“Men, incoming,” Albus shouted as he and Scorpius ascended to the stairs to the girls Gryffindore dorm.
They walked straight in without knocking and were met by several shrieks of horror and outrage. A few of the Gryffindore seventh year girls were in nothing but their underwear while others were dripping wet and only had towels wrapped around them.
The entire school was going at a mile a minute. The forty-five lucky students that were going to Japan in less than an hour were desperately trying to get changed and pack whatever last minute items they thought they might need.
“How did you get in here?” Rose demanded, appearing from behind her bed.
Several half naked girls ran out of the dorm and back into the bathroom to get some clothes on while Albus wolf-whistled and winked. Scorpius, Al and Rose were the only ones left now that the others had retreated.
“You ready yet, we're suppose to be downstairs in twenty minutes,” Scorpius said.
“Almost done. Hand me those,” she said, pointing to a pair of jeans hanging on the side of her bed. “Oh, Al, I left a few books on Chimeras downstairs by the fireplace, grab them for me would you?”
“Yes, your majesty,” Al grumbled and trudged back down to the common room.
Scorpius took the opportunity to give her a quick kiss on the lips now that they were alone. Rose playfully pushed him away. “Patiences, gotta finish packing first.”
“Fine,” he said examining the contents of her truck. A lot of stuff had been shrunk and neatly packed away. There were easily two dozen books, heaps of clothes and for some reason, an extra pillow. Scorpius reached in for something that caught his eye.
“This doesn't look like a text book,” he picked up the novel that returned to its original size as it left the confines of Rose's trunk. “'His Tainted Touch'?” he said reading the title.
“Lily gave it to me, it's a supernatural romance.”
He shrugged and opened the book to a random page.
“'Her skin was electrified'...'her heart quivered with excitement'...” Scorpius mumbled, reading off lines. “This sounds more like literary porn.”
“You should read it, pick up some tips,” Rose said cheekily.
“Hey, have I ever 'engulfed you in a whirlwind of ecstasy that could rival the most powerful of tornadoes'?” he asked, repeating a part of the book word for word.
“Strong coastal breeze, maybe,” Rose said absently.
“Not even a Gail-force wind?”
“Nah,” she grinned.
“I thought I'd at least get a decent dust storm or enough to cause a sailor concern,” Scorpius said, disappointed.
“You know I'm joking,” Rose smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek. “You've blown me away many times. But I need to pack!”
“Cool. Well, when we get to Japan I plan to create a Typhoon so pack accordingly.”
Rose giggled as she packed another pair of socks away. “Oh, speaking of which, did you get some...” she broke off but it was obvious what she was talking about.
“Yes, I packed plenty of those,” he grinned, reassuring her. Rose was not the type of girl to have unprotected sex. “Ironically, there's probably a little bit on the pack that says; Made in Japan.”
“Why not, everything else is made there,” Rose chirped.
One thing that Scorpius really loved about Rose; she was very mature when it came to sex. She didn't seem like the type but she had turned out to be a very 'take-charge' girl when it came to getting intimate. It had made loosing his virginity so much better than he was expecting but it also made him realize that she had done it before.
For a while he was a little annoyed that she had slept with someone before him and actually tried to find out who, but in the end, he just stopped caring. She was with him now and that's all that mattered...even if they couldn't tell anyone.
“These them, Rose?” Al said, holding up a pair of books as he re-entered the dorm.
“Yep, thanks,” she quickly grabbed them off him and stuffed them inside.
Albus walked over to the bathroom door and banged on it loudly.
“Hurry up ladies, you wanna go to Japan or not?”
“Just a second!” an angry girl screamed back.
“Oh, by the way, got you some of these,” Al said, walking over to Scorpius and handing him a couple of paper bags.
“What are these?”
“Travel sickness bags.”
“Why do I need trav - ah, shit!” Scorpius groaned.
“Yep, we're going by portkey,” Al said, confirming Scorpius's worries.
Scorpius had one of the strangest phobias in the world; fear of portkeys. No one knew why and every time they asked, Scorpius just went off about how having every molecule in your body pulled across time and space in a heartbeat was not natural. They also made him queasy.
“I would have told you earlier but then you'd just have be a grumpy bastard for the whole day,” Al admitted.
“They're gonna need a lot of portkeys,” Rose said.
“Nope. Just one big one. In fact, I think it's the biggest one ever made.”
“What?!” Scorpius yelped.
“You know that tunnel just after you pass Dufftown, they are converting the whole thing into a portkey, then they're gonna drive the train straight through it,” Al explained.
“Oh, wonderful! So not only are we going to be broken down into millions of tiny particles, there's gonna be a train coming through with us!” he groaned.
“Relax, I'm sure the midnight meat train is perfectly safe,” Al smiled and Scorpius started to look pale.
“I'm done,” Rose huffed, slamming her case shut.
“Good, let's go.”
They levitated Rose's case down the stairs and through the castle while being followed by three other Gryffindore girls that had won a spot on the trip. Even though it was just after midnight, the entire student body had been given permission to stay awake and see their schoolmates off. Quite a few of the parents had also arrived to say their goodbyes, wish their children luck and forbid them from putting their names in the Goblet of Fire.
At the main entrance to the castle, a large group of students, teachers and parents had gathered. The whole place actually looked a lot like Platform 9 ¾ on the first of September.
“Head boys, coming through,” Al shouted, shoving people out of the way.
“Make way for your happy heads of Hogw-” Scorpius stopped in his tracks and started grinding his teeth again. He had just seen the fresh picture of himself dancing around in his underwear.
“I'm sorry, really,” Al said ripping the picture off the wall. “All right, listen up!” he shouted. “This shit is gonna stop right now or I'm serious...heads are gonna roll!” he waved his head boy badge around making sure that everyone got the pun.
Scorpius huffed and stormed out of the entrance as Albus stuck the picture back up on the wall, again getting a bunch of giggles from students. “Whoever is doing this better pray that I don't catch them!”
Al caught him up a few seconds later, acting completely innocent.
“Look on the bright side, at least whoever is doing this probably won't be coming to Japan with us,” he said happily, knowing full well that he was going to be sticking pictures of his best friend all over the place once they got there.
“Yeah, I suppose...” Scorpius mumbled.
“Ahh...this can't be good,” Al sighed.
Standing at the gate of Hogwarts were Harry, Ron and Hermione, all wearing half stern, half cautious looks. More warnings were obviously on the way.
“Mr and Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Potter,” Scorpius said politely.
“Scorpius,” Hermione nodded. “All packed, Rosie?”
“Heroin, explosives, illegal immigrants, check!” Al said happily.
“You don't need explosives, Al, we all know that you could make toilet paper spontaneously combust,” Harry said without amusement.
“Fire in the hole,” Scorpius mumbled causing him and Al to burst into laughter.
“That was good,” Al patted him on the shoulder.
“I've got everything I need,” Rose said ignoring them.
“Rose, you're old enough to make your own decisions now so we won't tell you what to do but-”
“Don't even think about putting your name in that Goblet!” Ron ordered, cutting Hermione off.
“I'm not stupid dad,” Rose rolled her eyes. “I have no intention of going near that thing. I'm going to support the school and study the wildlife, that's all.”
“Very wise of you, Rose,” Harry smiled then turned to Scorpius. “Malfoy, we're not your parents. We can't forbid you from going into the tournament but I will warn you of the dangers involved if you do.”
“Dad wants me to do it. Says it'll resort dignity to the Malfoy name...but I promised some one else that I wouldn't so, no worries.”
Rose fought to keep the proud smile off her face as the three adults turned their gaze to Albus.
“Most definitely,” he said straight away.
“Don't joke about -”
“I'm not joking. I'm going in for it,” he admitted. Now Rose and Scorpius were staring at him with worry as well.
“You can't be serious!” Hermione shrieked. “Haven't you heard enough stories about how dangerous the tasks are?!”
“I've heard them all. No pain, no gain. A thousand galleons and a Tri-wizard win might open up a few possibilities for me...I mean, It's not like I can be an Auror any more,” he said angrily.
“Albus, nobody is saying you can't be an Auror, it's just...” Hermione searched for the right words but couldn't find them.
“The Hogsmead thing has made you very unpopular. Wait until that blows over and then...”
“It'll never blow over and I don't want to live a miserable future in a job that I hate. Just like that scar on your forehead, Hogsmead and Smuggler's Cove are never going away. This year is all that's left. May as well go out with a bang...a really, really big bang!” he huffed and pushed past them, heading for the train station.
They all knew that what Albus had just said was only half of the truth. The other half was that he was angry and he wanted payback. He wanted to get back at Harry and the Ministry for stripping him of the only thing he ever wanted to be. If he had been given a prophecy or a lightning bolt scar or a dark lord to fight, people would have forgiven his mistakes but he didn't. The wizarding world wouldn't cheer him if he broke into Gringotts then smashed his way out on the back of a dragon or lead a school-wide rebellion. As far as they were concern, Harry was a hero and Albus was just disappointing, unhinged son.
“We'll talk to him...” Rose tried to reassure them.
Rose kissed and hugged her mum and dad before heading to the train with Scorpius. They stored her trunk and moved down the train until they located Al. He was slumped in a window seat, still stuing after being forced to admit how screwed he was.
Scorpius sat down next to him.
“You really going in for it?”
“There's not a hell of a lot else I can do, is there?”
“It's your life, but your parents are right. That tournament is the most dangerous event in the wizarding world. Remember what happened eight years ago? Two of the champions never even made it to the final round. I think they're still cleaning one of them up with a sponge.”
“Well, I've never been in a dangerous situation before have I, Scorp?” Al asked sarcastically.
“Fine, don't say I didn't warn you.”
“Still got those sick bags?” Al asked.
“Cos' I think we're about to leave.”
“Ah, shit!” Scorpius groaned and got a bag ready.
Sure enough, a few moments later the train shook to life and began to roll down the tracks. Scorpius looked ready puke already and they hadn't even been moving for ten minutes. As the train approached the tunnel, Albus saw about a dozen wizards (ministry staff) gathered around the entrance. They were moving their wands in a slow, synchronized movement that caused a blue light to emanate from within the tunnel.
“Oh God,” Scorpius said, trying to stop his lunch from coming up.
“Just close your eyes and think of Christmas,” Al suggested, shutting his eyes.
The train began to shake violently as the blue light shone through the windows. A second later, Albus felt weightless, as if he was free falling. Heavy wind and rushing sounds filled the cabin.
A loud popping noise exploded in his ears followed by a heavy jolt. Then all he could hear was the sound of Scorpius vomiting next to him.
Al opened his eyes and was immediate hit by rays of bright hot sunshine. He looked out the window to see the area surround by snowy mountains, green trees and fields of multicoloured flowers.
Hokkaido was nine hours ahead of England so it was just coming to ten o'clock in the morning there.
As the train followed a new set of tracks around a sharp curve in the mountains, Al got his first glimpse of the Hokkaido Academy of Magic.
“Whoa...Scorp, you gotta see this,” Al gasped.
The first thing that stood out was a huge domed building about the size of a Quidditch field. Around it were dozens of smaller buildings that had a traditional Kamahura and Muromachi style. They looked like layered houses with oversized curved roofs. Several intersecting streams with bridges ran through and around the buildings. One of them actually looked like it went underneath the central domed building.
Everywhere, nature was flourishing. The place looked like it had been transported through time from the fifteenth century and kept immaculately clean at all times. Not only did it make Hogwarts look old and dingy by comparison, it looked like paradise.
“It's beautiful...” Rose said in awe.
“I think I'm gonna like this place,” Al smiled as many of the other students let out looks and sounds of wonder.
The train came to a halt about two hundred yards from the domed building in a large wide open spot. What shocked everyone even more than the over all look of the place was that to the left of the open area was a car park where at least thirty different muggle vehicles were neatly arranged.
Standing a few feet away from the train was a handsome Japanese man in his mid-twenties. He had a sort of cocky, laid back look to him that reminded Al of a young Sirius Black.
Garrick stepped off the train and walked over to greet him as Al and Scorpius led the students off.
“Headmaster Garrick?” he asked in a surprisingly American accent.
“Yes,” Garrick held out his hand and the Japanese man shook it quickly.
“I'm Han, the student liaison officer. Welcome to Hokkaido,” he smiled.
“Thank you. Your school is incredible,” Garrick said happily.
“It will be if we ever get it finished. It's growing faster than we can build it so some of it is still under construction. A lot of the teachers don't have quarters yet and have to drive here every day, but don't worry, you and your students have rooms ready and waiting,” Han explained.
“I don't see Salem's anywhere,” Al said to Scorpius.
“They hit a slight head wind so their running a bit late. They'll be here any moment,” Han said, obviously over hearing him.
“Head wind, what are they sailing here?” Scorpius asked.
“Guess again,” Han smiled and pointed to the sky.
Out of the clouds came an enormous blimp. It was a giant white Zeppelin with a house sized undercarriage. It glided peacefully and quickly over the mountains and came into land on the free side of the arrival area.
“That is one big balloon!” Al blurted.
“Yeah. I bet you could make some great balloon animals out of that thing. Make me a giraffe,” Scorpius agreed.
“Nah, a dog. I love dogs.”
“I doubt the Americans would appreciate you popping their ride,” Han said, giving Albus a strange look.
“You're Albus Potter right. We've been warned about you,” he admitted in a half amused way.
“Warned, what am I, Swine Flu?”
“Actually, they made you sound more like a terrorist,” Han chuckled.
“Wonderful,” Albus groaned. His exploits had reached the other side of the world. There goes any chance of him eloping and becoming an Auror in another country.
“Try not to break our school,” Han smiled.
“No promises,” Albus flashed a warning smile.
A bunch of wolf whistles started up from the Hogwarts boys as several very attractive girls exited the parked airship.
“Oi, be nice!” Garrick ordered, shutting the students up.
“If everyone will please follow me, you will be shown to your new accommodations,” Han shouted.
They began to follow him towards a large path that moved through the forest, heading towards the school. As he walked, Al was hit by a strange feeling of liberation. He knew for certain that his future would not turn out the way he wanted it to and even though that fact depressed him, it also left him with the sense that he was free. Apart from Scorpius, Rose and the few other members of his family that he truly cared for, he nothing left to loose.
He made a silent promise to himself that no matter what happened, he would make this a year to remember.
Like he told his dad, he was going to go out with a very big bang.