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Seven Years and Counting by Maelody
Chapter 10 : Chapter Ten
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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NOTE: I've added a Substance Use or Abuse warning to this story so the chapter can be validated, but the substance in the drink is not a drug, for all you readers against it. :)

A/N: OK, first off, I'd like to make a note that I started this story November of 2010, so I've been technically working on it for three years. I sort of abandoned the story and left at chapter seven until sometime in 2011 when I wrote chapter eight, and then chapter nine in March 2012. A whole year later I wrote chapter ten, meaning this is the first chapter I've written for this story this year. I've continued to write more chapters for it, so I'm quite glad to say I don't think I'll be abandoning it anytime soon, but I just thought I'd let you guys know why some writing style may have seemed to change during the chapters if you've seemed to notice at all. :) Other than that, I want to thank the people who came by and left such lovely reviews for the story so far. They made me really happy to see someone is enjoying it! :) Alrighty, so here's the story!

Parents gone, along with what seemed like over half of the Ministry of Magic, Albus felt it was safe to go down to the Dungeons. Since Scorpius mentioned that the Dark Angels wanted him, he could not get them off his mind. Even if he never heard the conversation on the other side of the door, they still would have come after him. Of course, he didn't know exactly who they were, but he knew they were bad. Now it was up to him if he would become a spy for his parents or try and run.

There is no way they'll end up getting me to side with them, Albus thought.

All day he debated if he would tell Molly about the meeting tonight, but with her fragile state at the moment, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He saw her not only an hour ago and she seemed so exhausted. Pact aside, he decided this was something he needed to do alone. The way Scorpius went on about the group, he wasn't sure he wanted Molly to be a part of it anyway.

Harry and the rest of Albus' family only just left, and it was well past after hours. Albus was making his way down the stairs to the Dungeons like he did everyday, but he had no intentions of going to the common room. Where he needed to go was much farther than that. There was an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach as he continued going down the stairs and his legs ached because of how tight his muscles were. He couldn't help but remember how scared Scorpius seemed about the whole thing, and his parents' involvement wasn't reassuring him any. Albus knew that running to his parents would be the best idea, but how is he to know if the Dark Angels are really something to be scared of? Besides, they were only trying to raise someone to power and Albus' father had dealt with far worse at his age.

The plan was to see who all were involved in the so called 'Dark Angel' group, catch their plans, and then tell his father about anything he learned. That wouldn't be so bad. Albus would still get in a little bit of an adventure and he would end up doing the right thing. As he ventured down further it got colder and the walls began to leak. He was beginning to wonder if he passed wherever it was he was supposed to be. A part of him thought that wouldn't be so bad. Then he heard a frustrated sigh just around the bend, and when he peeked around it to see who it was, he saw Chloe Arndale waiting in front of a dead end. That part of the castle must have collapsed centuries ago.

"I've gone too far haven't I?" Albus asked once he figured it was alright to show his presence. Chloe was, after all, the one who initially invited him. Her group must have sent her to wait for him just in case Albus went too far.

"It's about time you're here," Chloe said without answering him. She did not seem very happy either. "You're late." She turned to the dead end wall.

"You're lucky I came at all," said Albus, confused at to what she was doing. "Considering I know you lied to me."

Chloe didn't seem phased by this news at all. Did Scorpius already tell everyone I figured it out? Albus wondered.

"Do you have anything valuable on you?" Chloe asked, even more aggravated than before.

"Just a couple Galleons," Albus said honestly. She reached her hand out in his direction and demanded the money. "What do you need it for?"

"This cursed wall keeps raising its prices. We need something valuable to pass through."

"Will I get it back?" He asked, already giving her the two Galleons before she answered.

"No," she said curtly and then turned to face the wall. Albus watched as Chloe placed his Galleons and two of her own on a ledge above her head. As soon as she laid the payment down it disappeared. There was a loud Pop! noise but nothing else happened. "Come on," she said, and before he knew it she was walking through the dead end wall. Albus didn't waste much time in following just in case the wall decided to close and needed another payment.

Besides the payment, the wall was a lot like Platform 9 3/4. On the other side was a small, dark leaky room lit by only two torches. There was a long, dark table in the middle with a goblet set before each chair. Albus' heart began to race and his stomach dropped once he realised he recognised everyone in the room.

Dylan Klyser, one of the newest members on his Quidditch team, was sitting next to an empty chair and looking just as comfortable with being there as Chloe did. Chloe sat in front of the empty chair and next to her was Lorcan Scamander, who was a complete opposite to Dylan and looked nauseous. Albus had a feeling he was one of the wanted ones as well. Next to Lorcan was probably the most surprising member to Albus. His cousin Jane Dursley, with all her smugness and mean spirit, was making sure not to make any eye contact with him, but he could tell she was a true member of this group. She was most likely even in the Dark Angles the year before, that is, if they were a group prior to this. She sat across from another empty seat, but next to her was a girl Albus actually didn't recognise. She was small like Chloe, but nowhere near as pretty. She had chopped up, sandy brown hair, freckles all over her face, and huge teeth. She was also wearing Ravenclaw robes so he couldn't think of who she was.

The last two seats were taken up by none other than Scorpius Malfoy, who sat across from the ugly little girl, and Jackson Winters who seemed to have deemed himself the leader of the Dark Angels because he sat at the head of the table. Albus' fear dropped just a little bit at the thought of Jackson leading anything. The boy was a fool. Even Albus, who was two years younger, had more smarts than he did. Whatever this group was, they would fail with him at the lead.

Feeling as though he was taking too long to observe and stand, Albus took the seat sat across from Chloe and next to Dylan. His Quidditch mate didn't bother to register his appearance, but Chloe looked right at him as she took a drink form her goblet. Feeling uncomfortable, Albus felt compelled to do the same thing. It tasted like a wine of some sort so he made note to drink it slowly.

"Now that we are all here," Jackson stood as he made his announcement and gestured toward Albus, "I would like to welcome our newest member, Albus Severus Potter."

"I am not-" Albus started, but Chloe kicked him under the table and he let out a small cry.

"I have been informed by Lorcan that our awaiting chapter Lysander will not be joining us because his dearest brother does not wish to invite him." Jackson had a sick smile across his face and Albus noticed Lorcan practically cower in his seat. This was not normal behavior for either of the Scamander twins.

What are they so afraid of? wondered Albus.

"Scorpius, my greatest friend, why don't you do the honours since your guest showed up." It was definitely not a request, but Scorpius didn't seem to understand that.

"Chloe invited him!" He whined, eyes wide. Albus looked at Chloe to see if she would speak up but she only smiled coyly and took another sip of her wine.

"Scorpius," Jackson said with a warning tone, "just do it."

Scorpius unwillingly stood and walked around to Lorcan's seat. "Sorry, mate," he said before pulling out his wand and whispering a spell Albus couldn't hear. Before he knew it, Lorcan was petrified and Scorpius was dragging his body off to a corner where he started kicking and hexing the silent boy. Albus could hear Scorpius aplogise after every hit and hex.

"So glad you could join us, mate." Said Jackson, indicating toward Albus again. The word mate caught Albus off guard and he choked on the sip of wine he was taking right at that moment. This time, before speaking, he managed to pull his legs back so Chloe couldn't reach him.

"I am not your mate, and I most definitely am not a member of your sick little group." Albus slammed the goblet down and some of the contents of the drink spilled out.

"I'd be more careful if I were you, mate. If you aren't a member of the Dark Angels, then what are you doing here?" Jackson asked and proceeded to sit back down. Albus didn't think his words all the way through. He couldn't just admit that he was here to spy and then go and tell his parents everything. Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut?

"Oh, quit trying to think things through, Potter," Jackson said impatiently. "Do you really think we are so idiotic as to invite the son of Harry Potter, and nephew to every other bloody person in the Ministry of Magic, to be here with us without thinking it through?"

Albus scoffed at the thought, Yes.

"You can say you're going to run back to Mummy and Daddy all you want after you're done in here, but you won't." Jackson said matter-of-factly. "Not with your life on the line."

"What are you going to do to me, Jackson?" Albus asked, not feeling threatened at all. "What you did to Lorcan? I'm not scared of you."

"Do you know what this room is, Albus?" Chloe asked and every eye at the table was on her. "We make a lot of payments in this room for it to work. You see, Scorpius is just being weak over there," she indicated to the corner where Albus didn't realise Scorpius was still beating up on Luna's son. "This room was built centuries ago when this castle was. It is a punishment room. Professors used to bring children down here to get them to tell on other students. They'd punish them for cheating, sneaking out, and other naughty things. Since it was punishment, everything done in this room is completely legal. However, when the years passed and a certain Headmaster decided he didn't like the idea, he had it collapsed." Her voice was so smooth and enchanting. The way Chloe talked about these things sent shivers down Albus' spine, but he couldn't help but listen to her talk.

"Well, everyone believed it was collapsed, but we believe the Headmaster turned it into his own storage room and paid with many valuable things to keep them safe. This was before the discovery of the Room of Requirements of course."

"Anyway," Jackson cut in, impatience settling in again, "if we so please, we could kill you in this room, torture you, or command you without anyone ever knowing."

"You're going to kill me?" Albus asked, the disbelief from before disappearing more and more. "You can do whatever you want to me, but I still won't be a part of your group, Winters."

"Such a little hero, Potter. Just like Daddy huh? Well, I'm sure you know that there are worse things in life than death." The way Jackson said it made Albus' heart stop momentarily and his breath caught in his throat. What sort of crazy psycho was Jackson Winters?

"As it is, you're not leaving this room without a little interrogation anyway. What were your family doing here?" Jackson asked, taking another drink shortly after.

Albus was unsure if he should answer. If he tried to right now, he could probably hex a few of them and get away. Only, they would most likely catch him before he got too far. His only option was to lie.

"To check up on the magical creatures here at Hogwarts. Headmistress McGonagall already addressed that." He lied, hoping they would go along with it.

"Don't feed me that shit, Potter! We both know Mummy and Daddy took Care of Magical Creatures with the same oaf we have now. They know damn well that the animals are taken care of. I'll give you one more chance."

"Or what?" You'll use Veritaserum against me?" Albus asked, pushing his goblet away for extra measure.

"Just know that you asked for it," replied Jackson, and before Albus could react or figure out what was going on, the older boy had his wand out and pointed straight at him. "Crucio!" He shouted, and in seconds Albus was thrown out of his chair and his body was on the floor. Every part of him was writhing in pain. It felt as though someone was taking each of his limbs and tangling them behind his head while setting his insides on fire and snapping all of his bones at the same time. He didn't even have time to wonder how Jackson was so powerful.

"Jackson, stop it!" The velvety voice of Chloe rang in Albus' ears. Was she going to be his savior? "Jackson, there are better ways to do this! Stop it!"

The pain stopped but his body ached. He didn't get immediately up off the floor so Chloe walked to his side and extended a hand.

"Get up, Potter," she demanded.

Definitely not my savior, he thought once he saw the irritation in her face. She was going to do something else to him. He pushed her hand aside and sat in his seat.

"I'll ask the questions now. Drink this. It will subdue the pain," she added when he hesitated to drink from his goblet. Then again, he would much rather drink Veritaserum than go through that again. At least he could say they tricked him and it wasn't his fault. He took a sip of his wine and realised the pain subsided a little so he took an even bigger gulp.

"Good," Chloe said, already back in her seat. "Now, tell me, Potter: What were the Ministry doing here?"

Her voice was soothing and he found that the more she talked that way, the more he felt drowsy. Most importantly though, he didn't feel compelled to tell her the truth so it wasn't Veritaserum. However, he didn't want to go through that pain again so he decided to tell the truth anyway.

"You guys aren't being very careful apparently. There are rumours going around that you're trying to raise someone to power. Like a- like another Voldemort." Albus was growing tired and his words were slurring a bit. Perhaps he shouldn't have drank so much wine? "Whatever you're doing, the Ministry already knows about it and they'll make sure nothing of the sort happens."

Some of the other kids looked at Jackson with worried glances, but Chloe kept her gaze right on Albus.

"How will they do that when they don't believe anything is going on?"

"I'll tell them." Albus said and his head lulled a little.

"No you won't." Something in Chloe's words seemed so definite. She was right. He wouldn't tell his parents about this. After all, what sort of threat were they outside of this room? He could take on all of them legally elsewhere and they'd be so scared that they would have to change their minds. It was nothing to worry his family about. Now telling McGonagall about the room on the other hand...

"You need to make sure nothing else is passed along to the Ministry. Do you understand me?" Chloe asked in her silky tone that was so easy to listen to. "Instead, you need to tell us things about the Ministry. For example, when is the next time they are coming back?" she asked.

"Dunno," Albus replied honestly, eyes drooping shut. Am I drunk? He pushed the goblet away but Chloe pushed it back. "I suppose they won't be back as long as nothing suspicious happens here at Hogwarts." He took another swig of his wine.

"We need to lie low for a while," Chloe said, but she was instructing it to Jackson. "I knew your invasion over the summer would lead to this. This sets our plans back!"

Invasion? What invasion? The only invasion I heard about this summer was... Oh no! Now Albus knew why he didn't want to mess with Jackson.

"It will be alright, Chloe. We are right on track now that we've got Potter with us." Jackson said, but the words didn't sit right with Albus at all. He wanted to attack Jackson, but he knew that wouldn't work.

"Scorpius, mate, you can stop with Scamander now," he instructed and Scorpius un-petrified the poor kid. Lorcan unfroze but didn't move. He was sobbing though, uncontrollably. "Why don't you and Chloe lead Albus back to the common room. I'll take care of our little rule breaker."

Chloe and Scorpius made their way to Albus but he was too drunk to fight them off of him.

"I trust we have you on our side now, Potter?" Jackson asked as Albus was shifted on to Scorpius' shoulder.

"Yes," Chloe answered for him. He couldn't argue with her. She was right. He would continue to come and see what they were up to so he could warn the others. The only problem would be not getting anyone hurt in the process.

Jackson didn't say anything else so everyone else dismissed themselves. Albus lulled about at the side of Scorpius on the way back to the dormitories while Chloe walked ahead of them. At that moment, Albus didn't know who to be scared of the most, Jackson, or Chloe.

A/N: OK, so finally a real chapter full of information. Sort of. ;) Definitely short, eh? What do you think they did to Albus' drink? Surely you wouldn't think that I would have him give in so easily without something being done, right? What do you think the invasion over the summer was that has Albus scared now? Do you have any other questions of your own? Reviews are awesome guys! :D I hope you liked it! Five more chapters and then I'm all caught up with the chapters I have pre-written. I'm excited! What about you guys, now that the plot is finally coming up? OK, I'll stop asking questions now. Thanks for reading and please review! 

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