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Chapter 6 : Realizations
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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.
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?”
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.
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