Chapter 4 : Chapter four
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“My help?” repeated Ginny, taken-aback. “Why? Who exactly are you?”
Albus sighed. “I told you, my name is Albus Potter,” he began, “and I am from the future. You are my mother.”
As Ginny stared at him, Albus noticed how expressive his mother’s face was. He watched as her expression changing from confused to awed and, finally, to shocked in a matter of seconds. “Potter… Oh!” she exclaimed, slapping a hand to her mouth.
Despite the situation, Albus couldn’t help but grin. “Yeah. I am Albus Potter,” he repeated, emphasizing his last name.
Ginny lowered her hand and asked cautiously, “You really are from the future, right? This is not some prank?”
“Yes, mum. Just believe me, alright. Look, I have a time-turner,” he said, showing her the powerful magical object which had been clutched tightly in his hands all this time. Ginny raised her eye-brows.
“Where did you get this?”
Albus groaned. They were running out of time. He still had to explain stuff to his mother. If she kept on asking him questions, what if something else went terribly wrong? Albus decided he couldn’t afford the risk.
“Listen, and please don’t interrupt,” he said quickly. It felt good to use the words which his parents used on him every time he made a mistake. “I found this strange book in the Restricted section of the Library which illustrated a neat spell which would enable me to go to the past. I was tempted and couldn’t resist trying my luck. I had to do a lot of calculations for the spell to go right but I guess I did something wrong because instead of going back to the time I had chosen, I ended up…well, I ended up in the Founders’ era.”
“Wha-?” asked Ginny. Her eyes were wide as she listened intently to him.
“Yes, the time when the founder were alive,” confirmed Albus with a sad nod of his head. “Mum, this is-”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Sorry. Ginny, this is about the Sword of Gryffindor.”
Goosebumps appeared on her arms at Albus’s serious tone. Her stomach churned and her heart skipped a beat. What had happened to the sword? This sword was important to win this battle!
“What did you do?” Ginny asked Albus in a dangerous voice.
He flinched and backed away from her; as if afraid she would hex him. “I am sorry, mum – no, Ginny! I didn’t mean to, honestly,” swore Albus. “I was just trying to help.”
“What did you do?” Ginny repeated, eyes flashing. She had recently tried to steal this very sword right from the mouth of the snake; and here she was, serving her punishment. If, because of her own so called son, something went wrong and the sword disappeared, she would never be able to forgive Albus.
“I…er…I met Ragnuk, the goblin,” stuttered the young boy, eyes on the ground. “From what I saw, he’s the one who made this sword. I watched him give finishing touches to it and then he left it on his work table. I couldn’t resist. I took it,” he mumbled the last sentence in haste, but Ginny heard it alright, and soon she was breathing harder than an angry bull.
“You took the sword? Just like that?” Her tone indicated forced calm.
“Well, he was going to sell it to a bad person,” said Albus defiantly. “I did the right thing, mum.”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Who was Ragnuk going to sell the sword to?” Ginny asked, her words were still icy but there was a curiosity in her voice.
Albus hesitated. “I can give you four names. Will you be able to guess the right one, then?” he asked, raising his eye-brows significantly. Ginny stared at him blankly for a while and then, suddenly, she understood.
“Oh.” She was silent for a few seconds, digesting all the new information Albus had threw at her. “Why did you put it back, then?” she finally asked.
“Well, I was afraid I’d changed something. I wondered if maybe Gryffindor won this sword in the final battle and now, because of me, there would be no sword at all!” replied Albus guiltily. “I just had to put it back. People would have blamed me for years to come if I had not returned it. Unfortunately for me, Ragnuk grew suspicious and decided he wouldn’t sell the sword at all.”
Ginny nodded understandingly. “How did you get back from the past?” she asked.
Glad that she was not glaring daggers at him anymore, Albus replied, “I decided that I wouldn’t perform the same spell unless something went wrong again. So I nicked this time-turner. I didn’t have any other choice,” he added hastily at the look on his young mother’s face. He was glad she didn’t ask from where he had nicked it. Albus didn’t think he’d ever tell anyone about his little secret.
He continued, “When I returned back to my time, I saw that everything was different. I don’t really want to go into details but I can assure you it was horrible. People were unhappy and everywhere I looked, there was death and destruction.” Albus paused, trying to gather himself as he remembered the things he had seen in the alternate universe that he had accidentally created. “I realized that I had to make things better. But I needed help. And that’s where you come in. You told me once that you had been taken into the Forbidden Forest for detention…a day before Halloween.” Albus shrugged, glancing around absently at his surroundings. “Well, here I am.”
“You want me to go back with you and make things right?” questioned Ginny.
“Yeah…please.” His tone was desperate and Ginny suddenly felt sorry him.
“Alright,” she said, excitement slowly bubbling inside her chest. It was time for another adventure. She continued, “But we can’t do this alone. We need one more person to help us.”
Albus was confused, yet he nodded. “Okay, but who?” he asked.
“Not anyone from my time; I am afraid they are all quite busy,” said Ginny jokingly, but she didn’t laugh. A strange thought had struck her. What had changed in this time? So far, Ginny hadn’t noticed anything different. But then, where were the others with whom she was supposed to be serving detention? Were they even there in the forest? Or was this just a distant memory that Ginny was clinging to?
“Well then, do you know anyone who has seen this sword before?” Albus asked, interrupting Ginny’s train of thoughts.
“Someone who knows about this sword…well, I don’t think – hang on!” Ginny abruptly exclaimed and Albus raised his eye-brows. “Of course! Sirius mentioned stumbling across this sword when he was at Hogwarts.”
Albus knitted his eye-brows together. Sirius. That was a familiar name. “Sirius Black?” he asked. “The runaway Godfather?” That’s what he and his siblings called him affectionately.
Ginny chuckled and nodded. “If that’s what you call him, yes, I do mean Sirius Black.”
Albus was doubtful about this. “So you are saying we’ll have to…stop at a junction?” he asked. Wouldn’t it complicate things more than they already were?
Ginny shrugged. “Sirius is the best choice we got. He’s smooth with words and he can prove to be a good distraction when needed.” The idea seemed more appealing the more she thought about it. Besides, she’d get to see Sirius again. And Albus would get to meet him too.
A small smile spread across Albus’s face as he held out the time-turner to Ginny. “Here, you do the honors,” he said. Ginny rolled her eyes but her hands trembled with excitement as she reached out and took the chain from Albus’s fingers.
The world around them spun in a reverse mode the moment Ginny turned the little instrument. She tried to make out the blurred figures that were speeding past them, but it only dizzied her, so Ginny closed her eyes.
“Ouch!” she grunted as something sharp suddenly jabbed into her back. She opened her eyes, but they were enveloped in darkness. “How did we end up here?”
“We’re still in the forest,” Albus said, his voice barely above a whisper. “Where do you think Sirius would be right now?”
Ginny crinkled her forehead. “How would I know?”
Albus shrugged. “Well then, let’s go back to the school,” he suggested. “Thank Merlin I have my cloak with me.”
Both of them jumped out from the thick bushes and looked around. They could see well enough at the moment, but there were clouds in the sky, so Ginny wasn’t sure how long this would last. She fingered her wand, just in case they ran into deadly creatures. Next to her, Albus had taken his wand out as well. Ginny watched him from the corner of her eyes, an aching in her chest as she observed the familiar features of the face. Albus Potter, she thought with a small smile. Could it be..?
They had been walking for several minutes, combing the inches of the forest carefully, when Albus suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked towards the sky in surprise. Ginny followed his gaze.
Someone was flying on a broom above them and, apparently, had just been hit by a bludger. The person came crashing down to the ground some distance away from Ginny and Albus, both of whom wore weird expressions on their faces. Finally, Albus rolled his eyes and said, “Let’s see what happened to him.”
”Albus, wait!” Ginny whispered shrilly but he was already marching ahead. Grumbling to herself, Ginny followed him through the trees before he disappeared completely.
A little ahead, Albus held out his arm to stop Ginny and pointed. She followed the direction of his finger and saw the person who had fallen from the sky. It was –
“Sirius!” Ginny instantly recognized him. There was no missing that handsome face and naturally cute fringe.
The ‘Runaway Godfather’ was standing not too far from them; and even though he was covered in scratches and bruises, he looked much better-groomed than the older and ragged Sirius that Ginny remembered. But she knew it was him alright. She had seen his pictures.
“What’s he doing here at this time?” she whispered, shocked but pleased. They wouldn’t have to search the castle now. She stole a glance at Albus and saw him gazing at Sirius curiously. A thin smile crept up on her lips as she thought of what Albus might tell his siblings (if he had any) of the man that they probably only knew in stories of the past.
The pair started approaching him quietly, Ginny wondering how they would tell Sirius. Albus seemed to be thinking the same thing because he looked nervously at Ginny. As they got closer to Sirius, the clouds moved over the moon, casting a dark shadow over everything. Ginny, not being able to see, slipped on a muddy spot and had to hang on to Albus for balance.
Before she could stop herself, she moaned, “Bloody hell, I can’t see anything!”
“HA! And you never let me talk like this back home. Hypocrite!” said Albus immediately.
Ginny gritted her teeth. “Oh, shut your face!” she whispered shrilly. But Sirius had already heard them. “Come on!” She grabbed Albus’ hand and they bounded forward.
Sirius whipped around, surprise and alarm apparent on his handsome face, as Ginny and Albus tackled him into a bear hug. Ginny was both relieved and pleased to see him and Albus looked slightly surprised, as if he had never meant to hug Sirius at all. Ginny laughed, muttering over and over again, “Oh, thank merlin!” She had been so sure they’d get lost or not find Sirius at all, thus complicating things further.
“We’ve been looking all over for you, Sirius,” Albus said as Sirius finally broke free of their tangle with an irritated, “Geroff me!”
Albus rolled his eyes. “As rash as I’ve heard,” he muttered with a sigh. “We need your help.”
“You do?” Sirius asked and Ginny resisted the urge to snort at his mystified expression. He pulled out his wand and pointed it at her and Albus.
“We’ll explain everything, just lower your wand and that way we can prevent more injuries,” Ginny said, looking over Sirius’ scratched and muddy appearance pointedly.
But it seemed like Sirius had just noticed Albus for the first time. He was staring at the younger boy as if his brain had just registered something of great significance. “You look just like -,” he began but Albus cut him off.
“Never mind that. I am Al, and we’re from the future.”
Sirius gaped at them, not bothering to keep his jaw intact anymore. He burst out laughing. “You two are obviously mental,” he managed. “This is just a prank. Just a prank. Right?”
Albus pulled a face and replied quietly, “No, Sirius. We are telling the truth.” Ginny added, “Trust us.”
His laughter died. “Wha-Why… How?” asked Sirius incoherently.
“Why don’t you let me tend to your wounds while Albus explains everything?” Ginny suggested kindly. Some of his bruises were bleeding quite badly.
Sirius looked at Ginny with narrowed eyes and she stared right back, determinedly. Finally, he nodded and a small grin spread across his face. “Chicks tend to like me,” he informed her smugly.
Ginny rolled her eyes. Same old Sirius Black. Turning to an amused Albus, she said, “Just go ahead and explain stuff to him. And be quick, will you?” She pulled out her wand and proceeded to perform some basic healing charms on Sirius’s bruises, while Albus repeated everything he had told her earlier.
By the time he had finished with his story, Sirius’s mouth was hanging open in awe. “You…” he began, “would make a really good Marauder!”
Albus looked pleased. “Really? Thanks.”
Ginny stared at the two boys in disbelief. “Are you crazy? He just told you what he did and all you can say is ‘you’d make a good prankster’?” she snapped at Sirius, who looked taken-aback.
“Marauder,” he corrected. “And I think Al’s adventure is cool. So you need my help for getting the sword back?”
Albus shrugged and replied, “Mum says you are the best.” Sirius glanced at Ginny, who blushed. “She says you are smooth with words.”
This seemed to please Sirius very much. He thanked Ginny for cleaning his wounds and stuff and rubbed his hands together. “Alright then, I am game,” he announced excitedly. “Where’s the time-turner?”
They handed him the time-turner after Ginny had wound the chain around their necks carefully. They had to stand very close together because it was a small chain and watched Sirius turn the instrument with trembling fingers.
The world around them blurred and Albus felt the familiar sensation of being pulled backwards. His shoulders kept knocking into Sirius and Ginny’s, both of whom looked slightly dizzy.
The world came back into focus again and the three of them found themselves sprawled on the forest floor. Albus sat up and gingerly touched his aching buttocks while Sirius helped Ginny up. She was rubbing the back of her head with a pained expression on her face.
“That was worse than before,” she muttered.
“So, we are here. I don’t believe it! Are we actually in the past?” asked Sirius, looking around dazedly.
“I think so,” said Ginny. She looked at Albus and asked, “So, where to now?”
“The Forest of Dean. That’s where I was transported by the time-spell and saw the sword being made,” said Albus promptly. “But how are we going to get there? I suppose it’s really far.”
“The Forest of Dean?” repeated Sirius. “Wait, I’ve been there before. Idea! I can apparate us there. I turned seventeen last month.”
“Sounds great,” said Albus, reaching forward and grabbing Sirius’s arm. Ginny imitated him, adding fearfully, “Are you sure you can apparate well? Just be careful, alright. I don’t want to splinch myself.”
Sirius laughed. “Relax, love,” he said, turning on the spot. Seconds later, they were standing in a strange wood, which, just like the Forbidden Forest, was covered in darkness, but it looked less scary. “This,” Sirius said, waving his arms, “is the Forest of Dean; and over there was our tent when we came here camping.”
“Yes, this is the same wood,” whispered Albus, marching forward confidently. “Follow me. He lives some five to ten minutes away from here.”
Sirius and Ginny obediently followed Albus. Sirius turned to Ginny and asked, “So, do you have a boyfriend, Ginny?”
They walked in silence, Sirius occasionally cracking stupid jokes to lighten the atmosphere (“Look, an undead monkey!”) but Ginny and Albus were feeling very nervous. They were about to change the entire course of events of the past, leading to the future. They were about to do something that nobody had ever done before.
“Can you believe it? We are about to shape our future!” Sirius said, looking awed and excited. “Like, literally.”
“What if something went wrong?” fretted Ginny.
“I’ve seen the ‘wrong’ part, mum. Trust me, it can’t get worse than that,” said Albus sadly. Ginny wondered what he had seen in the future. But now was not the time to bombard him with questions; they’d have loads of time of that later. Now was the time for some action.
They reached their destination. Albus shh-ed them and indicated them to follow him very quietly. He led them through the tall, thick bushes until they reached a sort of clearing. One huge tree with an exceptionally thick trunk stood in the middle of this clearing. Ginny gasped. There was a door in the trunk. A very tiny door, almost half of Ginny’s size.
“So this is where Ragnuk lives,” murmured Sirius from beside her. Albus nodded and took out his wand. Ginny bit her lip and pulled out her own wand, incase something went wrong and they needed magic to protect themselves. Sirius puffed his cheeks and sighed dramatically. “I guess this is my cue to barge in there and ambush him?” he asked.
Ginny looked at Albus. “Where’s the sword, Al?”
“The sword is probably on the first level,” Albus said. “It wouldn’t be too hard to sneak in as long as we stay under the cloak and don’t bump into anyone. I think he lives alone, though.”
“How do you even get in?” Sirius asked incredulously, gawking at the tiny door.
“You’ll see,” Albus answered. “Just go,” he prodded, throwing the invisibility cloak over himself and Ginny.
“This better works,” Sirius muttered as all three of them stood in front of the door.
He showed his first sign of nervousness as he gulped, raised his fist, and knocked loudly on the door. A nerve-racking minute passed before they heard a rapping on the door from within, and right before their eyes, the door silently enlarged to the size of an adult before it was flung open. An annoyed looking goblin stood behind it, a scowl etched on his lined face as he eyed Sirius curiously.
"What?" he inquired, his nasally voice grating on their ears. “Don’t tell me you’re lost.”
“Actually, I am,” Sirius said, looking down at the short goblin. “Is this the Forbidden Forest, sir?”
The goblin snorted loudly. “The Forbidden Forest? Of course not, you foolish boy. This is the Forest of Dean,” he grumbled.
Sirius blinked and quickly shook his head. “But some one just told me this is the Forbidden Forest!”
Another snort. “You’re really dumb, aren’t you?” Ragnuk said, and Sirius resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “Somebody was pulling your leg. Who was it?”
“A goblin,” replied Sirius without missing a beat.
His trick worked. Goblins were really touchy about such things and for Ragnuk to know that another goblin had lied to Sirius without a reason was unlikely, for it seemed that most of the goblins were asleep. Ragnuk seemed taken aback, but he huffed indignantly and responded, "Nonsense! Goblins are not stupid, boy!"
"This one is, apparently," Sirius said, crossing his arms across his chest. There was a guffawing sound from behind him and Sirius stilled. Albus, you idiot! He immediately tried to cover it up with a throaty cough. “It’s my throat,” he informed the suspicious goblin. “It keeps making weird noises whenever…er…whenever I am around little people.”
“Anyway,” he continued casually. “I can prove that it was a goblin. Right there." Sirius pointed in the darkness. Ragnuk's gaze followed his finger.
"Fine, fine!" the goblin finally relented. "Show me this fool and then you can leave."
Sirius grinned inwardly and made a signal to Ginny and Albus behind his back as Ragnuk moved from the doorway.
“After you, good sir," Sirius said, making a face behind Ragnuk's back.
Careful not to accidentally slam the door, Albus and Ginny wasted no time in slipping in once Sirius' voice faded away. The last thing they heard him say was, "He was really ugly. Not pretty like you, sir."
The moment the cloak slipped off them, Ginny let out her breath. "Finally! Come on, where is it, Al?” she asked urgently.
Albus quickly took in their surroundings. It was a small room, devoid of furniture, except one working table and a wooden wardrobe which stood directly opposite them. This was Ragnuk’s working room. One look at each other and Ginny and Albus dashed to the wardrobe, wrenching it open.
There was nothing there, except for the goblin’s working tools, all of which were sharp and strange looking. The pair’s faces fell.
Albus let out a frustrated sigh and closed the door with a bam, forgetting that they were supposed to stay quiet. Ginny shot him a warning look. "Careful now. Are you sure this is the first floor?"
Albus stared at her and then, slapped his forehead. "Of course! This is just the basement. It's upstairs,” he said, sprinting out of the basement, Ginny at his heels. “How could I be so stupid? I’ve been here before!”
“Yeah?” panted Ginny, climbing the little steps three at a time.
“I told you, didn’t I? I was curious and I had the cloak. I saw him making the sword in the basement. He works there,” Albus informed her, stopping at the entrance to a slightly larger room on the first floor. This room was nothing like the first. For one, there was a bed in it. There was also a dining table for two, but there was only one chair.
However, neither Albus nor Ginny noticed these details. Their eyes were fixed on the glass cabinet that stood in the far corner of the circular room. The sword of Gryffindor stood in all its glory, the rubies sparkling magnificently in the moonlight that poured in from the little hole in the trunk. Both of them stood in awe for a minute before they remembered what they were here to do.
They darted across the room and Ginny grabbed the hilt of the sword, staggering slightly under its weight. Before either of them could move another muscle, they heard an outraged voice accompanied by quick footsteps approaching. "Wizards! We must never trust them!"
"Ragnuk!" Albus hissed, quickly throwing the cloak over them.
The old goblin strode into the room just as they disappeared underneath the silky cloak, muttering darkly about stupid wizard boys. "…leaving a goblin in the forest in the middle of the night. No respect at all! If I found the fool..."
Albus and Ginny exchanged amused looks; they could only imagine what Sirius had done. But their thoughts were cut short as Ragnuk let out a shrill scream. He had seen the empty case. Albus grabbed Ginny's hand and they dashed down the stairs, not bothering to keep quiet. Ragnuk's shouts pierced the night as they ran, clutching the cloak desperately.
"Where is Sirius?" Ginny whispered frantically as they threw open the front door and bolted into the darkness. Her question was answered when red sparks flew up in the sky a short distance from where they were. “There!” she exclaimed. They could hear twigs breaking behind them and someone panting. Ragnuk was following them.
Albus cursed under his breath and decided to take his chances. With a deep breath, he yelled out, “Padfoot! Over here!” It worked. A moment later, they saw Sirius running towards them.
“Quick!” Albus shouted when they saw him and he and Ginny jumped on the handsome marauder, who instantly turned on the spot, disapparating them away from the angry goblin.
“Oh my God!”
They were back in the Forbidden Forest. “That was really a close call. If we had been caught…” Ginny let her words hang in the air. The three of them stared at one another, their hearts racing.
“Tell me about it,” Sirius said with a grin. Albus grinned back, feeling very lucky. The three of them relaxed somewhat. “So what now?”
“I think we should head to the Hogwarts castle,” said Ginny, glancing questioningly at Albus, who nodded.
“We have to find Gryffindor,” he said. “But we have to be really careful.”
“Can we rest for a minute, though?” Ginny pleaded, realizing that she was out of breath. “I’m exhausted.”
Albus nodded and sat on the ground. “Sure, we’ve got all the time in the world,” he joked. Ginny rolled her eyes, but followed his example and sat. Sirius followed suit, holding out his hand to Ginny. “Here, let me hold that. It looks heavy.”
Ginny gratefully handed him the sword. “So how did you end up in the Forest of Dean in the first place, Albus?” she asked curiously.
“The spell does not work like a time-turner,” Albus responded, fingering the time-turner as he spoke. “I figured I would find myself in the common room again. That’s where I performed the spell. Dunno why I landed in the Forest of Dean, though. That wasn’t part of my calculation.”
“Oh, I see,” Ginny said. She opened her mouth to ask him something else but at that moment, they heard a noise. All three of them froze. Someone was muttering under his breath, just out of their sight. The trio jumped up and hid behind a tree, peering carefully from the edge.
A man with long auburn hair stomped past them; a man whom all of three of them had seen before…on the famous wizard cards!
They shared surprised looks. It was Godric Gryffindor! They could tell they were all thinking the same thing: what was Gryffindor doing here, at this time?!
“Should we follow him?” Sirius asked quietly.
Albus stood rigid for a while, debating with himself what to do. “Yeah, but we shouldn’t get too close.”
“What about waiting here?” Ginny piped up. “He came from this way, so he should be coming back the same way, right? Rather than following him, how about thinking of how to give this sword to him?” The boys looked at each other and nodded, so the three of them sat back down again.
Sirius was observing the sword, weighing it carefully. “This is amazing,” he said in awe. “Look at all these rubies! Can’t believe he wasn’t planning to give it to Gryffindor!” He fell quiet, and his brows furrowed as he stared at the hilt. “We should inscribe his name on it.”
“What?” Albus crinkled his forehead. He was still having a hard time believing that he had actually seen one of the founders of Hogwarts.
“Godric’s name,” Sirius answered excitedly. “I mean, we can’t just walk up to him and hand it over. He won’t trust us. If it has his name on it, we can just leave it somewhere he can find it easily and he’ll just think it’s a present or something.”
Ginny was impressed. “That’s actually a good idea,” she said with a smile. “Do you know the inscriptions spell?”
Sirius nodded morosely. “I do, but I can’t seem to remember it,” he said. “It’s something like Inscriptio or maybe Inscripando…” He sighed. “This is going to take a while,” he murmured.
Ginny watched Sirius for a while as he tried to remember the correct incantation and then slumped back tiredly. She glanced side-ways at Albus, who was gazing absently up at the sky. Ginny couldn’t even imagine how he was feeling right now. She smiled at him when he caught her staring.
“I like you,” said Ginny simply. “You are going to be my son.” She held his gaze.
A small, familiar smile spread across Albus’s face. “I am sorry for dragging you into this,” he said sincerely. “I never thought this would happen.” He paused and bit his lip nervously. It looked like he wanted to say something but was afraid of what she might say.
“What is it, Al?” Ginny asked gently.
“You won’t punish me when I reach back, will you? I promise not to be naughty again,” he said and Ginny chuckled.
“I’ll try not to,” she replied, trying very hard to keep a straight face. She found it hard to believe that Albus was scared of her older self. Was she that strict?
Ginny looked away from Albus when she heard Sirius mutter. “What’s typical?” she asked.
“Nothing,” he said quickly, looking away from her and Albus. “I think I am close to figuring out the incantation. It ends with Inscribo.” He ran his fingers absently over the sword, his handsome face screwed up in concentration.
“So, how are we going to do this?” Albus wondered out loud.
Ginny replied after some thought, “Maybe we could make some noise and when Godric hears us and charges in our direction, we can leave the sword there and hide.”
Both boys looked doubtfully at her. “Well, I guess it’d work,” Albus said slowly.
Sirius nodded. “Yeah, that’s the best idea we got.”
They sat there silently for some time, Sirius trying to remember the first part of the spell and Albus and Ginny lost in their own wistful thoughts of the future. Ginny was feeling really sleepy. She wondered what time it was. I guess a little nap won’t harm anyone, she thought to herself. She was about to doze off when Sirius’s excited shout startled her.
“I got it!” he exclaimed. Pointing his wand at the glittering sword, he said clearly, “Facio Inscribo!” As they watched, letters slowly began to form just below the hilt, until it read Godric Gryffindor.
“Wow,” murmured Albus appreciatively, taking the sword in his hands. “Good job, mate.”
Sirius grinned at them happily. “I told you I – shh!” he said abruptly. He looked around them curiously and, suddenly, stood up. “He’s coming back! Everything ready?”
Albus and Ginny scrambled to their feet and nodded, Albus handing the sword back to Sirius, who gave them a thumbs up. Then, he lifted his foot and stepped deliberately on a fallen branch. The resulting crack echoed through the silent forest.
They waited with baited breath, and then a deep man’s voice said sharply, “Who’s there? Show yourself!” Something, like an invisible wave, rolled over them, leaving a cold feeling within them. Ginny gasped in shock, and quickly covered her mouth.
Sirius, Ginny and Albus looked at each other and then sprinted away in the opposite direction, deliberately making noise enough so that Godric Gryffindor could follow them in the right direction. “There’s a clearing ahead,” panted Sirius. He spotted it, being the tallest of them. “I can see it.”
The three of them skidded to a halt when they came out into the clearing. Sirius threw the sword onto the ground and whispered urgently, “Quick, hide!” He pulled Ginny’s hand and the three of them disappeared into the bushes.
“I wanna see,” whined Ginny, when Albus tried to make her wear the chain of the time-turner.
They peeked out carefully from the bushes just in time to see Gryffindor dash into the clearing, breathing hard. He looked around sharply at the tiniest of sounds and Ginny almost stopped breathing.
They watched the brave Founder finally notice the sword in the light of his wand and walk towards it in surprise. He picked it up and studied it. Even from the distance, they could make out his eyes widen in surprise at seeing his own name inscribed on the sword.
Sirius nudged them; he was grinning. Albus sighed, relief apparent over his sweaty face. A few minutes later when Godric Gryffindor had left the clearing with a satisfied smile on his face, the three of them walked out.
Before she could stop herself, Ginny jumped on Albus and hugged him, doing the same with Sirius. “We did it!” she cried happily.
“What an adventure,” said Sirius, looking just as happy. “Wait till my friends hear about this!”
Albus shook his head. “Promise me you two won’t tell this to anyone,” he begged. “Let’s keep it a secret between us, alright?”
For once, Sirius didn’t question or argue with him. “Okay, pal. Whatever you say.”
It was finally time to depart. They stood there, looking awkwardly at each other. “I guess it’s time to go back,” whispered Ginny uncomfortably. She felt sad. She realized that she didn’t want to leave her son, and especially, Sirius behind. She would never see him again.
“Yeah,” mumbled Sirius; his eyes weren’t twinkling anymore, but he managed to smile at them. “We’ll see each other, won’t we? In the future?”
Ginny ignored Albus’s nervous looks and nodded. “Sure, Sirius,” she said, her voice trembling slightly. “We’ll…see you soon. Be safe.”
“I’ll try,” joked Sirius.
And then, Albus was winding the chain around their necks and their surroundings blurred. They were off…returned to the future!
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by Marcus White