Chapter 11 : Chapter 11: Bad Dreams and Books
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Albus had heard a lot of stories about the Triwizard Tournament from his father and now he had started having nightmares about them. He looked all around him and saw that he was still in his Common Room. Albus let out a sigh of relief and tried to get back to sleep. After a long time he finally managed it.
Only a few seconds later, or so it seemed to Albus, he was being shaken awake by Andrew and Scorpius.
“What?” Albus asked sleepily. “I couldn’t sleep last night, at least lemme sleep a bit now.” He turned to the side and started snoring.
“Al,” Scorpius said angrily. “We have to get up before Gregory and Dennis do!”
“Yeah, we have to go find your cousins, remember?” Andrew said.
Albus opened his eyes. With a jolt, he remembered that he had to get help for the Tournament. He sat bolt upright. “Let’s go,” he said. He went into the bathroom and freshened up, and came back out hastily. He grabbed the others and rushed downstairs.
“A few minutes ago he wanted to sleep,” Andrew said to Scorpius as they hurried down the stairs.
“And now he’s moving like a tornado!” Scorpius replied, grinning.
When they got downstairs they found that Rose was already waiting for them, tapping her foot on the floor and looking at her wristwatch.
“How do boys sleep so much?” the red-head asked impatiently. “I was almost about to go up to get you!”
“As if you wake up at dawn!” Albus retorted. “The number of times I’ve seen you wake up at –”
“Never mind that!” Rose said, before Al could say when Rose woke up. “Let’s get going!”
“Where?” Albus asked.
“Library, of course!” Rose said.
“Library?” Scorpius said incredulously. “Aren’t we supposed to go to your older cousins?”
“Exactly!” Albus said. “I’m not going to the bloody library in the bloody morning!”
“I second that!” Andrew piped in.
“But we can get loads of information from the –”
“I am not going to the library now!” Albus said in a voice that stated that it was final. “I will go to Victoire, but I’ll not go to the library at six in the morning.”
“Fine,” Rose muttered. “Then let’s go and find her. I bet it’ll take five minutes to search the entire castle for her.”
“Search for whom?” a voice asked. The four Gryffindors looked towards the Portrait-hole and found Victoire, looking slightly tired.
“For you,” Albus replied, relieved, as Victoire plunked down on an armchair.
“Is it anything important?” Victoire asked, rubbing her eyes.
“Yeah, I need your help about the Tournament. I don’t know any good spells and all, so… can you teach me?”
“Victoire sat up and looked at Albus. “Albus, I don’t know what you have to face in the Tournament, and I can’t teach you everything I know in a day or a week. There’s a reason we have terms and years in school, you know.”
“Yes, but can’t you teach me something? Anything?” Albus asked desperately.
Victoire looked at Albus thoughtfully. “I could help you with the basics, but I’m afraid there’s nothing else I can do. You’re in your first year, Albus. All you can do is follow the classes attentively and take notes.”
“What about other magic? Can’t you teach him anything advanced?” Scorpius asked hopefully.
Victoire shook her head with a sad smile on her face. “No, I can’t. If you can’t do the basics, there’s a very less chance of mastering advance magic. Albus, listen,” she said as she held his shoulders, “follow your classes, all right? Do everything the teachers tell you to do, and if you’re still having problems, then come to me. I could teach you stunning spells, or defensive magic - ”
“Stunning spells?” Albus asked incredulously. “Stunning spells didn’t help Dad save his friends from the lake, or help him get the dragon’s egg, or go to the centre of the maze!”
“But stunning spells helped him fight Voldemort, Albus!” exclaimed Victoire. “Your father wasn’t an expert on magic when he participated in the Triwizard Tournament.”
“Yes, but he was in his fourth year. He knew something!” Albus argued, throwing his hands in the air.
“No, he didn’t know anything compared to the others!” Victoire told him exasperatedly. “In his time, the rules were that a witch or wizard had to be in their sixth or seventh year to participate. My mother was in the Tournament, and she knew far more than your dad, but look where it got him now, Albus. He won the Tournament, and he didn’t know any advanced magic, he stuck to the basics.”
“Yes, but he was in his fourth year –”
“Yes, I know that. But, I can’t teach you seventh year magic! What I’m trying to tell you, Albus, is that your situation is no different from your father’s... so shouldn’t you follow his example?” She smiled. “Stick to the basics. It’ll help.”
“I know it’s frustrating, Albus, but that’s all I can do now. Follow your class, and after that if you still need help, come to me. I can help you then. But I am no teacher, I can’t teach you everything. I can only help you a bit. Okay? Do you get me?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Albus said dejectedly. His cousin was right. His father had not learned everything, but he was still able to do it. And anyways, Albus couldn’t master seventh year magic in a day like his Aunt Hermione would be able to. He had to follow his classes well enough. He would take help from every source he could find. He would go to his cousins later on to master the spells properly. “Can I come to you at night? You can at least teach me the basics, right? Stunning spells, Shield charms and all that?”
Victoire seemed to think about it for a moment. Then she said, “Yeah, sure. Come to me once my Prefect duties are over and I’ll try to show you all the basic stuff.”
“Thanks a lot!” Albus said happily, hugging Victoire. “You’re the best, Vicky! Come on guys, let’s go!” He grabbed Rose and motioned to the boys to follow him out of the portrait hole.
“Don’t call me Vicky again!” Victoire yelled at their retreating backs.
Once out of the portrait hole, Rose asked, “Where are we going, Al?”
“Library!” Albus yelled, rushing down the corridor. “We need to find out as much as we can!”
“Oh bother,” Andrew moaned.
It took them around fifteen minutes to reach the library even though they were running, and by the time they had all collapsed onto chairs they were all exhausted and panting heavily. Madam Pince, the aged librarian, looked at them with piercing eyes, pulling her lips thin. It made her face looked even more lined.
“I’m… never… gonna run like… like this… just… to come to… the library…” Andrew panted, sprawled across his chair.
“Oh, come on, Andrew,” Rose snapped, moving strands of her messed-up hair away from her face. Her hair resembled her mother’s at that moment, making her look really fierce. “Books won’t kill you.”
“I agree with Andrew,” Scorpius huffed, his pale face flushed pink. “Why’d you have to bring us here, Al? I thought you said you didn’t want to come here this early.”
But Albus didn’t hear any of them. He was fumbling through the books on the shelves, searching for something.
“Dude, what’re you looking for?” Andrew asked staring at him.
“Look for any books that you can find related to defence or jinxes or curses,” Albus replied absentmindedly. The others got up and shuffled through the books. After searching through ten whole shelves, they had managed to get a large stack of books indeed. Thinking that would be enough, Albus stopped searching and sat down on the chair, grabbed a book from the towering pile and started flipping through it. On seeing the others gaping at him, he said, “What’re you waiting for? Make yourselves useful and start looking for anything you can find!”
“He’s gone mad, hasn’t he?” Andrew whispered to Scorpius. “You ever seen him studying like this?”
“I guess the Tournament addled with his brains already,” Scorpius muttered, taking the book on top of the pile. It was titled ‘Basic Defence for Beginners’.
“You think I’d need to learn the jelly-legs jinx?” Albus asked, looking up.
“Not unless you’re battling an Acromantula.”
“Great, I’ll learn it…”
As they flicked through the various books, they found lots of spells that could help Albus. The Stunning Spell, Reducto and Impedimenta were a few of the spells Albus found helpful. For good measure, he also added the Jelly-legs Jinx, the Petrificus Totalus and the Leg-lockers curse to his list. Even Andrew had found an interesting curse, Dormita Eternita, that was supposed to put the person you cursed under deep sleep. By the time they were sure they’d gotten a few of the basic and important charms on their list, it was time for breakfast.
“Come on, I can’t work on an empty stomach!” Andrew whined as his tummy gave a loud rumble. “See, my tummy’s complaining! Let’s go!”
Albus had to agree. He was pretty hungry himself, and since he’d already found a lot of things he felt food was in order. Ignoring the piercing looks the Librarian was giving them for disturbing her books, they trudged out of the library and went downstairs.
The Great Hall was, as usual, full of incessant chattering. However, as Albus and the others entered, it seemed that everyone stopped talking. They were all staring at him.
Blushing furiously, Albus scurried over to the Gryffindor Table. He could still feel everyone’s eyes on him, yet he acted as though he was completely oblivious to it. He plopped down onto a chair and the others followed his lead.
“Good morning, everyone!” he said brightly, feigning ignorance. “Nice day, isn’t it?”
“Where were you?” James asked him. “We were looking all over the school.”
“Library,” Scorpius muttered darkly, biting into his toast. Beside him, Andrew was munching down his egg and sausages ravenously.
“Bit early for homework, don’t you think?” James smirked. “Ickle first-years shouldn’t exert themselves too much, or they don’t have any energy left for later - when they have to wrestle Trolls.”
Rose snorted. “We weren’t there to do homework, we went to help Al.”
“For the tournament?” Louis asked, sitting down beside James. “You should’ve come to us, then! We know exactly what to teach you!”
Albus rolled his eyes. “Why were you looking for us?”
“Parkers and Uncle Neville want to see you,” Louis replied, helping himself to some toast.
“He didn’t tell us… by the way, did you know he told Uncle Harry about the Ageing spells?” he asked indignantly. “That sneaky bugger, he promised us he wouldn’t-”
“Thank you for the compliment, Louis,” Professor Longbottom interrupted, coming from behind, smiling. Louis turned around in horror. “And anyways, it wasn’t me. Hermione knows Legilimency. She figured it out.”
Andrew fork dropped to the floor with a clang. “Oops!” he said, blushing. He dived down to pick it up.
James and Louis exchanged alarmed glances. “She- she knows Legilimency?” James asked, his eyes wide with terror.
Longbottom smiled. “She does.”
“You better be careful around Mum then, shouldn’t you?” Rose asked smugly, amused at their obvious discomfort. “Maybe you should learn to keep your tricks to yourselves instead of displaying them in the open?”
“What’s Legilimency?” Andrew asked, re-emerging from under the table.
“She can read minds,” Scorpius said. Andrew’s eyes widened.
Longbottom looked at Albus. “Al, can I have a word with you?” he asked in a serious tone. “Alone,” he added, looking at Scorpius, Andrew and Rose.
“Sure,” Albus shrugged. As he followed Longbottom out of the hall, he could feel everyone staring at him again. He distinctly heard Andrew say, “That really works? I thought it was all in the books!”