Chapter 13 : Birthday Discussions
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“Albus! Wake up!” a voice hissed in his ear. Albus groaned and pulled his covers over his head. He certainly didn’t get enough sleep last night. Probably because he was getting cakes, being chased by Filch, and sneaking up on dark wizards. Doesn’t that deserve a break?
“Albus you have to get up!” the voice groaned. Albus recognized it as David’s voice. “You have Quidditch practice soon,” David added. Albus groaned and climbed out of bed.
“Where’s Art?” Albus asked. He suddenly noticed that the birthday boy was missing.
“Already at breakfast,” David replied. “Do you realize how late it is? You have Quidditch practice in half an hour!”
“Okay, Okay,” Albus replied. He got dressed quickly and headed down to the great hall. David and Albus walked down together.
“Are we going to tell Art about Zajecfer and all?” Albus asked.
“I asked Rose about that,” David said. “She said we should wait until tomorrow, after his birthday. If we do it now, it will completely ruin his birthday, and he’ll just be thinking about that all day.”
Albus had to agree. Whenever his birthday came around, he always wanted it to be the best day ever. Still, he felt bad about keeping one of his best friends in the dark. But Art wouldn’t be in the dark for long, they’d tell him tomorrow.
“Hi,” Art yelled when he saw Albus and David come into the great hall.
“Happy Birthday Art,” Albus grinned. It was wonderful to see his friend looking so happy. “I already had chocolate chip waffles,” Art said happily. “Wish you didn’t have Quidditch practice.”
“Maybe you can convince Chris to let you out early?” Art asked.
That was going to be hard. He’d probably murder Albus for suggesting that. They had a game with Slytherin in just three weeks. The team was practicing harder than ever, since Slytherin was their rival. However, Albus didn’t express this to Art.
“It’s going to be hard to convince him,” Albus said thoughtfully. “Though he might let me off because it’s your birthday.”
Albus happily started eating his waffles. It was going to be such an exciting day! He always got excited on birthdays, even if they weren’t his own. Al spotted Rose coming to the table, a book clutched in her hands.
“Hello, and Happy Birthday Art!” she grinned. “Albus, hurry up, Chris doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
“I know, I know, “ Albus said. “I woke up late.”
Albus finished up his waffles, dashed up to Gryffindor tower to grab his broom, and then he walked out to the Quidditch pitch.
Most of the team was already there. He climbed onto his broom and Chris blew his whistle.
“Everyone, do five laps around the pitch!” Chris yelled.
Albus happily soared into the air and did five quick laps around the field. The laps were probably one of his favorite parts about practice, all he had to do was fly.
The rest wasn’t quite so enjoyable. Today Chris had them practicing dodging bludgers. It was quite simple, except when he had them dodge when they were trying to shoot goals.
“Why do you throw bludgers at us when we’re throwing Quaffles?” James asked angrily.
“That’s what will happen in a game, Potter!” Chris had yelled back. “The other team won’t wait for you to be positioned correctly!”
Apart, from that, it was a rather enjoyable practice. Albus got to shoot a few goals, defend a few goals, and chuck a few bludgers at his brother’s head. Albus even got the chance to catch the golden snitch a few times.
Luckily for Al, Chris let practice out early, at about one o’clock. The team was happily chatting about this, since Chris never let practice out early. But Al didn’t stick around to listen, he headed straight to the boy’s dormitory.
“Albus!” Art exclaimed. “How was practice?”
“It was okay,” Albus said. “I got hit by a bludger a few times, but on the plus side, I got to hit a few bludgers at James.”
Rose and Art were currently playing wizard chess. While Art was occupied with talking to Albus, he noticed David slip away to get the cake. After the game of wizard chess was over, the three of them walked down to the great hall for lunch.
“Where’s David?” asked Art as they sat down.
“He probably wants to go get itching cream or something,” Rose said, but determinedly avoiding Art’s eyes.
Since Albus was sitting across from Art, he saw David sneak behind Art with the cake. Art whirled around.
“Da-“ Art said, and then stopped abruptly. He was staring, open-mouthed, at the huge cake that was in David’s hands.
“Is that for me?” Art managed to squeak out.
“No, it’s for my pet hamster,” David joked. “Did you seriously think that we wouldn’t do anything for your birthday?”
“Happy Birthday, Art,” Albus laughed as Rose began to cut the cake.
The rest of Art’s birthday was a joyous occasion, with laughs all day long. Albus hoped his birthday was this good. But all too soon, the morning came, and it was time to discuss the strange sights Albus and David had seen.
Albus and David sat on his bed in the dormitory, and explained what they had seen when they got Art’s cake. Rose sat next to them, listening, and Art sat listening attentively, since he hadn’t heard the story yet.
When they were finally finished their tale, Art said, “You kept this from me for my entire birthday?”
Albus assured him, “It was just for one day. Besides, I think we all wanted one day off just to relax and not think.”
“At least you told me now,” Art replied, a little hopefully. “That whole disappearing thing was weird though, are there methods of magical disappearances?”
“Well, there is apparition, but it doesn’t work inside Hogwarts,” Rose informed them. “He could have touched a portkey, so he disappeared. He may have not disappeared at all, and just turned himself invisible. The disillusionment charm can make you turn invisible. What I don’t get is what that potion was used for. He poured it on the ground before he disappeared, right?”
“Right,” Albus agreed, remembering vividly of those two drops he dribbled on the ground before he disappeared.
“Maybe he made a magic circle?” Art suggested. “I don’t know about this, because I read about it before I knew I was a wizard, but I read a book where the magician drew a magic circle. Maybe Zajecfer drew a magic circle with the potion that made him disappear?”
Rose pondered his suggestion. “I’m not sure. I suppose it is possible. Only ancient sorcerers, way back in medieval times, ever used magic circles. They weren’t very effective, and they later changed to just using wands to cast spells. It was very tedious to create a magic circle, since you had to take certain measures to make sure it did what you wanted, draw the proper runes, and use an object with magical properties to draw it. So most magicians later changed to wands.”
“I don’t think it was a magic circle,” Albus said. “He just poured two drops on the ground, and they weren’t in the shape of a circle.”
“I still think he just turned invisible,” Rose speculated. “That seems far more likely. That was pretty stupid for you to run out from under the cloak, David. He probably saw you.”
David held up his hands in defense. “I panicked, all right? I’d just seen a guy disappear.”
“I thought you were born a wizard, David,” Rose replied. “Don’t you see people disappear all the time?"
“Never in Hogwarts,” David said. “And never in circumstances such as that. That guy looked freaky. He looked like he was in his twenties, but he was already loosing hair!”
“Still, you should know better-“
“Can you please stop yelling?” Albus interrupted, groaning. “We’re trying to figure out what happened, not criticizing David on his idiocy.”
At that last statement, David grinned. “I pride myself on my idiocy. Being an idiot is my entire personality! And my best talent.”
“David!” Rose exclaimed. “You should NOT pride yourself on your idiocy!”
“Please, let’s back to what we were talking about,” Albus pleaded. It was really annoying when Rose and David bickered.
“What were we talking about?” David questioned. “We were talking about what happened the other night, obviously, but what specifically?”
“Great job, David, you made us forget,” Rose retorted.
“I think Rose was talking about how Zajecfer might have turned invisible,” Art whispered. Albus started; he had almost forgotten the smaller boy was there. Art was very good at blending into the shadows.
“Right,” Rose agreed. “I do think he just turned invisible, that is much simpler than simply disappearing off the Hogwarts grounds. Do you realize how much protection Hogwarts has?”
“Well, Flitwick is under the imperius curse,” Albus said. “He might have taken some defenses down so Zajecfer can do that.”
“Albus, have you read Hogwarts, a History, at all?”
“No,” Albus admitted.
“There are many ancient spells put on and around Hogwarts, most of them have been here centuries, some of them have been around since the school was founded. You can’t simply ‘take them down’.”
“Maybe if he was smart enough…” Albus suggested.
“Al, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of spells are around the school. Half of them are put up against apparating and disapparating, and other forms of magical disappearances. There aren’t any spells preventing invisibility, though.”
“Okay,” Albus said, admitting defeat.
“If it is invisibility, than what is the purpose of the potion?” David challenged.
“Hmm…” Rose said. They all watched her think for several minutes, and Rose was muttering under her breath.
“Al,” Rose asked, “Can you describe the potion for me again?"
“Well,” Albus began. “It was in a clear bottle, and I couldn’t really see the potion at all. It was pretty much invisible, it was clearer than water. There was however, red steam coming from it, so I knew it was a potion.”
“Aha!” Rose exclaimed. “I’ve got the answer.”
“What is it?” Art asked excitedly, leaning in so he could hear her better. Albus did the same.
“There’s no doubt that the potion was invisible. It was probably a potion made to turn you invisible!”
“But why would he pour it on the ground?” David questioned. “Wouldn’t you drink it?” Rose responded by rolling her eyes.
“Honestly, David, not all potions are meant to drink. It probably made everything in a 5-foot radius invisible. It’s quite simple.”
David, however, wasn’t ready to let Rose win yet. Albus grinned in amusement as he saw David screwing up his face in concentration, trying to come up with an idea.
“I’ve got an idea!” David exclaimed. “I think that potion triggered a secret entrance. But only the person who poured the potion can see it, so he just walked into the secret entrance, and since we couldn’t see the entrance, it made it look like he disappeared.”
“Why would he use an invisible potion with red steam as the gateway?” Rose retorted, her face flushed.
David shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I dunno, maybe he just thought it looked cool. All dramatic."
“Honestly David, you are failing in this argument,” Rose groaned. “You are just too arrogant to realize that I am right!”
“Arrogant? Arrogant? YOU are the arrogant one, you can’t accept that I’m right and you’re wrong. You just don’t like my brilliant idea.”
“And this is coming from the boy who claimed he was an idiot two minutes ago?”
“Hey, I’m not an idiot all the time, I’m just an idiot some of the time.”
“And this is one of those times that you are an idiot.”
“Guys,” Albus butted in. “Can you please stop arguing? We’re trying to figure out what happened, not have a shouting match.” Albus got really annoyed when Rose and David argued like that. They were going to give him a migraine one of these days.
“Right, sorry,” Rose said, her face flushing again.
“Sorry,” David mumbled, not sounding sorry at all. “But can I please add that I’m not being an idiot right now-“
“No,” Al responded. “Let’s just stop with the ideas, and figure out what to do.”
“Well,” Rose began, pulling herself together, “I realized yesterday that I was really stupid.”
“You’re actually admitting you’re stupid!” David exclaimed. “That’s great! We should make today a national holiday!”
“David,” Rose groaned. “I didn’t mean it that way. I realized that the second we found out about Lord Zajecfer, we should have searched in the library! He must have done something bad enough to get into the old Daily Prophets.”
“That’s a great idea!” Albus said, glad that they were now taking courses of action and not just chatting about what happened.
“And,” Rose added. “I think we should search for that potion in the library too. It might give us some clues.”
“Uh, Rose?” Art asked quietly. “How are we supposed to search it? We don’t know what it’s called.”
“Well, most potion books have a description of what the potion looks like, after the explain how to make it. We’ll just look there,” Rose responded smartly.
“Can we look in the restricted section? Please?” David begged. “I’ve always wanted to have a good look around there.”
“NO!” Rose yelled, with so much force Albus nearly fell off the bed.
“But what if we can’t find the potion or Lord Zajecfer anywhere else?” David asked. “What about then?”
Rose considered David for a moment. “I suppose, but only if we have searched every single book, magazine, and newspaper in the library.”
“YES!” David whooped, jumping off the bed and doing a happy dance. “I’m going to the restricted section!”
“David!” Rose yelled. “I never made any promises!”
“Why do you want to go in there, anyway?” Albus asked. “The only things in the restricted section are the books on the dark arts.”
David’s happy face was instantly gone, and a shadow rippled across it.
“I really just wanted to make fun of Filch by going in the restricted section,” David said. “But I would, never, ever, be interested in the dark arts.”
“We know you’re not interested in the dark arts. If you were you’d be in Slytherin, not Gryffindor,” Rose assured him.
“Good point, Slytherin is for losers!” David exclaimed. “And evil people.” David then proceeded to the common room, with Rose trailing behind.
Albus turned to Art, who was sitting next to him. Art was grinning wildly.
“I’m glad David is my friend,” Art said. “He provides great entertainment. We don’t even have to pay!”
“Don’t you dare let David hear you saying that,” Albus said teasingly. “Or he’ll make us start paying. I don’t want to lose any galleons!”
The two of them started towards the stairs behind David and Rose. Al knew he should feel scared, after talking about Lord Zajecfer, but he didn’t feel scared at all. Nothing was ever scary when his friends were around. And tomorrow, they would start researching so Al wouldn’t be taken by surprise again.
Thanks for all reviews so far, especially from MargaretLane, who has reviewed every chapter!
With summer around the corner, hopefully I'll be able to update more frequently.
What do you think of all the theories?
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