next we have Gryffindor! Captain Samantha Meyers, followed by Ryan O'Malley, James Potter, Bradley Weasley, Fred Weasley, Georgia Weasley, and Heather Weasley!" The Gryffindor team marched onto the field and stopped in front of the Ravneclaws.

"Professor Oteski steps onto the field. Captains Meyers and Pike shake hands, and the teams are off!"

Albus watched as both teams soared into the air. Heather immediately took control of the Quaffle, passing it back and forth between Fred and Samantha. They flew down the pitch, dodging Bludgers sent by Valentino and Davies.

"Gryffindor scores the first goal of the game!" Todd shouted out, once Heather managed to get the Quaffle past Kate Waverly. "Ravenclaw in possession now. Waverly passes to Burke, and then back to Waverly."

"Hi, Al."

Albus turned around at the sound of his name. Harry had appeared behind him and was climbing over the seats in order to sit down. Albus moved over so Harry could sit in between him and Matt. "Dad, you made it!"

"'Course I did! I said I would," Harry replied as he sat down, "Did I miss anything?"

"Heather just scored the first goal of the game," Albus grinned.

"Awesome! She's got some arm, let me tell you. Even as a baby. I remember once, she threw one of her toys at me. Gave me a black eye," Harry laughed.

"Why are you sitting here?" Albus asked, "You usually sit with the rest of the staff."

"To be honest, it's more fun sitting here," Harry grinned, "I don't have to control my excitement when Gryffindor scores."

At that moment, Samantha scored a goal, and all the Gryffindors jumped up, screaming and hollering with joy. Harry screamed the loudest of them all.

"See what I mean?" Harry grinned, "The staff always has to contain their excitement, in order not to play favorites."

For the next hour, the game continued with both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw scoring goal after goal. After the first initial goals, Ravenclaw caught up quickly and tied the match. Both teams showed exceptional skill, and there had still not been any glimpse of the Snitch.

"Now, this is Quidditch," Harry grinned and looked at Albus. "This could be another for the record books."

Albus agreed, "Yeah, we've just got to hope that we can somehow get 40 points ahead."

"That could take a while," Harry said.

"Cable of Ravenclaw has scored!" Todd shouted, "110-100 Ravenclaw!"

"Merlin!" Albus shouted. Albus looked out over the pitch. Heather was in possession of the Quaffle again. Valentino was flying directly behind her and hit a Bludger towards her head. Luckily, she ducked at that very moment and the Bludger wound up hitting Damien Waverly instead. Waverly slipped off his broom, but managed to hold on with one hand. He got back on the broom and sent a nasty look towards Valentino. In the meantime, Heather managed to score another goal.

It became clear within the next half hour of the game, that the Damien Waverly had been injured by the Bludger. His coordination was all off, and he was having problems catching the Quaffle. This, of course, worked to Gryffindor's advantage, and soon enough the score was 120-150 Gryffindor.

"Just one more goal," Albus said, "One more and James can catch the Snitch."

"It'll be hard to keep up that 40 point lead, though," Harry pointed out. "He'll have to find the Snitch soon after the goal is scored."

"I hope he does," Rose said, "I don't think Matt can take much more of this."

Albus looked over at his friend and felt bad that he had become so absorbed in the game, that he hadn't noticed how bad Matt looked. Matt appeared to have fallen asleep and was leaning his head on Harry's shoulder. He was wincing every once and a while, much like he had been during the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin game. Why did they always schedule Quidditch matches around the full moon?

Harry nudged Matt gently until he woke up, "Wha's going on?" Matt asked sleepily.

"You fell asleep," Harry said gently, "You're welcome to lean on me, but I wasn't sure if you wanted to miss the match."

"I don't, thanks," Matt replied, blushing a little, "It's bad enough having Malfoy see me fall asleep in class, but during Quidditch...."

"I don't think he can see you here," Albus said quietly, "He's on the other side of the stands."

"Good," Matt responded. "But I still don't want to miss the match."

Albus turned his attention back to the match. It seemed to be getting harder and harder for Ravenclaw to to score goals with only two chasers. Damien Waverly was flying more erratically by the minute and his teammates had long since stopped trying to throw him the Quaffle. However, despite the difficulties, Ravenclaw was putting up a good fight. Their other two chasers were superb.

"Burke scores!" Todd shouted out over the crowd, "Making the score 130-150 Gryffindor! C'mon, you can do it, Gryffindor! Just two more goals and catch the Snitch!"

"Darn," Albus sighed, "So much for one more goal."

"It's all right, Al, two goals won't be hard," Harry shifted awkwardly to turn towards his son. Matt had fallen asleep on his shoulder again. "Madam Pomfrey didn't even want him to go to the match," Harry gestured to Matt. "But I convinced her to let him."

"Thanks," Albus smiled, "He didn't want to miss it, even if he is asleep during half of it."

"Well, Madam Pomfrey worries a lot," Harry told him, "Frankly, she wasn't too keen on James playing, either. Said he'd just recovered from his duel with those Slytherins and he ought to be resting. But I insisted that he could play."

"He seems to be doing fine," Albus said as he glanced out over the pitch. James was currently circling above the rest of the players. The Ravenclaw Seeker, Tyler Pike, was doing the same.

"He is," Harry agreed, "Staying out of the way, that's the best strategy for a Seeker."

"Gryffindor scores!" Todd exclaimed, "Captain Meyers has scored!"

"See, Al, now it's just one more goal, again," Harry said.

The game was now entering it's third hour. There was still no sign of the Snitch, which was good for Gryffindor, since they still needed to score one more goal before James could catch it. About ten minutes after Samantha scored, Heather managed to score as well.

"Yes!" Albus jumped up in his seat and shouted out in excitement. Now, James could catch the Snitch.

"As long as Gryffindor can keep their forty point lead, and catch the Snitch, they will win the Cup!" Todd shouted.

Albus watched as James started picking up speed and fly around the pitch, looking for the Snitch. But in the meantime, Dan Burke was once again storming up the pitch with the Quaffle. He flew straight towards the Gryffindor goals and managed to score another goal.

"Damn!" Todd shouted.

"Language, Smith!" Patil shouted next to him.

"Sorry, Professor," Todd said, "Now, Gryffindor must score another goal in order to gain back the forty point lead. And they might be doing that now! Fred Weasley has gained possession of the Quaffle. He passes to Meyers and then Meyers passes it back. Fred aims the Quaffle, and score! Gryffindor has the forty point lead again!"

The Gryffindors were all on their feet now, shouting in excitement and chanting 'Go, James, go! All of them except Matt and Harry. Somehow, Matt was managing to sleep through everything, and Harry continued to let him lean on his shoulder. Luckily, no one seemed to notice, besides Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda. They kept glancing worried looks at Matt, but eventually, they got sucked up into the emotion of the game and watched James's search for the Snitch.

"And I think he's seen it!" Todd screamed, "Yes, Potter has seen the Snitch! He's flying directly towards the ground. Pike has noticed it as well, but he is all the way at the other end of the pitch. I don't think he'll get there in time. No, he definitely won't!"

Albus watched as James flew closer and closer to the ground. Albus was sure he would crash into it, and watched nervously as James finally pulled out of the dive, just in time. He flew back up a few feet, holding the struggling Snitch in his hand. Albus turned to his dad. "We've won! We've got the Cup!"

"Gryffindor wins! With 320 points, Gryffindor has not only won the match, but they've won the Cup as well! Congratulations, Gryffindor!" Todd's voice rang out over the crowd.

"Matt, wake up!" John nudged his friend awake, "We've won, wake up!"

"Wha'?" Matt slowly lifted his head off Harry's shoulder and looked at all the excitement around him. "Oh, right. Awesome!"

Harry stood up, grinning, "I'm going to go congratulate James. I'll see you later. I'll probably stop by the common room, for the party."

Albus gave his dad a hug before he left, "All right. See you later."

"Let's get back to the common room," Rose suggested as she watched Matt rub his head, "We'll see James there."

"Ok," Albus agreed. He knew Matt had no desire to join the mob of Gryffindors currently storming the pitch.

Despite their slow walk back to the castle and up to the seventh floor, Albus and his friends made it back to the common room before most of the other Gryffindors. In fact, the only other people there were a few older students Albus didn't know, Amy, Victoire, and someone Albus definitely didn't expect to see.

"Teddy!" Albus shouted as he spotted Teddy sitting next to Victoire on one of the couches. "What are you doing here?"

"Came to see the match. James did brilliantly! They couldn't have found a better Seeker to replace me," he grinned, "And came to see Vicky's graduation, of course." He smiled at Victoire and giggled.

"Oh, right," Albus grinned, "Glad you came!"

"Yeah, it's great to be back here," Teddy grinned, "Well, I think I might go to Hogsmeade and pick up some supplies for the party."

"Great!" Albus said, "See you in a bit."

"You, too," Teddy stood up. He gave Victoire a quick kiss and exited the common room. It was really starting to fill up now, although the team had yet to arrive.

"Are you going to stay for the party?" Albus quietly asked Matt.

"I don't think so," Matt yawned, "Think I might take a nap."

"Ok," Albus responded. Matt left the group and made his way through the crowd to the dormitories.

"It's so unfair," Rose said softly as he left. Albus, John, and Amanda nodded in agreement, but no one said anything else on the subject.

The group found seats at their usual table and shortly after they sat down, James and the rest of the team came into the room.

"We've got it!" Samantha Meyers was the first to burst into the room, holding the Quidditch Cup above her head. "We did it!" She was positively beaming. The rest of the team climbed in behind her, all of them grinning from ear to ear. The entire common room burst into applause as soon as they were all inside.

"Thank you, everyone!" Samantha shouted over the crowd, "I just want to say a few words." She waited until everyone was silent. "First, I just want to thank the whole team. We couldn't have done this without any of you. We've got a fantastic team here, and I'm definitely going to miss all of you next year. I especially want to congratulate James," she turned to James, who was clearly basking in the glory, "You have done an outstanding job this whole year. Coming in as Seeker, right after Teddy Lupin, who was one of the best Seekers this house has ever had. That, and being expected to live up to your dad's reputation. Well, all I can say is you have lived up to that expectation. And I think you are definitely going to rival Teddy as far as seeking skill goes-"

"Ah, Samantha!" Teddy came bursting back into the common room, "Am I missing you rambling on about my brilliance on the Quidditch pitch?"

"Actually, no, Teddy," Samantha laughed, "I was just saying how James could give you a run for your money when it comes to seeking."

"Well, that's no surprise, since it was Yours Truly who trained him," Teddy joked.

"Oh, shut it, Teddy!" Samantha replied.

"And I get no credit at all?" Harry had come into the common room and was standing behind Teddy.

"Harry!" Teddy turned around, grinning, "Glad you could come to the party! I've just gotten back from getting supplies."

"Good," Samantha grinned, grabbing one of the bags and pulling out Butterbeers, "Then let's get this party started!"

The party proceeded much like the one following the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match had, only even more boisterous. Teddy had not only bought stuff from Honeydukes, but from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes as well. Teddy treated everyone to a display of Everlasting Fireworks, which took the shape of Gryffindor lions, Snitches, and broomsticks. Albus and his friends quite enjoyed it, and they also played round after round of Exploding Snap. Just like the previous party, no one left for dinner. Teddy had bought enough food that no one needed to. Even Harry stayed well into the evening.

"You know, Rose," John said after what must have been their tenth game of Exploding Snap, "I don't think I've ever seen you without a book before."

Albus looked over at Rose, who was indeed without any sort of book. "Well, exams are over now," Rose laughed, "I do take a break from studying every once and a while."

"It's just sort of shocking," John grinned, "Rose without a book."

"Don't worry," Albus laughed, "I guarantee you she'll be back to studying within two weeks of going back home."

"Oh, shut it, Albus," Rose grinned.

"Hey, guys," James was standing next to their table, his grin still as big as when he first came into the room.

"Oh, hi, James!" Albus replied, "Congratulations on the match! You did brilliantly."

"Yeah, it was awesome!" John agreed.

"Great job!" Amanda said.

"It was great!," Rose said.

"Thanks," James replied, "You're trying out next year, right Albus?"

"Yeah, definitely," Albus answered, "But I don't know if I'll make it. I mean, the only position open will be Samantha's."

"I'm sure you'll make it," James assured him, "You're a great Chaser."

"Thanks," Albus said quietly, his cheeks turning a bit crimson.

"Great party, huh?" James said, "But where's Matt?"

"He, er, doesn't feel good. He's in the dormitory, sleeping," Albus answered.

"Oh, I hope he feels better soon. He didn't look too good this morning," James responded, "Well, I'd better get back to the team. See you later."

Albus waved as James left and was absorbed back into the huge crowd in the room. It seemed as if every Gryffindor was in the common room. With Harry and Teddy there as well, there was hardly room to move. Albus kind of liked it though. He wasn't a huge fan of large crowds of people, but as long as everyone wasn't focusing on him, he was ok with it. And now, the attention was definitely on James and the rest of the Quidditch team. Albus glanced around the room and saw that the entire team was right at the center of things, along with Teddy and Harry.

"Oh, hi, Matt," Rose said quietly. Albus turned his head away from the Quidditch team and saw that Matt had come down from the dormitory. He was leaning on the table and looking very tired.

"Hi," he mumbled quietly, "I've got to go now. I'll see you tomorrow, probably."

"Yeah, tomorrow," Albus agreed. During the past few months, Albus and the others had started visiting Matt the day after every full moon. Ever since the first time they had done that, Matt had started getting more and more comfortable with the idea of his friends seeing him so soon after a transformation. But Albus and the others had not visited him so early in the morning since. They now visited in the late afternoon, after classes were done for the day.

"Want me to go with you?" John asked.

"No, it's ok, Amy's going to," Matt replied

"Ready?" Amy appeared next to Matt.

"Yeah, I guess, let's go," Matt turned and started to walk towards the portrait hole. Amy followed closely behind.

"Last one here, until September," Rose commented after they'd left.

"Wonder what it's like at home?" John mused.

"Dunno, but I don't think we should ask," Albus said quietly.

"No, probably not," John agreed.

Albus and his friends stayed up late into the night, playing games of chess and Exploding Snap. Harry spent most of the evening in the common room, but he left around 9 pm. However, the party continued well into the wee hours of the morning. It probably would have lasted much longer, but Neville came in around 1 am, and told them they had to go to bed. Apparently, the noise had carried into other parts of the castle and some of the other professors wanted to get some sleep. After Neville left, Albus dragged himself up to his dormitory. He was completely exhausted from staying up so late and fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, as well as my other sister and my brother. Thanks also to BKL8008, inkheart, Moonylupin, and XDNLxtlz99 for their reviews! There are only a few chapters left in this story, just to let everyone know.

Chapter 38: Graduation

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"May I have your attention, please," Professor Kendrick stood up and announced at the End of Year Feast the a couple days later. Albus stopped talking to John and turned to face the Headmaster.

"Thank you," Kendrick continued once the Great Hall was quiet, "What a year, what a year. It is hard to believe that it is now June. The year has ended with quite a shock. I know that you all know by now what transpired on the grounds this past week."

Albus glanced around at his fellow students and saw that they were all turning to stare at him. He sunk down in his seat a little bit and tried to avoid their gaze.

"I want to assure you all that the Aurors are looking for both Professor Washburn and Jarett Willinson, as well as Quinton Willinson. Whether this was an isolated attack, I am not sure. But whether there are more attacks to come or not, I am sure we will all stand strong, and stand as one. Whatever is coming, we will deal with it. We have dealt with evil in the past and chances are we will deal with it in the future." Professor Kendrick paused and looked out at his students. Everyone had returned their gaze to him, and were no longer staring at Albus and his friends.

"Now, onto lighter matters. I have a few announcements, then the House Cup needs awarding. First, O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. results will be mailed partway through the summer, as usual. Second, the graduation ceremony will take place tomorrow, at ten o'clock. And lastly, as usual, I must remind you of the fact that using magic is prohibited while you are not in school over the summer.

"And now, the House Cup. In last place, Hufflepuff with 376 points." Kendrick announced. Albus clapped politely along with everyone else in the Hall. "Next, Gryffindor with 413 points." Albus groaned, as did everyone else sitting at the Gryffindor table. No doubt that the many points Washburn took from all of them helped assure that they did not get the House Cup. "In second place, with 452 points, Slytherin." There was a bit more polite applause, but none of it from the Gryffindor table. "And in first place, Ravenclaw with 563 points! Congratulations, Ravenclaw!" Kendrick waved his wand and the decorations transformed from their usual Hogwarts colors into the Ravenclaw blue.

Albus clapped his hands, while looking glumly at his plate. Oh, well, there was always next year. At least they'd gotten the Quidditch Cup.

"I think that is all that needs to be announced," Kendrick said once the applause died down, "And with that, enjoy the feast!" Kendrick waved his wand once again and food appeared on all the plates.

"We'll win it next year," John announced as he heaped his plate high with chicken, "But you know what, I'm going to miss this food over the summer...."

"'Course we'll win it next year," Albus agreed, "Washburn won't be here anymore to take off unfair points."

"You don't know who Kendrick'll get to replace him, though," Rose warned.

"Good point," Matt said as he buttered a piece of bread. He was still recovering from the full moon and wasn't that hungry. Normally, he wouldn't even be out of the Hospital Wing yet, but he had convinced Madam Pomfrey to let him attend the feast. "Do you know if your dad will be teaching DADA again next year?"

"Dunno," Albus shrugged. He hadn't really thought about it before, but Harry had come to teach DADA at a moment's notice, and maybe Kendrick really didn't have time to get anyone else. But now he'd have the whole summer.

"Hope he does," Matt replied, "Otherwise, we'll be getting two new teachers, and what are the chances that both of them will be nice?"

"Not high," Rose said. "I like having Uncle Harry teach here. I hope he comes back."

"Me, too," Albus agreed. John and Amanda nodded.

"Just hope our next Charms teacher is nicer," Amanda said, "Of course, it won't take much, will it?"

"Nope," Rose replied, "Won't take much at all."

******

Albus awoke the next morning with just enough time to catch a quick breakfast in the Great Hall before making his way to the grounds for the graduation.

"We'll see you after, when we're getting on the train," Rose said to John and Amanda as she got up from the table.

"Bye," John mumbled, his mouth full of toast.

"Have fun," Amanda waved.

Albus and Matt waved as they followed Rose out of the room. "Good thing it's sunny today," Albus commented, "Remember Teddy's? Last year?"

Rose laughed, "Oh, yeah, how could I forget that?"

"What happened?" Matt asked.

"Worst thunderstorm of the whole year," Albus grinned, "It's funny looking back on it, but it wasn't then. We got soaked, despite the tents Kendrick put up. Not to mention the wind, thunder, and lightning. Scared Lily out of her mind. Mum had to take her into the castle partway through."

"Glad it's not like that this year," Matt agreed. The three of them walked onto the grounds and over towards the chairs that had been set up by the lake. People were already milling about and finding seats. Albus spotted his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all taking up practically half the seats.

"There's my mum and dad," Matt pointed to two people sitting down near where Albus's Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill were, "Want to meet them?"

"Sure," Albus said and Rose nodded.

Matt started walking towards them, but once they noticed him, they came running towards the three of them and met them halfway. "Oh, Matthew! How are you? Are you feeling ok?" A tall blond woman with an Australian accent enveloped Matt in a tight hug.

"Mum!" Matt said, his cheeks turning red, "I'm fine! Really, I am."

"Are you sure? You look a bit pale. Did you sleep well last night?" the blond woman asked anxiously, with her arms still wrapped around her son.

"I'm sure! I slept fine, really," Matt assured her.

"Julie, I think he's fine." The man, who Albus guessed was Matt's dad, pulled the woman off of Matt. He also had an Australian accent and was tall, with graying hair.

"Oh, all right," the woman sighed, "I just worry."

"I know, so do I," the man said quietly, then turned to Matt, "How was the end of term?"

"Great, really. Well, with the exception of what happened with Washburn," Matt told them.

"And you wonder why I worry so much," the woman said to the man, "I'm glad everything else was fine."

"Oh, these are my friends," Matt gestured to Albus and Rose, "Well, two of them anyway. Albus Potter and Rose Weasley. They're both Victoire's cousins, like I told you in my letters. Albus, Rose, this is my mum and dad."

"Pleased to meet you," Rose smiled and shook their hands.

"Hi," Albus shook their hands after Rose.

"Hello, dears," the woman gave them a warm smile.

"So you're the ones who set off fireworks in Professor Washburn's class?" Mr. Eckerton asked.

"Er, yeah," Albus answered nervously.

Matt's dad just laughed, "That sounds like something I'd have done in school. Of course, I did plenty of other stuff...." Mrs. Eckerton gave him a stern look. "Not that I'm saying you should pull pranks like that, of course. You should behave yourself in school, son," Mr. Eckerton said quickly to Matt.

Albus stifled a laugh and noticed his own parents, followed by his Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione walking over towards him. "Hi, Mum and Dad!"

Rose grinned and greeted her parents as well, "Hello, Mum, Dad."

"Albus!" Ginny let go of Lily's hand and wrapped her son in a big hug.

"Hi, Mum," Albus replied and rolled his eyes and Ginny finally let him go. He looked over and saw that Rose's parents were doing the same thing with her.

Albus gestured to Matt and his parents, "This is our friend, Matt. Well, you already know him, Dad," Albus laughed, "But anyway, these are his parents. And Matt, Mr. Eckerton, Mrs. Eckerton, those are my parents, and my Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, who are Rose's parents. And my little sister Lily and Rose's little brother, Hugo."

"Nice to meet you," Matt's dad stuck out his hand. "Walter Eckerton. And my wife, Julie." The adults spent a few minutes exchanging hand shakes and pleasantries, while Albus and Rose introduced Matt to Lily and Hugo.

"How'd you get those cuts?" Hugo asked Matt loudly, gesturing to the partially healed cuts on Matt's arm. Since the full moon was only a couple days ago, they still hadn't completely healed. "Didja get 'em from that duel with Professor Washburn?" Hugo said excitedly, "'Cause that was awesome. Wish I'd been there. I woulda blasted him all the way from here to Hagrid's Hut!"

"Er, yeah, they're from the duel," Matt replied quickly.

"Wicked!" Hugo grinned. "Can't wait until I can come here."

"Just another year, Hugo," Albus smiled at his cousin. "But don't count on getting to duel with evil teachers. I'd rather not have had to do that."

"Me and Lily acted out the duel, didn't we, Lily?" Hugo told them. Lily nodded her head. Hugo continued, "I got to be Washburn, only I won. Lily ran away."

"Did not!" Lily shouted.

"Did too!" Hugo shouted back.

"Kids, calm down," Ginny said sternly.

"Mum, can Matt come stay with us over the summer? John, too, but he's in the castle. They can come for mine and Rose's birthday party," Albus asked.

"I don't see why not," Ginny smiled, "As long as it's ok with his parents."

"Can I go stay with Albus?" Matt asked his parents, "Please?"

"I don't know..." Mrs. Eckerton looked worriedly at her husband.

Mr. Eckerton glanced at his wife and replied, "We'll have to think about it."

"Oh, come on! Please?" Matt pleaded, "I'll be fine. Albus even said they'd have the party at, a, good time."

Harry seemed to catch onto what the Eckertons were worried about and gave them a meaningful gaze, "I understand your worry, but I'm sure Matt will be fine if he stays with us for a few days. And we will schedule the party at a good time."

The Eckertons still didn't look convinced, but Matt's dad said, "He probably will, but I'd still like to talk it over with Julie. We'll get back to you, all right?"

"That's fine," Harry replied.

Matt groaned, "You worry too much."

"Sometimes we have to worry," Matt's mum told him, "You know that."

"I know," Matt sighed.

"I think the ceremony's starting now," Harry announced. "We'll be in touch with the details of the party."

"Sounds good," Mrs. Eckerton replied.

"See you after, Matt," Albus waved. He and Rose followed their families to the chairs that were set up on the lawn. Albus sat down in between Rose and Harry and waited for the ceremony to begin.

There was a large stage set up in front of the chairs, with a tall podium embossed with the Hogwarts crest. Next to the podium was a table piled with Hogwarts diplomas. All the seventh years sat in the first few rows of chairs, dressed in their black Hogwarts robes and a wizard's hat.

After a few minutes, in which everyone who had been milling around and talking came and sat down, Professor Kendrick strode up to the podium and began to speak. "Welcome, friends and family, to the graduation ceremony of the Hogwarts Class of 2017. I remember the first time these students stepped foot into Hogwarts. Many were excited and just as many were scared and nervous. Some thought they knew all of Hogwarts's secrets, and others hardly knew anything about the Wizarding World at all. But that did not matter. Because now, they all stand as one, equally prepared to take on the world around them. I believe that great things will happen to the people in this class and that they will do great things.

"This class is a special one to me. Every class at Hogwarts is special, but the year I became Headmaster was the year this class came to Hogwarts. I think that I was just as nervous as they were, if not more so." Kendrick paused as the audience laughed. "And I remember each one of their sortings. I remember Tyler Pike tripping over his own feet as he made his way to the stool. He's certainly come a long way from that, becoming captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. I also remember Olivia Kaden's smile as she was sorted into Hufflepuff and ran to join her sister at that table. And who could forget the loud shout of glee from Teddy Lupin as Victoire Weasley was sorted into Gryffindor."

Professor Kendrick continued his speech for another ten minutes. After he was done, each of the Heads of House went up to the podium and gave a speech as well. Albus liked Neville's speech the best. He talked about how proud he was of each and every Gryffindor that was graduating that day, and what made them special. Albus found it a bit difficult to pay attention to Professor Patil's speech about the Ravenclaws because she used such big words that Albus hardly knew what she was saying. He assumed it all meant that Professor Patil knew that all the Ravenclaws would wind up making great contributions to the Wizarding World in the discoveries of various things. Professor Polo gave a good speech about the Hufflepuffs, and then Slughorn gave one, but it didn't focus much on the Slytherins. His speech mainly consisted of listing who he had taught at Hogwarts, and how famous they are now. He spent a good portion of it talking about how he had taught Harry. Albus saw his dad grimace as Slughorn mentioned what a marvelous potions brewer he had been. Albus had to stifle a laugh at that, because he knew the story of Snape's potions book and how Harry had wound up with it in his sixth year.

Professor Kendrick took the podium once Slughorn had finished, "Thank you, Professors Longbottom, Patil, Polo, and Slughorn. Now, two outstanding students shall speak on behalf of their class. First, Head Boy Tyler Pike. And then, Head Girl Victoire Weasley."

Tyler Pike took the podium and began his speech. It was a long-winded speech full of more words Albus didn't understand, much like Professor Patil's had been. Must be a Ravenclaw thing, he thought. Albus glanced at Rose and noticed she was paying rapt attention. Maybe she should have been in Ravenclaw.

Once Tyler concluded his speech, Victoire stepped up to the podium. She waited for the crowd to stop their applause for Tyler's speech and then she began. "Wow, what a crazy seven years it's been!" she paused and smiled at the audience. "I remember our first day here. I was scared, we were all scared. Short first years, lost in a sea of older students, and now we're at the top. Over the past seven years we have not only gotten an education that will serve us throughout our entire lives, but we have forged friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Memories. In the end, that's all we've got. I know I speak for us all in saying that the memories we've made here at Hogwarts are some of the best we have. It hasn't always been easy and not all the memories are good ones. We've all lost the House Cup at least once in the past seven years, we've lost Quidditch matches, failed tests, and had fights with friends. But now isn't the time to dwell on those memories. Right now we should remember the good times. The times we did win the House Cup, the spectacular wins in Quidditch, the tests we've aced, and the fact that our friendships are strong enough to withstand a few rows.

"I'm sure we all have mixed feelings about leaving Hogwarts. I know I do. This castle has been our home away from home for the past seven years. A good portion of our lives have been spent here. It will be sad to leave Hogwarts behind, but this moment is what we've been working towards ever since we stepped off the train when we were 11. Hogwarts has prepared us, not only academically, but socially, for the world before us. We are ready, we can go into the world and make something of ourselves. When you look out at the class behind me, don't just look at us as the Hogwarts Class of 2017. Look at us as the future Healers, Aurors, researchers, and who knows, maybe even the future Minister of Magic. So, in conclusion, we are ready to face the world. Whatever it has in store for us, we will be able to take it on. Using our different talents, we as a group will be able to take whatever the world has to throw at us."

The audience broke out into loud applause. Albus clapped along with them. He thought Victoire's speech had been much better than Tyler's and judging by the applause, everyone else thought so, too. The applause died down as Victoire went back to her seat and Kendrick took up the podium once again.

"Thank you, Tyler and Victoire," he nodded his head in their direction, "Now it is time to present the diplomas." Kendrick waved his wand and the podium moved to the side, while the table with the diplomas moved to the center of the stage. The four heads of houses got up and stood next to the table. Kendrick stood on the other side and picked up the first diploma. "Katelyn Isabelle Asterly," he called out.

A tall, red haired Hufflepuff stood up and walked over to the headmaster. She took her diploma and shook Kendrick's hand. Then she shook all the heads of houses' hands and walked off the stage. She walked the short distance to the lake. Albus watched her and noticed that Hagrid was standing there. The boats they had crossed the lake on earlier in the year were sitting on the calm water.

The headmaster continued to call off names. Albus recognized a few of them, but most of them were people he had just seen occasionally.

"Amy Marie Eckerton," Kendrick called out a short while later. Albus and Rose clapped loudly as Matt's sister accepted her diploma and walked over to the growing group of seventh years near the lake.

Albus watched as Kendrick called out more names. He recognized the two Slytherins that had hexed him earlier in the year. Neither he or Rose clapped for them. They politely clapped for everyone else. Albus also recognized the Quidditch captain, Samantha Meyers and clapped a bit louder for her.

The crowd of seventh years on the stage diminished until there were only two left. "Victoire Fleur Weasley," Kendrick announced. Albus and Rose clapped louder than they had for anyone else as their cousin shook Kendrick's hand. Albus heard Teddy whistle and give a loud shout of 'Go Victoire!' as she shook Neville's hand. Professor Patil shot him a stern look and he quieted down. Albus had to stifle a laugh. Even after you graduate, you still have to listen to the professors, he thought.

"Cameron Alexander Zabino," Kendrick called once Victoire had crossed the stage. A burly looking Slytherin accepted his diploma and joined his class by the lake.

Kendrick waved his wand and the table disappeared. The podium moved back to the center of the stage and Kendrick stood behind it. "In the past seven years, the students in this class have learned a great deal about magic and life in general. These skills will help them as they pursue the careers and dreams of their choosing. It is time for them to journey from Hogwarts, on the same boats they arrived her on seven years ago. The first time they crossed this lake, they were both excited and scared about what Hogwarts had in store for them. As they cross the lake once more, they are more confident, but still excited and a bit scared about what the world has in store for them. I know I speak for us all when I say I'm sure they will do great things."

Kendrick nodded his head towards the group of seventh years. The students climbed into the boats and Hagrid got into the one in front. He brandished his pink umbrella and bellowed, "Forward!" The boats all started moving, taking the seventh years away from Hogwarts and towards the new adventures that awaited them as adults.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, ladymblack, sinwillys822, and XDNLxtlz99 for their reviews!

Also, if anyone picked up on the fact that this took place in 2016/2017, whereas the Harry Potter Lexicon indicates that Albus's first year would have been 2017/2018, I figured out the dates differently than the Lexicon did. I used Victoire's birthday (May 2, 1999) and figured out that her 7th year would hvae been 2016/2017. I know the Lexicon figured it out differently, but I'm sticking with my own calculations.

There's only one chapter left! I'll post it next week and then look for the sequel, which I'll post sometime after Christmas!

Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The audience stood up and applauded as the boats left. A few people cheered and whistled. Albus could hear Teddy's cheering over everyone else's. After a few minutes, people started to leave.

Albus and Rose said a quick goodbye to their families before heading off to the horseless carriages that would take them to Hogsmeade Station. They got into a carriage with Matt and the carriage lurched forwards to take them to the train.

"John and Amanda must already be on," Albus said as they walked down the corridor in the train.

"Probably, we're some of the last ones on," Rose pointed out. They continued to look into the compartments before they found the one that their friends were in.

"How was the graduation?" John asked once the compartment door was shut once again.

"Really good," Rose said.

"Yeah, Teddy kept shouting and whistling and Professor Patil was glaring at him," Albus laughed.

"And Victoire's speech was really good," Matt told them, "Much better than Tyler Pike's speech."

"I could hardly understand a word of it," Albus commented.

"I thought it was a good speech," Rose responded, "It was all about how the class needs to use their talents and skills to further advance the Wizarding World."

"Well, he could have just said that," Albus huffed, "He didn't have to make it so bloody confusing."

"I got told off by him once, I couldn't understand anything he was telling me," John laughed.

"He's just got a big vocabulary," Rose insisted, "Anyway, the graduation was really good."

"Yeah, but it'll be weird next year when Victoire's gone. She's starting training to be a Healer next year," Albus told them and turned to Matt, "What's Amy doing?"

"She's going to be a Healer, too," Matt told them, "She's going to work with Healer Sterling this summer, actually. She, er, wants to get involved with the study I'm in and stuff."

"Oh, is that the Healer who's in charge of it? He's the one who Albus saw in the Hospital Wing a couple months ago?" John asked.

"Yeah," Matt told them, "Amy's wanted to be a Healer and work on the Wolfsbane Potion ever since she saw me after the full moon for the first time," he said quietly.

"That's good," Amanda said, "Maybe she'll actually find a cure."

"Maybe, but probably not," Matt replied sullenly.

"So, what are you doing in Ireland, Amanda?" Rose asked after a moment of awkward silence.

"Mainly just sight seeing and stuff," Amanda answered, "It's going to be really fun. I've always wanted to go there."

"There's all kinds of history there," Rose told her, "There's a bunch of wizarding villages there, too. I'd love to go and visit them."

"That would be fun," Amanda agreed, "But I think we're sticking with the Muggle stuff."

"Oh, right," Rose said, "Well, if I ever go to Ireland, you can come with me and we'll look around all the wizarding villages."

"I wish I was going to Ireland over the summer," John announced, "We're not doing anything. Just staying home."

"Us, too," Albus said, "Last year we went to France."

"That was loads of fun!" Rose grinned, "I want to go back."

"The funniest part was watching James try and speak French to all the French people," Albus laughed. "But this year we're just staying home."

"We never go anywhere," Matt told them. "Well, we did go see my uncle in America a couple years ago. I was eight. But we haven't been back since. It's really expensive to ride on Muggle airplanes, and we always go to Australia every Christmas," he sighed. "I'd rather just visit my uncle than my grandparents."

"I've never been to America," John told him, "What's it like?"

"Different. The Muggles drive on the wrong side of the road," Matt said, "But it was loads of fun when we went. I think we might be going next year."

"Well, you can all come visit me and Rose for a little while," Albus told them, "We usually have our birthday party at the Burrow, but you can come stay at my house before it."

"That would be awesome!" John grinned, "I'll just Floo to your place."

"Yeah, that would work," Albus agreed, "And hopefully your parents will let you come, Matt."

"I think they will," Matt responded, "But we're not connected to the Floo Network."

"You're not?" Albus asked, "Why?"

"Basically, because of what happened in Australia with the Ministry and everyone finding out about me. My parents just want to lay low here, and if we're not on the Network, that's one less way of the Ministry tracking us down. Of course, my dad works for the Ministry, so I'm not exactly sure what my parents' logic is."

"Oh," Albus said, "Do you just Apparate everywhere?"

"Pretty much. Well, I Side-Along Apparate, of course. But that works to get where we're going. My parents will just Apparate me to your house," Matt told them.

"That'll work."

"And you can come stay at my house," Rose told Amanda.

"Ok, but I can't do any kind of Apparition or Floo," Amanda said.

"It's all right, my parents can drive. We'll come get you," Rose assured her.

"Great. I can't wait to see your house. I bet it's a lot different from mine. I've never been in a wizard house before," Amanda said.

"So, is your whole family going to be at the Burrow?" John asked.

"Pretty much. We usually have a few parties there during the summer. A few of our cousins have summer birthdays, too, so there are a few other birthday parties. Rose and me always have a shared one, though, since we're the same age. Samantha and Lindy's birthday is in the beginning of July, so they get a party. Fred, Bradley, and Gabriella are all born in August, like Rose, so they all have parties, too. But theirs are usually at their own houses. Then there's the end of summer party, that's always at the end of August," Albus told him.

"Excellent. There'll be some awesome Quidditch matches, then!" John grinned.

"Oh, yeah, Quidditch can get pretty exciting during the summer," Albus responded, "There's usually so many people that we can get a real tournament going."

"That'll be loads of fun, then. And my dad said he'd get me a broom this year," John told them.

"Great! You can bring it with you. I'm asking for one for my birthday," Albus said.

"I've got a broom at home," Matt said, "I'll bring it, too."

"I obviously don't have one," Amanda sighed, "Maybe I can convince my parents to get me one, but I doubt it. As much as they've grown accustomed to magic, the idea of flying still freaks them out."

"It's all right," Rose said, "There are plenty of brooms in our family, someone will let you borrow theirs."

"Speaking of Quidditch, I think the Chudley Cannons are going to make a real come-back next season," Matt grinned.

"Ugh!" Albus groaned, "You're kidding, right? There's no way they could ever make a come back!"

"Yeah they can!" Matt insisted, "And someday, they'll make it to the League Cup and I'll go and support them!"

"The day the Chudley Cannons make it to the League Cup is the day Gryffindors and Slytherins get along," John laughed.

"You'll see, they'll get to the League Cup. And then they'll win it!" Matt said excitedly, "I want to go to the next one, even if the Cannons aren't in it, though."

"Me, too," Albus agreed.

"I've been to the World Cup once," Matt went on, "When I was four. I can hardly remember it, but Amy says we had really good seats. It was in Australia, I think it's one of the only times it's been there. It was the New Zealand Kiwis versus France. France won."

"That must have been awesome," John grinned.

"Yeah, I've been to regular matches, but not the World Cup," Albus said.

"Well, I hardly remember any of it. I mostly remember France's celebrating afterwards," Matt said, "Just like I'll be celebrating when the Cannons win."

Everyone else groaned. The group kept talking about Quidditch for a while, and they all agreed that they wanted to go to the next Cup. No one knew where it would be, but they wanted to go even if it was far away.

Once they'd exhausted the topic of Quidditch, they played a couple rounds of Wizard's Chess and Exploding Snap. Rose won all the games of chess and while they each won at least one round of Exploding Snap, Rose won most of them as well. When the trolley came around, they bought a bit of everything and had fun eating Bertie Botts Beans and trading Chocolate Frog cards. Albus had most of the cards by now, but he was still didn't have McGonagall.

Towards the end of the trip, everyone quieted down a bit. Rose dug out a book and started reading, Amanda doodled on a piece of parchment, John and Albus started up the Quidditch discussion again, and Matt fell asleep. Albus and John were just beginning to discuss the chances of Puddlemere United making it into the next League Cup when the compartment door opened. Victoire and Amy walked into the compartment, both sporting huge grins.

"So, how's it feel to have graduated?" Rose asked, putting down here book.

"Brilliant!" Victoire said, "We've been celebrating with everyone else, but thought we'd come see you. What have you been up to?"

"Not much, just talking about Quidditch," Albus said.

Victoire sat down next to Rose and Amy sat down next to her sleeping brother. "Of course. That's one thing I'll definitely miss next year," Victoire sighed, "I've never been very good at Quidditch, but I love watching it."

"You can come back to watch," Albus told her, "You've got to. I'm going to try out for Chaser next year and if I make it, I want you to come to the matches."

"I will, at least some of them," Victoire assured him, "But I'll be pretty busy next year. Healer training is pretty intense."

"You'll be good at it, though," Rose said, "Both of you will be."

"I hope so," Amy said quietly as she looked at Matt, "It'd be great to discover a better version of that potion...."

"If anyone can do it, you can," Victoire told her, "You've always been the best at Potions in our year. I've just barely squeaked by. I really hope I got at least an E on my N.E.W.T. If not, I can't become a Healer."

Amy blushed, "Well, I'm not that great at it. I'm sure you got an E on your N.E.W.T."

"Where do you train to be a Healer?" Amanda asked, "Is there a university or something?"

"There are some classes, of course, but it's not like a Muggle university. And there's less schooling than Muggle doctors need. We do a couple years of classes and interning at St. Mungo's," Amy told her.

"Yeah, we're going to get a flat in London sometime this summer and split the rent during the training," Victoire added.

"Can I go visit you? I want to see your flat," Albus asked.

Victoire laughed, "Of course you can."

Amy stretched her arms and got up, "Well, we're almost there, so I think I'll go get my stuff ready. You coming, Victoire?"

"Sure, we could probably get in a bit more celebrating before we're in London," Victoire grinned. "See you guys in a little while."

Albus waved as his cousin and Amy left the compartment. The remainder of the journey was uneventful. Albus played another round of Exploding Snap with John and Amanda and then he dozed off for a bit. The next thing he knew, John was shaking him awake when they were in London. Albus yawned and started putting all his things back in his bag. He joined the crowd of students heading out of the train and walked onto the platform with his friends.

"There's my parents," Matt pointed to the left and Albus saw the Eckertons talking to his Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, "I guess I'll probably see you guys this summer, if my parents let me come."

"They will," Albus said adamantly.

"They'd better," John laughed.

"I hope so," Matt responded quietly, "Well, I'll let you know if I can, Albus. See you soon, I hope."

"Definitely, this summer will be awesome!" Albus grinned, "Bye, Matt!" John, Rose, and Amanda all said goodbye as well.

"Bye, guys!" Matt waved and walked over to his parents. Albus watched as Mrs. Eckerton pulled him into a tight hug. She reminded Albus a lot of his grandmother.

"You should find your parents so they can meet ours," Albus told John and Amanda.

"Good idea," John looked out among the crowd, "Oh, they're over there. Hey, Mum! Dad!" he shouted.

A man and woman walked over to John, the woman shaking her head and the man laughing. Three little girls followed them. "Must you be so loud, dear?" the woman asked.

"Mum, what a way to greet me after you haven't seen me in months," John grinned.

"Oh, come here, Johnny," the woman smiled and wrapped John in a hug.

"Mum!" John's cheeks reddened and he pulled away. "Hi, Dad."

"Hello, John, how was the rest of term?"

"Great!"

"Albus! Rose!" Harry said from behind Albus.

Albus turned around, "Hey, Dad! Hi, Mum, Lily, Hugo, Aunt Hermione, Uncle Ron." Albus and Rose exchanged greetings with their parents and siblings while John continued to tell his parents about school. Lily and Hugo seemed to hit it off with one of John's sisters and they were running around the platform, trying to get each other to eat the disgusting flavors of Bertie Bott's.

Amanda had meanwhile found her parents and brought them over to the group. They both looked a bit uncomfortable among all the witches and wizards, but seemed to want to meet Albus and the others.

Rose seemed to take charge of all the introductions. "Ok, Mum, Dad. These are mine and Albus's friends, John and Amanda." The next few minutes were spent with all the adults shaking hands and introducing themselves. Rose and Albus told John and Amanda's parents about their birthday party and it seemed like both John and Amanda would be able to go. After a few minutes of discussing details, John, Amanda, and their families said goodbye to the Potters and the Weasleys and headed back into London.

"Ready to go, James?" Harry shouted to his oldest son who was standing a few meters away, talking to Nathan.

"Yeah, Dad, just a second," James shouted back. He said something else to Nathan and then walked over to his family.

Albus and the rest of the Potters walked back out of the station with Rose and her family. Albus was tired from the journey home and did not say much. He was thinking about the past year. It had been great. Sure, the whole altercation with Washburn had been scary, but that was over now, and his dad was taking care of that at the Ministry. He was happy he had made a few good friends and was very glad that Matt trusted them with his secret. Albus was looking forward to the summer and having John and Matt visit him at Grimmauld Place, but in all honesty, he was looking forward about going back in September. He had only been at Hogwarts for a year, but it already felt like a second home to Albus.


~Fin~


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



A/N: Well, there it is, the last chapter! It's a bittersweet moment to finish posting this here. I've been working on this story for over a year, and even though I finished it last April, I've been editing it as I've posted it here.

Thanks go out to my wonderful beta and youngest sister, Dancer_of_Starlight. She's been reading this and betaing it ever since I started writing it in September of 2007. I've bounced ideas off of her and she tells me whether they're good or they're awful. My other sister and my brother have also been extremely helpful. Thanks to them as well!

Thanks as well to all my faithful reviewers. XDNLxtlz99, sinwillys822, Moonylupin, and ginnyweasleypotter87, you guys are awesome!

Albus's story is far from over, though! Be on the lookout for the sequel, Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind, sometime shortly after Christmas! It chronicles Albus's second year at Hogwarts and is filled with new characters and plots! It is completely finished, so updates will be on a regular basis. I'm currently working on the nameless story of Albus's third year.

I'll leave you with that rather long bit of author's notes. I hope everyone has a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Other Holidays!
56 comments

Anonymous readerReport

2014-02-13 01:53:00
dude this girl is live right now on girlychat.at.vu her profile name is jenxoxo

Anonymous readerReport

2014-02-13 01:52:56
i think i seen this video before over at girlychat.at.vu and it was in HD

Anonymous readerReport

2014-02-13 01:52:56
omg i know this girl from girlychat.at.vu she gives out free shows haha

Anonymous readerReport

2014-02-13 01:52:55
live cam sluts are all over at girlychat.at.vu right now doing free shows

Anonymous readerReport

2014-02-13 01:52:50
meet the hottest locals in your area right now at girlychat.at.vu

SUBMIT A COMMENT
You are not logged in.
Characters count: