Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter or any of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
Albus did not have a chance to ask John, Matt, and Amanda about the Hallows until after the Easter holiday. Matt spent the rest of the week in the Hospital Wing, and Albus didn't want to talk about the Hallows there. He preferred to do it in private. The Easter holiday began the day after Matt left the Hospital Wing. Neither Albus nor his friends stayed at the castle over the holiday. Albus quite enjoyed the break and spent much of it playing Quidditch with James. Rose and her family came to stay for a few days, but Albus didn't see the rest of his extended family. Albus, Rose, and James did spend a bit of time sneaking around Grimmauld Place, looking for clues that would lead them to finding out what the Hallows were, but they didn't find anything useful.
By the time Albus was back at Hogwarts, the snow had melted and it was relatively warm. April was upon them, which meant that the end of term exams were only two months away. The teachers made sure to remind them of this during every class. Albus had not thought it possible, but they were being assigned even more homework than before. Of course, no one was feeling the pressure more than the fifth and seventh years, who were preparing for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. All of them could be seen studying in the common room and library until late at night. A few of them were already cracking under the pressure. Albus was glad that his O.W.L.s were still four years away, but he was not looking forward to them. Even Victoire was becoming nervous about the exams and had started threatening younger students with detentions if they were too loud in the common room. Usually Victoire was very level headed and not much bothered her, but she was afraid she wouldn't have enough N.E.W.T.s to get her into the Healer program.
"I am not looking forward to my O.W.L.s," John sighed as he watched as a fifth year nodded off while reading her notes.
"Me neither," Matt agreed.
"You'll be fine if you study," Rose assured them.
"That's the part I'm not looking forward to," John laughed, "I'm having enough trouble studying for this year's exams."
"Have you finished your Herbology?" Albus asked John.
"I'm working on it now," John told him.
"I haven't even started it," Amanda commented. Matt was helping her finish this week's Astronomy assignment.
"Well, it's not due until day after tomorrow," Albus told them.
"Good thing!" John shouted and threw down his quill, "I need a break from all this!"
"Shush!" Victoire came storming over to their table. She looked very tired. "This is study time!"
"Sorry, Victoire," John said, "I'm just sick of studying."
"Just wait until seventh year..." Victoire muttered as she went back to the table she was sharing with Amy.
"Want to go to the Room?" Albus whispered.
"Yeah, let's go," Matt replied and got up. Albus, Rose, Amanda, and John all picked up their books and followed Matt out of the common room. They walked to the Room and Matt paced three times in front of it. The door appeared and they all walked inside. The Room looked just as it did when Matt told them about the night he was bit.
Albus walked inside and sat down on one of the chairs. His friends followed and they all resumed their studying, except for John, who was wandering around the Room.
"I've got to tell you guys something," Albus said quietly after a few minutes. Everyone looked up from their books and John came over to the fire and sat down on the couch next to Matt.
"Are you going to tell us where you disappear to with Rose and your brother?" John asked.
"Er, yeah, you noticed that?" Albus asked nervously.
"Yes, we all did," Amanda told him.
"Well, I'm going to tell you why," Albus said. "I guess first I've got to tell you that this past summer, I thought my dad had told me everything about the defeat of Voldemort."
"You mean, he didn't?" John asked.
"No, I don't think he did," Albus replied quietly, "Over Christmas, Rose, James, and I, and a couple of our cousins, overheard mine and Rose's parents whispering about something in the kitchen. They were talking about whether or not to tell us something, something they've been hiding from us. I don't know what it was. I just heard them say one word, 'Hallows'. James, Rose, and I researched in the library to try and find out what 'Hallows' were. But we didn't find anything. The only thing we had to go on was the fact that I heard the word 'Hallows' in those Legilimency dreams I have. Someone wants to find the Hallows and steal them, whatever they are.
"Rose came up with the idea that I should talk to Dumbledore's portrait about it. We figured that the Hallows had something to do with Voldemort's downfall because they seem to be something just our parents know about. Since Dumbledore told my dad about the Horcruxes, we figured he'd know something about the Hallows. So, Rose came up with the whole idea to set off a firework in Washburn's class in order to get me into the Headmaster's office so I could talk to Dumbledore."
"Wait, you did that on purpose?" John asked in awe.
"Yeah, we did," Rose grinned.
"That's, that's brilliant, but stupid!" John laughed.
"We know," Albus said grimly, "It could have gone much worse. Anyway, Dumbledore did know about the Hallows, but he wouldn't tell us about them. He said it was something my dad had to tell me. But he did give me a clue. He told me to ask you about them," Albus said.
"He thinks we'd know what they are?" Amanda asked.
"Well, yeah, that's what he said. He said to specifically ask John and Matt about them," Albus replied.
"He got that right, I've never heard of Hallows before," Amanda responded.
"You haven't heard of them, have you?" Albus turned to John and Matt.
John and Matt looked at each other and then glanced at Albus. "Well, I've never heard of them," John said.
"I have, my dad told me about them once," Matt commented.
"You know what they are?" Albus asked in shock. He looked at Rose. She looked as clueless as Albus did.
"Yeah, I do," Matt repeated, "Haven't you two ever heard The Tales of Beedle the Bard?"
"Of course," Albus nodded.
"The what?" Amanda looked quizzically at Matt.
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard," he repeated, "A book of Wizard fairy tales. The Warlock's Hairy Heart, Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune-"
"My parents read me those when I was little. Mum's actually got the original copy!" Rose interrupted excitedly.
"Does she really?" Matt stared at her in awe.
"Yeah, Dumbledore left it to her in his will," Rose told him. "But what do a bunch of fairy tales have to do with 'Hallows'?"
"You didn't let me finish. There's one more. The Tale of the Three Brothers," Matt told them. "And that has everything to do with the Hallows."
Albus and Rose glanced at each other. Like Rose, Albus had been read those fairy tales when he was little, and he remembered The Tale of the Three Brothers. He remembered his Aunt Hermione reading it to him from the original copy. He hadn't been able to read a word of it, since it was written in Runes, but he definitely remembered the story.
"But I don't remember anything about any Hallows in that story," Rose commented.
"You wouldn't," Matt told her, "The story doesn't mention the word Hallows, but the story itself is about the Hallows."
"That doesn't make sense," John announced.
"Could someone explain this story, please?" Amanda asked with a look of confusion on her face.
"Sure," Matt leaned back on the couch and gazed around the room. "This would be easier if I had the book. I haven't heard it in ages." Matt got up from the couch and walked over to a book shelf that was behind Albus's chair. "Perfect! Here's one," Matt picked a book up off the shelf, walked back over to the couch and sat down.
"'There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight," Matt began. He read the whole story straight through. It was just as Albus remembered, with no mention of the word Hallows.
"'And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, as equals, they departed this life.'" Matt looked up at Amanda and closed the book. "That's the story."
Amanda stared at him, "That's quite a bit different than Muggle fairy tales. Although I'm still confused."
"So am I. What's that got anything to do with 'Hallows'?" Albus asked.
"Everything," Matt sighed, "Just let me explain it. The Hallows, or the Deathly Hallows as they're really known as, are the Invisibility Cloak, the Resurrection Stone, and the Elder Wand. Some people believe that the story tells of the creation of the Deathly Hallows, but most people think it's just a story.
"My dad told me about it ages ago. He's one of the few people who think they actually exist. When he was younger, before he got married, he actually tried to find them. Looked in loads of books all over the world, trying to trace where they might be. My Uncle Jack went with them, too. They kept searching even after my parents got married. Mum went with them. He gave up his search after he and Mum wanted to start a family. They never did find out anything about the Hallows that would tell him where they were. Uncle Jack kept looking for years afterwards, but eventually settled in New York. He still thinks they're out there, someplace, and hasn't truly given up."
"You mean, those three objects actually exist?" Rose asked skeptically.
"I dunno," Matt replied, "My dad seems to think so. And he's met a few other people who think so."
"But if they don't exist, why would my dad want to keep me from knowing about them?" Albus asked quietly. Albus was not sure what to think about what Matt had said about the Hallows. It was a far-fetched idea, but there was one thing Albus knew might prove their existence. His father's Invisibility Cloak. Albus had not really connected The Tale of the Three Brothers to his dad's Cloak, but now that he thought about it, the connection made sense.
"Oh, come on, Albus, you can't honestly be thinking that they exist?" Rose said exasperatingly.
"We already know one of them exists!" Albus told her, "What about Dad's Invisibility Cloak?"
"Your dad's got an Invisibility Cloak?" Matt asked. "Really?"
"Yeah," Albus told him.
"But that doesn't mean it's the one from the story," John said, "I mean, there are loads of Invisibility Cloaks out there. One of my uncles used to have one. But it wore out and he never got another."
"Exactly!," Albus said excitedly, "My dad's Cloak is different from all other Invisibility Cloaks. It doesn't wear out! I know most Invisibility Cloaks just have a charm or something put on them and it wears off eventually. That must have been the kind your uncle had, John. But my grandpa had that cloak before my dad did, and my dad still has it. It still works as good now as it ever has."
"Whoa," Matt stared at Albus with a glint of excitement in his eyes, "Then that could be the Cloak from the story!"
"But what about the other Hallows?" Rose asked. "I don't think they exist."
"They might," John said, "I know I've heard of super wands being passed from wizard to wizard centuries ago."
"Ok," Rose began, "Say there is a 'super wand' out there, and Uncle Harry's cloak is 'The Invisibility Cloak'. But how on earth would a 'Resurrection Stone' work?"
Albus couldn't answer that, but he did think that the Deathly Hallows existed. Why else would his dad have kept all this secret? The Deathly Hallows had something to do with Voldemort's downfall, and Albus was going to find out what. "Well, if these three objects are the 'Hallows' that I heard mentioned in my dream, than someone is trying to find them," Albus realized.
"That can't be good," John said, "Whoever's been doing that Legilimency wants to continue what Voldemort was doing, right?"
"Right," Albus confirmed, "Do you know if anything special happens if you've got all three Hallows?"
"Dad said that if one person unites all three, they will be the Master of Death," Matt answered.
"Master of Death?" Albus repeated, "Well, I can imagine that Voldemort would have loved to have them, then. Especially that wand."
"That's a scary thought," John said, "Voldemort with an unbeatable wand."
Albus silently agreed. "Anyone evil with that wand would be scary. Remember that time we spied on Washburn?"
Matt shuddered, "How could I not? That resulted in one of the worst detentions ever."
"I know, and I'm sorry about that," Albus said quietly. He still felt a bit guilty about causing all his friends to end up in detention with Washburn. "But that strange wizard was yelling at Washburn because he hadn't found out where something was."
"And we didn't even hear what it was he had to find," Matt interrupted.
"But I think I know what it is. I think that Washburn is trying to find out where the Hallows are," Albus told them.
"What?!" John shouted, "I know he's horrible, but you think he is trying to unite the Hallows and continue what Voldemort wanted to do?"
"Er, yeah," Albus said.
"I told him it was ridiculous," Rose sighed, "But he still thinks it's Washburn."
"It makes sense, Rose!" Albus shouted.
"It does fit, but still, he's a teacher," Rose replied.
"So what? He makes it clear that he hates me and James, and you, and Matt. He's been giving Matt a hard time since the beginning of the year! And now he hates John, too."
"I know, but maybe he just doesn't like Gryffindors. He was a Slytherin, you know," Rose commented.
"Yeah, I know that. But what if he hates us because he was on Voldemort's side?" Albus suggested.
"But do you really think he'd do this right under your dad's nose, Albus? I mean, come on! Your dad's head Auror!" John argued.
Albus shrugged. He really hadn't thought of that. "Dunno. Maybe he's just stupid? Or maybe that bloke he was arguing with is threatening him or something and he hasn't got a choice?"
"Well, I suppose it could be that, but still..." John replied.
"Ok, so what if it is Washburn?" Matt said, "What do we do about it?"
"I dunno. I don't think we have enough proof to tell anyone," Albus answered. "We've just got to hope that he doesn't find out where the Hallows are. I only know where the Invisibility Cloak is, Dad's got it in his office somewhere, and Washburn probably already knows where that is, if he's the one doing the Legilimency."
"All right," Matt replied, "But this is mad, I never thought I'd actually find out the Hallows existed, let alone know where they are! Do you think you could show me the Cloak sometime?"
"Sure," Albus told him, "But please don't tell your dad about this. Not yet. I know he'd want to know, but I think you ought to wait until after my dad tells me their significance in the war."
"All right," Matt sighed, "I won't tell him yet."
"Swear you won't?"
"I swear," Matt said, "I'll keep it secret. I've got years of experience keeping things secret. Don't worry."
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, and my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to XXEveryinchXX, Moonylupin, inkheart, and leezdz for their reviews!
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