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Chapter 22 : the world hanging upside-down
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“What are we going to do?” Professor Zabini asked, his head in his hands. He couldn’t even begin to describe what he was feeling, or if he was even feeling at all. If he were to compare it to anything, the professor would say it felt like he was drowning; helpless, scared out of his mind, and the fact it felt like there was no air in the room. Flynn had been having a rough term, that Professor Zabini knew, but not like this. This was… horrible didn’t cover it. Flynn could have died.
For the past three hours, the other three people in his office had asked the same question over and over again. What could drive an eleven-year-old to the point of cursing the magic out of himself?
But they damn well knew the answer. They just couldn’t accept it. Their little utopian fantasy would be destroyed, and Professor Zabini knew they couldn’t deal with the fact nothing they had done changed things. The prejudice wasn’t gone, and even something like this happening couldn’t shake them out of their stubborn unacceptance.
It made Professor Zabini pretty fucking angry that they would put this idea in front of what had happened. Sure, the school had called Harry Potter to investigate, and he, Longbottom, and the head of Slytherin had been having this lovely little chat for two hours, but nothing would come of it. Because they didn’t believe what Professor Zabini was saying, not truly.
“We can only wait. Once Flynn wakes up, we’ll know whether or not he was successful, and then we’ll know what to do.” Professor Longbottom simply sounded tired, but he didn’t acknowledge anything of what his colleague had told him.
“So we’re not going to do anything?” Professor Zabini said, letting some of the edge into his voice. If it were up to him, he’d scream his lungs out at the two, but he had to keep his head. Merlin knew what his house was doing right now, or how they were doing. He still heard Rhys banging on the door to his chambers and screaming for help, undiluted panic in his voice. When he’d opened the door, he saw the wheezing form of Flynn Avery, even tinier in Rhys’s arms.
This was something he would not bloody ignore. This had gone on for too long - the hexes, the prejudice, everything - and Flynn was the last straw.
“There’s nothing we can do, Blaise. I promise there will be a full inquiry, but you need to worry about your house right now,” Harry Potter advised, standing up. He had hardly said a word the past three hours. “Do you know where Albus is? I need to speak with him.”
“That’ll be a little difficult,” Professor Zabini said, letting all the bitterness into his voice. He had sent Albus’s parents an owl to let them know their son was unconscious in the hospital wing, but he guessed they didn’t read it. “He’s not conscious. You’ll find your other son there, though. Your daughter, too.” Professor Zabini nodded at Neville Longbottom, before flicking the door open with his wand. “Get out.”
Luckily, they did, and for the first time in years the professor dissolved into tears. All he could think about was how much his house had been through, and how they couldn’t handle this. How could he tell them?
Flynn didn’t know it, but he was one of the last pieces of glue holding the house together, and they were falling apart as it was. This might be thing that completely broke them.
How was he going to tell them, who had already suffered so much, that this had happened? Would any of them try the same thing?
Frankly, Professor Zabini wouldn’t blame them if they did. He would do anything to get them out of this hellhole.
If someone had told Piper she’d be sitting next to James Potter outside the hospital wing, not even fighting, she would have laughed in their face. There was some sort of an unsaid agreement between the two, that until Albus was okay they wouldn’t attack each other.
Honestly, Piper didn’t know what to think of Al’s brother anymore. For years he had tormented and tortured them, but this was different. It was as if when he finally realized just how far into a dark place Albus was, he realised what he’d done to his brother. After their conversation the first night she’d done as Scorpius asked and observed him, and saw that James was honestly trying. Gone was the little prick who hexed Piper, now James stepped in, in front of all of his mates, to save Albus when he was being bullied and waited with Piper outside the Hospital Wing so no one came after her. It was obvious he still disagreed about Nick, but it was a bloody start. And maybe this was what Al needed.
Still, though, the past six years couldn’t be forgotten, and something told Piper it would take Albus a long time to forgive James.
She didn’t know why they couldn’t go in, but there had been a swarm of people at around midnight, and none of the Slytherins came to tell her what was wrong. It was scaring Piper, but she couldn’t focus on that. Not when Albus was the way he was, only a week after the Hufflepuff incident.
“Do you think he’ll be okay?” For the first time since that night, James talked to Piper. His voice came out low and rough, eliminating any doubts lingering in Piper’s mind that he didn’t genuinely care.
“He’s seen worse,” Piper replied quietly, not meeting the older Potter’s eyes. In her hands she still held the hat she had been wearing - Nick’s hat - and she couldn’t stop staring at it. It still smelt like her best friend, and it was times like these Piper realised just how much she needed her. She would know how to handle this, and would probably know exactly how long it would take for Al to recover.
“That’s fucked up.” James didn’t know why he was suddenly talking to the youngest Longbottom, but he was glad he did. It let him know just how much he’d failed Albus over the years. And to think yesterday he’d said all those things to him…
“You’re telling me,” Piper replied, trying to force a smile. James knew Piper knew Al better than anyone, and he needed to know just how bad his brother was. He didn’t care whatever was going on with the Slytherins, that much hadn’t changed, but he needed to know how it affected Albus. Because, even though it would be so damn easier to not care, James did. He’d try to bury it as long as Albus had been at Hogwarts, but now he couldn’t. Not when Albus was like this.
“How did he handle it?” Already, a twinge of annoyance appeared inside of Piper with the Gryffindor. Why couldn’t he have asked these questions a long time ago, and not when she was out of her mind with worry and not in the mood to talk?
“You get used to it after a while, believe it or not,” Piper replied bitterly. “It’s not like you can change it, and there are better things to cry over than a little hex or bruise.”
“That was no little hex or bruise,” James countered, shaking his head. “That was just wrong.”
“Glad you think so now.” There. Piper had finally said it, and Merlin did it feel good, calling out James for everything he’d done. It was what Albus would have done, and that made Piper feel slightly warmer inside, for some odd reason.
“Look, I know I was an arse-“ James started, every inch of his face full of apology and regret. That was what stopped Piper in her tracks. He felt remorse, and a lot of it by the looks of him. This was eating up James inside, too, not just Piper. Rose had told her that Slytherins had a tendency to block everyone else out, and to not forgive, and Piper finally saw what she meant. Wasn’t James trying to make a change enough?
Some part of her still said no.
“I’d use stronger language than that,” Piper cut him off. It had started very cold, but by the end it felt more like teasing. Like they were ten years old and running around the Burrow again.
“Yeah, but I’m sorry, Piper. I don’t know how many times I can apologise before you believe it, but I am.” Smiling slightly, Piper just put her arm around the older boy. She didn’t have a chance to say anything, though, because both of their fathers were fast approaching.
“What happened?” Neville Longbottom asked immediately, his voice quiet but dangerous.
“I dunno, Dad,” Piper replied, and James merely raised his eyebrows at Piper’s sass. She wasn’t the type to do anything remotely like that, but he knew this would be amusing at the very least. He wondered if the Slytherins would be in the same situation if they were like this all the time…
“Don’t take that tone with me, Piper,” her father warned, but Piper didn’t falter.
“I’m sorry, professor, but didn’t you hear about your seventh-years beating Albus to the point where he’s still unconscious now?” Piper’s tone was sickly sweet, and it was only a dangerous look from his father that stopped James from laughing outright. He guessed Piper was taking lessons from his brother during Creevey’s lessons; James had heard many stories about those Charms lessons.
“What?” Harry Potter burst out, shocked. “Is this true, James?” For a moment fear seized Piper, fear that he would go back to what he was like before and lie. A flutter of happiness ran through Piper when he stood up next to her, arms folded across his chest.
“Carried him to the hospital wing myself,” he confirmed, his voice cold.
“How come I didn’t hear about this?” Harry Potter’s voice was outraged, and both his son and Piper fought to hold back laughter. Between the time he spent at work and the stack of letters from the school he never opened, he probably had been notified but neglected it.
“Professor Zabini sent a letter. I know he did,” Piper answered quietly, as to not disrespect that adult, too.
“Why was he being bullied?” was the father’s next question, and any respect Piper may have maintained for the saviour of the Wizarding world disappeared in an instant. “This was a one time thing, yeah?”
Instantly, a silent argument broke out between James and Piper, trying to decide who would answer this one. James gave Piper a look saying ‘I’ve lied about this a fuckton, so it can’t be me’ while Piper replied with an incredulous ‘you think they’ll believe me?’ glance. This standoff went on for a few seconds, until Piper finally broke down.
“Albus told you about what was happening with the Slytherins,” Piper started, trying to mask her coldness with false cautiousness. It didn’t work.
“Not you too, Piper,” Harry Potter sighed, before shaking his head. “I don’t know what you lot are trying to pull, but the war is over. None of this exists anymore.”
“You’re right. It’s the opposite,” James backed up, and watched his father’s face slowly turn red. “Don’t you wonder why there’s never more than five Slytherins a year? People are too fucking-“
“James,” his father warned dangerously, and James shut his mouth.
“Dad?” Piper tried, but he just looked away. Immediately, anger flared inside of Piper and everything she wanted to say for years came tumbling out. “You’ve got to be bloody joking? You’re a teacher! You see all of this happening every day, but you don’t do anything! You were walking across the grounds right before James stopped them from almost killing Albus, and you didn’t do anything! You never do… you just let them keep going, just let them tear us to pieces. How many times have I come to your lesson with a black eye? You don’t fucking care! We’ve been drowning for years, and we can’t do this anymore. You have to believe me… why would I make this up? Why would Albus? What do we have to gain? There’s nothing left. Don’t you get it? We have nothing left to try for… Nick’s gone. You don’t know how close we all are to just breaking. Albus hasn’t slept in days, Paige never keeps food down, and all those bruises the foster kids are hiding… I wonder where those are from. So open your goddamn eyes, Dad.”
“PIPER OLIVIA LONGBOTTOM!” Neville Longbottom roared while James stood there, mouth wide open. If Rhys Montague was here - as much as he didn’t like him - James knew he would’ve tackled the blonde in a hug. Getting Piper to stand up for herself like that was unheard of.
“Save it. I already know what you’re going to say,” Piper said, not a trace of fear in her voice. Now James was practically blue from the effort of not laughing, and he turned and faced the wall to hide his face from his father, who’s anger mirrored his friend’s. Someone needs to give these people a sass medal, he thought.
“Go to my office. Now,” her father growled, but Piper didn’t budge. “DO YOU THINK THIS IS A JOKE?” Roughly grabbing her by the arm and giving a push in the direction, Piper had no choice but to go, her father hot on her heels. Now it was just James and Harry Potter.
“It’s a lie, right? Please tell me it’s a lie.” His voice was low, but James had no response for him. He’d looked up to his father his entire life, but for once he saw him as his little brother did, and just how it must have felt to be him. And again regret and guilt seized James like a hand around his throat, so he just sat down and stared at the doors. But he knew none of what he was doing mattered, because Albus still hated him.
And for once James agreed he was right to.
When Professor Zabini entered the common room, every single person looked up. There had been silence before, but now no one dared to move. He could see Lottie and Thomas analysing his every move, trying to work out what had happened, he saw Rhys with his tired eyes, and he saw all of the other broken ones, the red eyes and tear-soaked faces.
“Is he all right?” Alyssa’s voice cut through the silence like a knife, and when he looked at her twin he saw he hadn’t washed the blood off his hands.
“He’s alive,” Professor Zabini confirmed, and everyone in the room let out a sigh of relief. There were even a few smiles, but they were wary… the professor was acting odd. Part of Zabini wanted to leave it at that, to let them enjoy the moment of happiness, because who was he to deliver the news? Who was he to think he could do this to them?
“There’s a but in there somewhere,” Thomas commented, and Professor Zabini felt every set of eyes bore into him, pulling the truth out of him. They had suffered too much. He knew they couldn’t take this, too. But he had to tell them. He owed them all that much.
“The spell Flynn attempted was one that rids the body of magic. I’m still not sure how he managed it, but that book has been missing for two months from the Restricted Section, so Flynn must have practised it for a long time. We think he succeeded,” he explained, and watched as the room started to dissolve. The tears were starting and nothing could stop them. “There’s a full investigation taking place.”
“So this is what it takes?” Paige burst out, make-up stained tears running down her face. “We have to curse the magic out of ourselves for them to realise something’s even wrong?”
“Where was Nick’s investigation?” a voice murmured, and agreement was made.
“Are they finally listening to us?” Arabella added, her eyes searching Professor Zabini’s face for an answer. “Do they actually care?”
“We know why Flynn did this.” Rhys’s voice was shaking, and it was taking every ounce of his strength to keep from crying in front of everyone. He needed to be strong, a leader. “He went from being abused in those homes to being abused here. This was his way out of the pain.”
“He’ll be okay, right?” a first-year asked, and Professor Zabini just sat down. “Please tell me he’ll be okay. He has to be.”
A silent tear slipped down Rhys’s face. “This has gone too far. All of this has got to stop. This crosses the line.”
“There’s nothing we can do,” Professor Zabini replied honestly. “It’s up to the other professors and the Aurors.”
“Great. We all know how that’ll work out for us. Wonder which one of us will be arrested for ‘dark magic’ this time,” Kenzie spat, standing up. “It’s never going to change, not until they finally see that this is real.”
“Why don’t they think it’s real? They see it every day.” Jasper added, everyone nodding their agreement.
“You have to understand, the war was horrible,” Professor Zabini explained, his voice calm and low. It was so quiet every slight scuffle seemed magnified to a deafening roar. “So many people killed, simply because of their blood status. And which house did the leader come from? Where his supporters were from? Slytherin. And after, no one cared that so many of your parents - mine included - had been threatened and coerced, not to mention that some had simply never known anything else. The wounds were still too fresh. And over time, some let the wounds fester into bitterness, and they named Slytherin what it is today. The hatred was passed to their children, just like it once was with us. They just haven’t realised it yet.”
“So basically,” Rhys summarised for the younger kids, “it’s the word you lot asked me about when I went on a rant about Creevey. They’re the epitome of hypocrisy.” Next to him, Alyssa cracked a smile.
“But how are we going to make them see?” Alyssa questioned, turning to the professor, who smiled.
“Well, Albus is going to wake up soon. And his brother will surely tell him what happened. I have a feeling some people-“ Lottie interjected a cough that mysteriously sounded like ‘Harry Potter’, “-are in for an eye-opener courtesy of a very mentally unstable teenage boy,” Thomas supplied, but all Professor Zabini did was nod.
Nonetheless, Professor Zabini had a letter to write. The Slytherins needed some help, if they wanted to stay afloat until the trial.
“He’s waking up,” James whispered, turning to the girl next to him. Ever since she returned from the talk with her father, Piper hadn’t said a word. He doubted she would be able to over the steady stream of tears. Of course, James didn’t try to pry or comfort; if it was him he would’ve punched himself in the face if he did.
They had been let back into the Hospital Wing roughly four hours after that lovely encounter with their parents, but half the room was blocked by a giant curtain which the adults had disappeared behind. James had no clue what had happened, but it must have been bad.
“James, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you sure it’s a good idea to be here when he wakes up? I don’t know how he’ll react.” It was obvious Piper was trying to be anything but mean, based off her soft tone, but James was still hurt, until he remembered that this was, in fact, Albus. Who still hated James. “I promise to explain everything to him, but just wait a few minutes. Please.”
Nodding stiffly, James obliged, the familiar stone in his chest reforming. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be; they shouldn’t be this broken of a family. Everything was just so… wrong. And at least part of the fault fell on James, as much as he hated to admit it.
So he watched from a corner as Piper scooted closer to his brother, plastering a smile onto her face as his brother finally opened his eyes after five days. Of course, Al let out an intelligible and elegant groan, which received a slight laugh.
“If it helps, they got detention for three weeks,” she said as Albus sat up, wincing more than slightly.
“What?” he replied, his voice hoarse. Immediately Piper gave him a glass of water, which Albus gulped down. “Why?”
“About that,” Piper started, fidgeting slightly.
“What happened, Piper?” Albus pressed, looking worried. “All I remember is the beginning bit.”
“I’m worried,” she blurted out, and James had to bite back a chuckle at her sudden bluntness. “What’s happening to you, Al? This is the first time you’ve slept in days, and it’s the second time in two weeks something like this has happened. I’m fucking terrified something worse is going to happen and no one’s going to stop it.” The words came out in a genuinely scared rush, but Albus finally focused his eyes enough to realise the state Piper was in.
“You’ve been crying. What happened to you, Piper? If they came after you I swear to Merlin-“ he started, but Piper just shook her head. For what it counted, James liked seeing his brother so protective. It proved that there was part of him left.
“It’s just my dad. We had an, erm, argument,” Piper explained, wiping her eyes. Albus still looked concerned, but what worried James more was the fact that he still looked tired, and like shit. There was a rather large bruise covering half of his face, not to mention a cut from where his head hit the tree.
“What about?” Albus asked, and Piper looked down. She knew what had happened. James knew it. And it was something huge.
And so James was faced with a dilemma. He could step in now and stop Albus from finding out horrendous news he didn’t need to hear, or he could let him find out. He didn’t know how bad Albus was, but based on everything, it wasn’t good. But would hiding this solve anything?
Luckily, James was saved from making that decision, because their father had just discovered Albus’s return to the waking world.
“Albus?” he asked, and immediately watched his son stiffen.
“What are you doing here? What’s going on?” he asked immediately, his voice so cold it made James wince. Maybe talking to his brother wasn’t a good idea after all…
“How did this happen?” was Harry’s reply, and everyone in the room watched Albus try to figure out a lie. It was Albus could do anymore, because he knew his father would never believe him. “Just tell me.” There was pressure in Harry’s voice, and James found himself growing angry. Did he not see the shape Albus was in? Did he not see that getting angry wouldn’t help anything?
“I think you know,” Albus replied, his voice quiet. Nodding to himself in approval, James was glad Albus responded rationally instead of screaming. That’s what it normally escalated to at this point.
“I want the truth for once. How did this happen?” Harry’s voice carried a tone of urgency, and that’s when James realised just why his father was there. It wasn’t about Albus. It was about whoever was behind that curtain. He hadn’t even known Al was hurt until… he had to talk to someone. That meant, for him to find out, the student was either a Slytherin or a Gryffindor. Why did James think he already knew which it was…
“Who else would it be? It was the Gryffindors,” Albus answered, not looking at anyone. Piper was watching James anxiously, but he shook his head. He didn’t want his presence known just yet.
“Goddammit Albus. Please tell me you’re lying.” Harry’s hands were running through his hair and he stood up, pacing. “You have to be. It’s not what he said, and this is just some illusion. I know the school, and this wouldn’t happen.”
“No offence, Sir,” Piper began quietly, seeing Albus close his eyes and sink into the pillows behind him. He wasn’t even going to fight. “But isn’t that what happened during the war? People being discriminated against because of something they can’t control?”
“But that was during the war, Piper.” The tone of his voice was borderline condescending, and James had to clench his fists to keep silent. “Things changed.”
“I’m sorry, but things have just reversed.” Albus’s voice was barely audible, but it made his father stop in his tracks. “Can’t you see?”
“No. I don’t see. The only people who do are you lot. The Slytherins. So sorry if I have difficulty believing the words of a sixteen-year-old who doesn’t know true prejudice,” Harry said, and that was when James couldn’t take it anymore. He had to see.
“I see it. They aren’t lying,” James said, stepping out to where he was easily visible.
“Oh for Merlin’s sake, not you too, James. You aren’t buying into this story now, are you?” Harry sounded exasperated, but James remained firm. It was his only chance at redemption.
“Why do you care? Why are you here?” Albus asked, his face a mixture of surprise and hatred as he took in his brother’s appearance.
“Look at him, Dad. Why would he make this up?” James appealed to reason, trying to use logic instead of anger, like Albus had all those years. He didn’t know how long it would last, because he could already feel his temper swelling like a hot-air balloon. He finally understood all of Albus’s frustrations with their father.
“James,” Albus warned, his voice harsh. “Just stop. You’re not helping. Just get out.” That was when something inside of James snapped. He’d let Albus hate him for six years, and had hated him back, but he couldn’t do that anymore. How could he be angry at someone so fucking broken that he couldn’t even defend himself? Someone had to stand up for Albus, because he sure as hell wasn’t doing it for himself anymore.
“Who do you think it was that stopped it?” James roared, but he was facing their father. “Who had to carry you all the way here because they had beat you until you were unconscious? Who has to see you every day, when you look like this?”
“Like you care!” Albus yelled right back, dissolving into a coughing fit. “It’s been six years, and you think you can just try to waltz back in?”
“I know, all right?” James said, his voice cracking and unsteady. “I know I’ve been horrible these past few years, but you don’t have to remind me. I’m sorry, Al, I’m sorry for abandoning you, I’m sorry for being such a prick to you, but I can’t stand by anymore. Look at yourself! You aren’t sleeping, you don’t even try anymore, and you’re in the bloody hospital wing! I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m your brother. I care about you and I can’t let this continue. It’s not healthy, Al.”
“You stopped caring about me the moment that hat came off of my head,” Albus spat, rounding on his father. “You, too!”
“Albus, just listen to him. He’s the one who stopped them, he’s the one who brought you here, and he’s the one who’s stayed with me,” Piper added in, lightly grabbing her friend’s hand. “Just give James a chance.”
“I’m so fucking terrified. You look like you’re going to break in two,” James admitted, now barely blinking back tears. He was actually doing this. His stomach was turning, his hands were sweating and shaky, but he was finally doing it. He was talking to Albus, telling him everything.
Albus couldn’t even bring himself to reply, but that was a victory in James’s opinion. He looked - really looked - at his brother, and saw just how badly he was drowning. All of the creases in his brow, the way he couldn’t look anyone in the eye… everything adding up made James’s stomach sink even further.
“I know you don’t completely hate us. I know what you did for Lily,” James said quietly, and surprised, emerald snapped up to meet hazel. Even widened in his fear and surprise, Albus’s eyes looked so tired. “Thank you.” And that was it. With a nod in James’s direction, Al (and James) turned to face their father.
“It can’t be. It can’t,” Harry said, shaking his head. The normal cool confidence was gone, and it looked like he was having an internal struggle. “There has to be another answer.”
“There isn’t,” Albus answered, his voice shaking but firm.
“NO!” his father yelled, putting his head in his hands. “I know you’re hurt, Albus, but this can’t be it. Why would you choose Slytherin if it was like this? And Flynn, there must be another explanation.”
“What about Flynn?” Albus asked, his voice dangerous. He received no reply, only his father looking away. “What about him?” Now his voice was practically a roar.
“He cursed the magic out of himself,” Harry explained finally, unable to meet either Albus or Piper’s gaze. Immediately, Piper’s tears started again, but there was no surprise; she had known.
But James could only think about one thing. This was not news Albus could physically handle right now. Not only was Nick exceedingly protective of Flynn, and he would feel like he failed her, but the Slytherins were practically a family. This news would crush him indefinitely. Couldn’t their father see that he shouldn’t have told him? Or did he just not care?
“And yet you don’t believe us!” Albus had stood up now, and James went to push him back into the bed, but one look from his brother caused him to back off. It was the final straw, and he wasn’t going to stop until his father saw the truth. “Flynn, who’s eleven, tries to bloody rid himself of magic because he can’t handle it, and yet this is still some figment of my imagination? Are you really so stuck on the idea that what you did needs to mean something that you’d ignore something like this? He could have died! And none of this would’ve even happened if you’d just listened to me! You know, you’re just as worse as the rest of them! You’ve let this happen. You’ve let all of this happen. Nick, now Flynn. The blood is on your hands. Open your fucking eyes. For Flynn. You want to know what he faced? He spent eleven years getting the shit beat out of him because his father was a Death Eater, and he got here and the same thing happened. So you better fucking listen to him, because you’re going to fix this. Because it’s real.”
“Albus,” Harry started, not even realising that Neville was standing next to him again. “I… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t tell me you're sorry. You can tell Nick sorry, or Flynn. But this has gone too far. You need to end this,” he said coldly, before slowly hobbling over behind a curtain where his clothing was. No one tried to stop him.
“James, I-“ he tried, tears streaming down his face, but James just shook his head.
“Albus is right. The Slytherins might have done some shitty stuff, but this has got to end. It got to the point where Flynn would give up his magic to be out of this hell. And Albus doesn’t need to deal with this right now. So just fix it.” And with that, James stormed out of the Hospital Wing.
He knew who was the final straw for the young Slytherin. Professor Creevey. And because he knew Albus physically couldn’t, James was going to make that man pay for what he inevitably caused a child to do. He couldn’t wrap his head around anything but the rage fuelling him as he realised the results of the things he had helped push to the edge.
For all of them, who had suffered for far too long.
For his brother. He had just got him back, and he wasn’t going to lose him to himself. Someone had to stop before all of the Slytherins got to the point Flynn had.
That week, everything had turned upside-down before James Potter. It was confusing and bloody terrifying, but for the first time in years it felt like he was doing the right thing.
To hell with the consequences. To hell with everything.
If his father wasn’t going to fix things, James would.
I know you just finished being certified as a Healer, (and I’m exceedingly proud of you) but I was wondering if I could call you away from your new job until the end of term. I’m going to put this bluntly: the Slytherins are falling apart. They’re a mess, and I’m sure you’ve heard by now what happened to Flynn Avery.
They need someone to hold them together until the trial. Please, if you can, come back to Hogwarts. It’ll be under the pretence of ‘assisting me with lessons’, but it will truly be that field study I know you need. You don’t understand how much worse it is right now. I wouldn’t ask you if I wasn’t desperate.
Signing the letter, Professor Zabini sent it off into the night. If anyone could save the Slytherins, it was Jane. She was his last hope.
A/N: So tell me what you make of this. Love? Hate? Any characters you want to kill? I'm so proud of Piper and James right now; they're finally doing things right. But Al... I worry about him.
Also, half of the next chapter was on a laptop which now decides it will not turn on. So I have to restart that. Thanks, and please review!
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