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Beyond the Veil by Tazzi
Chapter 20 : Back to the Forbidden Forest
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14


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Chapter 20: Back to the Forbidden Forest

(Albus’ POV)

“Where have you been Al!” Scorpius shouted at me as I walked into our dorm room. Our dorm mates stared at us, as Scorpius jumped up from his bed and was across the room, in front of me, in a few strides.

“Umm…I was looking for Rose?” I stated it like a question. I wasn’t the best at lying. Not on command like this. I liked thinking it out. I walked across the room to my bed and sat down. Scorpius followed me.

“Really?” Scorpius questioned. “Because I just had lunch with her and she was looking for you too.”

“Huh, funny…Never thought to check in the Great Hall. Looked almost everywhere, but there.” I grinned like anyone could make that mistake. I shrugged, taking my cloak off.

Scorpius looked at me skeptically. “Did you go outside?”

“Yeah, for a bit.” I could say honestly. Just not how long that bit was.

“Why?”

“I thought Rose, might have had Herbology or something.” I was back to lying now.

“Al?”

“Scorp?”

“Cut the crap, we just had Charms with her, before you bolted.” Scorpius caught me. He’s a bit more observant than James…

I frowned and watched as our dorm mates left the room. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Considering I’ve been covering up for you already, of course!” Scorpius sat next to me.

“I was in the Forbidden Forest.” I whispered, as if someone in the empty room could overhear us.

Scorpius’ eyes grew big. “You were where?”

I rolled my eyes. “You heard me.”

“Al! There are all types of monsters in there! Werewolves and Vampires!” Scorpius jumped up like I had been bitten by both of them.

“No there isn’t.” I waved my hand like it was nothing. “There are Centaurs though…and they aren’t the friendliest…”

“Are you okay?” Scorpius asked sitting back down, looking sincerely concerned about me.

I nodded. “Don’t worry, that was last week.”

“Why do you keep going back? I’m assuming this isn’t the first time. You’ve been disappearing a lot since you went to Hagrid’s on Saturday.” Scorpius asked me.

“I…I can’t say yet…I will soon though. I’m going to stop going soon, but I have to do something first…” I said vaguely to him. He frowned.

“Al…”

“Look, tonight will be the last time. I promise and I’ll explain everything after that.” I smiled at him then got up. “Now…we have to go to Flying Class.”

Scorpius smirked and got up as well.

Scorpius and I had both thought that it would be pointless for us to go to Flying Class. Quite honestly we were both decent flyers; well, according to Scorpius we were amazing. Madam Hooch, who had been at school since before my father was here, already had the broom out and ready for us, by the time Scorpius and I made it outside.

We were in the courtyard and I looked around to see everyone who was with us. I noticed right away that we had this class with the other Gryffindor first years and I saw my cousin Dom with her group of friends.

Some of the first years around us had never even been on a broom before and looked very nervous as the aspect of flying drawing nearer. I noticed one student in particular, Dom’s friend, Amelia, seemed to be dreading the idea entirely.

Dom appeared to be ignoring the other first years surrounding her and only focused her attention on Amelia. I overheard her staying things like ‘piece of cauldron cake’ and ‘easier than Potions’ as I passed them. I almost said ‘hi,’ but realized that Dom probably wouldn’t have replied back.

Five minutes after we arrived, Madam Hooch blew her whistle, ringing through the courtyard, successfully calling our attention to her.

“Hello, and welcome your first Flying lesson.” Her voice carried over the crowd of first years that started to gather closer to her. “I want everyone to find a broomstick and space out so you are an arm’s length apart from everyone around you, no need to accidently fall on someone.” I heard Amelia whimper. “Come on, now. Don’t take all day. NO – get off that broom! We are not flying, yet!”

After a few minutes everyone was finally spaced out and separated enough to her liking. We went over basic broom handling and care. She also informed us of simple ways to correct yourself if you ever start to fall or think you will. After everyone seemed to be able to follow these basic instructions she finally let us mount the brooms and taught us how to hover.

This would have been completely boring to me…that was if Scorpius and I didn’t make it fun.

When Madam Hooch was correcting other students and had her back turned, Scorpius and I took turns flipping ourselves upside down and then correcting it before she would notice. We also made a game of switching spots. While she was demonstrating or had her back turned away from us, Scorpius and I would fly over or under each other, trading place. A few times when she would look back at us, she seemed to notice that we were in different places however, the next minute we switched back. We kept this up, not getting caught until she finally decided to let us do other things.

“Now class, I want you to partner up and we are going to be starting other things that involve movement.” She said after she helped up a boy who had bumped into almost everyone beside him, in his attempt to hover more than three feet. Dom was one of them and I saw her shove him back and off his broom when he knocked into her and almost hit Amelia. Madam Hooch didn’t see it, but I did. “That’s it, find a partner. No – I don’t think so – get on your own broom and not your friends!”

“Want to be my partner Al?” Scorpius asked me. I rolled my eyes already assuming that we would be.

“Naw, I’ve decided that I don’t want to be your partner.” I grinned at him. He grinned back, knowing that I was joking. He pushed my arm a little bit making me sway on me broom.

“DON’T PUSH EACH OTHER WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR BROOMS!” Madam Hooch yelled, making us both jump. We turned and saw her talking to two Gryffindor boys. Scorpius and I let out a sigh of relief, thinking that she was at first talking to us.

After Madam Hooch finished yelling at the two boys she ruffled her hair and turned back to the rest of us. “Everyone find a partner? Good! Now, dismount and follow me, we are going to go to the ground where it’s a bit more open.” She led the class out of the courtyard to the grounds and had us form a line facing her so she could see everyone. I could see the Quidditch pitch from here and even saw some people flying high up. I wondered if there was a House team practicing until I looked closer and saw scarlet and gold flash quickly down the field making a goal. Recognizing the move I grinned to myself and turned back to Madam Hooch.

“Can I have a pair volunteer?”

Everyone was silent, I think her yelling scared off most of the students and they were thinking it was a trap. I looked at Scorpius and grinned. He grinned back.

I raised my hand. “We’ll volunteer!”

“Excellent, get up here then you two.” She said roughly, as she gestured in front of her.

Scorpius and I made it up there quickly and she gave us a look that made me realize she recognized us from when we were goofing off earlier. Not that she knew what we were doing. Shaking her head and pointed to two trees evenly spaced apart about three meters, directly ahead of us, about half a Quidditch field away.

“See those two trees?” She asked us.

We nodded.

“I want you to race straight toward them and turn around at them and race back.” She told us. “Do you have any questions before you start?”

Scorpius and I shook our heads ‘no’ and mounted our brooms, spacing equally away from one another and lining up slightly to the left of the trees up ahead. I shot Scorpius and grin and he was smirking back.

I raised an eyebrow at him. “Try to keep up, Scorp.”

“The only one of us who should worry about keeping up is you, Al.” Scorpius taunted back.

“Alright now boys. On my whistle. Three, two–” Where the ‘one’ would have been she blew her whistle and Scorpius and I shot off.

Both of us sped toward the trees and closed in fast. Making a sharp turn around the trees, I almost hit a branch and had to duck as I rounded it. Heading back toward Madam Hooch we were even, neck and neck, as I attempted to inch forward ahead of him. He did the same.

We started to laugh as we approached the imaginary finish line without slowing. The line of first years started to panic and part as we only showed signs of speeding up. I vaguely heard Madam Hooch’s voice yelling at us to slow down. When we just crossed the line both of us abruptly halted and hovered in the air.

I turned to Scorpius and my grinned that was plastered on my face from when we started was even bigger now. I was happy to see that he was the same.

“Good race, Scorp.” I extended my hand to him as we both got off the brooms.

“Same to you, Al.” Scorpius took my hand and shook it formally.

We heard muttering in the crowd and I think I heard Dominique say ‘idiots’ as Madam Hooch approached us.

“You two – in all my years – what are your names?” She finally managed to say. I wasn’t sure if we were in trouble or not, but decided it was better not to test her.

“Albus Potter.” I told her. My smile wiped off of my face now.

“Scorpius Malfoy.” Scorpius responded in the same fashion.

Something seemed to click in her head, and her face straightened out. “Well, that explains it…I must say…it’s almost refreshing seeing a Potter and Malfoy as friends, though…”

She more or less mumbled the last part to herself, but Scorpius and I could still here her.

She turned to the crowd. “Alright, then…NEXT!”

Pair by pair, the class slowly repeated our race, two by two. I’m guessing we were the best, but not exactly a good example. While we both knew how to fly and our limits, the rest of the class – for the most part – did not. There were a few that were able to race almost as fast as we did, but most who tried ended up hitting a tree or falling off their brooms when attempting to turn. One boy, actually got the turns down, but when he tried to stop like Scorpius and I, he flung himself forward into the crowd. Fortunately, no one got hurt.

It was approaching the end of class when I finally saw Dom and Amelia step up. It seemed that Amelia still had a drastically – over heighten – fear of flying and this class didn’t lessen it even a bit.

I watched as Dom got on her broom, much like a pro and Amelia fumbled with hers a bit, before she was finally positioned on it.

Madam Hooch’s whistle blew and Dom and Amelia took off. Dom was flawless as she sped straight and around the tree, then headed back toward the class. Amelia wasn’t too bad once she got moving, but it appeared that moving straight was about all she could do. As she approached the tree she lifted up on her broom in an attempt to stop and slowly turn around it. However, instead of stopping she forced the broom to fly up, in a vertical line.

From the shock of now being about one hundred feet in the air, she screamed and laid flat on her broom gripping it tighter. This stopped Amelia’s vertical ascent and propelled her forward very quickly.

I jumped on my broom and shoot off after her. She was currently heading for the Quidditch field and probably didn’t know how to stop. I was flanked suddenly by Scorpius and Dom, the latter of the two had a worried look on her face and was forcing herself to go faster.

Madam Hooch’s voice could be heard from behind us and I somewhat dreaded going back, but Amelia’s safety was more important and hopefully, Madam Hooch could respect that.

As we closed in on the Pitch, I saw Amelia and it seemed like she had slowed down a little. Everything looked like it was going to be fine. Until I saw a Bludger hit the back of her broom. Off balanced and unfamiliar with flying Amelia fell from her broom. I heard Dom scream from my side. Scorpius and I shot forward and both headed into a drive, but we weren’t going to make it. Neither of us were close enough.

I felt like I watched everything slowed down when I saw another person swoop down and catch her in their arms. They steady their self easily and I saw Amelia’s arms wrap around them. Scorpius and I pulled out of our dive and headed at equal speeds toward them.

When I closed in, I recognized the person, who was wearing a red and gold Quidditch uniform and sported messy brown hair.

“James!” I yelled.

He turned to me and frowned slightly.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

“Flying class, Amelia lost control of her broom so we headed after her.” I explained in a quick breath as we reached them. Dom was right behind us. “Is she alright?”

James opened his mouth to answer, but before he could even say a word he was cut off by Dom.

“Give her here!” Dom pulled up next to James, trying to get Amelia on the back of her broom, but Amelia wouldn’t move. She was latched onto James, head buried in his chest not moving. Dom frowned, shaking her shoulder slightly. “Amy…”

“I hate flying. I hate it!” I could now hear Amelia mumbling. “I hate it. I hate it…”

James laughed and put one arm around her and one on his broom. “I’ll take her down, Dom.”

James slowly started lowering his broom, as Scorpius, Dom and I quickly flew down and waited for them to join us.

When he landed she fell on the ground and took a deep breath. After she seemed satisfied she looked up to James. “Thank – YOU!”

Amelia bolted upright and stood face to face with James. James stepped back a little. Expecting to be thanked, then instead being yelled at apparently took him by surprise.

“Yes…”

“What are you doing here?” She shouted and glared at James.

“‘What am I doing here?’ I just saved you from falling!” James shouted back pointing up in the air, like she could see it happen for herself.

Amelia processed this and her face fell. “You did?”

“Yeah! I did!” James looked slightly hurt.

“I…I…” Amelia seemed at a loss for words. Before she could say anything else though there were voices coming from above us.

“James!” Two voices rang out.

Everyone looked up and I saw Sirius and Fred coming down and landing next to James, both of them were holding Beater Bats and had on Gryffindor Quidditch uniforms. I slightly cringed at the thought that Fred was now on the team. He wasn’t the nicest person when it came to playing Quidditch and I felt sorry for whoever would be on the receiving end of his Bludgers.

Fred and Sirius spotted me and everyone else. Sirius smiled friendly toward me and nodded to Scorpius, who nodded back. Fred smirked evilly.

“Al! Did you come to be my target for today’s practice?” Fred swung his Bat. “Up for a go?”

“We were actually just leaving, Fred.” Dom said picking up her broom along with Amelia’s, which landed a few feet away. “Congratulations on making the team – Fred, Sirius.” She nodded to them as she took Amelia’s arm.

“Never had a doubt.” Fred smiled.

“I did, not for Fred, but Sirius.” James seemed to ignore Amelia now, who was looking at her shoes. James turned to Sirius and elbowed him in the side. “Why didn’t you tell me you could make an equally scary Beater with Fred?”

“Because I knew you would make me join.” Sirius rolled his eyes at his best friend, then shrugging. “I had to pick the lesser of the two evils though.”

I smiled, glad that they were speaking again, but dreaded ever playing Quidditch with them.

Scorpius tugged on my robes.

“Come on, Al.” He said, trying to usher me off the Pitch. Dom, seemed to be doing the same with Amelia.

I turned to leave my brother laughing with Fred and Sirius.

“Hey! Wait!” I turned to James as he was walking after us. He turned suddenly to Scorpius and held out his hand. “I believe we got off on the wrong foot, I’m James Potter. Thank you for taking care of my brother.”

Scorpius looked slightly horrified at the thought of James thanking him and froze next to me. I prodded his side faintly and it seemed like he finally realized he needed to say something. He slowly took James’ hand and shook it.

“Scorpius Malfoy, it’s a pleasure.” Scorpius said with a straight and unreadable face.

They quickly let go of each other’s hands and James turned back to me.

“Well, Al. I’ll see you later. You little first years better be off and back to Flying Class, before Madam Hooch comes searching for you four.” James smiled and turned around to join Fred and Sirius who were already waiting for him up in the air – currently, they were hitting there Bat against the other’s like swords.

“James!”

James turned around about to take off on his broom and looked at Amelia who had finally spoken again. She was staring dead at him and she nodded slowly.

“Thank you, for catching me.” She said strongly, with no hint of being mad like she was moments ago.

James grinned and nodded. “Anytime Amy!”

With that he took jumped up and flew up to the rest of the team. He neatly stole the Quaffle from one of the girls who had it previously, then shot off down the field.


 


 

Our last class of the day was Defensive Against the Dart Arts. It was one of the few classes we had with just our house. Professor Lowsley was rather stern with us and luckily didn’t seem to recognize me, yet. I’m sure Teddy told him about me and my siblings, but I didn’t really want to be the center of attention. I was already put through that with Slughorn – who seemed positively delighted that he had a Potter in his house. Every time I see him in the hall he tells me a story of my father or grandfather. Most of which I already know and they are not over-exaggerated…

For example, I’m fairly certain that my father didn’t ride a unicorn into battle with Voldemort. At least, that’s not how my father tells it…

Honestly, I kind of think he was too old to even be teaching.

When Scorpius and I sat down in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, it seemed like a normal class, but he decided it was time for a pop quiz the exact moment class started. I noticed that everyone seemed to groan at this aspect, except for me and Scorpius. I had been studying our Defense Against the Dart Arts book like crazy and Scorpius and Rose had the pleasure of hearing me explain almost every page to them. Rose, at times, corrected my pronunciations of spells, but Scorpius just seemed to absorb everything I said. I had no doubt that he would do perfectly fine and I would do the same.

I breezed through the questions he wrote on the board and was the first to turn mine in. Scorpius seemed to get through it fairly easily as well and soon after the rest of the class turned theirs in or just gave up. The questions did seem rather hard and some were not even from our text or lessons thus far.

In the front of the room Lowsley, began to turn over the papers one at a time, scanning them and making ‘tsk’ noises at some.

After going through the first half of the papers he sat them down and turned to the class.

“Victor Nott!” He said suddenly.

A boy two rows in front of me jumped in his seat before answering.

“Yes?” He said timidly.

“Do you care to explain your answer for ‘What is the appropriate way to deal with Dementors?’” Lowsley said slowly.

“Umm, I don’t know…” Victor managed to say. In his defense this wasn’t part of our material and I only knew it because of my father.

“That’s not what your answer said.” Lowsley corrected. “Remind us what your answer said.”

“I said…you get rid of them…” Victor seemed to realize this was a trap.

“I see your memory does not fail you, now how would you ‘get rid of them?’ Would you vanish them into a box? Tap dance until they get bored and go away?” Lowsley was being a bit harsh in my eyes, but I couldn’t help, but snicker at his examples.

This however, brought Lowsley’s attention to me. When his eyes fell on me I jumped a little bit and straighten up and puffed out my chest, trying to look as intimidating as a first year could look. I was completely confident in my answers.

“Would you care to help out your friend, Mr. Nott, boy?” Lowsley asked. I relaxed once I realized he didn’t know my name.

“Sure, I know I got it right. Would you like me to answer that one or another one?” He seemed like the type of teacher to change his question, so I wanted to be sure which one I needed to answer.

“The dementor one is fine, although I doubt you got it right, the closest anyone got was use a shiny charm.” Lowsley’s lip twitched.

“It’s called the Patronus Charm, actually.” I corrected. “I don’t think you got to mine, because that’s what I wrote.”

Lowsley raised an eyebrow, showing he was impressed. I began to think that this quiz was one we were supposed to fail…

“And what does the Patronus Charm do?” Lowsley kept his eyes on me.

“It depends on the strength. Honestly, I doubt mere first years could do it at all, but the charm puts up a shield between the dementor and the one casting it. The shield can be as simple as just a silver light or – the more full and complete ones actually have an animal form.” I paused for a moment and saw Professor Lowsley eyes widen. “Should I continue?”

He nodded slowly, still looking at me. I realized the rest of the class was looking at me as well. My face grew red, but I continued.

“The incantation of the spell is ‘Expecto Patronum’ the caster, must call upon a happy thought – which can often be hard with the dementor sucking those away – and say the incantation. Depending on the strength of the thought and the ability of the caster – a Patronus will take form and defend them against the dementor – hopefully, driving it away all together.” I smiled slightly when I finished.

The rest of the class turned back to him, as if they were waiting for him to correct me. Lowsley looked like he was in deep thought though. He leaned slowly against the table in the front of the room and crossed his arms, before speaking again.

“Basic answers now, boy. I want simple and straight to the point. Disarming Spell?”

“Expelliarmus.” I said automatically. That one I could actually perform.

“One of the three Unforgivable Curses?”

“Imperius, Cruciatus and the Killing Curse.” I named all three of them.

Lowsley smiled. “I said one.”

I smiled too.

“Explain the first two then, since the last on is self explanatory, hopefully.”

“Imperius Curse puts the person hit with it under the casters control, although some can resist it. Cruciatus Curse is a torture curse, which causes extreme pain to the person hit with it.” I explained. My father and mother felt the need to explain these, in order to help us understand the effects war could have. Both of them were from the war generations and didn’t feel like we needed to be shielded from it. Understanding made all the difference in their eyes.

“Best way to deal with Inferi?” Lowsley continued after a short pause.

“Fire – more specifically the incantation ‘Incendio’ – if you were looking for a spell.”

“What does ‘Petrificus Totalus’ do?”

“It’s a Body-Bind Curse, temporarily immobilizes the victim.”

“Stunning Spell?”

“Stupefy.”

We had finally went through all the questions, and while he seemed impressed with my answers, he still didn’t seem satisfied completely. I guess he wanted me to miss one at least.

He finally raised an eyebrow. “Do you just memorize your books, or can you actually apply what you know?”

“I don’t memorize, I learn the basic concepts so I can hope to apply them when I’m able.” I knew where this was going and I wasn’t about to duel with Lowsley. I wasn’t as hard headed as James and Teddy.

“Would you care to demonstrate what you know to the class?” Lowsley continued, pretending not to hear me.

“No, thank you.” I said shaking my head.

“Please, I insist.” Lowsley had a wicked smile on his face.

“I’m afraid I will have to decline then.” I said forcefully.

“What’s wrong boy? Scare?”

“No, just not as stupid as James and Teddy.” I snapped and Lowsley’s eyes widened. “And not as talented as Sirius.” I added as an afterthought.

“Boy, what is your name?”

“I think you’ll find out when you look through the quizzes…” I decided, maybe I didn’t like Lowsley as much as I first though.

As Lowsley shuffled through the quizzes I heard the bell ring for the end of class and I quickly shot up.

“ALBUS POTTER!” I turned at sound of my name and saw Lowsley holding my quiz. He smiled. “See you next class.”

I nodded, leaving quickly with Scorpius and heading down to the Great Hall. Scorpius and I didn’t say a word until we made it to the Slytherin table. Scorpius however, seemed to notice that I didn’t want to talk about what just happened and began talking about something else that I only vaguely registered.

I didn’t fully understand what just happened, but I wasn’t too happy about it.

During dinner Rose sat with us at the Slytherin table. Rose had been joining us a lot recently and even brought along some of her Ravenclaw friends. Scorpius and I talked about Flying Class which Rose had already endured. She managed to impress Madam Hooch, but Rose had no desire to further her flying career.

Scorpius seemed more at ease around her than the previous week and the three of us talk animatedly after we finished eating. Rose was in the middle of explaining some of the Potions she was looking forward to, when I saw my brother get up from the Gryffindor table with Sirius and Fred.

“Scorp, Rose, I’m going to go catch up with my brother really quick, there was something I’ve been meaning to ask him, I think I accidently pack one of his books.” I said in one breath as I excused myself from the table.

I felt their eyes follow me as I left the Great Hall and ran after my brother. He was already on the second floor by the time I caught up to him.

“James!” I yelled after him as he started up the stairs to the third floor.

Him, Sirius and Fred all turned at once. James smiled at me.

“What’s up Al?” He asked.

I caught my breath before I started talking again. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”

James gave me a confused look, but nodded. He turned to Fred and Sirius. “I’ll see you guys in the Common Room.”

They nodded and left James and I alone.

“What can I do for you little brother?” James seemed overly friendly today…

“I…”

Before I could say anything else it seemed a lot of people from the Great Hall decide it would be a good idea to head back to their dorms or go to the library. I didn’t want to be overheard so I pulled James up the stairs.

“This way.” I said.

I may not have the Marauder’s Map memorized to the extent that James and Fred do, but I did know there was a secret passageway nearby on the third floor, where we could talk privately.

I turned left immediately once we were on the third floor and found an oddly draped tapestry, right where I expected it to be. I pulled it aside and entered the passageway that headed down to the dungeons.

“Give me the invisibility cloak.” I told James suddenly after I pulled him behind the tapestry. I decided getting right to the point would probably be less painful for James. By the look on his face I was probably wrong.

Excuse me?” James looked at me like I just hit him with a Hippogriff.

“The invisibility cloak, I need it. Give it to me.” I repeated slowly for him.

“No, I need it more. Besides, what’s a Slytherin want with it?” I recoiled a little bit when he said Slytherin the way he did. James’ face fell once he saw the hurt cross over mine. It appeared we weren’t completely over this whole House issue in James’ head. This explained why he was being so over friendly. It was his mechanism for defecting what his real feelings were.

But I wasn’t going to have it. I took a deep breath and puffed out my chest for the second time in the past hour – this time it was a bit more effective. The hurt look on my face disappeared and instead was replaced with determination.

“James, you have two choices.” I informed him. “You can give me the cloak or the Map.”

“I lost the Map.” James said automatically with no emotion in his voice. It seems like he was back to deflecting and ignoring the metaphorical dragon in the room. I didn’t care enough though to face that issue right now.

I grinned. “That’s what I heard however, I know you still have it because I saw you pack it in your trunk, along with the invisibility cloak. So I’ll let you pick. What do you want more: the cloak or the Map?”

James glared and decided to change his strategy with me, considering lying wasn’t working with me. “I don’t have to pick, because I currently have both.”

“You know, Fred will be awfully mad if he finds out you’ve been haven’t been completely honest with him about the Map…” I threatened.

James’ eyes narrowed. I think he was debating if I would actually do it. After a minute he sighed. “Fine, I’ll give you the cloak, but I want it back. I can’t really use the Map that much.”

“Why not?” I wondered.

James’ eyes narrowed again. “That’s none of your concern little brother. I’ll give it to you tomorrow.”

“No! Tonight, I need it tonight.” I shouted a bit too loud.

James looked at me glared. “Why do you need it so badly?”

“That’s none of your concern big brother.” I shot back at him.

“It is when my little brother got sorted into Slytherin and he could be breeding Basilisks in the Chamber of Secrets for all I know!” James shouted at me. He was being absolutely ridiculous now.

“Well, you can follow me on the Map if you are really that concerned and think I’m the new Heir of Slytherin.” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes. I figured I should already expect him to be doing as much.

“Tell me, or I’m not giving it to you.” James said finally.

“Only if you tell me, why you told Fred you lost the Map.” I countered.

James opened his mouth to speak, but then shut it.

“That’s what I thought. You keep your secrets, I’ll keep mine.” I nodded at him. “Deal?”

James sighed. “Deal, come on and follow me up to the Gryffindor Common Room. It’s not really a secret considering you already know where it is…”

He seemed disappointed by the idea.

I followed him up the stairs to the Fat Lady portrait. James shoed me away, before he whispered the password to the Fat Lady and hurried through the hole, entering the Common Room.

He came back moments later and shoved the Invisibility Cloak into my arms with a defeated and disgruntled look on his face. “Here! I want it back soon.”

I nodded and left him there, before he decided to ask anymore question or change his mind.

I quickly ran back to the Slytherin Common Room – hiding the Cloak before I got there and retreated back to my dorm. Scorpius was still gone, he might still be with Rose, but I took this time to collect my thoughts and formulate a plan.

The cloak was all I really needed to sneak out of the castle tonight and back in, so hopefully I wouldn’t get caught. I just had to make it to the Forbidden Forest and back as quickly as possible, then I won’t need to go there anymore.

I nodded to myself. The Cloak made everything a whole lot easier.

Before I knew it everyone was back in the dorms and night fell. Curfew was up and the other first year boys turned out the lights and went to bed. I waited about thirty minutes to guarantee they were all asleep before I crept out of bed, slowly and quietly.

I was down in the Common Room about to pull out the Cloak when I heard my name.

“Al?”

I turned around, stuffing the Cloak back in my pocket and faced Scorpius. He was frowning at me.

“Hey Scorp.” I smiled.

“I want to go with you.” He suddenly said.

I shook my head. “Not this time.”

“But–”

“I promise, you’ll be the first to know if I ever do anything like this again, but this is something I have to do by myself…” I smiled sadly at him. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

Scorpius hesitated, but finally nodded and watched me as I pushed the door to the Common Room aside and stepped out into the dungeon corridor. After I shut the door behind me I pulled out the Cloak and wrapped it around me. I sighed; making sure it was covering my whole body and then hurried down the corridor.

I felt like I was pressed on time, when really I was just worried about getting caught every step I took. Being invisible satisfied me for the most part, but I still walked as cautiously and quietly as I could.

I made it easily to the first floor and out the door, wondering and hoping that it would be unlocked when I get back. Just as I was about to reach the borders of the Forbidden Forest I heard voices approaching from behind me.

“Come on Sirius!” I heard a voice clearly coming up quickly from behind me. I froze and retreated slightly behind a tree.

“James, please remind me again, why we are sneaking outside after dark?” I heard Sirius’ reluctant voice coming toward me. I watched as James and Sirius passed the tree I was hiding behind. I held my breath.

Why were they out here?

“I told you Sirius, I saw my brother come out here…” James said answering my silent question as he looked around. He had his wand lit and he seemed to be examining the ground carefully.

Damn it, James! I wasn’t being serious when I told him to follow me on the Marauder’s Map, looks like he really took it to heart, though.

“James, why are we stalking your brother?” Sirius asked exasperated. “And what do you mean ‘saw.’”

 “I saw him through the window from our dorm.” James lied to Sirius and not answering his first question. It was obvious he saw me on the Map, but I wondered why he was lying to Sirius about that. Fred I could somewhat understand. Fred would abuse the Marauder’s Map too much, but Sirius was James’ best friend now. Why would he keep this from him? “Come on! Over here I think I saw movement! AL!”

“James! How about we try not to wake up every creepy thing in this damn forest!” Sirius yelled as he hurried after James leaving me alone.

I felt bad for not telling James, but this wasn’t something I didn’t wanted to share. Just like James wanted the Marauder’s Map to himself, this was something just for me. I listened carefully as I heard James and Sirius go in the opposite direction I needed to go. I suppose luck was on my side tonight.

When I couldn’t hear them anymore I headed on in to the Forbidden Forest, following my previous path I had been using since Saturday. I wasn’t too worried about James and Sirius or where they were heading, because I hadn’t seen the Centaurs since the first time I was here. They were too scared to come this close to the border now and James and Sirius were only skimming the edge of the forest. They didn’t have to go as deep in, as I did. I’m guessing that James assumed I wouldn’t be brave enough to go this deep, but just because I wasn’t put in Gryffindor  doesn’t mean I couldn’t be brave.

When I couldn’t make out the shadows in front of me I finally pulled out my wand and lit it. After about ten minutes of walking I found my marker on a nearby tree indicating that I was almost there now.

I walked another minute before I hear a call and knew I had arrived. Ahead of me in a small covering of broken branches and leave, I saw eyes glow reflecting the light of my wand.


 


 

About thirty minutes later I had made it back to the castle. I even saw James and Sirius heading up before me. I waited about five minutes before I entered after them, deciding that I wouldn’t put it past James to wait for me.

A few minutes later, I finally made it back to the Slytherin Common Room. With the cloak still on I tip toed across the Commons to the stairs, but just as I crossed the middle of the room, I heard my name.

“Potter! Stop! I know you’re there!”

I froze and looked around. No one was in the Commons except me. The voice snapped again.

“Over here, boy!”

I turned to the wall and frowned.

The portrait of Severus Snape was glaring at the floor. I removed the cloak from my head, but kept it draped over my shoulders, not revealing my body.

“How did you know it was me?” I asked.

He looked at my head now and glared. “I could hear you and saw your feet. Why are you out of bed after hours?”

“I was taking a stroll around the grounds.” I tried to be as honest as I could without letting him know the full truth.

“You know Potter, it is truly sad, when I don’t even need Legillmency, to know when you’re lying.” He shook his head. “Perhaps I should tell the Headmistress that you’ve been lurking around the school at night.” He started to disappear.

“NO, WAIT!” I shouted.

“Hush, boy!” Snape told me appearing back in the frame. “Do you want to wake up the whole school?”

Please, don’t tell anyone. I won’t do it again.” I begged him.

“Of course you’re going to do it again.” Snape told me. “You’re a Potter. You get your sense of fake heroism, by strutting about the castle at night. Why you weren’t in Gryffindor is beyond me.”

“I had to go back, he was cold and hungry.” I pleaded with him.

Snape froze. “What was ‘cold and hungry?’”

I took off the cloak completely now, letting it fall to the floor and revealed what I went into the Forbidden Forest for. Snape gasped at me and his eyes narrowed.

“That’s…”

I nodded and looked down.

In my arms, was a red and gold Phoenix, which was a little bigger than an Owl right now. I held it closer with my left arm and looked down at it, still asleep, like it has been since we left the forest. I slowly looked back up to Severus Snape.

“I think it was Dumbledore’s Phoenix, Fawkes…at least, he response to that name.” I told Snape. “Please don’t tell…Please!”

Snape looked at me. There was an odd look in his eyes and he nodded very slowly. “Very well Mr. Potter. You better get up stair now and make sure you hide him well.”

My eyes widen. “Thank you, Professor Severus Snape! Thank you!”

As I ran up the stairs I could swear I heard him say something else that sounded like, ‘Just like his father.’


 


 

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