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Chapter 12 : Nighttime Wanderings
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Albus looked at the watch he was wearing. He didn’t like watches; he usually didn’t bother wearing one. This one was itchy. However, this time it was necessary. Al stared at his watch as the hands turned to one o’clock. Then he rolled over, got up, and wandered over to David’s bed.
“David?” Albus whispered. He didn’t want to wake up Art, or anyone else. But he especially didn’t want to wake up Art. A soft snore came from the pillows. Albus sighed. David kept falling asleep all night when he was supposed to be awake. Albus slowly shook David until he woke.
“Wha-What?” David yawned. “Is it one o’clock yet?”
“Shush!” Albus hissed. He was terrified that Art would wake up. When Albus looked over to Art’s bed however, he was still asleep.
Sighing a sigh of relief, Albus hissed in Davis’s ear, “Whisper! We can’t let Art wake up!”
David, whispering this time, asked, “Is it one o’clock yet?” Albus nodded and showed David his watch.
Albus slowly went over to his bed and yanked his invisibility cloak from underneath. He felt a thrill of excitement as he fingered the cloth; he would finally get to use it!
David finally climbed out of bed and they both quietly departed the common room. Albus winced as the door shut, but it didn’t seem to have made much noise. They then began walking down the stairs to the common room. The two boys were quiet except for the occasional squeak as they headed down the spiraling stairs.
As they approached the common room, they saw Rose sitting by the fire, hunched over a book. That was no surprise to anyone, since she loved reading.
“Hey,” Albus said, his voice now at normal volume.
“Hey,” she responded. “Its amazing what absurd ideas muggles have about magic. I’m reading a book about a magician, written by a muggle. It isn’t like the real thing at all! But I have to admit, it is pretty good. Very interesting.”
“Can we skip over your interest in books?” David asked. “It’s one o’clock in the morning; I’m not in the mood. Actually, I’m not in the mood any other time of the day either, so you might as well skip it.”
“Okay,” Rose sighed. “Here, put this on.” Rose pulled a small bottle in her pocket and tossed it over to David.
David caught the bottle, looked at it, and asked, “What is this?”
“It’s a product from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes,” Rose announced. “Its ointment that you put on the bottom of your feet. It makes it so your footsteps can’t be heard. That’s how Mr. Filch catches people- he hears their footsteps.”
“Clever,” Albus grinned. With that and the invisibility cloak, there was no way they would get caught.
David and Al rubbed it on the bottom of their feet, and then turned to face Rose.
“Remember, get a cake and cupcakes. Also, the kitchens are one floor below the school, so you’ll have to go down many flights of stairs. When you get to the still- life of fruit, to open it you tickle the pair. And-“
“We know Rose!” Albus exclaimed. He hated how Rose acted like such a boss all the time. She wasn’t his mother.
“Okay,” she sighed. As she threw the invisibility cloak over Albus and David, she exclaimed worriedly, “Don’t get caught.”
“Oh, really? We’re not supposed to get caught?” David said sarcastically. “I thought that was our plan all along!”
Rose muttered, “Shut up.” Then she said, “I’ll open the fat lady’s portrait for you.” Rose opened the portrait for David and Albus, and they quickly skirted out into the corridor beyond, trying not to step on the hem of the cloak.
“Why did you open me?” the fat lady demanded, staring at Rose. “I was taking a perfectly fine nap!”
“Oh-er-sorry,” Rose murmured awkwardly. “I guess I leaned on it by mistake.” Rose quickly closed the door, leaving David and Art in the middle of the corridor.
David and Albus didn’t know their way around the school very well, so they simply went down every single stairway until there was no more. They continued walking down the silent corridor, looking for the painting. Everything was so quiet; it was almost spooky. Albus was terrified Mr. Filch or Peeves was going to show up. Peeves still hadn’t forgiven them for escaping him on that first week.
Finally, they approached a still life of fruit. After a quick nod at David, Albus reached out his hand and tickled it. The pear giggled and the portrait swung open. Albus and David jumped when it giggled; it seemed so loud in the silent corridor. Al cautiously walked into the huge room beyond.
Albus thought the room looked a bit like the Great hall. It was high ceilinged, and had four long tables. There were about thirty house-elves bustling around the kitchen, getting things ready for breakfast. Once the house-elves spotted Albus and David, about ten of them walked over to him and bowed deeply.
“What can we do for masters?” one of the house-elves asked. They all gathered around him and their eyes shone with admiration. Albus stared around at all of them, aghast.
“Er-well-its my friend’s birthday tomorrow,” Albus began nervously, “And I was wondering if you had any cakes.” Al felt a bit foolish; here he was asking a bunch of strangers for a cake. However, the house-elves didn’t feel this was foolish at all, and a few of the house-elves eyes brimmed with tears.
“We have cakes, plenty of cakes!” one elf said excitedly.
“What flavor?” another elf asked.
“Er-“ Albus began. He hadn’t realized that he would get to choose flavors.
“-Chocolate,” David finished. He turned to Albus and said, “Remember all of those chocolate frogs Art ate on Christmas? He’ll want a chocolate cake.” One of the house-elves produced a chocolate cake and showed it to them.
“Dilly has returned with cake, masters,” The house-elf said, bowing. “What is the birthday master’s name?”
“Art,” Albus replied, and watched as the house-elves inscribed Happy Birthday Art! in frosting.
“That looks brilliant,” David grinned.
“Thank you!” Albus exclaimed. “Well- we’d better get going-“ When Albus said that, they were immediately ambushed by a bunch of house- elves offering them sweets.
“Er- No thanks- No thanks- I, uh, don’t need anything- I’d better get going-“ Albus stammered as house- elves tried to shove food at him. Finally, they both managed to get out to the corridor beyond.
“They got a bit overexcited,” Albus whispered to David. “C’mon, let’s get under the cloak.” But David was not listening; he was too busy shoving fudge into his mouth.
“David!” Albus groaned. “You don’t need fudge in the middle of the night!”
“Sorry,” David grinned, but he didn’t look sorry at all. “I was really sleepy and needed some sugar to wake me up.”
Soon they both went under the invisibility cloak, and they devised a plan: Albus would concentrate on keeping the cloak underneath them, and David would hold the cake and direct Albus where to go.
For a few flights they where pretty silent, except for David’s occasional complaints about holding the cake. But later, Albus fell on a trick stair, resulting in him falling down a few stairs and making a racket.
Albus and David froze for a moment, terrified of the noise they made. Then they heard a meow.
“Mrs. Umbridge,” David whispered, sounding terrified.
It was well known that Filch bought cats over the years and named them after teachers he liked. Mrs. Norris, the cat before Mrs. Umbridge, was named after a horrible teacher at Hogwarts years previously, long before their parents were at Hogwarts.
Mrs. Umbridge stared at them, letting a fierce growl out of her mouth. She was the most ugly ginger cat Albus had ever seen. Even her face was squashed.
Hurried footsteps were heard, approaching the stairs.
“Albus, under the cloak!” David whispered urgently. Finally coming to his senses, Albus divided under his cloak, mere seconds before Filch arrived at the stairway.
Filch had obviously seen a glimpse of movement, since he ran down the stairs yelling, “Show yourself,” whizzing right past Albus and David.
“That was close,” Albus whispered. “Come on, let’s go.”
They turned around to go up the stairs, but Mrs. Umbridge was there, growling.
“I didn’t know cats could growl,” David whispered.
“Shhh!” Albus whispered. “We need to figure out how to get out of here. Umbridge is blocking the way!”
Albus thought hard. Maybe he could put some sort of charm on the cat? Unfortunately, the only charms he knew well were Lumos and Wingardium Leviosa. Suddenly, Albus had an idea. He pulled his wand out of his pocket and poked it about an inch out of the invisibility cloak.
“Wingardium Leviosa,” Al whispered, and pointed his wand at Mrs. Umbridge. She squealed and frantically moved her arms, but she could not fight the charm. Albus gently let her down a few staircases below Filch. Howling in rage, Filch sprinted down to the cat, instead of up where David and Albus where.
David and Albus sprinted up the stairs, neither of them wanting to feel the wrath of Filch. They finally stopped when they got into the common room, and they collapsed on the couches.
Rose watched them, bewildered, and asked, “David? Albus? Why are you all panting?”
David and Al quickly explained about their encounter with Filch, and how they escaped.
“You put a charm on the cat?” Rose whispered, horrified. “Why did you have to hurt the poor cat?”
“He didn’t hurt her!” David complained. “All Albus did was levitate her! He even let her down gently. Besides, you didn’t see her. She was growling at us and blocking our path. If I did it, I probably would have cursed her, or slammed her on the stairs.” Rose let out a deep sigh.
“Okay, I guess you didn’t do much harm. Give me the treats for Art, and then well head up to bed,” Rose said. David handed Rose the cupcakes and began trudging up the stairs.
“Wait, where are the cupcakes?” Rose asked. David and Al stared at each other in horror. They had completely forgotten to get cupcakes!”
“Er- well-“ Albus began.
“-We forgot-“ David continued. Rose’s face was one of fury.
“YOU FORGOT!” Rose yelled in outrage. Albus and David both winced. “I ONLY GAVE YOU TWO TASKS, AND YOU FORGOT!”
“Rose, you’re going to wake up the entire house!” Albus said in earnest.
“We can always go back and get it,” David added. Rose sighed and sank back onto the couch.
“It’s okay, I suppose we can do without it,” she sighed. “We got the most important thing, the cake.”
“No, we can go,” David said quickly. “I want to get more fudge.”
“I suppose I’ll have to go with him, he can’t hold cupcakes and keep the invisibility cloak over himself,” Albus said.
David and Albus pulled the invisibility cloak over themselves, and slipped through the portrait hole that Rose opened for them. They quietly started walking down the stairs, since they could still hear Filch yelling about Mrs. Umbridge.
“We didn’t even hurt her,” David whispered.
“Shhh!” Albus whispered.
They slowly inched down several staircases until Filch could no longer be heard. Then they went a bit faster, so they could get to the kitchens quicker. The only disadvantage was that they were a bit louder, but Filch wasn’t around. When they finally got to the last staircases and descended down it, David stubbed a toe. David started loudly complaining about it.
“Shhh!” Albus whispered. “If you’re going to complain, at least don’t shout about it.”
“Sorry Albus,” David retorted. David then began to quietly complain.
They tiptoed across the hallway for several minutes, with David muttering about his toe every few seconds. As David was muttering that his poor toe would hurt for hours, Albus saw a dark shadow up ahead.
Albus clamped David’s mouth shut with his hand. Al then slowly removed his hand and pointed to the figure up ahead. Without even thinking, they both moved simultaneously up ahead.
As they inched closer they saw that it was not a shadow but a man. His back was towards them, so they could only see his cloak. His cloak was blacker than night, and it and swept all the way to the floor- nothing like the cloaks at Hogwarts. The man turned around towards Albus and David, and they both froze. Albus studied the man’s face.
He couldn’t really see his hair since the man had his hood pulled up. His face was unlined and smooth- he was definitely young. Albus guessed he was in his twenties. That meant he was over Hogwarts age but much too young to be a teacher. What was he doing inside Hogwarts then?
That fact didn’t scare Albus much. What scared Albus the most was the eyes- his eyes were bloodshot. Not only were they bloodshot, they were a deep scarlet.
The man’s eyes swept the hallway, and lingered a second on where Albus and David where standing. Al could have sworn he saw the man’s eyes meet his own. Albus thought he imagined it because a second later, the man turned away from him.
The man faced the wall again and moved his hand towards something on his hip. Albus eyed it with curiosity and recognized it as a wand holder. He also noticed that the wand holder had lettering on the side. Al nudged David and they both got closer to the man.
Albus was now able to read the lettering on the side of the wand case. It said Lord Zajecfer in peeling and cracked golden lettering. Albus saw it, but froze, every muscle tensed. He knew that name. He knew it. This man standing feet away was Lord Zajecfer- the same person who tortured Professor Flitwick.
Albus was so terrified, so scared, that he barely noticed what happened next. Lord Zajecfer pulled his wand out of the case and began to tap the wall. Albus noted that the wand was abnormally long- well over fifteen inches. Lord Zajecfer walked a few paces and tapped the wall again.
“Where is it?” Zajecfer muttered, sounding frustrated. Lord Zajecfer walked a few more paces and tapped the wall again. This time he smiled.
Zajecfer pulled his hood back, revealing his hair. His hair was jet black, like Albus’s, but it was obvious that Zajecfer was loosing his hair. What kind of man lost their hair when they were only twenty years old?
After he pulled back his hair, Zajecfer quickly pulled a tiny potions bottle concealed within his coat. Albus couldn’t see the potion, despite the bottle being clear, but he did see red steam rising from the potion. The man poured a drop- it was as transparent as water- on the floor in front of the wall. And…
Nothing happened. Nothing looked different. Zajecfer didn’t look troubled by this, however, and he walked forward. Right as he was about to hit the wall, Zajecfer pulled at air- and disappeared.
“WHAT?!” David yelled. David got out from underneath the cloak and ran into the wall. Nothing happened, except that a nice bruise was now forming on his cheek. David turned to Albus.
“You saw him disappear, right?” David asked. Albus slowly nodded. He was much more scared about the fact that Zajecfer had tortured Flitwick than the fact that he could disappear in thin air. He suddenly noticed that David was pale. Albus couldn’t imagine what would happen if David knew the whole truth- that Zajecfer was the same person who tortured Flitwick. David hadn’t noticed the wand case, since David’s head had been in the direction of Zajecfer’s face.
“C’mon Albus,“ David said. “We HAVE to tell Rose. And Art in the morning.”
Albus nodded and the two of them practically ran to the common room. They didn’t bother to be quiet, and they didn’t even bother to put the invisibility cloak on. It was very lucky that they weren’t caught by Filch.
When they got to the common room and Rose saw them, she started.
“Why did you not have the invisibility cloak on, and why does it look like you were just running? Oh, and how come you don’t have any cupcakes with you?”
“Let us talk, and then your questions will be answered,” David replied.
Rose hesitated, and then said, “Okay.”
David began to tell Rose about their encounter with Lord Zajecfer. Albus didn’t listen much. He just thought about how scary Lord Zajecfer had looked. And also how scary his name sounded. Lord Zajecfer sounded just as scary as Lord Voldemort.
Albus suddenly noticed that David had stopped talking. In fact, Rose and David were both staring at him.
“Er- Albus?” David asked. “You look really scared. I mean, you look a lot more scared than me, and I saw the same thing you did.”
“That’s because-“ Albus hesitated, and then started over. “Did you see his wand case?” David shook his head. “Well, when he pulled the case out, I saw a name on the side. It said Lord Zajecfer, the same person who tortured Flitwick.”
Silence. David and Rose were staring at Albus, as though they couldn’t believe their ears. Rose and David now just as looked as scared as Albus felt.
Finally, Rose said, “Well, look on the bright side. Now we know that there is only one dangerous person running around Hogwarts. It would be worse if there was two.” David stared at Rose.
“Rose, if that is the best you can come up with, it’s a pretty bad bright side.” David said. “I’m not even comfortable with one dark wizard in Hogwarts.”
“Let’s get some sleep,” Rose sighed. “I don’t think we should discuss in the dead of the night when we’re only half awake. Plus, we don’t want to leave Art out. We should discuss this with all of us.”
Albus had to agree. Art was part of their circle of four. Things weren’t the same without Art, he was always the calm one. Albus walked dazedly up the spiral stairs, looking like he was sleep walking. Which he practically was doing. Then he collapsed on his bed, wishing that he would forget the events of that night.
Yay! Suspicion! My favorite!
Albus and his friends are going to discuss their theories of what they think happened with the whole disappearing thing, so I'd really like to hear what you think beforehand!
And thank you to everyone who has reviewed!
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