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Seven Years and Counting by Maelody
Chapter 9 : Chapter Nine
 
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A/N: Hola, Lovelies! I want to think everyone who has left me reviews here lately. They have made me so happy and lovey inside! ^^ Anywho, seeing as how I don't have anything ready to put through the queue right now, I figured I would just go ahead and post chapter nine today for you guys seeing as how I have several of these chapters already written up for this story. :) As for now, read on! :D

 

Scorpius hated Chloe Arndale more than anyone in the entire school. The only thing that was worse than hating her was feeling undignified in doing so because she was only a first year! Late last night, while contemplating what happened with him and Rose and what he should do about it, Chloe came up to him with a very smug smile placed right on her pointed face. She informed Scorpius on how she invited Albus Potter to join their 'Remedial Potions' class but she was skeptical if he actually believed her or not. It was now Scorpius' job, according to Chloe, to find Albus and reassure him that everything was alright. The little witch had absolutely no problems starting things, but she sure as hell didn't finish anything.

The next day Scorpius found himself waiting at the top of the stairs in the Divination Tower. Chloe took it upon herself to somehow learn Albus' schedule and tell Scorpius where to be. At least she's good for something, he thought. Albus had the next hour free, something Scorpius couldn't say for himself, but it was the only time he could get a hold of the younger boy and at least quickly inform him of their so called 'class'. He would just have to figure out later tonight that Professor Reubnon had nothing to do with it.

At last, the trap door came down and a ladder extended downward so the students of Divination could scale down it. When Albus' feet made contact with the ground, Scorpius took his opportunity to strike.

"Hey, Al!" he started, but Albus did not stop for him. Instead, the black haired boy continued to walk quickly ahead of him and Scorpius had no choice but to follow. "You'd think we would see each other more, being in the same House and all," he tried again, with the same cheeriness as before.

"Save your breath, Malfoy. I've already talked to Reubnon." With those words Scorpius froze in his tracks and Albus continued to move forward. His insides twisted and turned inside out. If Albus already asked Professor Reubnon, then we are as good as found out! his thoughts were mind-numbing. If it weren't for the confused look Albus was giving Scorpius once he finally stopped to see the result of his words, Scorpius would have called himself done for.

"Look, Albus, it really isn't what you think-" he started, but Albus grimaced and cut Scorpius off.

"A group of students supporting and following someone trying to take over as some sort of new Voldemort isn't what I think? Are you not trying to rid the world of Muggle-borns, Half-bloods, and blood traitors alike? Or are you guys really just an organization gathering charity for unicorns and leprechauns?" Surprisingly, Albus was remaining decently quiet and calm. It almost seemed as though he didn't want anyone to hear about what was going on. Scorpius found this at his advantage and decided not to show his weakness and how awful he felt about the whole thing.

"Albus, if you come tonight, I can explain everything to you. What you don't understand is they want you, and they'll do anything to get you." His voice was low and somewhat menacing. Passerby were looking at the two so Scorpius grabbed Albus by the arm and they started walking down the stairs while continuing their conversation in hushed voices. "It doesn't matter if you come tonight or not, once they want you, they will get you."

"Who exactly are they?" Albus snapped, pulling his arm from Scorpius' grasp.

"I can explain it to you if you come tonight. Please, Albus, I don't want to see you get hurt." Scorpius stopped their strolling when they reached the main floor and then pulled him underneath the staircase.

"What will they do to me?" Albus asked, his voice wavering a bit. He had no idea what he was getting into. "Why do they want me?"

Putting a finger to his lips, Scorpius began writing down the location in the dungeons where they would meet.

"You're the Slytherin Potter. What you and your family hoped to make no difference in the world means everything to us. You know what it would be like if Harry Potter's son joined the Dark Angels?"

Scorpius' stomach twisted in knots and his face turned green at the thought of wanting to be a part of that group. Calling themselves Angels was just a sick way of thinking they were doing good for the rest of the world.

"My father's choices when he was young have resulted in my life today, Al. Because of who I am, they wanted me too. Trust me, you don't want to decline their offer." He shivered at the thought of when he declined them and refused to join in the beginning of summer. Jackson and a few of the seventh years from the previous year hunted him down. Literally.

"How do I know you're not just saying this to make me go?" Albus didn't sound as though he doubted Scorpius. He seemed to be double checking, but succumbing to the blonde. He answered with the shake of his head and Albus nodded in understanding. He looked away and at first Scorpius thought maybe he was hiding tears, but he turned again and dismissed himself. "I have to go," he said, rushing by other students with his bag over his shoulder.

"Be warned, Al! Don't tell anyone!" Scorpius waved goodbye but the younger boy didn't notice and continued on his way.

"Good job, Scorpius." Jackson came around form behind the staircase. "I think he'll come around now. As for you," an evil smile played on his face, "we need to have a little talk."

Scorpius felt his fists clench and face harden for his hatred of the older boy. He hadn't noticed before, but he was sweating and he felt his knees become weaker. He felt as though he had no control over himself anymore, as he usually did when around the Angels.

"Come on, mate." Jackson said too cheerfully with an arm left open for Scorpius to step into. Scorpius was taller and better built than Jackson, so he felt confident enough to refuse the gesture.

"What do you want, Winters?" Scorpius walked next to him instead but didn't look down at him once. Instead, he looked down at the stone bricks he walked on.

"Good work with Potter. I think he'll be with us in no time!"

"Get to the point, Jackson!"

"I really don't think you want me to do that, Scorpius." He stopped to allow a few Ravenclaw girls pass them, watching them walk from behind. "But if you insist. I heard you had a little get together with Rose last night." It wasn't a question.

"How did you find out?" It was all Scorpius could bring himself to say after the initial terror rang through.

"You could say Dylan and I are becoming friends." That was all it took for Jackson to say before Scorpius realised the trouble he was in. That was another player on his team now in the Dark Angels. Things weren't looking good for this season.

"I didn't tell her the truth, if that's what you're wondering. I needed my best friend back," Scorpius said, but Jackson didn't seem to care.

"Oh, poor Scorpius! You need your little girlfriend to run to when things get tough? Would you like out of the club? Or perhaps you'd like to ask her to join us? After all, you did such a wonderful job with Potter. Rosie would make a wonderful addition." The words were like venom from Jackson's tongue and Scorpius could feel the sting settle deep inside him.

"Stop it!" Scorpius demanded, his hand gripping his wand in his robes. "I don't see the harm in keeping her in my life." He shuddered at the thought of Rose having to suffer with what the Angels would do to her if she did join.

"I told you not to see her at all! That's the point, you dolt! We don't need everyone knowing about us just yet, especially little blood traitors like her! I can promise you if it happens again then she'll be one of the first to go!"

"Says who?" Scorpius couldn't control his temper anymore. He brought his wand out and the people surrounding them gasped and huddled to the walls.

"Says me, Malfoy! Now put that away!" Jackson retorted, bringing his own wand out but not threatening Scorpius with it just yet.

Scared students were whispering around them and Scorpius looked around and saw a few first year students nearby and his temptation to kill Jackson there swayed. He put his wand hand down and Jackson held his hand out to take it. That was something Scorpius would never have done in front of all these people, but Jackson reached over and took the wand with ease. Scorpius was so powerless and drained from the past few weeks he couldn't do a thing about it.

"You better follow me, Malfoy." Jackson sneered and lead him into a deserted classroom, locking the door from behind.

~~~

Albus was finding it very hard to take in the new bit of information Scorpius just provided him. As it turned out, no matter how much he wanted to help his family by laying low and spying, he was going to be a part of it anyway. What would he have done if he never heard the conversation on the other side of the door? How would he react to Scorpius telling him he had to join a terrible group of people and he had no choice? Albus wanted to know.

Should I tell Molly? was the only thing going through his mind constantly now. He knew they made a pact to only tell one another the things they heard, but this seemed more personal. The way Scorpius talked about the Dark Angels made Albus even wonder if he wanted to put her in that sort of situation.

There was a Quidditch practice going on right now, but Albus really didn't want to see Scorpius again until he had to. He also needed to say goodbye to his father and the rest of the Ministry. After realising nothing was going on and none of the children had heard anything around Hogwarts, they decided it would be best to leave now.

"We really must be getting back to work, dear," his mum said when everyone arrived in Professor McGonagall's office. "I'll see you again for the first Quidditch game this season, though!"

The whole crew was there, with a few minor exceptions. Uncle Percy never bothered to show up so Molly and Lucy weren't there, along with Dominique and her brother.

"Albus, are you feeling alright?" Harry asked after his youngest son hadn't said anything for the last several minutes.

"Fine," Albus perked up in his chair, not realising he had zoned out. "A little nervous about what Scorpius will make me do for missing practice, though." He added quickly in hopes to sound convincing. Fortunately, there was a little honesty in his words.

"I'm sure Scorpius will understand," Aunt Hermione jumped in before her husband could.

"I will write Mister Malfoy personally, excusing your absence, Mister Potter." McGonagall smiled weakly and glanced over at Albus' father when she said their last name.

"How are you fairing, Minerva?" Harry asked, a hand on her shoulder and a stern look down at the older witch.

"I'm getting along in my years," she said, patting the large, hairy knuckles of Harry's hand. "But I am well."

"Excellent," Hermione beamed and then turned back to her children. Albus noticed Rose and how exhausted she seemed. She had been that way since the day in the library with Scorpius.

Would he get Rose involved in this, too? he wondered and hoped not.

"You two will do fine. I'm so proud of the both of you!" Hermione was lifting Rose's chin and kissed both her's and Hugo's cheeks before embracing them tightly.

"Will you be leaving soon?" James asked, aware of the time. Looking out the window, Albus could tell practice would be over now.

"In the next ten minutes or so," said Harry, looking at his wristwatch. "Albus, may I have a word with you?"

Albus' emerald eyes snapped out of their trance and looked up into a matching pair. It was almost like looking into a mirror that could tell the future. At that moment the miniature Harry couldn't get his voice to work and nodded his head instead. The actual Harry pulled him along down the stairs from McGonagall's office.

"Son," Harry started, "I've realised in my time being here I've spent more time with James and Lily and haven't made time with you. Is there something you want to talk about? You've looked pretty distant all week."

Although his dad not hanging around with him wasn't what was bothering Albus at all, he did have a question pressing in his mind since the talk with Professor Reubnon.

"I do," he said, stopping their walk and looking up at his dad. "I want to know what happened to Benjamin Arndale."

Harry's face grew grim but his gaze never left his son. "Who told you about Benjamin Arndale?"

"I heard Chloe Arndale talking about her dad to some girls in the common room. She said you got him locked up in Azkaban and I was wondering if there was a way he could have- you know? Escaped?" He tried to put as much of the truth in his story as he could.

Harry looked shocked and sputtered for just a moment, trying to recall that bit of his past. "I can assure you there is no possible way Arndale could escape Azkaban."

"Why not? It has been done before," Albus pressed.

"Not by a dead man," Harry said with finality.

"What? But h- Chloe said you didn't kill him." Albus nearly gave away his sources and decided to control what he would say from now on.

"Really?" a weary smile crept onto his dad's face. "I was so sure the entire Arndale clan blamed me for his death in Azkaban because I'm the one who sent him there." His eyes were cast away and Albus regretted bringing the whole thing up. When he was about to apologise, Harry jumped back in. "Why do you have so much interest in Arndale?"

"Chloe!" Albus quickly answered and panicked. He had to watch what he said from now on. "I heard Chloe, as you know, and she said her dad tried rising as a Dark Lord, so I was just wondering if that could be a lead. Obviously its not." He shifted uncomfortably.

"Obviously..." Harry said, still unconvinced. "Has Chloe been up to anything? Is there something I should know, son?"

"What? No! Why?" Albus stammered, trying to think back where he lead anything to Chloe. He cleared his throat and squeaked, "I just like her is all." His eyes grew as wide as supper plates at what he said.

Harry smirked. "You like Chloe Arndale? I feel as though I'm missing something about you and your brother. Godric help me if you're sister comes up to me next with boy problems." Albus had no idea what he was talking about with James. It shouldn't have been that hard to figure out Addie and James were into one another. "Well, you know if you have any questions about girls, this old chap has any answers you need."

"Dad! No!" Albus backed away and gagged at the thought of him and Chloe. Sure she was pretty...vindictive...and had a little edge to her, but she was not worth a conversation like this with his dad.

"You know, my advice isn't that bad! But, I can see you're not ready for that talk yet. However, I am your father, and I will tell you to be careful. Don't be afraid to floo once in a while and contact your Mum and me. Be careful and watch out for things that go on here."

Albus didn't recall when they started, but they were already heading up the stairs.

"Are you leaving now, Dad?"

"Yes," Harry said to his son and to the rest of his family once they entered McGonagall's office. "We need to get going and all of you really should be getting to bed."

"As if you were ever in bed this early, dear." Ginny strolled said to Harry before strolling over to her son and kissing him, patting him on the cheek before grasping her husband's shoulder.

"Goodnight, dearests," Hermione said, joining the adults with Ron in tow.

"Rosie, don't worry about that Malfoy boy. Dad will take care of him." Ron winked.

Only a few minutes later went by before the Ministry officials and family were gone. Albus waited for everyone to go to bed before heading to the meeting.

~~~

The outside was possibly the most calming place Noah had found in all his years at Hogwarts. One hand brushed through his sandy blonde hair while the other shook out his quill. He was ashamed, but it was the first time since the beginning of term he could write to his Mum. Even now he found out he was failing terribly.

Dear Mum,

Things here are fine. What about at home? Everyone doing well? Molly broke up with me when school started. I'm fine. I think.

Love,
Noah



After he was able to bring up Molly, he lost all train of thought and couldn't continue. He had been up there for hours. Finally, he determined he had to go to bed at some point. Surely the Prefects would be done with their rounds by now and it would be safe to return to the common room.

Without taking any precautions opening the door to get inside, he was busted right away. Addie Sanders was startled by his presence and held her wand out directly in front of him.

"Noah?" she asked quizzically, lowering her lit wand a little so she could see. "Noah! What are you doing here?" she put her wand away and smiled up at him as if she forgot he should currently be in trouble.

"I was just writing a letter to my mum. I haven't kept contact since I've got here," he said hesitantly. "Where's James?" He looked around the room for the Prefect but didn't see him anywhere. Addie glared at no one in particular and crossed her arms.

"He spent the entire evening saying goodbye to his family so he asked to stay back and work on homework," she huffed.

There was something more to it than that. He could tell. "Sorry to hear that," he said and sat down on a bench nearby. She joined him and sighed.

"Thanks. Sorry to hear about you and Molly."

"Thanks."

There was an awkward, uncomfortable silence between the sixth and fifth year. Even though they were in the same House, the two hardly talked or had anything in common. Most of the time Noah was in and out of the Gryffindor common room and didn't talk with others much. When he wasn't with Molly in the past, he was normally seen with Ethan Trotsky.

"Would you ever tell me if you liked another girl?" Addie broke the silence with a question that, honestly, freaked Noah out.

"No offense, Addie, but we don't know each other that well for me to share that sort of information." Noah said honestly.

"I know that," she said matter-of-factly, "but say we did. Wouldn't you tell your best friend who you've been fancying over the past year?

Putting two and two together, Noah figured out what Addie was talking about. "Assuming you are my best friend, why would you want to know?"

"Uh, duh! You should tell me everything! And what if I don't like this new girl? Maybe I know something about her you would hate! You should want to know these things." Addie crossed her arms and legs as she huffed.

Noah decided he was done playing along. "Is that where James really is tonight? With some girl he fancies?"

"No!" Addie snapped. "He really is doing homework. Who said I was talking about James?"

"You did," said Noah with a knowing smile, "in your eyes," he added before she could ask when. Addie sat there for a moment in silence. Noah couldn't tell if she was furious or confused. She seemed to have a twisted look on her face so he settled with confused. "So you're jealous of some girl James is seeing?" He asked to break the silence.

"Angel Robins," she spat out the name quickly, "and he isn't seeing her, he just fancies her. And I'm not jealous!" Addie reached over and punched him in the arm.

"Uh huh," Noah vocalized and chuckled light-heartedly much to Addie's dismay. "Then why is this a problem?"

She had to think about her answer for a moment. Her face grew more complex as she searched for a logical reason to be mad. At last she found one. "I've been best friends with James since day one. That is two days longer than Will has! When James finally expresses interest in a girl, he goes and tells Will and I have to find out a year later! It is not fair! Just because I am the girl friend does not mean he should feel embarrassed to tell me things like this." Her voice continued to grow softer as she went along. If Noah didn't know the little bit he did about Addie, he was sure she was about to cry.

"Well, it is odd that he wouldn't bring it up with you if you two are just friends." Noah left what he said to her interpretation. She did not pick up on this hint however.

"That is all James will ever see me as. We've been friends so long, he should feel comfortable coming to me for things like this." Addie said almost to herself, completely oblivious to what Noah meant. Again there was silence as her thoughts drifted into nothing and Noah remembered how late it was. It was time to get out of there if he didn't want Addie to realise the time.

"I'm terribly sorry you're upset, Ads, but I," yawn, "really must be getting to bed." He stood up and stretched, adding another yawn for good measure.

Addie looked up with a faint smile. Faint enough to make him feel guilty for not wanting to stick around. She didn't make an effort to stand but she waved a hand that meant either goodbye or whatever. With that note, Noah took her hand and helped her up. He pulled her in to a friendly hug while saying, "Sorry," in her ear at the same time. Addie was stiff at first but then embraced the gesture. They were friends after all.

"No, I'm sorry," Addie said, pulling back with a big grin replacing her old, sad one. "Did you think I forgot you were up after hours? I do believe this results in a detention Mr. Noah Clark." She laughed and waited for his response before letting go. Even to his own surprise, Noah laughed light-heartedly and gently nudged her away.

"Yeah, yeah. Goodnight," he said while turning to head the opposite way of Addie.

"Maybe I'll forget to mention it just this once," she replied over her shoulder.

For the first time since school started, Noah went to bed with a smile on his face.

A/N: So another one of those fillers, but it was nice, no? Let me know what you think in a review! Do you think Al is going to go to the meeting? Will he go along with it? Will he be a spy? Let me know in a review, and don't be shy to check out my lonely meet the author page ;). Have a wonderful day! 


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