Chapter 4 : The Match
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To say that Albus Severus Potter calmly walked into the greenhouse where Professor Longbottom was preparing for the morning’s first lesson would be a humorous lie.
To say that he ran in screaming and pulling his hair out would be a tad bit closer to the truth as he waved his arms up and down hysterically, screaming that Zabini was going to kill Scorpious and that James was going to steal his Gobstone set that Aunt Angie had given him for Christmas last year.
“What are you talking about, Albus?” Professor Longbottom asked him as he was being led forcefully out of the greenhouse and towards the castle, or to some dark, dank hole where Zabini was currently feeding on Scorpious.
Albus stared up into his round, scarred face and cried. “Zabini is going to eat Scorpious! Eat him!” he waved his arms more so that he could emphasize his point.
“What?” Professor Longbottom asked him worriedly. “Is this another prank from James? Kids have been saying he’s a vampire for years,” he said with an eye roll.
“He said he was going to drink his blood!” Albus cried as he dragged his teacher and family friend toward the stone steps as fast as he could. “Hurry, he might already be getting rid of his body!”
Professor Longbottom sighed and let him drag him towards the dungeons but he didn’t say anything for a long time until they were halfway there. “What’s this all about anyway, Albus? I noticed that you weren’t having a good week. Why not visit Hagrid and talk about it with him?”
“Why do that when Scorpious is dying?” Albus cried furiously, staring up at him.
“Is this about that thing in the Daily Prophet? I assure you that Mr. Malfoy,” his lips thinned a little bit with his own personal memories, “is fine, Albus. You’ve chosen to have a rather interesting friend.”
Albus glared at him, “Not you too!”
Professor Longbottom sighed and said, “You can’t exactly know what it was like growing up with his father and then after what he did to Hermione—” he cut off at the look of horror on Albus’s face, “never mind it. Things change and he’s not his father and you’re not Harry you know.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Albus asked hotly.
He received a pat on his shoulder. “You’ve been putting too much pressure on yourself, Albus. All of your other professors were telling me about it, you have to take things in stride and be the kind of wizard you want to be. So you may not be good at much but you will be in time.”
Albus opened his mouth to say that he hadn’t been trying to impress anyone but that wasn’t really true.
Everyone expected such great things from him and he wasn’t his father, and he had heard that his father hadn’t even been such a great student at Hogwarts but that didn’t mean anything.
He had saved the Wizarding world! Albus couldn’t even save his friend from getting his throat ripped out! “…Okay.”
“Take it from me, when you really need to prove yourself you won’t hesitate to do it.” Professor Longbottom said with a grin. “I didn’t get these scars for nothing and I’ve still got my D.A. coin too.”
“Your what?” Albus asked him as they hurried to the dungeon where Zabini was still or probably finished eating Scorpious.
“Ah, youth,” Professor Longbottom said with a grin as they finally reached the classroom and he opened the door.
Albus pushed him aside, expecting to see foggy cauldrons brimming with Scorpious stew or eerie music in the background as Zabini sipped the remainder of Scorpious’s blood from a long stemmed wine glass.
But none of this was happening.
Scorpious was sitting in front of Zabini’s desk, looking irritated but there was no blood, no wine glass and no eerie music, except in Albus’s head. “You’re alive?” he croaked stupidly to him.
“Potter Jr. How nice to see you again and…Neville?” Zabini asked with an eyebrow quirk that must have killed some person several miles away.
Professor Longbottom, Neville of course, merely smiled thinly at him. “Hullo, Blaise. Mr. Potter was under the impression that you were eating Mr. Malfoy.”
“Of course I’m not eating Mr. Malfoy. I like my eleven year old boys grilled, not raw.” Zabini said, joking and Albus thought he saw a fallen angel out the window at his sudden attempt at humor.
“Funny, Blaise. Are you finished with Mr. Malfoy?” Professor Longbottom asked him blandly, his own face a bit grey by the disturbing sight of Zabini smiling.
Zabini smirked a little more and Scorpious paled at the horrible image.
“Quite. Mr. Malfoy, I will see you in class for your lesson and let’s hope that you can actually brew a potion and create something instead of making a complete laughingstock out of yourself. Though I think that Potter Jr. will have a rougher time than you will,”
Albus opened his mouth to tell him that yes, maybe they both were horrible at Potions but the words never came because Scorpious was walking towards him and looking worse than before. “I’ll see you at dinner then?” Professor Longbottom asked Zabini.
“I’m afraid not, Neville, I have some business to attend to tonight.” Zabini said coldly and to no one in particular, his eyes now on a scrap of parchment on his desk, a quill appearing out of nowhere in his hand.
Professor Longbottom looked only mildly concerned and said. “Well, I hope you have more success this time.” And with a polite nod he ushered the two boys out of the room, “now, boys, you might want to head back down to the Great Hall to get something to eat.”
“I’m not really that hungry,” Albus muttered, now really embarrassed that he had been that stupid, but still looking at Scorpious’s neck for bite marks.
“Well, what’s your first lesson?” Professor Longbottom asked.
“Potions, but it doesn’t start for another thirty minutes,” Scorpious answered.
Professor Longbottom nodded thoughtfully and said. “Why don’t you two come have tea with me for a moment? I was just finishing up with today’s lesson on Devil’s Snare when you ran in screaming at me, Albus.”
“I didn’t run in!”
“But you screamed?” Scorpious asked him, laughing.
Albus stared at him incredulously, “I thought you were being eaten!” he said while rolling his eyes and staring at the cracked stone ceiling, it looked like someone had shot a curse up there a long time ago and it had never been repaired properly.
“I might as well have been! Do you know what that—” he said something that made Professor Longbottom raise his brows at him warningly, “is making me do? He’s making me enter a dueling club with the other Death Eater kids! Like hell, like I’ll waste my time doing that, over Merlin’s sagging left—”
“Mr. Malfoy!” Professor Longbottom said sharply as Albus started to roar with laughter, his mood lifting.
Albus was slightly interested in a dueling club; his own mother had started her own for the kids in the neighborhood.
He was actually pretty good but not as good as James, who took a really strong fascination with showing off for the rest of the kids, mostly girls, but had a bad habit of blowing things up. “I’d like to join!”
“Are you mental?” Scorpious cried, “I’m gonna be stuck in a room with Goyle and the rest of those kids for five hours a day, learning how to protect myself from some nutter that wants to kill us! They might kill me before a vampire gets a chance!”
Albus hadn’t counted on that and he said. “Well, I still want to join, it might be fun. You know, I might get killed too, so you’re not alone,” he joked and Scorpious scowled at him, “there has to be another teacher there, right?”
“Just Zabini and that’s like being alone with a gargoyle,” Scorpious muttered.
Professor Longbottom glanced back at Albus, “You know. I might like this idea more if Professor Smith is with you. The two of you haven’t had Defense Against the Dark Arts yet have you? Though, now that I’m thinking about it, he might be pretty useless in that area,” he muttered.
Albus wasn’t really sure what he meant by that yet but he pushed it from his mind as he and Scorpious went with him to his office and shared a pleasant thirty minutes by drinking tea and listening to Professor Longbottom tell them about his adventures with the D.A.
He had even shown them his coin, which he always carried around with him for luck.
When Professor Longbottom opened the door for them after their chat, Albus felt a little better but Scorpious was still grouchy and mean as they finally went to Potions.
Apparently everyone had heard about what had been in the Daily Prophet because the whole room was staring at the pair of them as if they had two heads each and Albus frowned annoyingly.
He had had enough of this for one day.
“Stay back, mad Death Eater on the loose! Stay back, he might start speaking Parseltongue!” Albus screamed shrilly, waving his arms around his head and spinning around, screaming, “Stay back, he’s already got me wanting a Dark Mark!”
Scorpious was staring at him in bafflement and then burst out laughing, doubling over as Albus jerked away from him, squealing girlishly. His Potions class stared at him in amazement and some started laughing while others, like Sally Creevey, were glowering at them in disgust.
“That is quite enough Potter Jr. Sit down this instant!” Zabini shouted, “Ten points from Gryffindor!”
Albus gave Scorpious a wide grin, thumping him on the back, “Sorry, mate, had to do it.” He said, chuckling.
“Thanks, Albus, now everyone has another reason to stare at me,” Scorpious said good naturedly.
Albus saw that Sally Creevey was eyeing him with contempt and his cheeks turned pink, he didn’t want her of all people staring at him like that.
Lavender Patil on the other hand was still giggling and her dark cheeks were very red, at least someone found him amusing, “People stare at me all the time too, you know. Harry Potter, person who killed Voldemort remember? My dad?” Albus said with an exaggerated eye roll.
Scorpious grinned. “And you know my dad right? Former Death Eater, tried to kill the Headmaster? Now married to a Muggle-born?”
“Never heard of him,” Albus said, frowning.
A wide smile spread over his friend’s pale face. “Never heard of yours either. Weird, huh?” he asked and they both laughed.
“You two sit down this instant! Ten points from Gryffindor Malfoy and ten more points Potter Jr. for your cheek!” Zabini roared and the two of them gasped, they had just lost thirty points for their House.
Sally Creevey was really glaring at them now. “Honestly, some people have no manners or class!” she hissed to Lavender Patil hotly. “We’ll never win the House Cup at this rate!”
“She’s such a chipmunk,” Scorpious snarled as they sat down and began taking out their ingredients for a Bitter Tonic. Apparently Zabini was angrier than they’d thought, Albus noted wryly.
They sat together in silence for a second before Albus whispered with a teasing grin, “You don’t really speak Parseltongue do you?” he asked, referring to the supposed dark talent of speaking to snakes, something Voldemort and his father had both been able to do.
Scorpious doubled over his potions book, still chortling, tears streaming down his face, but he never answered Albus and that was only a minor concern.
Creating a Bitter Tonic took up most of their time and neither of them were surprised when they received very low marks, just as Zabini had predicted.
Albus later found out why Professor Longbottom didn’t have much faith in their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher because surely, not one person could be so smug without getting a permanent big head.
Professor Smith was tall, blonde and had a way of walking around the classroom that demanded that he be heard. That he be noticed for something because surely, he had done so much!
Albus was glowering at him a little bit as he told them what he knew about ghosts, Inferi and for some reason a Basilisk. Only noting rather coldly how Albus’s father had saved the school from one in his second year.
Scorpious was smirking throughout most of the lesson but Albus was wondering if he was trying not to grimace. Both of them had noticed Rose and her friend Sue Corner in the room.
Rose had never been so angry with Albus before and he wondered if he would ever get to talk to her normally again, her cheeks were constantly red and her bushy hair was still standing up on end like crazed hay.
Did being in Ravenclaw bother her so much?
Albus considered himself reasonably smart but Rose was by far the smartest person he knew and that didn’t mean that she was any less brave. At least she hadn’t been worried about getting into Slytherin!
He still sort of had the feeling that he had been Sorted there and that something had gone wrong, but he knew that he was just being silly, his imagination tended to get the best of him.
Once his nerves started, it was quite possibly going to be the worst moment of his life because he got so nervous, he wished that he could be more like Freddie and James, who just leapt instead of wasting time being skittish all the time.
What would his father do about a rogue vampire that was attacking Death Eater kids? Would he feel sorry for one of them if he had a friend that could be a victim?
From what he knew, his father hated Draco Malfoy and so did nearly everyone in his family, though he sort of guessed that it was for reasons that were too adult for his ears.
And what exactly had he done to his Aunt Hermione?
Maybe he called her Mudblood a lot and bullied her, his aunt was a really nice person but she could hold a grudge worse than Rose. Apparently that was where she got it from; being stubborn ran in the family.
Albus thought about how to get Scorpious and Rose to forget about taking the Sorting Hat but could come up with nothing, his mind was currently a blank slate. “Mr. Potter apparently has something very interesting to focus on instead of the lesson,” Professor Smith drawled.
Albus jerked and looked up to see the man staring at him, his eyes narrowed pompously. Scorpious nudged him in the ribs, “Uh, sorry?”
There was a cackling, nasty laugh that sounded like nails being scraped over a chalkboard. “Sorry, he says! Defense Against the Dark Arts is a serious class, Potter, one that you must give all of your attention to! All of it or you’ll fall prey to dangerous things, like Dementors—”
“Dementors were banished from Azkaban!” Albus corrected.
“Or giant spiders,” his professor said loudly.
Albus thought hard. “I thought they only lived in the Forbidden Forest? When am I ever going to be needing to run from a giant spider? I’m not going in there,”
Professor Smith glowered at him warningly and continued on in a flourish that made Scorpious double over his desk with jitters.
“Ah, yes, it would figure that Mr. Potter knows all about defensive strategy when his famous father,” he spat the words out nastily, “has saved the Wizarding world! Come up and demonstrate for us a simple Shield Charm and enlighten us all—”
Albus stared at him in shock. “What? I can’t do anything like that!”
“Your father was known for it. Or wait; was that the Disarming spell that everyone finds so impressive?” Professor Smith asked with an eye roll.
Albus felt his cheeks going hot and was just about to get up and show him how many sparks he could make out of his wand when Rose stood up. “I can do a Shield Charm!”
“Ms. Weasley is it?” Professor Smith asked her dully. “Oh, yes, I knew your mother, quite the genius.”
He said it in a way that made Albus want to punch him but Rose tossed her head up and said angrily. “That’s right, my mum is a genius and my dad is really brave!”
“Well, I’m sure you could do something…” Professor Smith drawled and then called her up to the front of the room and demonstrated extravagantly to the rest of the class. “I’ll give you a chance. Shield Charms are very advanced magic, even for a famous daughter of Hermione Granger.”
Albus called. “Go for it Rosie!”
She glanced at him and frowned. “My mum’s name is Hermione Weasley,” she corrected to Professor Smith.
He rolled his eyes, looking bored and arrogant. “So it is, then.”
Rose had her wand drawn and Albus wondered if she was just looking for a fight because she was already so mad. He suddenly had a bad feeling about this, “I’m ready when you are Professor.”
Scorpious was sneering. “Oh, this should be interesting."
Albus glared at him. “Oi, that’s my cousin you’re dissing!”
Professor Smith held out his wand lazily. “All right, I’ll use a simple spell on you, Weasley,” he said with a sneer. He flicked his wand out at her, “petrificus totalus!”
Rose was fierce and Albus was holding his breath as she cried. “Protego!” and created a brilliantly strong Shield Charm that bounced the Binding Curse off and around the room, everyone ducking as quickly as they could.
Albus and Scorpious jumped aside as it whizzed by and then heard a strange, wailing scream.
Both of them looked around to see that Professor Smith had hidden underneath his desk and was obviously terrified as the spell just breezed by him, “Ten points from Ravenclaw, Weasley!” he cried.
Rose stuffed her wand away angrily. “You were bullying Albus and all I did was give you a taste of your medicine you big coward!” Albus and Scorpious were pushing their jaws back up, what had gotten into her?
“I know who you are! My Aunt Ginny told me all about you,” she spat. “You’re that Zacharias Smith! Didn’t get any glory when you were in school so you try to build yourself up into something better than what you are!”
Professor Smith shoved himself up, looking furious. “H-how dare you! Twenty points from Ravenclaw, Weasley!”
Rose was beyond rational thought. “Uncle Harry saw you running! When the Death Eaters came you were the first person that ran out of the Great Hall!”
The class crowed with delight at this news.
Professor Smith gaped at her audacity. “You—” he held out his wand and Albus and Scorpious were on him before he could even move, tackling him to the ground.
“Don’t you point a wand at my cousin you git!” Albus cried while punching every inch of him he could get.
Rose gasped. “Albus, stop it!”
Professor Smith winced and cursed as the pair of them pounded him as hard as they could get, Scorpious even sinking his teeth into his forearm. “ENOUGH!” someone shouted roughly.
Immediately the scuffle was over.
Albus and Scorpious were yanked up roughly by their arms as Professor Zabini held them up, scruffy and furious. “What in the name of Merlin is going on in here?!” he cried angrily.
Professor Smith was panting and there was a slightly bloody sheen to his nose. “Where’d you come from?” he gasped, rubbing his throat as the entire class grew silent, some students sinking into their chairs.
“Ms. Creevey ran down to my dungeons not too long ago, shouting about ruffians and I figured, who could it be but Potter Jr. and Mr. Malfoy?” Zabini sneered furiously as the two boys stared at him in horror. “Now what is this all about?”
Professor Smith said hastily. “The pair of them attacked me while I was giving a lesson. Obviously they’re so used to getting attention that they can’t stand not having the spotlight on anyone else!”
Rose cried. “That’s not true! You were bullying—”
Zabini glared over at her and she recoiled. “And why would a teacher bully a student, Ms. Weasley?” he asked, his voice sounding like slime as he said her name.
Albus glared up at him, he had bullied them all this week! “But you—”
Zabini glared down at his hot face. “I did what, Potter Jr.?” he asked menacingly and Albus reeled back as Scorpious cursed.
“What are you going to do with them, Blaise?” Professor Smith asked him eagerly as all eyes turned to him.
Zabini glowered down at the pair of them, so angry that he looked exactly like a vampire and Albus saw Scorpious blanch.
“Well, the three of them— yes, that’s right Ms. Weasley, you too, are going to be enjoying a fine time with me next week. Every night in detention for this little wrestling match.”
“What?” Rose cried, her eyes going wide.
“You heard me!” Zabini shouted. “I should take fifty points each for your audacity to even attack a teacher but I know what to do,” he said with a satisfied smile as the three students stared at him in terror. “Expect a letter from your parent’s tomorrow morning.”
Scorpious was more afraid than either Rose or Albus, though he noted that his cousin’s face had grown pale. “No! Anything but that!”
“That’s too bad Mr. Malfoy! Your mother is going to be very displeased with you and I will give every nasty little detail to your father and to him! You know who I mean by him don’t you?” Zabini asked furiously.
Scorpious had gone white with terror. “No not him! Anyone but him!”
Albus was growing concerned, “Who—?”
“Oh, yes,” Zabini sneered. “Now, take a seat, all three of you! If I hear one more disturbance from Ms. Creevey I’ll personally wrestle you and drink your blood!” he released the boys roughly, “go, now!”
Scorpious was shaking so hard that Albus could barely wonder how he didn’t bite his own tongue.
He felt an inexplicable hatred for Sally Creevey, she really was a blabbering chipmunk and his eyes swiveled to hers and noticed that she had a very nasty sneer on her mouht, as if she had gotten her fondest wish.
Rose was glaring at her though and Lavender Patil was staring dreamily into space, her Charms book levitating around the room and knocking Sally Creevey in the head at some point, making Albus think that she had done it on purpose.
While that was funny, Albus couldn't help but notice that Scorpious was still shaking, trembling and sweating with fear and he swallowed hard, wanting to know more and more about his bizarre life.
But that wasn't his main concern as another thought struck him. It just didn't seem possible for two eleven year old boys to be cursed with so much bad luck but he then supposed that he wouldn't be Harry Potter's son and Scorpious wouldn't be Draco Malfoy's without it.
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