Chapter 11 : Secrets
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Boxing Day was usually a lazy day at the Burrow. Everyone slept late and ate whatever whenever they wanted. Albus awoke around noon, and found that a few of his aunts, uncles, and cousins were getting ready to leave. His Uncle George and Aunt Alicia and their kids were getting ready to leave to visit Alicia's parents. His Uncle Charlie and Aunt Katherine and their kids were also leaving to visit other family.
“Bye, guys,” Albus waved as his Uncle Charlie stepped into the fireplace with Eddie.
“Bye, Albus,” Charlie waved back, “Have a good time at school.”
Albus walked into the kitchen and found Rose sitting at the table reading Hogwarts, A History. Hugo was also there.
“Morning, Rose,” he said as he sat down next to her.
“Hi,” she said, not looking up from her book.
Albus went to the counter and made some toast. Hugo got up from the table and ran into the living room. When Albus brought his breakfast back to the table, Rose had set her book down.
“Good, he left,” Rose whispered, “I want to talk to you about Matt.”
“What about him?”
“His little 'problem',” Rose said, “Listen, I went snooping around Grandpa's study this morning while everyone was asleep. I want to do some more research about lycanthropy.”
“Well, did you find anything?” Albus asked eagerly.
“Yeah, I did. I found a few books that have information in them. I took them and hid them in my trunk upstairs. Now that Heather's left to see her other grandparents, I've got my room to myself. We can go read them after we're done eating.”
“Sounds good,” Albus whispered back, “And we've got to ask Uncle Bill about it too.”
“I know, I've thought of that too. We'll ask tomorrow. There'll be less people. Uncle Bill, Aunt Fleur, Victoire, Gabriella, and Ben aren't leaving until day after tomorrow. Uncle Percy, Aunt Corrine, Georgia, Bradley, Cedric, and the twins are leaving tomorrow. I don't want to be overheard.”
“Good thinking,” Albus said as he took a bite out of his toast. At that moment, James, Cedric, Bradley, and Ben came in.
“What were you two talking about?” James asked, as he stole a piece of Albus's toast.
“Nothing,” Albus said abruptly.
James looked at him warily, “Hmm, well, we're going to go play Quidditch. You want to watch?”
Rose looked at Albus. “Um, no, me and Rose have, er, homework to do.”
James laughed. “There's plenty of time left to do homework. Oh, well, suit yourself.” Jame shoved the last bit of his toast into his mouth and he, Cedric, and Ben went outside.
“That was close,” Rose whispered, “We can't let anyone find out. Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” Albus said as he got up from the table. Rose got up, too, and Albus followed her to the bedroom she stayed in. They went inside and Rose closed the door quietly. She went over to her trunk, pulled out a few heavy books, and dumped them on her bed.
“If anyone bursts in and asks us what we're doing, we say it's homework,” Rose told Albus. She picked up a book and handed it to him. “Here you go. Just look through it and read anything you find about werewolves.”
Albus took the book and looked at it. It was entitled Modern Magical Remedies. He opened it to the index and looked for 'werewolf', but it wasn't there. However, 'wolfsbane' was. There was a whole chapter on it. Albus turned to the chapter and briefly leafed through it. It was long and the print was very small. It was not the kind of reading Albus would normally do, but his curiosity about Matt's condition triumphed over his dislike of tedious reading. Albus and Rose read for close to two hours. In the time it took Albus to read about the Wolfsbane potion, Rose had gone through two of the other books.
“Well, what did you find?” Rose asked once Albus had finished his chapter. She looked a bit pale and kind of scared.
“Loads, how about you?” Albus told her, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Rose whispered, “It's just, the other books I've read didn't really go over what it's like to transform. These did. Oh, Albus, it sounds horrible! Really dreadful! And painful. I just feel so bad for Matt, if that is what's going on. Apparently, when a werewolf is in wolf form, they must bite other animals or people. They're not in their human mind, they don't know what they're doing! And if there's no other animals or people to bite, they bite themselves. That must be where Matt got all those cuts and bruises from. He's doing it to himself.”
Albus stared at her with his mouth open, “That's horrible! There's got to be something someone could do! Healers or someone must know a cure or something.”
“There's not. There's no cure for lycanthropy. Just the Wolfsbane potion,” Rose told him.
“Oh, yeah,” Albus had momentarily forgotten what he had been reading about, “The Wolfsbane potion does work. If a werewolf takes it every night a few nights prior to transformation, they will transform, but will be harmless to themselves and other people. It's really complicated to make, but apparently it makes the transformations loads better.”
“But why doesn't Matt take it then?” Rose wondered.
“I dunno. I guess the only way we'd find out is to ask him,” Albus told her.
“So you believe me, then? You're convinced he's a werewolf?” Rose asked.
“You know, I think so. I guess I'm still not positive, but I'm as convinced as I could be without him actually telling me.”
Rose got up from the bed. “I guess we've learned everything we can from these books. I'll sneak them back early tomorrow morning.” She picked up all the books and put them back into her trunk.
“I think I'll go see what everyone else is up to,” Albus got up from the floor and opened the door, “You coming?”
“Yeah, sure,” Rose followed Albus out the door.
The cousins walked down the stairs from Rose's room. The house was very quiet. Most of their cousins were outside playing Quidditch or in their rooms enjoying their presents. Since two of the families had already left, it was quite a bit calmer. As Albus and Rose strode past the kitchen, Albus stopped short. Rose bumped into him.
“Ouch!” she screeched as she bumped her head on his back.
“Shush!” Albus whispered as he pressed his head to the door of the kitchen, “I heard someone say my name.”
Rose leaned her head against the door as well and the two of them tried to listen for a minute or so. “It's no use! They're whispering. I can't hear anything.”
“Me neither, but I swear one of them mentioned me!” Albus listened again, “I'm pretty sure it's my mum and dad, and your dad as well.”
The front door banged open and James, Cedric, Ben, and Bradley stormed in, dropping their brooms on the floor. “It's bloody freezing out there!” James shouted as he tore off his gloves and scarf.
“And someone's locked the kitchen door!” Cedric added, as he pulled off his frozen hat.
“Shush!” Albus shouted back.
“What?” James asked as he came rushing over, followed by Cedric, Ben, and Bradley.
“The kitchen's locked because some of the adults are in there talking about me!” Albus whispered back.
“Really?” James looked at him curiously, “What about?”
“I dunno!” Albus whispered back, “I can't hear them, they're being real quiet.”
James thought for a moment, and then a grin appeared on his face. “Time to break out one of my Christmas presents.”
“That's right!” Albus said excitedly, “You got Extendable Ears for Christmas!”
“Yep, sure did I'll go get them!” James announced, and then he ran upstairs. He appeared a minute later holding a blue box with a large ear pictured on it. “Here they are.” James tore open the packaging and pulled out seven fleshy tubes. He handed one to everybody and stowed the extra in his pocket.
Albus hastily pushed one end of the Extendable Ear into his own ear and sent the other end to the bottom of the door. Albus had used Extendables once before, when his cousin Gabriella had bought some at Hogsmeade and let Albus try them out. That was two years ago, and he hadn't heard anything interesting. Gabriella had bought them in order to listen in on Victoire's conversations with her friend who had stayed for Christmas break. Victoire only talked about how much she liked Teddy, and Albus found that rather boring. This time, however, Albus was sure he'd hear more interesting conversations.
“I'm really not sure I should tell them,” Albus heard his dad say.
“I know,” his mother responded back, “If someone invading thieir minds, it's best they did not know right now.”
“I mean, I hadn't really thought about when I was going to tell them,” Harry responded, “I guess I was planning on doing it when they were much older. I worry about what they would do with the information. James especially.”
James turned away from the door and looked at Albus. “They're talking about me, too!”
“I know, shush!” Albus said as he turned his attention back to the conversation in the kitchen.
“I honestly would only trust Rose with the information, Harry,” Ginny told her husband.
This time it was Rose's turn to look at Albus. “Me, too! But whatever it is, they trust me.” Rose couldn't help but grin as she turned back to the door.
“I don't want her to know, given the current circumstances,” Ron said.
“Me neither,” Hermione agreed.
“I know, but it seems as if whoever's doing it is focusing on James and Albus,” Harry informed them. “I was always leery about telling them, but especially now...”
“Harry, we didn't even tell my brothers,” Ron said, “Why are you worrying about telling the kids?”
“Part of me wants them to understand what we think is going on,” Harry went on, “But the other part of me doesn't want them to know.”
“I'm siding with that part of you,” Ginny said, “We shouldn't tell them.”
“Ever?” Hermione asked tentatively, “I do think they should be trusted with that information at some point.”
“I agree, Hermione,” Harry told her, “But not now. I guess I'd just been waiting for the opportunity to present itself, haven't really thought about when I'd tell them. I suppose the best thing to do would be to wait until they're out of school, they'll be more mature and there'll be less of a chance of it leaking out.”
“That sounds reasonable, Harry,” Ginny agreed, “Someday, we'll tell them about the Hallows. But right now I think we need to talk about what's been going on with-”
“James, Bradley, Cedric, Benedict, Rose, and Albus, what on earth are you doing?!” a livid voice caused Albus to drop his Extendable Ear and he was not able to hear what his mum had been about to say.
Molly Weasley ran over to the five cousins, a look of rage on her face. “Have you been listening in on that conversation? Obviously you have! You have no right! Your parents wanted to be alone! And give me those!”
Albus, James, and their cousins did not even think about not listening to their grandmother and handed over their Ears at once. “And the other one?” She eyed James's pocket. Albus glanced at it and noticed the little bit of flesh sticking out of it. James sulkily pulled it out and handed it to her.
“I'll be having a word with your Uncle George! He's lucky he's not here right now. He shouldn't be giving you those for Christmas, honestly, the nerve of him...” Molly stormed over to her desk and grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill and started writing while she mumbled to herself. Albus knew she was going to send a Howler to her son.
The commotion outside the kitchen caused Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione to cease their conversation and come out to see what the commotion was about. Once Albus heard the door start to open, he made a mad dash for the stairs, and the thundering behind him told him his brother and cousins did the same.
Albus didn't stop running until he made it to Rose's room, and once James and their cousins were inside, he slammed the door shut.
“What was that all about?” Albus asked as he sat down on one of the beds.
“I dunno,” James responded, “They obviously know something we don't and they don't want to tell us about it. But what did they mean by they didn't want me to know about it especially?” James stomped back and forth across the floor, obviously mad that his parents wouldn't trust him with something.
“Well, that's not the only reason they're keeping it from us!” Rose argued, “They said they trust me, but still won't tell me.”
“Must be something really secretive because only your parents know about it,” Ben reasoned. “I suppose Bradley, Cedric, and I won't ever find out.”
“Yeah, you will!” James insisted as he threw himself onto a bed, “Once I find out, I'll tell you!”
“James!” Rose shouted, “That must be why they won't tell you right now! They don't want anybody to know. If it's something so secretive that they won't even tell any of our uncles, then they must not want a whole lot of people to know.”
“But what would my parents, Aunt Hermione, and Uncle Ron know that none of the other aunts and uncles know about?” Albus asked Rose.
“I dunno,” Rose answered. The five of them sat in silence for a few minutes, trying to think of what this could be.
“You don't think...” James started, “...that maybe it has something to do with the war?”
Albus looked at him, “But Dad said he told us all about the war.”
“It makes sense, Albus,” Rose told him, “What else besides the war do my parents and your parents have, but none of our aunts and uncles do?”
“But my parents were involved in the war!” Cedric insisted.
“I know they were,” James said as he got up from the bed again and started pacing, “But my dad and Rose's parents were a lot more involved. They destroyed most of the horcruxes and they were off by themselves for almost a year doing it.”
“True,” Cedric agreed.
“Whatever it is, they're keeping something from us,” James told everyone as he pounded his fist on the night stand, “And I don't like it. Especially since Dad said he told us everything.”
“Anyone catch what they were talking about?” Bradley asked.
“Yeah,” Albus responded, “Hallows. Whatever they are.”
“Never heard of them,” James said.
“Me neither,” Cedric said. Bradley and Ben shook their heads. Albus looked expectantly at Rose. Whenever someone else didn't know about something, Rose always knew.
“I've never heard anything about them either, Albus, I'm sorry,” Rose sighed, “But once we're back in school, we can look in the library.”
“I guess,” Albus said, looking down at his feet. He did not like the idea of his parents keeping something from him. It made him feel betrayed. Harry had always told Albus that he told him everything about the war. But if these Hallows had anything to do with the war, like James suspected they did, then Harry and Ginny were keeping something from them. What were the Hallows? And why were his parents so intent about not letting him know about them? Why did they think he wasn't trustworthy enough to know about them?
A/N: Sorry for the wait! I have been on vacation, so haven't been able to update. Hopefully, I'll get my Weasley family tree up with the next chapter.
Thanks as usual to Rain_is_LIquid_Moonlight, my other sister, and my brother. Also thanks to inkheart, Ashley, Black Fires, and e.jones for their reviews!
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