Chapter 3 : Back In Black
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Back in black
I hit the sack
I've been too long I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm let loose
From the noose
That's kept me hanging about
I've been looking at the sky
'Cause it's gettin' me high
“Anastasia, we’ve got a problem.”
My Dad burst in through the front door and tried to grab my Mum’s attention . . . But I was doing a pretty good job of holding it. It was the twenty-ninth of August, and I was going to Hogwarts in a few days. Something I was very excited about.
“I’m going to Hogwarts! I’m going to Hogwarts! I’m going to Hogwarts!” My little chant also came with a rather happy dance, in which all of my body parts jerked out excitedly and tried to detach from my body..
Mum's eyes flitted between me and Will, whose sulking blond head was popping up from behind the couch.
“The Durselys aren’t going to take Harry to the platform! I heard them telling him!” my Dad cried, slamming the door and running up to Mum.
She shook her head. “Relax, you worry-wart. Dumbledore wouldn’t let that happen.”
“I think we should get him!”
She gave Dad a look. “You know what Dumbledore said. I mean, come on, you know how much I love bad ideas, but this is a really bad idea.”
Oh, my crazy, nutty, parents.
“But . . . But!” he stuttered.
“No ‘buts.’” She kissed him on the lips (ewww) and he quickly shut up.
“Now, relax,” she told him. “And go find Lupin; I haven’t seen her all day.”
Dad shook his head. “It’s your turn to find Lupin.” Lupin often ventured off into the woods behind our house, exploring. Sometimes I went with her, but I was too busy dancing.
“Fine, but that means you have to go try and find what’s been up with Will for the past eight-or-so years.”
My Dad looked rather upset, and Mum sped out the door before he could change his mind.
I didn’t blame either of them. Don’t get me wrong; Will is alright, but he’s a basketcase, and I’d rather suck bollocks than have to talk to him for more than a few minutes.
“Will?” I heard my Dad say. Meanwhile, he nodded at me in that way that says ‘get out of here.’
But I didn’t. Because when was doing what your parents say ever fun?
Instead, I danced my way out of the room, into the adjoining room, where, if I pressed my ear against the wall hard enough, I could hear everything they said.
“Yes, Dad?” Oh, he sounded nice and obedient, but I could hear the ‘I hate you’ in his voice.
Sometimes, he made me a bit angry. I mean, honestly, our parents were some of the coolest parents around. And they had their rules, but they knew when to have fun. Like no running around outside after dark alone. And lights out by ten o’clock.
And, like respectable children, we worked very hard to make it unobvious when we wanted to break those.
Except Will. Who followed the few rules our parents had meticulously, yet seemed to hate them for it, and want more rules. Or maybe just less fun.
“Will, your Mum and I are worried about you . . . Again.”
I heard Will groan. “Seriously, Dad? Haven’t we had this conversation already?” I heard footsteps and assumed that Will was walking away again.
“Yes. We have. And we’re going to have it again.”
“Dad, I’m just not like you guys!”
Good job, Will! I thought sarcastically. That was the most emotion I’d seen out of him in weeks.
“I don’t want to hang out with the family! You guys embarrass me!”
“Dad, just, please, leave me alone.”
I heard my Dad mumble something, and he walked away.
Sometimes, I just wanted to hit Will.
“Now, Aldan, I don’t want to hear about any trouble,” my Dad said, all business like.
We had a stare-down for a few seconds before he winked at me. “Nah, I’m just kidding . . . Try not to blow anything up, though. At least not on purpose.”
“You got it, Dad,” I said. We hugged briefly.
Will and Lupin were close by, Lupin clinging happily to Will’s arm and Will trying desperately to shake her off.
My Mum, on the other hand, was no where to be found.
Oh, wait . . . Yes she was.
Predicably, she was doing something embarrassing. This time, she’d spotted Darren, and together, they were recounting their days from Hogwarts. Not something that would normally be embarrassing, but Mum and Darren always got way too into things, and were, at times, acting out their adventures. Before I could stop him, Dad had joined in.
But, somehow, it didn’t bother me that my parents were total and complete nutters. In fact, I found it absolutely entertaining.
“Hey, Mum, aren’t you going to say good-bye?” I yelled, lugging my trunk towards the train. She stopped her reminiscing immediately and made her way over to me. She gave me an awkward hug. Those were the kind she was good at; I would probably miss getting awkward hugs while I was at Hogwarts.
“Now, you make sure you give Minnie lots and lots of trouble, okay?”
I smirked. “Don’t worry, I will.”
“Good boy.” She kissed me on the cheek and went on her way. She used to kiss me on the top of the head, but she couldn’t reach anymore; I was already taller than her.
I lifted my trunk up onto the train quite easily and dragged it happily down the corridor. I found an empty compartment, slid my trunk into it, and went to explore.
Obviously, I couldn’t sit in the compartment alone; I’d go bloody insane. While strolling through the corridor, I saw Oliver - a Fifth year - with some of his friends. He was always cool and he nodded at me, smiling. I nodded back.
The train began to move while I was still exploring. I wondered who I would meet when I got back to the compartment.
A little while into my journey, I happened onto a compartment with two boys. One was Ron Weasley - a boy I’d met in passing since both of our parents had been part of the Order of the Phoenix. The other was Harry Potter.
“Hey, Ron,” I greeted, entering into the compartment.
Ron smiled. “Harry, this is Aldan. Aldan, this is-”
“Harry Potter. Yeah, I know.”
Harry looked like the timid sort. My parents told me once that they tried to get Dumbledore to let them be his guardians. He said Harry needed to be with blood relatives, for one reason or another. I wasn’t really listening.
I felt a bit sorry for the poor bloke; he looked like he would have had tons more fun at our house.
“My Dad’s your godfather,” I explained.
He was silent for a moment. “I . . . Didn’t know I had one.”
I nodded. “Well, you do! You should come visit over the summer, or something . . . But I’ve got to go! See you!”
I waved to the two and then began my way back to my compartment. According to Mum and Dad, there was lots of buzz about Harry Potter - something I knew well, seeing as we were always out and about, and people often came up to my Mum and Dad asking stuff.
I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about; he seemed rather boring.
When I got back to my compartment, I slid open the door. There were two boys sitting there. One was a dark-skinned boy, whose name I learned was Dean Thomas. The other boy - undoubtably Irish, with skin completely contrasting Dean’s - was named Seamus Finnigan.
I hung out with them for a little while - finding them vastly more entertaining than Harry Potter and Ron - before deciding that I needed to go visit Oliver.
I wandered the corridors, peering into compartments until I found Oliver. Then, I decided I had to try and be cool. I mean, these guys were Fifth years. Oliver had always been nice to me, but who knew what would happen when he was with his friends.
I pushed open the compartment door and stood there for barely a moment before Oliver jumped up and yelled, “Aldan! There’s my man! What’s going on?”
Well, that couldn’t have gone better.
He introduced me to a girl named Angelina, a Fourth year. And, of course, the infamous Weasley twins, who I also already knew.
“Aldan’s parents were apparently wicked Beaters, but he missed that gene - he’s going to be a Keeper. I’ve already seen him play.”
Ah, yes, Oliver and his Quidditch obsession.
Darren - Oliver’s Dad - had been on the team with my Mum and Dad when they were all in school. Oliver was captain this year - a Keeper, just like Darren.
Angelina, I learned, was one of the Chasers, and the Weasley twins were Beaters.
I also learned that Oliver wanted to keep me on the team as a reserve, and train me to follow in his footsteps.
And let me tell you, that was pretty awesome.
I spent the remainder of my time going back and forth between my compartment and the Quidditch team’s.
But at the end of the journey, I stuck with Dean and Seamus; we had to follow Hagrid onto the boats. Mum and Dad both told me about the journey. Dad recommended that I take in the majestic beauty of the castle. Mum recommended that I jump out and annoy everyone else . . . Guess who I listened to?
So, as we trudged into the castle - me soaking wet - we were met with ‘Deputy Headmistress McGonagall.’ I put that title in quotes because it’s funny. Like my parents before me, I had all intentions of calling her Minnie, detentions be damned.
Not to mention, we knew each other.
“Minnie! Hey, Minnie!”
Seamus shoved my jumping form to the ground and looked at me like I was crazy. “That’s Professor McGonagall! I’ve heard about her . . . Do you really want to be murdered?!”
I brushed him off. “Relax. We know each other.”
“Minnie!” I jumped and yelled again. Seamus took a step back, pulling Dean with him.
Minnie walked over to me. “Mr. Black! If you do not want to see the same detention-filled fate that your parents did, do not address me in the manner.” Then, without another word, the lovable, prissy Professor began to address all of us First years.
“She likes me,” I whispered to Dean and Seamus. They didn’t really look like they believed me.
Minnie blabbed on about something for a few minutes, before walking away. Everyone was jittery and nervous, it seemed. I was enjoying a nice chat with Dean and Seamus when I felt an unpleasant hand on my shoulder.
“Black? Is it?”
Ugh, I’d been told about this jerk-wad. Draco Malfoy - my Dad’s first cousin’s prat of a son, or something of the like. He was all ugly and pointed.
He nodded. Two brutish looking blokes behind him glared menacingly at me. Psh, they didn’t scare me; I was practically as big as them! Just much better looking . . .
Malfoy was just a nasty looking person. And, I had my Mum’s talent for a mouth that got me into trouble. Except, unlike her, when I used it, it was usually on purpose.
“So, I hear your family inbreeds. Your Mum and Dad . . . Brother and sister, are they?”
Malfoy’s pointed face twitched. Behind me, I heard Seamus snort. “At least my grandfather’s not a Muggle!”
Ooo, good comeback. Your Daddy teach you that one?
“Hey, I happen to like that grandfather, so watch your mouth.” I said this all with a smirk on my face. I think smirks always enhance comments like that.
“You watch yours.” Then, he turned and began to walk away.
Ah . . . This is too perfect . . . He never even denied it.
“So, they are brother and sister, then?” I yelled across the crowd.
The little blond prick was quite obviously infuriated, but as he began to charge across the crowd, Minnie called us into the Great Hall. She was seemingly oblivious to what could have blown up had she arrived a few moments later.
Malfoy snarled at me and turned around. I blew him a kiss.
As we all lined up, I waited for them to begin calling names. I knew I would be one of the first.
And sure enough, three people into the long list of names, I was called. “Black, Aldan!”
I made my way - calm and collected - towards the three-legged stool.
I sat down, and the hat fell over my head.
“Dear God! Your head is a mess, boy!”
“Well . . . A Black, I see? You must be the son of Sirius - any other Black mind I’ve seen has been full of hate.”
That’s me! Son of Sirius Black and Anna Xanthis!
“Oh, dear? Don’t tell me those two procreated . . . You will be trouble for this school, mark my words.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. What house am I in?
“Ah, yes. Of course. Hmm . . . No, well, maybe . . . Ah, yes . . .
Well, Mum will certainly be pleased I’m not in Ravenclaw . . .
Satisfied and happy, I hopped off the stool and made my way over to the Gryffindor table, where Oliver was waving me over.
“That’a boy, Al!” he clapped me on the back. “I was worried some other house would have you as their secret weapon.”
Yeah, you would be.
A few minutes later, Seamus and Dead had joined us at the table and I introduced them to Oliver.
We talked and I waited impatiently for food. At my house, there was always something to eat on the table, and it was important, because that’s all we did in our house. Eat. But in Hogwarts, for whatever sick, twisted reason, they made you stare at shiny gold silverware while your stomach growled loudly.
Finally, there was loud applause, and Dumbledore began to say something.
I really tried to listen - honest, I did - but I couldn’t. My slightly lacking attention span, combined with my intense hunger made it impossible.
And then, there was food. There was no way to explain it, but suddenly, food appeared on the empty plates. It was magic, I suppose - Mum and Dad told me there were house elves in the kitchens, and they always had cool magic.
Food. Food. Food. Food. Food. Food.
Usually, when I ate, I didn’t talk; I was far too concentrated on the food. However, there was so much excitement and stuff going on around me, that I sometimes had to take a breather in between bites to get all the words out. And sometimes, I just talked while I was eating.
Mum and Dad never told me not to, like normal parents supposedly did. Apparently, they’re very bad at being parents . . . And least that’s what Uncle Remus says.
Of course, by the time dessert came around . . . I was full. Which was quite miraculous, really, as that rarely ever happened. However, I wouldn’t be the spawn of my parents if I couldn’t make a little more room for snacks.
Afterwards, Dumbledore spoke again. This time much longer. Once again, I tried to listen. I was unable to, and blamed it on intense sleepiness.
I’d actually dosed off by the time he was done, and Dean shook me awake. I sleepily followed a Prefect and the rest of the First years up to the dorm. I smiled. It looked just like the pictures that my parents had showed me.
I quickly claimed the bed closet to the window, and Harry collapsed in the one next to me. “So you . . . You knew my Dad?”
I shook my head. “My parents did.” I yawned.
“D’you think . . . D’you think I could talk to them one day?”
“For sure,” I answered, pulling off the bloody annoying robe and slipping into my pajamas. “I’m sure they’d love to.”
“Okay. It’ll be fun.”
I made an affirmative noise before climbing into bed. I was dead tired, and not easily deterred from sleep by small talk about dead people.
“G’night, you lot,” I mumbled.
There were a few sleepy replies, and then silence.
“Mr. Black!” I snapped my head up. I’d been sleeping . . . In McGonagall’s class . . . Probably a bad idea.
She stopped her lesson short and marched over to my desk. “How I hoped your parents wouldn’t recreate! Alas, they did! And you - the terror that you are - came out of it! Pay attention, or I will have to send you to the Headmaster!” Minnie returned to the front of the classroom and continued to teach.
Psh, she’d never do that. My parents had already informed me of that fun little fact; Minnie almost never sent anyone to the Headmaster, no matter how many times she threatened.
But, I shut up and kept my head up, deciding not to push my luck.
After class, I was walking out with Dean and Seamus. “You’ve got nerve,” Dean said admiringly.
“Nah, I’ve just got all my parents’ tricks up my sleeve.
“Where are we going?” I’d abandoned the schedule I was given, opting to just follow my classmates around instead.
“Flying lessons,” Seamus answered. “Me Mum’s never let me on a broom - Dad did once; he’s a Muggle, and he wanted to see how it worked.”
“I’ve never been on a broom,” Dean - a Muggleborn - answered.
“I have. I practically live on a broom at home. It’s because both of my parents played Quidditch when they were in Hogwarts.”
And so we spent a pleasant walk, me telling them about how flying really was, and recounting a couple Quidditch stories that my parents had told me over the years.
However, the actual flying lesson wasn’t as pleasant. Madam Hooch was teaching painfully slow. My impatience and lack of attention span made me a target for trouble, as it usually did.
I was itching to jump on the broom, but Madam Hooch was taking her sweet time. Finally, she had everyone mount the brooms. Some kids looked nervous, some excited. And some looked plain bored (me! me! me!) We were to rise into the air on her whistle, hover, and then touch back down.
I’ve been doing this since I was three!
I sighed heavily, and got ready to tilt the crappy school broom into the air.
And then, all hell broke loose. Neville - one of the other boys in my dorm - lost control of his broom. He had no idea how to control it, and it was dragging him all over the grounds.
It was quite funny, actually, for all the danger that he was in.
But then he fell. And Madam Hooch ordered us all to stay on the ground.
Ugh, Of course.
I was talking to Seamus and Dean, once again, when we all heard, “Give it here, Malfoy! Or I’ll knock you off your broom!”
“What’s going on?” I asked. Everyone around us had turned to the conflict.
“Malfoy stole Longbottom’s Rememberal, and Potter’s trying to get it back.”
Ah, of course. The righteous Harry Potter. Sometimes, that boy was too good for everyone else’s own good.
And an epic chase ensued. Malfoy - who wasn’t nearly as good as some of the other First year flyers (for example, me,) was flying around, trying to show off for his mates. But Harry was showing him up.
I enjoyed seeing Malfoy knocked off his pedestal by someone who’d never flown before. I suppose he eventually got fed up; he threw the smoky red ball up into the air, and Harry - of course - had to save it. It was quite impressive, actually, the way he dove after the ball.
“He’s going to crash!” Dean remarked. And it certainly did look that way. Harry’s fingertips closed around the Remembral, but he was still hurling towards the ground. But he stopped. Somehow, he pulled out of the dive just in time.
I didn’t much like him, but I had to admit - he was a damn good flyer.
“Hey, Al!” I was sitting at one of the desks in the common room, books open with the appearance of studying. However, I wasn’t studying. I was daydreaming. About a girl.
But I was quickly brought from my thoughts by Oliver.
“What?” I picked my head up from my book and looked blearily at him. Daydreaming always made me sleepy.
“Quidditch practice tomorrow. Come. I want to see what the rest of the team think about me making you reserve Keeper.”
I nodded. “You got it,” I mumbled tiredly. He said goodbye, and I saw that as my cue to go up to the dorm and crash. There was no point even pretending to study when I was just going to fall asleep.
I trudged up to the dorm and crashed into my bed. Next to me, Harry and Ron were already asleep. Harry. Harry damn Potter.
He was Gryffindor’s new Seeker. And I could freely admit that I was jealous.
Not that I could have ever been Seeker - I was not built for it. Not at all. But being a First year on the house team was impressive to no end. And, like I said, I was jealous.
However, jealousy didn’t keep me from strutting onto the field the next day.
“Al! Brilliant! Come here!” The whole team was standing in their Quidditch kits, leaning against their brooms. “Al, this is our Quidditch team! We’ve absolutely got the best team out there!” Oliver beamed pridefully as the team smirked and rolled their eyes.
“Guys,” he continued. “This is Al. I’ve been watching him fly since he was three years old, and I want to take him on as a reserve Keeper and to train him.” No one really responded.
“Alright, Al, show us what you can do.” Oliver tossed me of the school brooms - a better one, but crappy none-the-less. He ordered me up to the goals and the rest of the team into the air.
A normal person may have been intimidated . . . But I wasn’t a normal person, now was I?
The rest of the team mounted their brooms and flew up into the air. Oliver unlocked the chest that contained the balls. He released the Bludgers and quickly ducked (because no one wants a Bludger to the head,) let the Snitch go, and threw the Quaffle into the air.
I blocked out the Bludgers and the Snitch and kept my eye solely on the big, red ball.
Bad idea. Before the Quaffle even got near the hoops a Bludger - completely ignored by me - zoomed out and hit me in the side.
Fuck! Ouch! Stupid shitty metal ball!
I got the wind out of me and there was a sharp pain in my side.
But I snapped quickly back to attention.
Blast Mum and this genetic lack of attention span!
Al! Come on! Pay the fuck attention!
I am, you twat!
My eyes focused in immediately on the red ball heading straight for my face. It was probably a meter away. At that speed, it could do almost as much damage as a Bludger.
I was sure I wasn’t going to catch it, but some primitive survival sort of thing must have kicked in. My hands shot up, closed easily around the Quaffle and I tossed it back to where it came from.
Fifteen grueling minutes later, Oliver called me and the team down to the ground. “So, what do you lot think?”
They all smiled and nodded consent. Except Harry, who I officially decided never said anything.
“Well, then congrats, Al. Go back to the dorm and wash up; tomorrow at seven. Be here.”
The next morning, I was rudely awakened by The One Know Does Not Speak. “Aldan! What are you doing? You’re going to miss practice.”
Okay, this is not how I want to spend my Saturday.
I pulled my pillow over my head. “What the bloody hell are you talking about? Oliver said seven,” I mumbled into my mattress,
“In the morning,” Harry stressed.
Fuck my life. Ten times over.
I rolled out of bed and fell to my hands and knees on the floor. My ribs seared where I’d gotten hit yesterday.
Fuck my life.
I gingerly pulled on the Quidditch kit that Oliver had given to me. It was making me quite upset that I had to wear one. Mum and Dad got to wear whatever they wanted to their practices . . . Crazy nazi Quidditch captain.
Harry was nice and waited for me. Luckily, he only had to wait for a minute or so. I only pulled on my kit before grabbing my gloves and speeding out the door.
I’d always wanted to play Quidditch, but I’d never really realized that you actually had to work at it.
Fuck my life.
We were almost three months into school when I first decided to talk to her. Really, talk to her, I mean. Lavender Brown. She was in my house and very cute.
She was short, with curly blond hair. And she was always smiling and I really liked that about her.
I decided to write home and tell Dad and Remus about her.
Dear Dad and Remus (And Mum, too, except you don’t usually like this feelings stuff,)
There’s a girl that I rather like. She’s pretty. And she’s short and she has blonde hair and I think I like her. Her name is Lavender. Lavender Brown . . . The poor girl has two colours for a name. That really sucks for her.
But, anyways, that’s not why I’m writing. I just thought I’d write to tell you that I’ve officially hit my fifteenth detention. It wasn’t for anything cool, though. I just decided to skip Potions because Snape is a wanker.
I’ve got to go. I see Lavender coming and I must woo her.
She stopped and turned to look at me. Then smiled. “Al! What’s up?”
I shrugged and crossed the room to her in only a few paces. “Nothing much. Just wanted to chat.”
Lavender smiled and batted her eyes, looking down at the ground. Twirling a piece of her pretty blond hair, she said, “What about.”
I shrugged again. “I dunno . . . I mostly just wanted to be around you.” I could see Lavender blush immediately and smiled inwardly. Remus had taught me tricks to get the girl that I liked. And they were working.
“Well that’s sweet,” she said.
It was awkwardly silent for a moment, but super-Aldan came to save the day. “Are you going to the Quidditch match tomorrow?” It was Gryffindor versus Slytherin. And my teammates were going to clobber them.
“I was thinking about it. You’re not going to play, are you?” I was quite proud to say that everything knew I was an Oliver-in-training.
“Only if Oliver gets hurt.” But that was fine with me. I was really superior to all the other First years, anyway.
Lavender smiled. “Well, I don’t want him to get hurt, but I do hope you-”
Both Lavender and I whipped our heads around to face the source of the noise. It was Parvati Patil, who I knew to be one of Lavender’s close friends.
“I’m sorry. Parvati looks upset, I should go see what’s wrong.” And Parvati did look upset. Lavender hurried away and waved at me.
And thus began the chase.
A/N: I'm back from vacation! . . . And very upset about it. Vacation's, like, my most favorite place on earth. And that was definitely in the top 3 times of fun I've ever had. I've felt crappy all day, but hopefully posting will make me smile. (It usually does.)
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