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Chapter 4: The Losers of Hogwarts
The Losers of Hogwarts
Albus, James, and their father stepped inside the small, stuffy wand store. Albus stared at the hundreds of wands, unable to breathe in his awe. James yawned loudly and sat down in the single chair in the middle of the room. He had already gone through the excitement of getting his wand the year before, and hadn't wanted to be dragged along on what he called 'Baby Albus's stupid little wand adventure.'
But James couldn't ruin his excitement. Albus' eyes were alight with yearning. He imagined holding and using his own wand after eleven years of waiting for one. "Ah… Misters Potters," wheezed a voice from the back of the store, jerking Albus out of his fantasies. All three Potter males jumped and turned to face the voice. An ancient-looking man staggered toward them, slightly unsteady on his feet.
"Hello, Mr. Ollivander," Albus' father said politely.
"For the second time in two years," Ollivander chuckled. James smirked at Albus, who glared back. He didn't want James to be there, anyways. James would no doubt tease him about whatever wand Albus got.
"Nice to see you again, Mr. Potter," Ollivander said, addressing James, who waved cheekily. "I remember your wand. It was the first one you tried: Twelve inches, hawthorn and phoenix feather. Nice and supple. Good for defensive magic and dueling."
"Yeah," James confirmed. Albus, annoyed that Ollivander hadn't paid any attention to him, cleared his throat.
"Yes," Ollivander nodded towards Albus. "I was thinking you would come this year." Out of nowhere, measuring tapes sprung up and started to measure his arm length, his height, and even the length of his pinky and the space between his nostrils. "What is your wand arm?" Ollivander asked.
"Er—I-I'm left handed," said Albus nervously.
"Very well, very well. Unfortunately, even after observing you, I cannot narrow down all these wands to one that might fit you. You are a mystery... very strange. Usually, I can tell which wand would do well with which owner, or at least narrow down the choices, but it'll be hard for you. I suppose we'll have to figure out what the wand is for you the old-fashioned way." Then Ollivander seized a wand from a nearby shelf and handed it to Albus. "Now, try this one. Ten inches, maple and dragon heartstring. Rather springy. Good for healing magic."
Albus waved it uncertainly. A pot sitting on the windowsill exploded. "No, no," Ollivander muttered, whipping the wand away from Albus. "Try this one. Thirteen inches, walnut and unicorn tail hair. Pliable."
The moment the wand made contact with Albus' fingers, a part of the wall burst, covering James in wood. "We have an explosive customer," Ollivander remarked. James snickered loudly, apparently not bothered by the splinters.
Nearly every wand that Albus tried reacted badly, destroying some part of the shop. Three hours later, the store had nearly disintegrated. Harry was making hurried apologies to Ollivander and trying to fix the mess, casting reparo spells every few seconds. Meanwhile, the supply of wands had greatly dwindled, and less than half were left.
Ollivander chuckled loudly, making Albus jump. "Oh, you're a very difficult customer. Very difficult indeed. After giving you a few wands, I have surmised that the wand for you is unlike any other in this room. In fact, if we were to try every wand in this room, none would choose you."
Albus' mouth dropped in horror. "What if I don't get a wand?" he practically wailed.
James, who was covered in splinters at this point, snorted unsympathetically. "It seems likely enough," he said scathingly. "Every wand absolutely hates you. I'm really not surprised, considering it's you."
Albus tried to ignore James' insults and looked hopefully toward Ollivander, who was smiling like an eerie Jack O' Lantern. "Oh no, oh no. I said that you wouldn't find a wand in this room. These wands are nowhere near great enough for you. I suppose it's time to reopen the back room," he said, bouncing on the soles of his feet and displaying far more energy than was recommended for a man of his ancient age.
"W-What back room?" Albus asked, his whole body shaking with fear.
"The back room where the most powerful and dangerous wands are kept," Ollivander explained, lowering his voice ominously. Terrified, Albus followed Ollivander to the back room. It was tiny, and cobwebs hung in the corner. It was shockingly empty, except for a small table in the very middle of the room. "I have not made any of the wands in this room. These are wands that I have found or traded. They are not to be played with," Ollivander said strictly. "I would usually restrain from handing these wands out to Hogwarts students, but I have no choice with someone like you."
Albus felt sick. He fixed his attention on the table, which had a few boxes stacked on it. "A-Are those the wands?" he asked.
"Yes. But I only have one wand in mind for you. The most powerful of my collection," Ollivander said.
Albus followed him to the small desk, the anticipation building inside him. He sensed that there was something extremely powerful here. Ollivander pulled out a drawer and clutched a small white box. He held it out for Albus to see. Albus, his hands shaking, gently took off the top and gasped in awe. The wand in front of him was absolutely beautiful. It was blood-red and rather dangerous looking. Not only this, but it also had an aura that demanded respect and power.
"Eleven inches, padauk wood and basilisk heartstring core. Basilisk heartstring cores are extremely rare and powerful, and this is only wand in existence that has that core. This wand is rather brittle and very good for Dark Magic and curses. It is generally unstable, powerful, and dangerous. And it's not recommended to have this wand."
Albus gulped. Ollivander continued, regarding the blood red wand with reverence. "After trying all those wands in the other room, I have realized many things about you. You are powerful. You are destined to be both terrible and great. You are... slightly unstable and insecure as well. I see many similarities between you and this wand, Albus Severus Potter. You both have certain... dark qualities."
Albus let out a gasp, having no idea what to say to this. Ollivander's creepy silver eyes were boring into him. On the spot, Albus decided that he didn't like Ollivander very much.
When Albus had been younger, he had overheard his parents discussing his magical stability, but he didn't know that meant that he would become the owner of this powerful and deadly wand. But, strangely enough, it fit. It was drawing him towards it, and he felt a connection to it. He wanted it badly. At that moment, his eyes glazed over, and he reached for the wand, unable to stop himself. The moment he touched it, strange symbols scratched out in the wood glowed bright green. Ollivander took a sharp breath, his silver eyes tinted green from the glow of the wand. "Extraordinary. Truly extraordinary," he whispered, awed. The wand began to shine brighter and brighter, and Albus felt as if his arm was freezing over.
Then the glow died, and everything was quiet.
Albus Severus Potter jerked awake. His bed felt unfamiliar, though still rather comfortable. Had he been dreaming about the day he had gotten his wand? Probably. He had never once had a normal dream in his life. Ever since he could remember, his dreams had always had some sort of hidden message. Albus often dreamed of the past, usually his own. He rarely ever remembered the dreams, though, and he never told his parents about them. He didn't want to trouble them, and he didn't want to attract further attention to himself.
He looked around to see that Oswald was still snoring loudly, though Scorpius Malfoy was wide awake and arranging his dresser. Albus felt dread fill him from his toes to the top of his head, wondering what James, Rose, and the rest of his family were going to do to him. He tried to push the fear out of his mind and got dressed in record speed. Hopefully, he could finish breakfast quickly and return to the dormitory to ponder his family issues. Without bothering to comb his hair, Albus left the Slytherin common room. He only stopped to spare a glance for Snape's portrait, which was still empty.
When he reached the Great Hall, he saw that it was mostly deserted. He quickly made a beeline for the Slytherin table and sat down next to Hemley, who was reading the Daily Prophet. "Er—hello," Albus said nervously, scooping some porridge into his bowl.
Without looking up from his newspaper, Hemley said, "You'll get your schedule on Monday. Most of your classes will probably be with the Gryffindors."
"W-Why?" Albus asked, horrified.
Hemley made a face at the newspaper. "The school governors want the Slytherins and the Gryffindors to get along better, so they always pair the two Houses together in lessons."
Albus gulped. Hemley finally looked up from the paper, his expression grave. "I suggest you learn some protective charms and defensive magic right away. You're Harry Potter's son, but I don't think that the seventh years thugs consider you a Potter anymore."
Albus gulped again. He was suddenly afraid to step away from the safety of the Slytherin table. He finished his breakfast quickly and sat there, staring blankly into space. He was desperate to see his family again, but it was still too early, so most people hadn't come to the Great Hall yet. He imagined several situations in which he and his family made up and everything returned back to normal. He imagined more situations in which his family insulted him and threw porridge at his face. He gulped for a third time and buried his head in his arms. Finally, he heard the noise of tell-tale laughter coming from the entrance of the Great Hall. He turned around slowly, fearing what he would see. Obviously, it was James and the rest of the popular students. He noticed Rose and the pretty girl with the light brown hair, Elina Lyon, in the midst of the crowd. James was apparently telling them all a funny story, because everyone started to laugh in a sickeningly jovial way.
Albus bit his lip nervously and wondered whether he should go and confront James. He didn't want to talk to James in front of all those people, but he doubted that James would ever be left alone by his group of friends for even a second.
Suddenly, James looked over at the Slytherin table. Albus' bright green eyes locked with James' bright brown ones. James' eyes were narrowed in disgust, and Albus' blood turned cold at his brother's expression. At that moment, he knew that he wouldn't be forgiven for a very, very long time. To his horror, James started coming over to him. Albus immediately hunched over in his seat, hoping against hope that James would ignore him.
No such luck.
"Look, everyone, here's the loser," James snorted. He walked over casually and stood over Albus, casting an ominous shadow on him. Hemley scooted away as quickly as possible, not wanting anything to do with James' bullying.
Albus sunk lower in his seat and said, "W-What do you want?" He hoped he sounded braver than he felt. James laughed, and the people around him echoed it stupidly. Albus didn't understand what was so funny. He looked over James' and saw Rose. Her face was very pale, and she wasn't laughing.
"So, how is it here? You're a part of the scum now—but then, you always were," James said, a cruelly gleeful smile curving his supposedly handsome features.
Albus clenched his fists. He had always let his more social brother always walk over him, but now Albus was a Slytherin. I have to show my Slytherin side. I can't be a loser anymore. But what did it matter? He would always be seen as the failure. What did he have to do to earn some respect? He decided to simply sneer at James silently, and turned back around. It really wasn't his style, but it did the trick. James narrowed his eyes, and his joking manner disappeared. "You're a complete disgrace. A disgrace to the Potter name."
Albus gasped and whirled back around, his eyes burning with hatred. "I AM NOT A DISGRACE!" he spat. James took a step back, an expression on fear on his face.
A very curious sensation had taken over Albus. It was an exhilarating, invincible feeling. He felt power thundering through his veins, and inexplicably felt like he was capable of pulverizing James on the spot. It was a dark, evil feeling that seemed to give him strength. And then, without warning, that strange sensation drained away from him, and he was left feeling exhausted and confused.
"Loser!" James shouted, recovering from the unexpected sinister glint in Albus' eyes and knocking his head into his plate. Finally, his bully of brother stalked to the Gryffindor table, his crowd of followers trailing behind him.
Rose, however, stayed behind. Her brown eyes were wide with anger. Albus couldn't sit there any longer. Rose hated him. He could deal with James, but he couldn't stand to see that expression on Rose's freckled face. He stood up, not wanting to eat anymore. Albus walked out of the Great Hall, trying to ignore the jeering and booing, which was no doubt led by James.
He was absolutely furious. He was done with being the quiet, shy, and timid boy. I'll show them all what Slytherin is made of.
He had barely exited the Great Hall when he was cornered on all sides by large, thuggish, stupid-looking seventh year boys. Albus gulped; he doubted they were there to say hello to him. "Can I-I help you?" he asked nervously, gripping his wand in his pocket. The boy nearest him answered, smirking. "Hello, Alpus Snivellus."
Albus flinched at the cruel nickname—the one James had given him—but managed to compose himself. "H-Hello," he said, deciding to play innocent.
"I'm Wayne Lacker," the large, muscled boy said pleasantly with an unpleasant smile on his face. Then he cracked his knuckles and took out his wand. "And you're a Slytherin."
"I b-believe I am," Albus said, stuttering horribly. "Now, if you'd p-please move."
"I don't think we will," Lacker sneered. "We don't like Slytherins, do we, boys? In addition to that, you're a traitor."
The thugs around him grunted in agreement. Albus gulped again, though he was quite annoyed that they had called him a traitor. He wasn't that, and he would never be. Angry and scared, he dropped his polite Slytherin attitude. "Let m-me go!"
"Of course you can go," said Lacker sweetly, "after we hex you into oblivion." He took out his wand.
Those were the words that made Albus spring up into action. He yanked his wand out of his pocket and pointed it threateningly at Lacker. "I've m-memorized the whole D-Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook," he warned. His whole body was shaking, and he seriously doubted that he looked threatening.
"And I'm a seventh year," Lacker responded, grinning sinisterly.
Albus, realizing that he was done for, blindly ran to one side. He met an invisible barrier. Lacker raised his wand and sent dangerous-looking yellow sparks at Albus. It was nonverbal magic. He was just about ready to tough it out, resigned to the fact that he would be sent to the Hospital Wing on the first full day of Hogwarts. Then, Albus had a brilliant idea. Why did he have to cower like a loser? Why didn't he show them what Slytherin was capable of?
"Professor Longbottom, help me!" he called dramatically, the stutter gone from his voice.
Lacker and his cronies, horrified, turned around.
But there was no Professor Longbottom.
When the bullies turned back to their victim, the small, clever first year was already running along the corridor. Even if he was scrawny, Albus was extremely fast—and not just on a broomstick. "AFTER THE SNEAK!" Lacker ordered, baring his lips in a furious snarl and thundering after him with the rest of his cronies. Fortunately, Albus had already reached the safe haven of the library ages before Lacker got there. Panting, Albus leaned against a table. He smirked maddeningly at Lacker, who looked nothing short of murderous.
"Well get you, Snivellus," Lacker called from outside the library. "No one has ever escaped from us. Not even you, slimy Slytherin scum." Albus simply waved happily, safely inside the library. A few threats and rude hand gestures later, Lacker and his burly gang left.
Albus breathed a sigh of relief. Even though he had nearly been beaten up magically, he felt elated. Perhaps the bullies would think twice before they attacked a Slytherin next time. He turned around and saw prefects and overachievers alike already studying, even though term hadn't even started yet.
Albus remembered what Hemley had advised. He needed to learn some hexes, or he would be hopelessly beat up. For the rest of the day, Albus flipped through books on advanced hexes. He soaked up all the information. Albus absolutely loved everything about magic—especially Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts. When he was content with his new discoveries, Albus left the library. To his relief, he wasn't confronted by anyone else.
But even though he was safe for now, the other Slytherins weren't. Everywhere he looked, Slytherins were getting insulted and walked over (sometimes literally). Several Slytherins sported gory looking injuries, and quite a few were holding back tears.
We don't deserve this. What happened to Slytherin? They were supposed to be evil, but it's the rest of Hogwarts who's cruel now. When Albus reached the Slytherin dormitories again, he made a decision. Slytherin is going to change. And I'll convince them if I have to. It felt great to think of him leading all of Slytherin house, leading them to victory—not only in Hogwarts, but also in all of society. For some reason, Albus yearned for power and respect. He didn't want to be famous—just to be a leader.
That was probably why he had been Sorted into Slytherin in the first place.