The two boys just looked at each other, their initial curiousity turning into a frown of confusion.
“I’m Jacques,” he said uncomfortably. This boy resembled him so much it was uncanny. “You?”
Neither offered their hands. It was probably the most awkward moment in their young lives.
“Ares,” Apollo intervened quickly with the correction. Marcus glanced at him. “C’mon little brother, are you frightened to say your real name?”
“Yeah, Ares is my real first name, but everyone knows me as Marcus Pot-”
“Potter, yeah, I guessed. So we’re brothers.” Jacques glanced at Apollo and his sandy blond hair, his blue eyes and surfer-esque good looks. “Brothers in blood,” he added with notable emphasis, giving Apollo a smirk. Apollo’s face darkened at that slightly backhanded comment. Richard and Randy hid their mouths, suppressing their muffled laughter. Apollo looked across to the twins, his pupils momentarily transforming into golden slits then back to normal as he glared at them. The twins sobered up, a look of uneasiness on their faces as Apollo once again focused his attention on the Potter brothers. Marcus eyed his brother speculatively. He had guts talking to Apollo like that, but then again, they are brothers, aren’t they?
He himself loved to poke fun at Apollo too, he could be so serious at times.
“Why’d you bring that?” Ares said, indicating the headphones and disc player in his bulky sweater. And what’s up with those shoes? Ares gave him a quick once over. He had on a oversized grey hoodie and light blue jeans that bunched up above a very fancy looking pair of basketball shoes. At his neck was a pretty ordinary chain with small pendant on it. His hands were buried in the large pockets at the sides of his hoodie, so he couldn’t really tell if he was skinny like he was or more on the solid side like his other ‘brother’ Apollo.
Well with the stark resemblance between them, he’d assume he was on the slighter side. One thing was for certain, he somehow ‘stuck out’ even though his muggle attire wasn’t unique by any means.
It was strange, but this boy who claimed he was his brother was different from all of them. Jacques shrugged, once again looking at the blank display on his discman.
“I don’t know. Since I walked through that wall, it conked out. Must be this magic I’ve heard about.”
“This magic?” Rose asked, incredulous. “You’re talking like you don’t know. This whole train is infused with magic! After all, we’re magicians, it’s obvious that these things are charmed, and muggle electronics won’t work here. Duh.” Jacques looked at her and give her a sarcastic smile.
“Thanks for the information, red.”
Rose bristled. She pouted, and looked stonily at Ares.
“If you’re brothers, that means you’re also the Harry Potter’s son,” she said with a conviction. Jacques and Ares frowned slightly.
“Figured that one all by yourself did you?” Apollo said with a chuckle. Rose ignored the blond and continued.
“Was he really as powerful as they said he was?” Rose asked, non-perturbed.
“Yeah, I was wondering about that. They said-” Jacques interrupted, nodding towards the Weasley Brothers, Richard and Randalf – “that he was a ‘legendary hero’.”
“I dunno. He was never actually around,” Ares said with a non committal shrug.
“We thought you might have known, seeing as he had a son that we never knew about- maybe he was with you all this time…” Apollo countered.
“My mother told me my father died before I was born,” Jacques said with a tinge of disgust. “I never knew who he was. I just knew his name, and that they met in school. That’s it.” His face had turned bitter. Apollo’s initial dislike towards Jacques faltered a bit. He also knew what it meant to not know your true parents.
“You didn’t know about him?” Jessica asked, the bolder of the two twin girls finally asking a question. “You’re serious? He was a great wizard! I’m sure we could fill you in-”
“No- sorry, I’m not sure if I want to hear about him right now. Actually, this-” he indicated everyone in the small space- “is a bit much. Hear what, I’ll just mosey along to another compartment, I – I ..er..well this is kinda strange as we’ve just met, but I rather be alone – I think some personal space would be better, you guys are packed as it is. Later, then.”
And with that, Jacques Potter excused himself out of the compartment.
Apollo grinned in anticipation. Like Rose, he couldn't wait to get to Hogwarts. “This is definitely going to be interesting, believe me. You guys are going to have a lot of people talking,” he whispered across to his dark haired brother. “Cool huh?”
Ares took his time and actually looked back at the three girls now looking intently at him. The twins were cute. Rose was a bit much. She had that sort of “I-know-it-all-ness” look that irritated him. Plus, that hair, ugh- could have it been any more garish?
“Hey!” Apollo nudged him out of his reverie. “Don’t scare them now, the way you’re staring…” Ares slowly caught himself, and looked outside the window.
“Cool? Well, I guess.” He contemplated things for a moment, then added with a sigh: “This is all messed up. Now I have a brother,” he whispered back. This was deep.
“What am I- the next door neighbor?” Apollo grinned.
“Yeah, but well…you know…” Ares mumbled.
“Don’t worry little brother, I’m sure we’ll all get along just famously. Right Rose?” he offered, raising his voice noticeably as he said her name. Rose snapped out of her scrutiny of the dark haired boy and looked across to the one directly opposite her.
“Huh? What was that?” she asked, quite lost to the topic of their conversation.
“Exactly,” Apollo agreed, Rose’s expression signaling that she was still completely at sea. He leaned back in his seat, folding his arms as he gave his adoptive brother another sideways glance. Now that he really thought about it, Apollo’s mood began to sour. He grumbled under his breath so that no one else would hear.
“Just soddin’ peachy…”
Jacques made his way down to the rear of the train, then slipped inside the last carriage and to the luggage cab. At the far end was a door that was marked “Emergency Exit” and beyond the clear window he could see the very end of the train and the handrail that prevented anyone form simply opening the door and falling straight off. It looked like a good enough place as any to clear his thoughts.
As he approached the door, it was apparent that not only he had wanted to be alone. A girl was there, a girl with long, shiny blond hair. And from the way she was wiping her eyes with the back of her hands she was crying. Always a sucker for tearful girls, Jacques approached the door and knocked on the clear plexiglass of the window.
The girl visibly jumped, and began to wipe her face with a handkerchief, trying her best to cover up her distress.
Jacques opened the door slightly and poked his nose in. “Can I come in?” he said in a light tone.
The blonde laughed. “We’re outside, technically.”
“Well um, all right…” he replied, and without further encouragement, stepped outside. They looked at each other skeptically. Jacques shoved his hands in the deep pockets of his hoodie. “Well, the most obvious question: what are you doing outside?”
“I wanted to be alone, isn’t that obvious?”
“Well, too bad, ‘cause I’m not leaving. I walked too far to just walk back,” he said in a neutral tone. She mentally measured the distance of the train and tried to assimilate what he said.
“Er- Okay. You’re strange,” she said in a reserved voice. Jacques eyed her with a twinkle of amusement dancing in his green eyes.
“I’m strange? You’re the one crying at the back of the train.” He indicated the three foot gap in the barrier protecting them from flying off into a very nasty death. “It’s not safe here, too. What if you lost your balance?”
“I wasn’t crying,” she denied. Jacques shrugged his shoulders. This girl completely missed the point. “Okay I was, but don’t tell anyone, ok?” she said guiltily.
Jacques studied her. She was very cute, and had exquisite sparkling blue eyes. Her cheeks were pink with her tears, and she was tall, probably an inch or two taller than him. Well he knew he was kind of on the small side, and girls were usually bigger than boys around this age, but she was, more…well…statuesque than tall. Like a miniature version of a model. A cute, blond model with a baby voice.
“Who would I tell? Plus, I don’t even know your name. It’s not like I could put it in the Times or anything,” Jacques countered, looking at the tracks rattle past behind them. They were moving quite fast, and this openness was exhilarating. Just like being on his ‘board back home. The girl studied him through narrowed eyes. The both of them remained quiet for a few seconds, the random clanks and the dull roar of the train droning on as they sped through the countryside. A gust of wind flew crosswise, and the train trembled slightly, both of their hair taken by the sharp pull of the wind. The girl grabbed her hair and leaned against the rail in contemplation, her tresses blowing behind her as she tried to gather it on one hand.
“Well, if I tell you, will you keep it a secret? But it’s got to be our little secret,” she said softly, her eyes touching his nervously. “No one could know.”
Jacques studied her. He turned, matching her stance as he leaned back against the rail and folded his arms. “Sure.”
“Well… My real name is Callista Amanda Lola Malfoy, but I’ve been charmed so that my last name is now ...okay, don’t laugh- ” she gave Jacques a stern glare- “Calm. Callista Calm,” she paused, waiting hesitantly for his response. He looked completely unruffled. Her eyebrows rose when he smiled good naturedly.
’Callista Calm?’ Jacques thought. He smirked at how they simply used her initials and got that dumb name from the end result.
Hmph...and these were supposed to be “wizards”.
Why did her parents change her last name anyway? He’d give her a little test.
“Your secret’s safe with me, Malfoy…” She frowned at his use of her real name, but Jacques smiled and shook his head in understanding- “Just teasing, it’s nice to meet you. I’m –”
As he was about to say his name, a deep voice called out from inside the train. Jacques turned. Somebody was looking for him, calling him. He better get back inside.
“Oh snap, got to run. I’ll see you at school!” he said hastily. Callista smiled and gave him a small wave. Jacques winked and opened the door and scurried back through the luggage car and back to the main carriages.
Callista watched him go and smiled to herself. That was a very big risk she took, telling him. But for some reason, she liked him and his nonchalant manner. Deep inside, she knew he could be trusted. For some reason, she felt that he was just like her, an outsider going to a place that they did not belong. She will definitely talk to him again when they reached Hogwarts.
“Ah there you are. I’ve been looking for you,” a dark haired man said, a grim smile on his face. “What were you doing back there?”
“Er- just checking something, in my, in my trunk.” Jacques eyed the stranger. “Who are you?”
“I’m Professor Krum, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.” He offered his hand. Jacques shook it briefly, looking up at his face. He had a rugged face, and even though there weren’t any visible scars, Jacques could sense that this man had faced many dangers before. “Come on, let’s get back up in front.”
Jacques nodded and followed Krum back up the train, no one paying him any mind as he trudged back to the compartments. “So, what are you into, Jack?” Jacques noticed the slight mispronunciation on his name, but did not remark on it.
“Me? Nothing in particular, but a bit of everything I suppose.”
“Yeah. Basketball. ‘Boarding.”
“Boarding?” Professor Krum enquired.
“Skate, surf, ski, anything that uses boards.”
Krum smiled to himself. “Know anything about Quidditch?”
“Quidditch? No. What’s that?” Jacques looked up, his interest piqued.
“It’s a sport played on broomsticks.”
“Broomsticks. As in, ‘witch on a broomstick’?”
“Something like that. Come on, you’ll find out more after you’re sorted. I think you may have a hand in it, sooner or later.” Krum indicated a relatively empty compartment, a stone’s throw away from the teacher’s carriage. “This train is much faster than the original one. We’ll be arriving in under two hours, so grab what you can from the trolley before it’s all done. It’s on me, my treat.”
“Er- Thanks?” Jacques said uncertainly as Professor Krum ushered him inside. There were two boys and a girl there, and they looked up at him warily. He grabbed a seat, and gave them a shaky smile. The two boys had middle European features, and the brunette and a soft, heart shaped face and pudgy cheeks. They already had on robes, and the black outfits somehow looked awkward on kids his age.
“You know him?” one of the boys asked. He had long, light brown hair that was pulled back away from his face.
“Nope.” Jacques said easily, eyeing him.
“What’s your name?” The brunette asked in a welcoming manner. He used Krum’s pronunciation as he introduced himself.
“I’m Selene. He’s Thomas, and this charming bloke is my cousin Francisco,” Selene smiled, but this time, Jacques didn’t feel the warmth coming through her eyes. “We’re hoping to get into Slytherin, that’s where we get to learn the really good stuff. Glad to have you on board.”
“Slytherin huh?” Jacques said non-commitedly. He had no clue what she was talking about. “Okay, well good luck.”
“You never, know, you might get in too and we could become good friends,” Selene prodded.
“Maybe, I dunno. We’ll see when we get there, okay?”
“Sure,” Thomas nodded. “Here, check it out- got it from Borgin’s. It’s the real deal.” Thomas handed him a worn photograph. It was a picture of a cityscape, taken from the perspective of someone on the pavement looking up into the skyline. On top of one of the taller buildings, there was a man standing on the edge, his hands burning as if on fire. Obviously, it was some sort of ‘magic’ trick, but that is not what had captured his curiosity.
In this picture, there were two suns.
“What the hell is that?” Jacques asked, frowning down at the picture.
“Do you know about the ‘terrorist’ bombing in Berlin almost eight years ago?” Francisco asked, his face serious.
“Well, there was a war in Europe not too long ago, but I don’t know about any ‘terrorists’…” Jacques replied, intrigued. “The war started because of that attack in Germany, right?”
The three of them smiled, looking at each other knowingly.
“I’ve got it on good word that wasn’t no bomb, and from this picture, you can clearly see what it is. That’s a meteor.”
“That guy is history then,” Jacques said, still a bit confused. “It’s coming straight at him, and the camera…” Something then struck him as odd. “So how did you get this picture, I’m sure no one in that city could have survived that, not with the size of that thing.”
“The photographer kept it safe. I dunno how he got out, but who cares? He did, didn’t he?”
“So who is that, then?” Jacques asked. Selene looked at him aghast. She jumped across and sat down close to him.
“Keep your voice down. We don’t say his name aloud.”
Jacques laughed. “Okay then.” He handed back the picture. “I can keep secrets, you’ll tell me in your own time.” These kids were kinda crazy, but he liked that.
“That’s good. We’re closer than you think, Jack,” Selene said smugly, giving him a wink. “After the sorting, you’ll understand why. But for now, you should put on your robes.”
“Oh yeah, I should really do that. My carry on is in another compartment, so I’ll be seeing you later then,” Jacques said conversationally. He got up, and left. Selene Lestrange smiled, and gave her cousin a high five. Francisco grinned.
“Your mom was right Selene, he does resemble him a lot. Aunty Luna did her homework. Hopefully he’ll join us in Slytherin. What do you say, Mr. Calm- or should I say Malfoy?” Francisco shifted his attention to the brown haired boy.
Thomas Malfoy didn’t smile. His brow was furrowed in thought. “Don’t say my name aloud, you numbskull. I don’t know, I didn’t get the impression that he knows anything.”
“Probably he’s just playing. I think he’s hiding more than he really knows, that’s definitely a sign. The Professor singled him out, didn’t he? He’s one of the few that actually knows what Lord Azrael looks like, he wouldn’t make that sort of mistake,” Selene countered. “Hey, where’s your sister?”
“Callista? I don’t know…don’t care actually,” Thomas said. “And you, don’t make that mistake again- just, just, erase it from your memory or something,” he warned, giving Francisco a glare.
“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Francisco said, his temper rising. Thomas brushed off the comment, turning away from him.
“Whatever, just don’t say it.” Thomas remarked. “Right, we should be there in about an hour. Let’s just be good and blend in like the others, okay? We’ll talk about Jack later.”
Back in the Weasley carriage, Apollo and Ares were looking through Richard and Randalf’s stock of various paraphernalia from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Having being denied the opportunity to go into the store themselves, Apollo and his brother were making quick friends with the oldest of the Weasley troupe. A few minutes after they had bought about a half dozen of chocolate frogs and were perusing through the accompanying trade cards, Jacques walked back in.
“Hey,” he said, a bit uncomfortably.
“Back are we?” Apollo smirked. “Couldn’t find another place to sit?”
Jacques shrugged. “I did find one actually, but it’s time to change and unfortunately I have to put on one of those dresses too.” He indicated Apollo’s long black robes that were a tad bit oversized for him.
Rose and the three other girls laughed. Apollo turned red in embarrassment.
“Yeah, you do that-“ Apollo grumbled as he turned his attention back to his cards.
Jacques took off his heavy hooded sweater and threw on his robes over his under-shirt and jeans. Motioning Jessica and Jennifer to give him a space, he squeezed himself between Jessica and the compartment entrance. Jennifer giggled in Rose’s ear. As time progressed conversations started back up but Jacques rarely spoke, he just answered when needed and agreed when was appropriate. However, he noticed that Ares hadn’t said a word, or even looked at him directly for the rest of the journey.
At Hogsmeade station the students disembarked and were ushered along by a young wizard towards the threstral carriages. When Jacques saw the rows and rows of eerily staring threstrals, he froze. Rose looked at him in concern.
“What is it?” She asked, touching his hand.
Jacques stood there, rigid as a board. “What in the bloody hell are those?” he said aloud, staring at them.
Rose looked in his direction. “Carriages?”
“No- not that- them!”
It then caught on to her. “Oh, you must probably mean the threstrals. I can’t see them, so lucky me.”
“Well said, Rose,” Randalf stage whispered. “Making him feel right comfortable, are we?” he asked, his mouth dry with sarcasm.
“What does she mean by lucky?” Jacques asked Ares. Ares blinked at his brother. Was he actually asking him a question?
“I dunno mate, I’m not seeing it either, whatever it is.”
“I’m going crazy!” Jacques said. Rose turned him towards her.
“No you’re not. Some people can see them, others can’t. I’m not denying they exist!” she said with a conviction. “Come on, they’re harmless, let’s just get in the carriage, and be off. I can’t wait to see Hogwarts.” And so (much to his discomfort) Randalf, Richard, Ares and Apollo jumped into one of the carriages, while he, Rose Jennifer and Jessica bundled up into the other. The occupants of the boys’ carriage waved at them through the window just before they took off.
“Have a nice trip, Ladies!” Apollo said jovially, a wide smile on his face. Now it was Jacques turn to turn red with embarrassment. Why him? He was now stuck with three girls who began to talk non stop all the way up to school. After the thirty minutes or so of awkward questions and weird silences, they had reached the front steps of Hogwarts.
Jacques and the others got out of the carriages, all of them craning their necks up high at the massive castle, their mouths agape.
“Huge…” Randalf said.
“Cool…” Richard said.
“Excellent…” Apollo said in satisfaction.
“Damn!” Ares countered his eyes getting wider.
“Wow!” Rose awed, clearly delighted.
Jacques said nothing, just realized that he was in way over his head. He never, in his wildest dreams, expected Hogwarts to be like this. It was magnificent.
“Jacques,” Jennifer called him. “Jacques!” she hissed. “Someone’s waving at you, over there-” she pointed at the pretty blond girl who he met earlier on the train. Jacques turned, and recognized Callista. He gave her a sort of half wave, and shaky smile. He was too stunned to return her friendliness right now. Before he knew it, they were marched up in line and the first years began their sorting first. Names passed by in a blur until it came to the letter “L”.
“LESLIE, Xavier!” the elderly witch (he didn’t catch her name) announced.
“ R A V E N C L A W ! ”
“ S L Y T H E R I N! ”
“LUPIN, Apollo!” Apollo walked up to the hat and sat down. As soon as it was placed on his head it opened its yaw.
“ G R Y F F I N D O R !”
Apollo grinned and took a seat at the table under the banner of his house. Jacques began to sweat now. He was feeling very nervous. He knew nothing about magic. His wand was still in a box stowed away in his trunk. He never read a spell book in his life. He never seen magic done before his mother transformed her clothes. That night was coming back, but slowly and in bits and pieces, and he wasn’t so sure if he wanted to remember it or not. His father was famous, somehow. A hero. He was nothing. He could play ball, and could do a few tricks on the half pipe, but that’s it. He was a nobody. A regular joe. He wasn’t even sure if he could do magic. Apollo looked like he could magicke him into itsy-bitsy little pieces if he wanted with that wand of his.
He glanced across at his brother, Ares.
Ares’ jaw was firm, his posture unafraid. He wished he could be so confident.
M and N passed by so quickly his concentration only snapped back to the hat when O was coming to an end.
“OZWALD, Michael!” Jacques thought Professor…(Troy was it?) had a strong voice for such a small old lady. Oh no... Oh no…
“ H U F F L E P U F F ! "
“ H U F F L E P U F F ! "
Professor Troy paused, frowning on the list. She looked at the youngsters in front of her in confusion, and then turned her attention to Professor Dumbledore. The wily old wizard stepped around the table and came to join her in front of the now murmuring students. After a short, subdued conversation, Dumbledore frowned, but nodded solemnly.
“Is there an Ares Potter here?’ she announced speculatively.
“Yes ma’am,” Ares stepped forward, his voice strong.
“Please, take the seat.” Ares marched up to the stool, and Professor Troy put the hat on his head.
“ S L Y T H E R I N !”
There was a deafening silence for a few seconds. Ares seemed to have panicked for a moment, then he abruptly jumped off the stool.
“ I object !” he demanded, his voice ringing throughout the halls, powered by magic. “I demand that this hat be unbewitched! It is biased!” For a boy the same age as him, Jacques was impressed by his ability to throw his voice like that.
Professor Dumbledore looked strangely at the hat. Biased? That was highly improbable, but not impossible. Jacques noticed, out of the corner of his eye, Apollo murmuring under his breath. What was he doing?
Dumbledore took the hat from a visibly seething Ares, and then spoke in a sot tone.
“What say you, o wizened hat?” he said conversationally. The hat did a sort of uncomfortable shuffle in his hands then it too conceded tampering.
“Aye, someone has pulled my string, ‘tis the truth the voice hath ring.”
Dumbledore put on the hat himself, then flicked it with his wand. The hat sighed, and then perked up once again. He gave it back to Frea Troy, who took it with a nod of understanding.
“There, please try again, Mr. Potter,” she offered it back to him. As it touched his hair the hat screamed in triumph.
“ G R Y F F I N D O R !”
Ares shook his head slightly, blinking a few times, then shakily joining Apollo at the Gryffindor table. Jacques watched him go, then jumped when the old witch called his name.
“Now, Jacques Potter, please come forward…” she said warily, hoping that there would not be such commotion again.
Jacques found the seven steps towards the stool probably the longest five seconds of his life. Before he even reached the elevated podium, the hat began to chuckle.
“No need , no need to put me on sonny, I sense you from where you are. Go and sit down. G R Y F F I N D O R! ”
A wave of relief washed over him. He didn’t know why, but for some reason, Ares’ opposition to be sorted into Slytherin was a telling sign. He looked across the room at the Slytherin table. The group from the other compartment was there alright- and wait, so was Callista. She didn’t look very happy though.
He caught her eye and waved at her, trying to cheer her up with a smile he wasn’t sure he felt himself. She smiled back, and waved her demeanour changing dramatically as she made eye contact. He nodded once, feeling a real smile come on his face. Turning back towards the Gryffindor table, he made his way across and sat down next to some boy whose name he didn’t catch and waited for the Weasley troupe to be sorted.
Oblivious to him, further down the table his brother was feeling very ill. His head was down on the table, resting on folded arms. Apollo had a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Marcus? Little brother, can you hear me?” he said in a soft whisper. “Sorry mate.” Ares was crying.
“She told you to, didn’t she?”
“I had no choice, we had to.”
“My own mother plots behind my back. And you were in it too!” he whispered vehemently, still not showing his face.
“Yeah yeah, you can hate me for that all you want, but we’re looking out for you. Now you need to tell me this, and this is important, do you still feel any remnants from my Imperius curse?” Apollo whispered. He shook his head, but did not answer.
“Good. I had to do some very quick thinking there. Lucky thing Dumbledore was sidetracked by trying to figure out what was going on when he saw two ‘Potters’ here. He would have made me out for sure. Mom told me too man, I’m sorry. I’m your older brother I had to if it came down to it. She’s from Slytherin as well, and she hated every minute of school. They do things to you in there, they fill your head with a lot of crap and you know it. Why didn’t you practice last week?”
“Why didn’t I practice?” Ares’ head shot up at him, his eyes red from crying. “Why didn’t I practice!” he hissed. “Why must I? It doesn't even matter! No matter how hard I tried to mask Shalingini- Its already decided! I’m a dark wizard and you know it! Everyone here knows it! You know it! I know it! I had to be cursed from a Gryffindor to get sorted into the house I wanted! Do you know how that feels?”
“Quit whining! I had to- mom told me to ‘just in case’! We’re looking out for you. I worked for three years practicing get my Confuddlement jinx to work on an object as powerful as that hat- and to top it off- it even went past Dumbledore! You’re lucky we didn’t get kicked back out of school faster than you can say Quidditch!” Apollo was grumbling in a low, angry voice, his voice getting more menacing by the second. Ares wasn’t intimidated, not one bit.
“Don’t speak to me. Just leave me alone, okay?”
“I won’t. I’m your brother. I love you. Remember that.” Apollo offered his little finger, knowing how to get Ares out of those dark moods of his. “Brothers forever?” Ares looked at him, and the sign of camaraderie. Gripping his little finger with his own, their childhood bond was once again secure. Bouncing their fists with pinkys interlocked, Ares smiled.
“I got to tell you, that curse hurt like hell. But thanks, I really do owe you.” Ares murmured as a half apology. “Could have warned me though, but no, cause then I’d fight it, and then we might destroy the hall and...yeah...” Apollo looked around at all the bright smiling faces. "So good thing you didn’t.”
“That’s more like it. You choose. You decide what you want to be. We decide what happens to us, no one else..”
“Yeah,” Ares smiled again, perking up.
“So we're cool, then.”
“Like if we could really hold a grudge against each other,” Ares laughed.
“Brilliant, then.” Apollo grinned, and settled down for the sorting to finish. “Now that you two are in, I guess we could try and get to know Jacques better. Nothing to worry about there though, he’s harmless.”
“He didn’t even have to put on the hat.”
“So? I don’t sense any magical resonance from him at all. He’s a newbie,” Apollo disagreed.
“All right. We’ll see,” Ares said without much conviction.
After the sorting of the whole school was finished, the Weasley troupe joined them at the table. Rose looked worriedly between the Potters.
“Not getting along with your brother are you?”
“What? Look, he’s right here,” Ares nudged Apollo with his elbow, his food full of shepherd pie.
“You know what I mean,” Rose countered. She glanced noticeably towards Jacques.
“Yeah, he’s alright I suppose,” Ares said, shrugging.
“That’s why you’re so chummy with him aren’t you?” Rose countered. She and Ares began to argue. Apollo glanced at her cousins. Jennifer and Jessica were whispering something towards each other. Apollo got a bit tiered of wondering what was it they were whispering about all the time so he decided to listen in. Heightening his senses to Wolf level, he began to eavesdrop.
“…. But which one do you think is cuter? I don’t know. Jacques’ pretty quiet, don’t you think?”
“….Ares seems kind of dodgy though, and so is Lupin…they’re strange. Jacques is cool.”
“…yeah. He’s sweet. You know who is kind of cute too? That boy in Slytherin, Calm something...”
Apollo stabbed his meat with a bit more menace than necessary, and the twin girls stopped whispering. Apollo began to eat in silence, wondering what the hell was so god damned ‘special’ about Jacques that everyone was talking about him all the time.
Deep in the woods, the lone stranger could not rest peacefully. He needed to occupy his time or else he'd once again have to...
Disciplining himself, he forced those thoughts out of his mind.
Assembling his tools, he decided to force back the ugly nightmares and focus on the few good things in his life. It took nearly a decade, but he came to the realization that there was no way to be rid of this curse.
Taking the clay in his hands, he began to pump on the pedal underneath the table.
Slowly it began to take shape as it rotated between his fingers, making the hollow of his art.
Behind him were beautiful pieces ; vases, jars, sculptures, all exquisitely detailed and fine-tuned to the touch.
His only way of nullifying the screams of his victims was to create things of beauty, things that no one would ever see, not even him.
For in his heart and mind, he knew that the violent journey in that cursed book could never end.
Over seven thousand names since the beginning of Azkaban's history… and nearly two thousand still alive up to this today…
By his hand alone, seven hundred of those survivors were greyed out over the past decade. Everything was going to plan, snippets of his past were fitting back into place.
His determination was true. His path was set with conviction, until that fateful day in Cardiff when he nearly killed a good man….
Like any of the other fools who had dared to openly challenge him, he simply cast the Eyes on his opponent.
His face alone had sent him reeling into a crippling trance of nightmares…back into a teasing glimpse of a past life and of a love that he once had….but could never have again.
He had seen directly into the heart of his once best friend.
From that day on he had vowed it unto himself. Never again will he use these Eyes.
Author's note: Don't worry guys, over the course of the fic we'd get to see what happened over the years. I know a lot of the reviewers had asked about that aspect. Fear not! The Dark Lord Nedved shall deliver in due time. *evil laugh*
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