Chapter 1 : On the Hogwarts Express
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Albus Potter felt, not for the first time, an inexplicable ache in the pit of his stomach that held its grip so firmly that for a moment, he wasn’t sure if he could even breathe. Dozens of would-be Hogwarts students passed him on his way to a compartment, talking to friends, showing off cats or else grumbling about the lack of space and because he was so caught up in his own thoughts, he failed to notice the stares he was getting.
Of course, considering who his father was he couldn’t help but feel a little annoyance go down his spine as a girl burst into giggles and ran off to join her friends but he didn’t say anything to it. After all, when your father was Harry Potter, the boy who defeated Lord Voldemort, the darkest wizard in nearly a century so long ago, you couldn’t help but be noticed and it didn’t help that Albus looked a lot like his father.
Minus the round glasses and the scar, he was his exact double and that was saying something because the messy hair and emerald green eyes were the same as his father’s. His brother James had inherited the messy hair as well but he usually tamed it well and with his dark hair and brown eyes, he looked less like their father, but didn’t let that bother him as much as looking like him bothered Albus.
People assumed that just because his father had been famous that he, Albus, was supposed to do great things and be famous as well and there was no way that was going to happen if he couldn’t even settle his stomach. Even if it did, how was he going to ever be as famous or as well known?
Voldemort had been dead for nearly twenty years, Death Eaters were rotting in Azkaban, the wizard prison and the peace that was reigning over the wizarding world didn’t look as if it would be shattering anytime soon.
Trying not to look too queasy, Albus shoved and pushed his way to a near empty compartment and looked inside. A boy with pale blonde hair and a pointed chin was sitting morosely in a corner and he barely paid Albus a look as he sat down and divested of his trunk and owl, who hooted in greeting.
“Hogwarts sounds pretty exciting doesn’t it?” Albus asked the boy.
The boy grunted.
Albus shifted in his seat. “I’m really nervous, how bout you?”
Again, the boy said nothing.
Giving up on him, Albus sat and watched the scenery for a while and he was so lost, so blissfully swimming in his own nerves that he barely heard the compartment door open again. “There you are, Albus!” a girl cried.
He looked and felt a smile tugging at his lips. “Were you looking for me?”
Rose Weasely nodded fervently as she came farther into the compartment, her own luggage causing her a bit of trouble. “I thought we’d lost you. Why did you run off?”
“I didn’t run off,” Albus said.
Rose shrugged a little but gave him an encouraging grin. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, Al, everything will be just fine. Hogwarts is going to be amazing! Mum and Dad told me and Hugo all about it!”
Albus thought of her younger brother, who would be starting Hogwarts in another two years with his younger sister Lily. “It’s not really as bad as James was saying, is it?” he asked.
His older brother had told him horrors about the school and he was feeling sweat breaking out on his forehead just thinking about it. “You know how James is. He made up a lot of that stuff. I don’t even think there are any giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest anymore.”
Albus blanched. “Giant spiders?”
Rose nodded and sat down opposite him and pulled a book from the inside of her robes. “I’ve been reading the book my mum made. You know the one? A revised History of Magic?”
How could he not know about it, his Aunt Hermione never ceased talking about it on the times that they all got together. She was forever revising, editing and writing more than any decent person should, “Your mum’s hand is going to fall off.”
“That’s what Hugo said.”
“Well, it’s true. But you’re just as bad, all you do is write,” Albus said as she opened the large book and began reading.
Rose frowned at him. “I sketch, there’s a difference. And it’s better than all you guys, throwing Dungbombs everywhere and trying to teach the garden gnomes swear words.”
“Uncle George said that they already know most of them. James and I thought they could learn a few more, what’s the harm?” Albus said.
She rolled her eyes at him. Rose looked a lot like her mother, she had inherited the same bushy hair but instead of the deep brown that her mother owned, her own hair was red and she had a few freckles on her cheeks. “The harm is that they keep sneaking into the garden and eating the vegetables while swearing at the top of their lungs when you try to toss him!”
Rose rolled her eyes and went back to her book. “Honestly.”
The compartment door opened again and James walked in, “Still feeling sick?” he asked Albus with a grin.
Albus frowned at him. “I’m not sick!”
“Well, you will be once we get to Hogwarts. I hear they have sea serpents in the Black Lake now. You’ll be going on the boats so you’d best be careful.” James said with a wide smile.
Rose looked up at him. “Oh, stop it James. It’s not going to be like that! Isn’t it bad enough that you keep teasing him about which House he’s going to be in?”
James looked at her. “You don’t seem all that concerned do you?”
“I’m not! I know I’ll be in Gryffindor!” Rose huffed.
James was already in the legendary House but he didn’t look all too enthused with her proclamation. “You’ll be in Ravenclaw. Brains always go to Ravenclaw!”
“And what’s wrong with that?” Rose asked.
“Brains aren’t as good as brawn you know.” James said.
“Well, my mum’s brain saved your dad’s life more than once and she was in Gryffindor!” Rose said hotly. “And Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Ginny and nearly our whole family!”
Albus was going to be the exception, he knew it. “Yeah, James, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“Well, the Sorting Hat is going to be the one to choose.” James said while giving them both a smirk. “And it’s gonna put you in Slytherin, Al, we all know it.”
Rose frowned. “Oh, really! That’s enough!”
Albus swallowed hard. “So what if I am in Slytherin? Dad said that it’s not so bad!” he snapped.
James thought about that. “All Dark Wizards from the old days came from there. You don’t really want to be in there, do you?”
Albus didn’t but he wasn’t going to tell him that. “I won’t be so it’s not that big of a deal.” He said.
The morose, pale blonde boy suddenly looked up. “Both my parents were in Slytherin and most all Dark Wizards did come from there, trust me, I know.”
Rose jumped a little at the sound of his voice. “Why would you say something like that? It can’t be true.”
The boy looked over at her, grey eyes narrowed. “My mum and dad were in full support of Voldemort when he was in power.”
Albus and James looked at each other and then at the boy with mutual shock and awe, they had never known anyone else to say the Dark Lord’s name.
Over the years the fear had been hugely diminished but there was still a few that were too afraid to say his name, although their own father never hesitated to say it whenever the old days were brought up. “Your mum and dad were Death Eaters?”
“Don’t know about my mum, but my dad has the Mark. Tries not to let me or my little sister see it,” the boy said. “But I have.”
James was curious. “Who are your mum and dad?”
The boy was picking at his robes annoyingly. “Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson,” he said distantly, “but they’re divorced.”
Rose and the boys looked at each other in horror and rage. They had each heard about Draco Malfoy from their parents and the stories ranged from childish pranks and then to malicious bullying and the fact that they were now sitting in the same compartment with his son made them all tense.
But he didn’t look as mean or as snide as the way Albus’s father had been described, “You’re Scorpious Malfoy. I thought you were a year younger than us.” Rose said.
“Shame, isn’t it?” Scorpious asked.
James looked at Rose and Albus. “Come sit with me and my friends, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be sitting anywhere near him.” He jerked his thumb at Scorpious.
“I won’t blame you if you left,” he said.
Albus stared at him in astonishment, ignoring James. “You don’t look like you like being a Malfoy. How come?”
That seemed to jar the boy farther out of his own thoughts. He sat up suddenly, ignoring Rose as she moved away, “Would you like knowing that your dad and mum supported Voldemort and then have people thinking that you have to be evil because you’re related to them? Would you like knowing that your grandfather tortured Muggles and said that word?”
They of course knew the word he had meant was “Mudblood”, a nasty insult that described Muggle born witches and wizards. It had caused a ripple of fear in the old days when the Dark Lord had used his power to hunt and kill them, or else, thrown them in Azkaban, “I didn’t mean anything.”
Scorpious snorted. “It doesn’t matter. Everyone already thinks I’m evil anyway.”
“Look pretty harmless to me.” Albus said.
“Sure I do.”
“You’re not going to be in Slytherin are you?” Albus asked.
“I hope not. My whole family has been in Slytherin, I don’t stand a chance,” Scorpious said.
Albus oddly felt a bit of friendly feeling towards him, it seemed like they were going through the same thing, though for opposite reasons. “Well, I don’t think you’re evil.”
“Of course he is. Come on, you two, you can sit with me and my friends,” James said pompously.
Rose gathered up her things. “Come on Albus,”
Albus settled harder into his seat. “No, I think I’ll stay.”
James gaped at him. “Why?”
“Why not? There’s hardly any room as it is,” Albus said.
Rose looked at Scorpious warily. “Come on, Albus. Your mum and dad won’t like you talking to him.”
“Well, they’re not here. So don’t worry about it, okay?” Albus said.
James glowered at him for a while but decided that it would be best not to get into a fight about it. Motioning for Rose to follow him, he said, “You’d better not do anything stupid, Al. Or I’ll tell mum and dad.”
“I won’t.” He said.
Rose gave him another worried look but she left a little while later with James, lugging all of her things with her. When they were gone, Scorpious asked, “Who is that girl?”
“My cousin,” Albus said.
“Oh,” Scorpious said.
Albus stared at him for a while. “You know, you’re not really all that bad if you ask me.”
“Be careful, everyone says I’ve already been born with the Dark Mark on my arm.” Scorpious said, “they think I’m gonna go bad. When I was getting my wand, the old shopkeeper kept staring at me like I was gonna use an Unforgivable curse on him.”
Albus thought of the wandmaker, Ollivander and felt a bit of a chill go down his back. He was very old but he carried himself like a mystic that had been transported from a faraway land, but it was his misty white eyes that was a little spooky, he never seemed to blink. “Why would he look at you like that?”
Scorpious tightened his lips. “I’d rather not say.”
They sat in a long silence for a while, watching the scenery go by and for a while it was very quiet except for the hooting of Albus’s owl. After what felt like an eternity, Scorpious finally spoke again. “Your dads Harry Potter right?”
Albus felt that familiar annoyance go down his back. He was going to ask what it was like living with the great Harry Potter and then ask if he could have his father sign something for him, like so many others had done before him, “Yeah.” He said.
“You look a lot like him. Except for the glasses,” Scorpious said. “Everyone says I look like my dad too, but I don’t like to. As soon as we start human Transfiguration I’m gonna change my whole face.”
“Why would you do that? It won’t last. And we won’t start that until sixth year,” Albus said.
“It’ll be worth it to walk around not looking like him for a day.” Scorpious said with a frown. “You have to know what I mean.”
He did know what he meant but he couldn’t imagine changing his face. Albus didn’t hate his father at all but he sensed that Scorpious had a deep loathing for his own, “So what House would you like to be in once we get to Hogwarts?”
“I dunno. Anything is better than Slytherin.”
“Maybe we can both try for Gryffindor.”
“You think we can do that?” Scorpious asked. “My mum and dad will be disappointed if I’m in Hufflepuff, I know that.”
For some reason, no one really wanted to be in that House but Albus knew that the Head of the house, Professor McMillian was a really cool person. Albus had seen pictures of him at home with his aunt Hermione, his uncle Ron and his father after the battle that had started the years of peace.
They’d all been bloody and dirty and the wreckage of Hogwarts had been a shock to Albus and Lily when they first started looking at them but after a moment that seemed to fade as they had taken in all the smiling faces of kids long since grown up.
Professor McMillian had been there, along with Professor Longbottom, who taught Herbology and Professor Lovegood, who taught Divination. They’d all been waving and laughing with a large group of kids that had called themselves Dumbledore’s Army and from what Albus could gather from his mother and father; they still got together at the Leaky Cauldron to talk about old times.
Albus wouldn’t really mind where he was put, as long as it wasn’t in Slytherin, “I don’t wanna be in Slytherin either. A lot of the other kids there are gonna be kids of Death Eaters and they’ll try to poison me you know, because of my dad.”
“They might try to poison me too.” Scorpious said with a weak smile.
Albus stared at him in amazement as another compartment opened and some people started laughing and giggling. “How come?”
Scorpious looked around to make sure that no one was around but since they were alone in the compartment, it seemed unlikely that anyone would show. “Well, you know how I told you my mum and dad got a divorce?”
Albus nodded. “Yeah,”
There was a short pause. “Well, my dad met another woman while he was at the Ministry of Magic, and well, one thing led to another.” He blushed a little, “she’s well, well, she’s Muggle born and it caused a lot of arguments and stuff.”
Albus could see why he was worried someone might hear. He would have never thought from what his father had told him about Draco Malfoy that he would ever marry a Muggle born girl, so this was very surprising and it was very doubtful that his father knew about it yet. It would be big news. “Weren’t you with your mum and dad on the platform?”
“Yeah, she wanted to see me off and since my dad was already there they didn’t want to get into some kinda fight in public,” Scorpious said.
Albus nodded. “Slytherin kids would try to poison you because of that thing with your dad and your step-mum?”
Scorpious nodded. “I think they would. It doesn’t help that my dad has started making more of an effort for Muggle born rights and everything.” He didn’t look upset by the news, “but a lot of people don’t believe in his work because of who he is and what my granddad did when he was young.”
Albus couldn’t imagine the stigma. “Well, at least your dad has changed.”
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t hate my step-mum or anything like that but it’s just awkward you know? They just got married a year ago and I had to go and my mum didn’t want me to and she started crying and everything.” His lips tightened again. “It’s just really, really—”
“Hard. Yeah, I can understand that. My mum and dad don’t argue very much but I know I would be feeling upset if they ever got divorced.” Albus couldn’t even begin to imagine it.
Scorpious seemed a bit better than he had been and smiled for the first time, relaxing. “I bet its cool living with your mum and dad. Get to go to Quidditch practices all the time right?”
Quidditch was one of the best sports in the world in Albus’s opinion and involved seven players on broomsticks, three Chasers, two Beaters, a Keeper and a Seeker. He was unsure if he would try out for it himself but he was dying to get on a broomstick, it was a shame that they couldn’t have them first year, “It’s really great, but my mum doesn’t play as much as she used to. She likes teaching kids about dueling and everything nowadays,”
“Your mom started her own Quidditch team didn’t she?” Scorpious asked.
“Yeah, she did. The Wailing Banshees,” Albus said.
Scorpious seemed impressed. “I’d like to start my own Quidditch team. Don’t know if I’ll be good on a broom, haven’t practiced as much over the summer.”
“Well, maybe you’ll be able to practice this summer and then next year you can try out.” Albus said. “I know I’m going to practice a little.
“Sounds like fun, once we’re old enough to play.” Scorpious said, “Your whole family sounds really cool. Isn’t one of your uncles an Auror?”
Auror’s were Dark Wizard catchers and even though it had been twenty years since the fall of the Dark Lord, there were still a lot of his followers walking around in the open that hadn’t been caught the few years after the final battle. How they had escaped Albus couldn’t figure but he knew that they were still there, his father had said so himself and had even gone after them for a few years, being an Auror himself. “My dad and Uncle Ron are both Auror’s.”
“And one of them owns Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes right?” Scorpious asked, mentioning the famous joke shop that was located in Diagon Alley.
“My Uncle George and his brother started it.” Albus said.
“Wow, I bet they have a lot of fun.” Scorpious said.
“Well, it’s just my Uncle George, his twin died in the battle,” Albus said uncomfortably.
Scorpious sobered. “I’m sorry. I know a lot of people died that night, my dad won’t even talk about it much. He just says that he doesn’t want it to happen again while he’s still around,”
Albus stared at him. “Why?”
“Well, he never says.” Scorpious said. “But I bet it’s because he was a stinking coward the whole time the battle was going on.” His tone was bitter, “I could gather that much from what my granddad used to say.”
Albus swallowed, his own father had said the same thing. “Used to say?”
Scorpious waved his hand dismissively, “They had a falling out a long time ago but my granddad won’t even talk to him since he married the Muggle born lady. Grandma isn’t as bad but she doesn’t like it either, I still see her sometimes on holiday.”
Albus wondered what it was like at his home on the holidays. His own were filled with laughter and good fun with his slew of cousins and his grandma Molly’s cooking, presents and a happiness that lasted for days, “Hey, I’m getting kinda hungry. Can’t wait for trolley,” he said in a desperate attempt to change the subject.
Scorpious didn’t seem to mind though. “What do you think the food will be like at Hogwarts?”
“I don’t know. I hope it’s good.”
“Do you think that we’ll both be in Gryffindor?” Scorpious asked.
Albus shrugged, “I hope so. Anything but—”
“Slytherin,” Scorpious said with a laugh.
They passed an enjoyable afternoon talking, laughing and playing Exploding Snap and by the time the lunch trolley arrived Albus was certain that he was going to be sorely disappointed if he and Scorpious weren’t in the same House. “Anything from the trolley?” the little old woman asked sweetly.
Albus fished inside his pants pocket for his money. “Hold on a minute.”
Scorpious was already looking at the candy and sweets, “A packet of Droobles, four Pumpkin Pasties, a box of Berti Botts Every Flavor Beans and four Chocolate Frogs.” He seemed as though he were thinking about something. “Could you throw in a licorice wand too?”
The woman nodded and handed him the sweets in a little bag, “That’ll be five Galleons and two Sickles please.”
Scorpious fished inside of his robes and handed her the money absently while taking the little bag from her. Albus walked up to her and ordered as much as he could get without being completely broke and when she toddled away he was so hungry that he nearly at the wrapper on a pumpkin pasty, “I didn’t know how hungry I could be.” He said.
Scorpious dumped his things on the bench. “I got all this for us. You didn’t have to spend your money.” He said.
Albus shrugged. “It’s not a problem. At least we won’t get hungry, huh?”
They ate in mutual enjoyment and after feasting for what felt like ages they finally pulled out some of the cards from the Chocolate Frogs. Albus looked down at a few of them and stared at a moving picture of a stern older woman with greying black hair and piercing dark eyes that were hidden behind spectacles, “Minerva McGonagall is currently the Headmistress of Hogwarts, known member of the Order of the Phoenix—”
“What’s that?” Scorpios asked around a chunk of chocolate.
“It’s a secret society that was made when they first fought Voldemort.” Albus said while looking at the card. “It says that she’s a really powerful witch and was there when Voldemort was killed by my dad.”
“Wow.” Scorpious said, “I got a guy with your name on it. Classic card,” he said while handing it, sticky and wet with sugar, to Albus.
He already knew who it was since he was named after him but he took the card anyway and stared at the face of an old wizard with twinkling blue eyes and a crooked nose. A polite smile was on his face as he looked up at Albus from half-moon spectacles, “That’s Albus Dumbledore. My dad knew him really well.”
Scorpious stared at him for a while. “My dad said he was eccentric.”
“I think one of my uncles said that too but my dad said that he was a great man.” Albus wondered if he would ever be famous or interesting enough to be put on the back of a card like this.
“He was in Gryffindor I think.” Scorpious said. “And isn’t it kind of pitiful that Voldemort was in Slytherin?”
Albus couldn’t help but smirk. “But Voldemort is dead and even still, I don’t think that everyone from Slytherin was bad.”
“You think so?” Scorpious asked.
“Yeah, there was this man, Severus Snape. I’m named after him too, he was in Slytherin and he did some pretty great things, and he was really brave.” Albus said with a smile, feeling a bit of calm settle over his knotted stomach.
Scorpious smiled a little, relieved by this as well. “My dad talks about him sometimes, he said he was a good Potions teacher.”
“I don’t think I’ll be very good at Potions,” Albus said.
“Me neither. Let’s fail together, all right?” Scorpious joked.
Albus was about to reply when the compartment door opened again but this time it wasn’t Rose or James that came in. Instead, the small space was filled to the brim by a hulking boy who had to be as tall as he was wide, with a sneering face and a bowl cut haircut that made his features seem oddly exaggerated. “Well, well.” He said, “Didn’t expect you to be here.”
Scorpious seemed to know who he was, though Albus was already feeling like he should get his wand out. “Thought you were going to Durmstrang, Goyle,”
Goyle smiled meanly at him. “My mum didn’t want me being so far away. How is your mum anyway? Still upset about that Mudblood taking your dad away?”
Albus stood up. “If you don’t have any business here, leave.”
Scorpious was holding up his wand. “Get out and don’t say that word.”
“Or what?” Goyle asked. “Daddy’ll get me into trouble? My dad works at the Ministry too.”
“So what if he does. My dad can take him anytime.” Albus said.
Goyle sneered at him. “I thought you’d say that. Think you’re so cool, don’t you? Think that just because your dads all famous that you can talk to me anyway you like, huh?” he asked. “You’re not even pureblood.”
“So what if he’s not? Get out, Goyle or I’ll hex you.” Scorpious said nastily.
“Try it!” Goyle snapped while taking out his wand.
Before any of them could do a thing, someone else asked. “Is there a problem?”
Goyle jolted at the sight of James and Rose standing at his side. He was so big that it had been hard to see them, “I’m out of here. See you at Hogwarts,” he sneered at Scorpious and Albus.
They watched him go.
“Do you even know any spells?” Albus asked him.
“No. You?” Scorpious asked.
“Not a chance.” Albus muttered.
James stepped in with Rose, “What are you two doing getting into fights already? And with a Death Eater kid?” he asked, “You two’ll be dead before we even get there.”
Albus plopped back down. “I didn’t even do anything, he came in here.”
Rose looked at him. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Why?” Albus asked.
“Well, we’ll be at Hogwarts soon, I wanted to see if you’d gotten all your things and your robe on.” She said, “But you’re too busy getting into fights.”
Albus rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t fighting anyone.”
“Getting him into trouble, huh?” James asked Scorpious.
Scorpious ignored him. “Let’s get our things on.”
“I’m gonna stay and make sure you two actually do it.” Rose said.
“You wanna see us naked?” Scorpious asked annoyingly.
She blushed. “No, of course not,”
Albus laughed. “We’ll be fine, Rose, relax.”
“If you say so,” She said while walking out.
James watched her go but he didn’t speak for a while as he watched the two of them struggling into the folds of their robes. “I’m gonna tell mum and dad you know,” he said while looking at Scorpious warily. “They’re not gonna like that you’re getting into fights and stuff.”
“I wasn’t fighting anyone!” Albus snapped. “And who cares anyway? It’s not like he would have done anything.”
“I’m not so sure of that.” James said but Scorpious snorted. “Think it’s funny, huh? Well, I don’t like my brother being involved with someone like you.”
Scorpious frowned. “You’re not the first person to say that to me and you’re not gonna be the last. And anyway, Albus and I aren’t gonna blow up the train or anything.”
James glared at him for a second or two before saying to Albus, “You’d better get ready you know. Those sea serpents aren’t gonna feed themselves.”
Albus was about to retort something but he was already gone. With his robes on and his hands gripping his wand he felt the familiar bite of anxiety tugging at his stomach again and he tried to ignore it. “How do you know that kid anyway?”
“Grew up together for a while. Dad changed heart and we fell out,” Scorpious said while looking at his wand. “I would have really liked to have given this thing a go.”
Albus hoped that they wouldn’t’ be seeing too much of that Goyle person again but he hoped, on the other hand that he wasn’t jinxing them. “Well, we’re gonna be at Hogwarts soon. You’ll get plenty of practice there.” His stomach knotted again and he felt his forehead break out in a thin line of sweat, the moment had arrived at last.
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