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Chapter 28 : Washburn's Plot
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Over the next few weeks, Albus thought a lot about the Hallows. He found it hard to concentrate on his homework, and Rose would often scold him for not spending enough time studying. He continued having his strange dreams almost every night, but he didn't think that Washburn had found out anything new about the Hallows. Washburn continued to yell at Albus during every Charms class and give him at least a detention a week. With detention, homework, and Occlumency lessons, Albus had hardly any time for anything else. Life at Hogwarts was just as chaotic as ever. Albus did manage to find time to tell James about what Matt had told him about the Hallows, but James didn't have any ideas as to where the other Hallows could be either. He did agree with Albus that it was highly possible that Washburn was the one trying to unite them.
Before Albus knew it, exams were upon them. The night before they began was very tense. Almost all the Gryffindors were either in the common room, studying, or in the library doing the same. Albus and his friends were studying at a table next to the one Victoire and Amy were at. Both the seventh year girls were extremely nervous, and Victoire insisted on absolute quiet in the common room. Albus did not mind this, because he needed to study anyway. Their first exam was Charms, and Albus was particularly nervous about this exam.
"I'm not sure I've passed," Albus groaned as he walked out of the room with Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda after the Charms exam.
"I'm sure I've failed," Matt replied, "Washburn was breathing down my neck during half of it."
"I hate when teachers do that," John said.
"Me, too," Amanda agreed.
"Well, I think I passed, but-" Rose started.
"Of course you passed," John interrupted, "You've been preparing for exams since September."
Albus thought the rest of the exams went fairly well. He thought he at least passed Potions. Herbology and DADA went extremely well, and Albus thought he got decent marks in Astronomy, Transfiguration, and History of Magic. However, even though exams were over, O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s were still going on, and Victoire was still mandating a quiet common room in the evening. The night of their last exam, Albus and his friends decided to just go to the Room of Requirement and celebrate.
"What a relief!" John shouted as he flopped down onto the couch, "No more exams until next year!"
"Yep, a study free summer!" Matt grinned as he pulled a chocolate frog out of his pocket.
"You've got homework, you know," Rose laughed.
"I know, but I'll save it for the last minute," Matt replied, "So, anyone got plans for the summer?"
"I'm going to Ireland with my family," Amanda told them, "For two weeks. I can't wait!"
"Are you going on an airplane?" John asked, excitedly.
Amanda laughed, "Yeah."
"Brilliant!" John shouted, "Maybe I can convince my parents to take us on an airplane."
"It's not that great," Matt commented. "Are you doing anything?"
"Erm, not sure. We usually visit all my cousins," John said.
"Well, you've all got to come stay at my house," Albus told them. "Rose and I always have a big birthday party at the Burrow."
"My birthday's at the end of August and Albus's is the end of this month," Rose said. "So we always have a party together. But usually it's just our family. And our parents' friends and their kids."
"'Course I'll come!" John smiled, "I want to see your house and the Burrow."
"My parents should let me come. We're not going to Ireland until the middle of August," Amanda answered, "As long as they meet your parents first."
"They can meet at King's Cross," Rose replied.
"Can you come, Matt?" Albus asked.
"Er, I dunno," Matt said slowly, "My parents have never let me stay over at someone's house before. Not that anyone would has ever wanted me to stay over at their house before. Do you know when it will be?"
Albus looked at Rose, who shrugged. "I'm not sure. I don't think our parents have planned it yet. But we'll make sure it's not around the full moon."
"Then I might be able to go," Matt smiled.
"Great!" Albus said, "We'll have loads of fun! We can play Quidditch."
"I can't believe this year is almost over," Rose began.
"Yeah, I mean, a year ago, I didn't even know I was a witch," Amanda laughed, "Going to be strange to go back home."
"And last year, I never even knew about the Hallows, and now Washburn's trying to steal them," Albus said quietly.
"Well, at least over the summer you won't be anywhere near Washburn," Rose said, "And maybe Uncle Harry will tell us the whole story."
"And then you can tell it to us!" John replied. "And to stay on topic, this time last year, I was about the same as I am now." Everyone laughed.
"Well, this time last year, I didn't have any friends," Matt said quietly.
"But you do now," John pointed out.
Matt grinned, "Yeah, I do. Never thought I would, though. It's been a great year."
"I haven't showed you the Marauder's Map, have I?" Albus asked Matt.
"No, I don't think so," Matt answered.
"It's brilliant," John grinned, "Saw it a couple months ago."
"Yeah, you were in the Hospital Wing," Albus remembered, "But I've got it now." Albus pulled the Map out of his robe pocket.
"You haven't given it back to James yet?" Rose asked.
"Nope," Albus laughed, "I don't really want to give it back. Maybe we'll just share it." Albus got up from his chair and set the Map down on the table.
"Looks just like a regular piece of parchment," Matt commented.
"That's what's so great about it!" Albus grinned, "Anyway, this is the map that my grandpa, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and of course, Teddy's dad made, when they were at Hogwarts."
"Yeah, I remember you telling me that," Matt replied.
"Here it is," Albus tapped his wand on the parchment and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
Ink spread across the map while Matt stared in awe at it. "That's brilliant!" He stared at the map and all the labeled dots milling around it. His eyes stopped on the Whomping Willow. "This shows the passageway to the Shrieking Shack?" he asked nervously.
"Sure does," Albus said, "It shows all the passageways out of the school. But don't worry, hardly anyone knows about the Map. Just us, James, my parents, Rose's parents, my Uncle George, and probably some of my cousins. But none of them, except my parents and Rose's parents, know how to get in the tunnel."
"Do you know how to get into the tunnel?" Matt asked.
"Nope," Albus answered. Harry had told him all about the passageways, but hadn't told him how to get into them. Harry had told Albus that he didn't want to ruin all the fun of discovering things for himself.
"Good," Matt breathed a sigh of relief and went back to inspecting the map. "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs," he murmured. "Are those, their nicknames?"
"Yup," Albus confirmed, "Moony was-"
"Teddy's dad, I figured that one out," Matt said, "But what about the others?"
"Wormtail was Pettigrew, he was a rat in more ways than one," Albus said grimly, "And Padfoot was Sirius, because he was a big shaggy dog. And Prongs was my grandpa because he was a stag."
"Wow," Matt said softly, "This is amazing."
"See?" Albus began, "Moony had awesome friends, well most of them were," Albus said, thinking of Pettigrew. "And they didn't dessert him. We won't dessert you."
"Yeah, you're our Moony," John agreed.
Matt smiled at them, "Thanks, guys. I know you won't, now."
The group quietly watched the map for a few minutes, noting that all the fifth and seventh years were still cooped up in the library, studying for their exams. "Who's that?" Albus pointed to a dot that was lingering near the forest.
Rose leaned in closer and read, "Jarett Willinson. Never heard of him."
"Willinson. Do you think he's related to Quinton Willinson?" Albus asked.
"Probably," John said, "But Quinton doesn't have any siblings at school."
"What's that bloke doing here, then?" Albus wondered.
"Look!" Matt pointed at a dot that was traveling from the castle towards Jarret Willinson. "It's Washburn!"
Albus looked at the dot, and sure enough, it was Washburn. He was heading towards Jarett Willinson. "What are they doing?"
"I dunno," Matt answered.
"What if they're going to try and find the Hallows?" Albus asked. "We should go see what they're up to."
"What?!" Matt shouted, "Last time we went to see what Washburn was up to, we wound up in detention."
"But what if he is trying to steal the Hallows? If he is, then we won't get in trouble from him. He'll get fired," Albus pointed out.
Matt sighed, "I guess. Let's go before they leave."
"Are you coming, Rose?" Albus asked.
"I suppose," Rose said. She looked at Amanda and the two of them stood up.
"Let's go, then!" John grinned. He was clearly excited about spying on Washburn again.
Albus and his friends left the room and set off towards the front doors. They saw hardly anyone on their way down the stairs. Peeves was lurking on the second floor corridor, but luckily he didn't notice the first years sneaking off.
"Are they still there?" Rose whispered as they walked onto the grounds.
Albus checked the map. "Yeah, they're there. They must be talking or something."
"You ought to wipe it clean before we meet up with them," Rose suggested.
"Good idea," Albus agreed, "Mischief managed."
Albus walked slowly towards the edge of the forest, where he could just make out two cloaked figures. The sun was setting and it was nearly dark. Once Albus was a couple feet away from the two wizards, he recognized who Jarret Willinson was, and stopped abruptly.
"Ouch!" Amanda shouted as she ran into Albus.
"Shush!" Albus whispered, and he pulled his friends behind a tree.
"What is it?" Rose asked.
"That wizard! Jarett Willinson! He's the bloke that was arguing with Washburn when we spied on him! And the time I had detention and they argued in Washburn's study. I'm sure of it."
"That means-" Rose replied.
"That they're going after the Hallows. Remember, when we spied on them, that Jarett Willinson told Washburn that he would come and they would steal the Hallows together," Albus said.
"We've got to stop them," John replied.
"Yeah," Albus agreed, "Let's go." Albus walked out from behind the tree, with his friends following. They slowly approached Washburn and Jarett Willinson. They were soon close enough to hear what the two wizards were saying.
"You've discovered the location of one of the Hallows?" Jarett asked.
"I believe so. Potter finally cracked. I'd heard that his Occlumency skills were abysmal, but I didn't think it would take me this long. The two kids don't know a thing about the Hallows," Washburn stated.
Jarett laughed, "They will soon. Which one did you discover?"
"The Resurrection Stone," Washburn said.
"Perfect. And where is it?"
"In here," Washburn pointed to the forest. "But I don't know where."
"How are we supposed to find it?!" Jarett shouted angrily.
"Don't ask me!" Washburn shouted back.
"It was your job to find out where it is," Jarett said icily and took a step closer to Washburn. "And you haven't found the exact place."
"Sorry, but Potter didn't know either," Washburn answered nervously. "Shouldn't we just start searching?"
"We will, but I've told Quinton he could come with us, and he's not here yet," Jarett answered. "And we've got another job to do tonight, anyway."
"And what is that?" Washburn asked.
"Kill Potter," Jarett said.
Albus let out a gasp. They were going to kill his dad? But why? Albus turned around and looked at his friends. They were all standing stock still and wearing looks of utter fear on their faces.
"I don't think we're alone anymore," Washburn informed Jarett and a grin appeared across his face.
Albus turned back around to face the two wizards and backed up. Jarett and Washburn turned towards Albus and started walking towards him and his friends.
"I believe you are right," Jarett responded, "Mr. Potter, how nice of you to join us."
"What are we going to do with them?" Washburn asked while glaring at the five fist years.
"Oh, I don't know, what do you think?" Jarett replied.
"Well, Potter seems incapable of doing the simplest charms. The Weasley girl is a right know-it-all. Eckerton is asleep half the time, so I doubt he's capable of doing much magic. Brickston doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. And the other girl doesn't seem too bright either," Washburn said, "I say we just let them hang around and if they interfere, I'll take care of them." He stared Albus in the eye, with a look of complete loathing.
"Very well," Jarett agreed, "You know them better than I do. Now, let's get back to business."
"Right. Now, why do we have to kill Potter? Isn't he the one who knows where all the Hallows are?" Washburn asked.
"I know that!" Jarett shouted, "But he's the one who's got the Elder Wand! And if we want it, we've got to kill him."
"Oh, right," Washburn responded.
Albus watched the two wizards and glanced nervously at his friends. He had no idea what he was going to do next. Albus had been right, Washburn and this other wizard were after the Hallows. Albus heard footsteps behind him and turned around, pulling out his wand at the same time.
"Quinton," Jarett said, "You're late."
"Sorry, Father," Quinton mumbled, "Filch was lurking around. I had to wait for him to leave."
Jarett Willinson was Quinton's dad. As Albus watched them, he only hoped that Jarett was as hopeless at dueling as his son was.
"Put your wand away, Potter!" Washburn growled at Albus.
"Leave it out, Al," a voice said from behind Albus. Albus turned around and saw his dad pulling off the Invisibility Cloak. Albus let out a sigh of relief. His dad was there, everything would be okay.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight! Thanks to my other sister and my brother, too. And thanks to inkheart, TheNobleHouseofPotter, XDNLxtlz99, drownzer, and Moonylupin for their reviews!
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