Chapter 18 : Deals with Thieves
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The Great Hall was abuzz with chatter and activity when Albus and his two friends trudged weakly down for breakfast the next morning, their steps sluggish and slow. Because of their nightmarish activities last night and staying up far past sunrise, they had overslept and since Chris Finnigan and Elliot Thomas couldn't be bothered with them, Albus and Scorpious had been awakened by Peeves.
The beast had poured cold water onto them from a bucket, laughing as they scrambled, cursed and knocked into one another in shock. After managing to get cleaned up and stuff themselves into their clothes, they had wandered out of the dorms to find that Lavender hadn't been waiting on them like usual. It was only as they were walking out of the common room and down the corridor with their school things did they see her, complete in Quidditch gear.
Apparently Victoire had made all of her team mates get up indecently early for a practice game that had lasted until nearly most of them had passed out from exhaustion.
How Lavender had been able to survive it, Albus would never know, though on her way back to the Tower to change, she'd said to them that the sky was awfully green today. Scorpious had said to him that there was no way that she could be “all there” and Albus didn't doubt it, but had stopped him from running into a suit armor at the last minute.
They were currently trying to get into the Great Hall without expiring on the spot, which was hard to do when Albus happened to notice Rose and Sue Corner barreling towards them. “Is there such a thing as having a nightmare during the day?” Scorpious asked around a vicious yawn.
“Yes, I think its called a day terror.” Lavender said while straightening Albus's tie for him while he teetered on the spot. After she was finished, Scorpious bullied her into fixing his too, “we do have to talk to them so you be nice.”
Scorpious grumbled and was still grumbling when Rose and Sue Corner made it over to them, looking winded. Albus was worried by how red his cousin's face was and he opened his mouth to ask her what the matter was but she overrode him, “And where were you three last night?” she hissed.
“What do you mean?” Albus asked, recoiling as Rose gripped him by the arm and dragged him out of the Great Hall. His friends followed and Sue Corner wasn't too far behind as they were suddenly back in the corridor, various students passing them by and laughing at how amazing life was. “What?”
Rose was glowering at him, her eyes narrowing into brown slits. “Me and Sue went to see you three after curfew to talk about what we were going to do about Halloween but you never answered our Dungbomb!”
“So that was what that smell was this morning,” Scorpious said as he smoothed over his robes. Lavender had given him a bow tie to go along with his uniform and Sue Corner snickered at him but he, for once, ignored her, “we were having our own problems last night, Weasley.”
Rose blinked in alarm at the words and looked Albus over. He knew from looking in the mirror that he was bruised and appeared as if a hippogriff had trampled over him before dumping a boulder on his body just to make sure he was dead, “What's happened? Are you all right? Albus, you're all banged up!” she cried worriedly, touching him.
Albus allowed her to pat him over a little before pushing her hands away and heaving a sigh. “We've got a lot to tell you,” he shot a glance at Sue Corner, who had huffed a little at being left out, “and you too, I guess.” He muttered.
Scorpious and Lavender glanced between themselves for a moment before giving a nod as Albus began detailing every excruciating detail of the previous night. He revealed what Hagrid had told him about the Wolfsbane almost being gone and lastly, Benjamin Malfoy's letter.
“Albus! Albus, you—you three are so stupid!” Rose was crying loudly at the end of his tale, her face flooded red with rage and disbelief. Sue Corner's mouth had fallen open. “Stupid, stupid, stupid! I can't believe that you went into the Forest at night on a hunch!”
Scorpious was flooded pink and there was a scowl forming on his face. “Would you mind keeping your voice down, Weasley?!” he snapped as a pair of fourth year Gryffindor boys eyed them warily on their way past.
Lavender intervened before Rose could hiss her anger and fury onto him and Albus had never seen a scarier sight. She looked so much like their Grandma Molly that it made his spine straighten up in reflex and he had the strangest urge to try and smooth his hair down, “Let's all lower our voices, okay? We're standing out in the middle of the corridor.”
Albus nodded in agreement but Rose took a moment to calm herself, now looking eerily like her father. It was where she had gotten her temper from after all and he made a mental note to stay out of her way the next time she got going, “Look, we're sorry all right, but we had to make sure that Hagrid was okay!”
“This isn't just about Hagrid, Albus! I can't believe that you three were wandering around in the Forest without a care in the world. You have no idea what's in there and to put your lives at risk like that? I can't even go on!” Rose cried in exasperation, throwing her hands in the air.
Sue Corner was pushing a lock of her hair behind her ear, the scabs on her face dry and crusty around the edges. The smell of stinky feet had faded but Albus could still smell her dislike for him, “And Hagrid wasn't even in danger, how stupid do you feel putting them in a position where they could have been hurt?” she demanded, jerking her fingers at Scorpious and Lavender.
Albus felt a flush of rage and wasn't sure if it was because of his own guilt or the fact that it was the truth. “Don't you think I was worried about them? I know that its my fault that they could have been hurt and shut up, Corner, no one was asking your opinion,”
Lavender was appearing worried. “Stop fighting—Scorpious, shut up!” she snapped as Scorpious, who had been roaring with laughter only got louder and caught the attention of the Gray Lady on her way by with the Fat Friar. “Look, Weasley, Corner, things got out of hand and I know it was stupid but we can't fight about that now, we have to think about Halloween.”
Rose had folded her arms and was glaring at Albus, little tears sparking in the corner of her eyes. He felt very bad for making her worry now and his anger vanished a little, though he shot Sue Corner a glare as she continued to fume, “You're right, Patil, we do have to get through Halloween and work together. No more sneaking off on your own! I thought we were a team, Albus!” she said in a near whine.
Scorpious shuddered and coughed into his fist a little to get rid of his last minute chuckles. Lavender shot him an annoyed glance, “Weasley, don't get yourself all worked up, because we came up with a plan this morning.”
Sue Corner rolled her eyes. “Oh, I can't wait to hear this!”
Rose frowned at her, though there was some doubt on her face as well. “Sue!” she said but her friend was giving Albus a look that made him feel like the lowliest of slime. He glared at her and felt Lavender pulling him away, “we need to go over this plan of yours together.”
“Now?” Scorpious asked with dread.
Sue Corner was appearing thoughtful as she took out a bit of parchment from her robes and a quill that was oddly filled with ink. “We'll talk after dinner?” she asked Rose, who nodded and Albus watched as the girl quickly scratched something on the parchment , annoyingly using his arm as a surface. “We have serious business to attend to.”
“What are you two going to be doing?” Lavender asked civilly.
Rose said, looking huffier and huffier. “We're going to go and look up more about the Wolfsbane, okay? I want to know what it looks like, what it smells like and if there are any cases of it curing werewolf bites. I know Zabini is up to something and from what you told me Albus, we're running out of time.”
Lavender didn't look like she didn't agree with this idea but she asked carefully, poking at Scorpious a little as he glowered into space. He shot her a look but came out of his thoughts, “Are you going to figure out more about the wards inside of the Forest? I could always read your mum's book, A Revised Hogwarts a History but—”
“I'll do you one better, Patil and write my mum about it.” Rose promised gravely while furrowing her brow. She thought for a moment before saying, “the person taking the wards down is doing something dangerous, no doubt but I can't see why they would want to stir up trouble.”
Scorpious offered sternly. “Maybe its just Zabini trying to make room for his friend to come through and kill us all,” Albus shot him a look for being so positive but his friend merely rolled his eyes a little. “Its a thought! I mean, he was still in there and Hagrid said he's the only person that can go in and out whenever he wants.”
Sue Corner interrupted him. “For now. From what Potter said, the centaurs aren't going to let him keep doing it as long as he wants and thanks for being really dumb too, Potter, by the way.”
“What do you mean?” Albus demanded furiously.
The girl gave a huff. “I mean that the centaurs have you on their radar now and you can't ever go back in the Forest without them trying to kill you!” Albus let the horror of that sink in, even though Kane's threat had hanged on the edge of his nightmares last night. “If we ever need to go in there, you stay under the Cloak for good!”
Albus felt his anger threatening to pop but he managed to say to her, the memory making him grim. “If you'd been listening Corner, Zabini stole my Cloak! And he's going to get me, Scorpious and Lavender back for last night! Hagrid's sent letters to our parents and we don't know how much trouble we're going to be in!”
Scorpious paled drastically and he looked like nothing but a spot of bright yellow sunlight, his hair being the only thing bright just then. “My mum and dad are going to explode and my grandparents are going to be so pissed and they'll make it misery when I go back home.”
Sue Corner didn't appear pitying. “Maybe you should have thought about that before you went out and broke not one, not three but at least twenty rules!” she snapped and Lavender yanked Scorpious back from attacking her.
Rose shot Lavender a curious look as she managed to calm their moody friend down long enough to get that dreamy expression on her face. “You don't look all that worried, Patil.”
“Oh, me? I'll get a letter from my mum but I don't think she'll really care, she's always very busy. Most likely, my older sisters will yell at me in a Howler or my Aunt Lav will fuss at me if she finds out,” Lavender said with a shrug, naming off her family and Madame Brown with a happy little shrug.
Albus thought that she was very lucky but there was a sad look in her eyes and he wondered about how miserable she had to be with that knowledge. “We're going to be really careful from now on, okay? We've still got to meet Scorpious's brother and everything the day before Halloween—”
Rose gave him an irritable look. “And how are we going to do that? Zabini's got your Cloak!” at Albus's fierce face, she scowled, “don't you do something else stupid!”
“I'm getting my Cloak back, Rose! My dad gave it to me and his dad meant to give it to him! Its part of my family and it meant a lot to my dad when he was my age, I don't want Zabini having something that belongs to me!” Albus said to his cousin, knowing that she had to understand this.
Rose gave him a slightly apologetic look before nodding, her frizzy red hair bouncing a little. “Fine, okay, Albus. But just be careful. How are you even going to get it back from him? You can't just dig into his robes!” the Misfits exchanged a look and she paled, Sue Corner turning green. “You're not serious!”
“Where else is he going to keep it?” Scorpious asked while throwing his hands up in the air in exasperation. “And it'll be Lav's secret fantasy, rummaging around in Zabini's trousers. So we have no choice!”
Lavender glared at him, flushing pink. “Shut up!”
Albus didn't think it would be possible to get Zabini off guard like that but he said to Rose and Sue Corner. “Maybe you two can you know, sneak up on him by accident and hit him with a Full Body jinx or something?”
Rose and Sue Corner exchanged looks. “That is not going to happen, Albus! Have you lost your mind?” she asked, looking bug-eyed. “You're already in enough trouble as it is! Just be grateful that you haven't been expelled and don't,” she said while walking away in the general direction of the library, “do it.”
“Where're you going?” Scorpious demanded. “You've got to help us!”
Rose shook her head, looking like a sun spot as she did so. She paused in the corridor long enough to say fiercely, “I am helping you! Come on Sue, we can get a quick moment in the library before first class.” She said to her friend, the two of them walking off at top speed and vanishing from their sight.
After they were gone and the three of them were left standing in the corridor, Lavender said softly to Albus. “Maybe your cousin is right, Albus. We're already in enough trouble, you don't want Zabini having his eye on you even more. We'll figure out a way to get your Cloak back,”
Albus frowned, feeling a furious anger in his chest. He was also sad, knowing that he had gotten something his father had treasured so much and for a moment, he actually thought that he might cry but Scorpious was here and he managed not to. “Okay,” he mumbled and Lavender gave him a hug.
Scorpious made a girlish sound just as two Hufflepuff girls on their way by eyed them curiously, one of them being Roxanne Weasley herself. Albus watched his friend turn all gooey and flounder on what he had been about to say, “Oh, how cute!” Roxanne said while waving her friend off and coming over.
Albus turned beet red and managed to push Lavender away without hurting her feelings too much. She was still very disappointed though as his older cousin peered down at the three of them, grinning, “Hullo, Roxie,” he said to her.
“Hey, Albus, what are you three up to? I hear all the craziest stories from James and the rest.” Roxanne said, giving him a pat on the head that felt more like a punch. “I don't know if I should be proud of you or worried.”
Albus knew that Uncle George had said he'd been proud of him in one of his letters awhile back. “James just makes some of that stuff up you know.”
Roxanne grinned a little and Scorpious sighed lovingly. Lavender giggled a little while his cousin said, “I don't believe that you guys leave nothing but rumble in your wake, though I do have my doubts about the panties.”
Albus blushed. “I don't do it on purpose!” he cried.
Roxanne roared with laughter and gave his cheek a pinch. Out of his other cousins, she was one of the nicest, “I figured as much. But Peeves really likes them you know, he showed some off for me this morning,”
“Is he your friend then?” Lavender asked her curiously.
Roxanne nodded. “Yep, been friends since first year.” When she caught Scorpious gawping at her, she gave him a little pat on the cheek that reduced him to butter, “I just thought I'd pop on over and give you a message, by the way,” she said to his lovesick friend.
Scorpious had gripped her wrist in an attempt to prolong her pat and Albus rolled his eyes. Lavender giggled, “What sort of message?”
Albus had a feeling that she wasn't about to confess her love.
Roxanne pinched Scorpious's nose for something to do before saying in an impish way that made her look a lot like her dad. “Benjamin sent me an owl last night. He said that he'll be able to make it the night before Halloween but that you'd better be there or he won't keep up his end of the deal.”
Scorpious fumed and Albus watched his eyes spark. “He's a prat! I'll be there!”
Roxanne looked pleased. “I don't know what you all are up to with him but, uhm, just be careful. He's a lot to handle at night,” she said and Albus felt a spark of horror, wondering if they were going to be dealing with some sort of vicious monster. “Anyway, Patil, I'll see you on the Quidditch pitch this weekend.” She said to Lavender.
Lavender paled and nodded fiercely. “I'll do my best to beat you!”
“There's a good girl,” Roxanne said with a smile (Scorpious sighed again and Albus punched him in the arm). “I've got a late practice tonight for it too but I've got a detention with Zabini—”
“You do?” Albus interrupted.
Roxanne nodded her head, looking happy. “Yeah, he caught me and Peeves trying to pull a giant squid baby out of the Lake last night. I don't know where he came from but he smelt like he'd been rolling around in a ditch,” she said, wrinkling her nose. “So tonight I've got a detention.”
Albus saw his chance to get his Cloak back and tugged on the front of her robes desperately. “Roxie, I need you to do something for me!” he cried and her eyes widened a little, a mischievous spark flaring to life, “your dad, he makes stuff that can knock people out right?”
“Of course he does, just who are you kidding?” Roxanne asked happily and Albus motioned for her to bend down and when she did, Scorpious and Lavender moving in to listen (Albus was certain that his moody blonde friend was trying to snuggle into her bosom), he asked her for the riskiest favor in the world. “Ooh, Albus, you are naughty!” his cousin cried at the end.
Albus and his friends leaned away, all of them desperate for her to say that she would do it. “Please, Roxie? You can do it can't you?” he was praying and hoping that this would work and that he would have his Cloak back but he didn't want to get his cousin into anymore trouble.
Roxanne appeared more thoughtful rather than doubtful. There was a very cheeky smile on her face when she did reply and Albus had a feeling that she was Filch's worst nightmare aside from her friend Peeves, “Well, I've got some left over Knock-You-Out Sleeping Drought that my mum sent me for my birthday.”
“But will you be able to knock him out?” Scorpious asked doubtfully, perhaps thinking like Albus that the man didn't sleep at all.
Lavender appeared admiring as Roxanne smugly informed. “Don't doubt me, little Malfoy, I've got mad skills.” Scorpious turned bright red and Albus rolled his eyes while his cousin went on, “Zabini and I actually don't do much in my detentions since he's so used to me. I'll probably be labeling bottles while he sits and reads the Prophet,”
Albus thought that matched up pretty well since he had done the same with his three friends when they'd had detention with him. “But how are you going to get that stuff into his tea? I mean, how are you going to get him to drink it at all?”
“Zabini takes a bit of tea while he's reading sometimes and we sit and talk, I'll slip in the Knock-You-Out Drought then.” Roxanne said, not noticing how flabbergasted they were by the words, “sit and talk”, “interesting bloke, Zabini.”
Scorpious asked her eagerly. “Do you know if he's undead or not?”
Roxanne thought about this. “No, but I'm pretty sure your brother might be.” When he didn't deny it, she roared with laughter, “just wait until I tell him what your face looked like!” Albus gave her an impatient look as she was about to go on and she gave a very manly cough into her fist (Lavender laughed), “the Knock-You-Out Drought lasts for about an hour and people don't remember anything when they wake up.”
“Does it have a taste? And he's the Potions Master, won't he have a cure or something for it?” Albus asked her worriedly.
Roxanne roared with obnoxious laughter, catching a disapproving frown from a few teachers on their way out of the Great Hall. “There is no cure for it. Dad made sure that there weren't any bad side effects except for a headache and there's no taste.”
Lavender was staring at her curiously. “Are you sure you'll be able to do it without him knowing?” Scorpious shot her a furious look for doubting his crush.
Roxanne nodded confidently. When they still looked worried, she said with a grin, “Zabini and I get on pretty well when he's not yelling at me. I'm his best student in Potions so he trusts me a little bit more than say, the rest of the mortal world.”
“So...you'll do it?” Albus pressed.
Roxanne nodded happily, though Albus saw a bit of hesitation shimmer in her brown eyes. “Sure, I haven't pulled a decent prank on him this year but you three should be careful, he's a sad, sad bloke. And he's got the most awful temper,” she said and they blinked in confusion a little but she didn't elaborate, “anyway, I'll be in there at around nine or ten. Stop by afterwards and I'll have your Cloak for you, a simple Summoning Charm ought to do it,” she said, more to herself than to them.
Albus nodded and shook hands with her, feeling as if he were making a deal with a devil. “This means a lot, Roxie, thanks.” He said to her and she shrugged carelessly while Lavender stopped Scorpious from groveling at her feet. “I don't know how to pay you back.”
Roxanne thought about that after shaking Lavender's hand and then, much to Albus's annoyance, peck Scorpious on the cheek. He expired on the spot, “So cute,” she said to the bit of goo that had turned into his friend before replying, “oh, you can give me your Chocolate Frog collection, ten Galleons and James for the summer.”
“Deal.” Albus said firmly and Lavender laughed.
Roxanne waited patiently while he dug in his robes, took out ten Galleons and pressed them into her open palm. She counted them before stuffing them into her pocket and looking quite pleased with herself, “You're a dear, Albus. I'll see you three around! Patil, until this weekend!” she called merrily as she walked away, a sway in her hips.
“I'm asking her to marry me.” Scorpious said the moment she was gone and they started to go into the Great Hall, intent on getting something to eat at least.
Lavender rolled her eyes. “All she did was peck you!”
“Someday, I'll get more than that. Just you wait, Lav, she's going to be Mrs. Scorpious Malfoy in a few years and I won't allow that beast of a fish of yours at my wedding!” Scorpious declared, his face still bright red.
Albus hoped things worked out well enough for them this time but just as that thought formed, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He looked over his shoulder just in time to see Zabini and Professor Longbottom coming towards them up the corridor, looking furious and he snapped at his friends, “Quiet, quiet!”
When Scorpious caught sight of the approaching men, he paled and Lavender let out a weird little squeak. “Oh, shit,” Albus heard his moody blonde friend say.
Albus could only nod numbly as the men stopped in front of them, Zabini narrowing his dark eyes into slits. It was like looking into a burning Hell, “Potions room. NOW.” He hissed between his teeth and Professor Longbottom motioned for them to follow and Albus couldn't help but agree with his moody blonde friend as they were led to their doom. Oh, shit indeed.
Thanks for reading and stopping by! Much love. What's next? Oh, I do believe that George Weasley fic of mine needs some love. Merlin have mercy. D':
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