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Chapter 5 : Caught
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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.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Please leave a review and I will respond to it! Thanks to midwinter_wolf and OJD Gal for reviewing the last chapter!
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