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Chapter 22 : The Halloween Fiasco-Part 1
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The next morning was dreary and grim, the grounds of Hogwarts becoming smothered in a heaping pile of snow that seemed to have no end. Even the surface of the Black Lake appeared to have frozen over completely during the night, the faint sunlight peeking through the clouds causing the surface to gleam like polished India ink.
Trees were devoid of leaves and the Forbidden Forest appeared as imposing and threatening as ever, reminding Albus of some nightmare that he had had not too long ago of skeletons and monsters. Considering that he had been inside the Forest and knew some of the terrible things that happened inside, his avoidance of the place was only intensified when he recalled his narrow escape.
If it hadn't have been for Kane, one of the centaurs there, Albus wasn't certain if he would have made it out alive. He also wasn't sure if having his life being owed in the creature's hands was a good thing. But that quickly faded from the corner of his mind as he and his Misfit friends trooped happily out of the castle and onto the grounds, intent on enjoying the day as best they could before tonight.
With their plans for Halloween finally finished and their preparations having been checked and double checked before they had stepped out of Gryffindor Tower (Without Rose and Sue Corner's help), they were far more relaxed than Albus would have thought. It would only be a matter of time now before they would find out what Zabini's secrets were and while he was far more excited at the prospect, he was also worried about what truth they would uncover.
What if all there was to Zabini was a stinky dungeon and the remains of old Quidditch Weekly magazines? What if all they found there were photos of Zabini dressed in slinky tops and skirts? Albus had thought of these things more than once (Though he was certain that Zabini wouldn't be the type to wear skirts at all), feeling an apprehensive fear in his bones.
Benjamin Malfoy's cryptic words from last night had made him wonder just how far they were all willing to go to discover the truth. He heard the words now as he bent down in the snow, creating a snowball to throw at Scorpious, “I know that Zabini looks like the type to eat cute little kids like you but let's just say you get the answers you want—have you ever even thought about what you might find?”
Albus worried that he might find something that he wouldn't want to ever see again and wasn't quite sure why. There was no denying that Zabini was up to something strange as he went to and from the Forbidden Forest and boiled his Wolfsbane but he knew that all was not as it seemed.
“Look out, Albus!” Lavender suddenly cried and he was struck unceremoniously in the face by a rather large snowball. Coughing, he wiped the snow away, watching as Scorpious roared with laughter some feet away, clutching his side.
The two of his friends weren't the only ones tossing snowballs at one another, Albus noted with a grin. James and Mason were ganging up on Samantha Jordan and Sally Creevey while Chris Finnigan and Elliot Thomas were down by the Black Lake, creeping up on a few Slytherins from behind.
“I'll get you for that one!” Albus vowed, quickly forming a ball of his own before tossing it at Scorpious and hitting Lavender instead. “Sorry Lav!” he laughed when she spluttered, blinking.
Scorpious's gloating laughter was quickly diminished when Lavender promptly attacked him, tossing large snowballs directly at his face. Albus quickly ducked as he became her next target before ganging up on her with his moody blonde friend, “That's not fair at all!” Lavender cried, laughing and red-faced as the boy's started to overwhelm her.
Albus dodged a rather nice ball (About the size of Goyle's thick skull) just in time and watched as it sailed high in the sky before landing with a smack on top of Rose's head as she trooped over with Sue Corner. His cousin spluttered in shock and Scorpious collapsed in a fit of laughter onto the cold ground, “Its not funny Malfoy!” Rose groused, wiping away the snow with a thickly gloved hand.
“But it is funny!” Albus defended, tossing another snowball at Rose and watching as the girl dodged it with a squeal. Sue Corner had already knelt down to start a pile of her own and he had a feeling that he was her intended victim, “relax, Rose and have some fun!”
Rose opened her mouth to protest that but dodged another snowball just in time before retaliating. “We're supposed to be—ooomph!” she grunted as Albus hit her in the stomach with a perfectly round ball of snow, “being patient until tonight until we can get into Zabini's room!” she wheezed.
Albus knew that his cousin had a point but they had the entire day ahead of them and no classes to do what they wanted. It was Saturday after all and the Feast wasn't until a few hours and even then, their plan would take a while to get started, “We know that but there's no point in getting all tense before it even happens!” he cried, tossing a snowball at her again.
Sue Corner had taken up arms and was using her wand to distribute her snowballs (Which were very large) at the three of them. Lavender returned fire, a competitive spark entering her eye as Scorpious used Albus as a shield, “And plus it'd be suspicious if we were seen in the castle while everyone was inside, its bad enough that Professor Longbottom watches us all the time!” his cousin's friend said.
Albus had to agree with her, even though he said nothing. Professor Longbottom had kept a keen eye on the three of them at the Gryffindor table this morning at breakfast and he'd seen him watching them as they'd come out of the castle, “He's really suspicious and Zabini is too you know!” he said.
Rose ducked as Scorpious's snowball sailed past her and she glared at him murderously. Quickly, she bent down to gather her own snowballs, “I saw the way he was glaring at you three during breakfast this morning, we had better be extra careful tonight!”
Albus shuddered a little, knowing that the feel of Zabini's dark eyes boring into his face hadn't been his imagination. The fact that they had stolen back his Cloak (With the amazing Roxanne Weasley's help of course) right under his nose and hadn't been proven to do it irked the Potions master more than anything.
He was more than a little suspicious of them and knew that they had been trying to discover his secrets. Which made tonight both dangerous and a little frightening for them, they had already gotten into trouble for going into the Forest and causing so much panic but Albus knew that if they were somehow found out tonight that it might actually mean expulsion. Or worse, a very nasty spanking from their parents that would have his butt stinging forever.
“He's probably watching us right now for all we know!” Scorpious grumbled as he aimed another snowball, this time at Sue. Albus found that to be far more disturbing and looked around the expanse of the grounds, seeing nothing but a dark shape moving across the frozen land.
Lavender looked especially disturbed by that idea. Her black hair was plastered to her face and a little wet from Sue Corner's snowballs but Albus thought that her eyes were wider with fear, rather than cold, “I don't think you should be joking about that!”
Scorpious snorted and tossed another snowball at Rose. She dodged it and sent one flying at his blonde head that hit Albus instead, “I'm not joking about anything!” he said crossly. “Its not like he didn't say he wasn't watching us!”
“Its creepy that he is!” Rose said as she tossed a snowball at Albus. He ducked and tossed a rather lumpy one at her that struck Sue Corner in the face and caused her to stumble a bit, “he really doesn't like you two,” she pointed at Scorpious and Albus with a gloved finger.
Albus and Scorpious exchanged a look at this truth, even though he knew that Zabini detested his moody blonde friend more. There was something about Scorpious that the man just couldn't stand and he wondered if it had more to do with that odd favor that Mr. Malfoy owed him, “He's supposed to be looking out for Scorpious you know,” he said out loud.
Lavender pointed out calmly. “That doesn't have to mean he has to like him though.” She gave Scorpious a warm smile when he opened his mouth to say something to that and he turned pink and looked away, “we like him just fine.”
That was true even though he got on his nerves, Albus thought. “Don't you think its weird that your dad owes Zabini a favor?” he asked Scorpious, once again looking across the grounds. That black shape was still moving across the land and he felt a fear in his bones at what it might be, “don't you think its kinda odd?”
“Of course I do, what do you want me to say?” Scorpious grumbled as he concentrated on forming a rather large snowball. He was going to aim it at Rose probably, from the stricken look on her face, “I don't know a lot about my dad or anything.”
Sue Corner was curious. “What do you mean?”
Scorpious explained with a frown. “I mean, I know that my dad was a Death Eater and I know that he was supposed to kill the headmaster and didn't...which is why my granddad thinks I'm a prince,” Albus shuddered at the idea. “But other than that, I don't know much about if he has many friends or not or anything else about him.”
Lavender looked very sympathetic and Albus frowned worriedly, knowing that the Malfoy home was very different from his. His own father had a lot of friends (Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione were his closest of course) but he wondered what it was like for someone like Mr. Malfoy, who people hated for dark, past deeds.
“He must talk about how he was as a boy sometimes,” Rose said with a thoughtful expression that surprised Albus. Perhaps she had taken to heart what Roxanne had warned them about in picking on Scorpious about his family and he was proud of her, “he is your dad.”
Scorpious looked down at the monstrously sized snowball in his hand and squished it as he made a fist. “So what if he is my dad? Doesn't mean I have to know him or any of his deepest secrets. I know enough,” he spat, tossing the snowball onto the ground.
Albus and Rose exchanged a look and Lavender murmured something in Scorpious's ear that had him turning pink. He didn't know what she was saying to him but it apparently soothed their friend enough to make him smile, “What's your dad like then?” Sue Corner dared to ask.
“Why?” Scorpious shot back suspiciously. After a moment he thought about it for a while and then pinched Lavender's cheeks as he said, “my dad is just...my dad. He's quiet and doesn't laugh a lot but he's always played with me and my sister, Benjamin says that he used to wouldn't even smile.”
Albus knew that Benjamin Malfoy was a lot older than Scorpious and their younger sister Emily. “Why not?” he asked his friend.
Scorpious thought about it for a moment or two before releasing Lavender and staring at the ground. “I think he's sad a lot. He and my mum got divorced and he married my step-mum but sometimes, when he thought that I wasn't awake I would walk by his office and hear him crying,” he whispered.
That was startling news and Albus felt something in his chest give way at the words, not understanding what it could be. “Have you ever asked him?” Rose whispered uncertainly.
“No, I don't think I want to know why.” Scorpious replied sourly.
Albus thought that it might be best to change the subject and glanced around quickly for something that would interest the group. Instead, his eyes caught sight of the figure moving across the grounds and shivered, “I think that's Zabini coming over...” he said unthinkingly.
Scorpious scowled at the mention of the man and Lavender paled considerably and shivered. Rose and Sue Corner exchanged a worried glance, “Just as well, I need to pee anyway.” His cranky friend said rather rudely, “maybe we should go to the loo together Albus and see if he wants to watch that too!”
“I would rather not, Mr. Malfoy.” Zabini's cold voice hissed and the children jumped at his sudden appearance. Albus wondered how he had crept up on them so easily when he had been a fair distance away (He would forever think he flew), “not a very pleasing sight for anyone, I must say.”
The words were incredibly dry and Albus had to reel away in distaste. Scorpious's cheeks turned a bit pink but he merely glared up at the man unflinchingly while Lavender slipped next to Albus and grabbed his arm, “Where'd you come from?” Albus wanted to know. “Hagrid's?”
“Though its none of your business Potter Jr. I was indeed at Hagrid's earlier, I had been invited in for a cup of tea.” Zabini said and the expression on his face was briefly pleased with his own thoughts before he continued with a slight sneer, “afterward I made a trip into the Forest to check on the wards.”
The Misfits exchanged a glance at that.
Zabini ran his eyes between them irritably but from the grim look on his face, the condition of the wards hadn't been very good. “There are...strange things happening there, in the Forest.”
Albus thought that it was strange of him to think so when he was about as strange as anything could get. “Is the person still taking the wards down then?” he asked the man, suddenly feeling a chill in his bones that had nothing to do with his presence or the chilly winter air.
Zabini angled his head for a moment as he considered the question and he was silent for a very long time. When he spoke, his tone was weary, “The situation is being handled as well as it can be, though I have just refortified some of the spells that were taken down, one can never be too careful.”
The children looked startled. “None of the teachers have caught the person then, professor?” Rose asked him anxiously and Albus recalled that she had yet to hear from her mother about the protective spells in the Forest.
“There's no need to fear, Ms. Weasley, all will be resolved in due time.” Zabini replied calmly, his tone one that would rouse the undead back to slumber. “But I'm sure none of you would be foolish enough to test that theory by wandering blindly into the Forest at night...would you?”
The barb was perfectly aimed and the Misfits turned rather flush at the sneer forming on his face. “What do you want?” his moody blonde friend demanded, losing whatever shred of patience he had managed to hold onto.
“Scorpious!” Lavender snapped.
Rose and Sue Corner had gone as stiff as statues as they watched the exchange but Zabini motioned them over with a crook of one long finger. Albus thought he heard various children wailing in misery all over the world, “Rudeness isn't a virtue, Mr. Malfoy.” Zabini snapped at Scorpious's angry face. “A word with the five of you before I continue on my way.”
Albus quickly swallowed and ran his eyes over the man critically. There was no sign that he had ventured out into the Forest last night and his robes and coat looked to be clean and fresh, though he could see dark circles hanging under his eyes, “We haven't done anything,” he said defiantly.
Zabini angled his head at him curiously, as if he found that highly debatable and Albus wondered annoyingly if he thought Hogwarts would erupt in flames the very minute they stepped back inside. “Yet,” the Potions teacher said darkly. “You five haven't done anything yet.”
“What are you trying to say?” Scorpious wanted to know, folding his arms across his chest stubbornly. “You make it sound like we're about to go run around naked singing carols or something.”
Zabini's eye twitched with irritation and Albus rammed his elbow into Scorpious's side, making him grunt. Anger rippled off of the man in waves and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up in alarm, “As charming as ever, Mr. Malfoy.”
“Are we in some sort of trouble?” Lavender asked him cautiously.
Zabini flicked his dark eyes on her briefly and Albus could have sworn that he smiled for just a second. “Not at all Ms. Patil. I only came to inform the five of you and yes, that means you too Ms. Weasley,” he spat unkindly when he saw Rose gawping at him, “that you all are to report in Professor Smith's room promptly at eight to begin a lovely Feast of your own.”
Albus and the others groaned aloud at the reminder. Instead of being in the Great Hall attending the Feast with everyone else, they would be spending a few hours with Smith instead for punishment for not only stealing the Sorting Hat but for what the Misfits had done by going into the Forest.
It was only one of several other punishments that would make the coming holidays a nightmare. “How long do we have to stay there?” Scorpious demanded angrily.
“Until I bloody well see that you've been properly punished and I do assure you, Mr. Malfoy that being in the company of Smith for longer than five minutes will give anyone thoughts of a creative death.” Zabini said dryly and Albus could see from his expression that he wasn't joking.
Lavender broke up the awkward silence by bursting into a fit of sneezes as the melting snow and chilly air got to her. Albus rubbed her back and Scorpious held up her scarf for her to blow her nose on, “We're going to be there with him all night, aren't we?” Rose asked the man warily.
Zabini smiled and Albus recoiled, thinking of graves and decayed flesh. It was such a creepy thing watching him smile and he thought he heard Sue Corner give a slight squeak of alarm, “I wouldn't dare do something so cruel. Professor Longbottom will come to get you when the Feast is over, sometime around midnight, I'd expect while the rest of us are enjoying our meal.”
Scorpious narrowed his eyes up at him annoyingly. “Do you even eat?”
Zabini glared at him but smiled again, his dark eyes becoming something that was both unsettling and strangely hypnotic. “I only feast upon the flesh of lightly roasted eleven-year-old boys and girls, Mr. Malfoy,” Albus gawped in horror. “And that brings me to something else,” he said with the calm of a growing storm.
Albus and the others exchanged a look. “Are you going to eat us?” Lavender asked him worriedly. “We talked about this before and we don't think that we'll taste very good.” She told him around a loud sneeze.
Zabini stared at the five of them unblinkingly for a few seconds before digging into his coat for something. Albus and Scorpious exchanged a look, thinking perhaps that he meant to take out salt and pepper but instead, he only removed a perfectly ordinary green handkerchief, “Take this Ms. Patil before you expire,” he said to Lavender with stunning kindness.
Surprised, Lavender took the handkerchief gingerly and pressed it to her nose with a slight smile. Albus and Scorpious gawped at her, “Thangs,” she muttered, blushing in embarrassment.
“You're welcome.” Zabini said politely, stunning Albus further. When he returned his attention to them, there was a hard look to his face, “did you see that Mr. Malfoy?” he asked Scorpious with a nasty look. “That is what manners look like.”
Scorpious opened his mouth to tell him where he thought he should stuff his manners but Albus elbowed him in the side. “Erm, is there anything else you wanted to tell us, Professor?” Rose suddenly asked and he blew out a sigh of relief, wanting Zabini gone with each second that passed.
Zabini seemed to read his thoughts and a slight sneer worked onto his face that made him think of a skull without flesh. “I merely wanted to warn the five of you that whatever scheme or plot you have worked up regarding what you think you want to know will get you nowhere.”
“What are you talking about?” Scorpious asked angrily while Lavender regarded the green handkerchief in her hand curiously. Albus was growing worried now, “we're not up to anything, we've already gotten into enough trouble.”
That was partly true but Zabini merely eyed the five of them with acute disbelief and distrust, though Albus couldn't exactly blame him. “You three, especially have been nothing but a pain in my side since you arrived at Hogwarts,” he pointed at the Misfits scathingly.
Scorpious grumbled. “Not like we're gonna apologize or anything.”
Lavender and Albus shot him a glare.
Zabini, if he heard the remark didn't comment on it but he seemed to stare at the three of them with growing dislike. “You three have done nothing but snoop and spy on things that are none of your business, don't think that I don't know about how you took back the Cloak, Potter Jr.”
“You shouldn't have stolen it!” Albus accused furiously. The very thought that his Cloak had been stuffed inside of his desk drawer still made him angry, “it was my Grandpa James's that Dumbledore gave to my dad!”
Zabini's eyes flared with something at the words, as if he might have been regretting the hasty move. But when he blinked, it was gone and the glow in his eyes could have chilled Satan himself, “Even so, it gives you no right to spy on things that are best left alone, Potter Jr., spying is a nasty habit.”
“We're not even up to anything. Can't we play in the snow like everyone else without people breathing down our bloody necks?” Scorpious asked sourly as he bent to pick up a bit of snow and pound it viciously into a ball.
Zabini snorted derisively at the words and watched as Scorpious tossed the snowball some feet away. Albus heard Sally Creevey give a shout of anger but didn't look to see where it had hit her, “Despite what you may believe, I don't breathe down anyone's neck.”
“I don't think I believe that,” Albus said annoyingly.
That caused the Potions master to grin and it made his skin prickle wildly with fear and unease. “There's no need to breathe down anyone's necks when I can merely hide underneath their beds or in their closets, watching them sleep,” Zabini said without blinking.
Albus made a mental note to check before he went to bed but pushed it aside, hating that he'd obviously just made fun of them. “You don't have to come over here threatening us you know,” he said to the man with an annoyed frown.
Zabini studied his face closely, a little too closely for his liking but he eventually smiled something awful. It made Albus think of nightmares and fat babies without lollipops, “Just be aware that the next time that I see any of you or even sense one of you hiding outside my door will be the last time that you set foot in Hogwarts.”
And with that, he drifted away.
“Git!” Scorpious hissed the moment they were certain that he was gone back into the castle. He collapsed onto the ground with a few choice curses, “I can't wait for tonight! I'm going to figure out all his weird little secrets and tell the whole (Albus winced at this particular swear) world!”
Albus and the others followed suit and rested on the snow as well, Lavender happily making snow angels beside him. He found her happiness intoxicating and even with Zabini's grim warning ringing in his ears, he couldn't help but smile, “I bet he sleeps with a big fat teddy bear!” he laughed, thinking that the very idea was something that was both hilarious and oddly terrifying.
“And paints his toenails Raving Red.” Scorpious added with a snort.
Lavender giggled and ceased making her snow angels, though Albus was now creating his own. “Or sings very dramatic show tunes in the mirror.”
Albus snorted with laughter and he heard Rose and Sue Corner giggle. They were lying beside the Misfits willingly and he felt something shift oddly between them all, as if they were accepting something about each other that couldn't be ignored, “I don't think Zabini is the show tunes type,” Sue Corner replied curiously, surprising Albus.
“I think he's more into ballads,” Lavender said in all seriousness. “Perhaps he sings them to his wife.” That earned groans of disgust from Albus and Scorpious, who had talked privately on what Zabini did with a wife in the first place.
Rose sighed dreamily. “Do you think he kisses her the way Malfoy's brother does Roxanne?” she asked and at their revolted gags, she hastily said. “Its only a thought, I mean, Zabini is creepy by why else would someone marry him?”
Scorpious replied dryly, tossing snow at her. “I don't think anyone's kisses could be that amazing.” He said and Rose fumed. “And anyway, Benjamin's had lots of girlfriends so he's had lots of practice.”
“At kissing or at being creepy?” Sue Corner wanted to know.
Albus snorted with laughter for a moment before wondering silently why Scorpious hadn't mentioned that his older brother was adopted. It was probably something that he never spoke about very often and he was grateful that Rose and her friend hadn't asked either.
“Ben's always been sort of weird.” Scorpious replied truthfully, sounding annoyed. After grumbling for a moment or two he said, “the prat walks around like he's some sort of bloody god.”
“He is awfully dashing though,” Lavender replied dreamily, though it sounded as if she would like to experiment on Benjamin rather than fall in love with him. “I do like that long braid of hair he wears, its very pretty.”
Rose and Sue Corner murmured in reluctant agreement.
Albus shrugged awkwardly. “Yeah, erm, he's pretty something.”
“He's like a midnight prince or a very naughty dragon,” Lavender laughed.
Scorpious grumbled, sounding more annoyed then usual as Rose and Sue Corner sighed wistfully at whatever girl-image (Albus was thinking of Benjamin eating helpless maidens) had entered their minds. “I thought you were in love with Zabini, Lav!” he accused.
“I am not!” Lavender protested hotly, spluttering and Albus turned his head to watch as she lifted up the handkerchief that Zabini had given her. She fingered it lightly, and ignored Scorpious's cooing, “This is a lovely handkerchief though, its got gold letters on it. B.Z....” she said curiously.
Sue Corner wanted to know (And not very nicely either). “What's that even stand for, Patil?” and Albus craned his neck towards her and saw that she was glaring at some spot on his forehead. “Burning zebra?”
Albus stayed silent as the others roared with laughter. Lavender frowned in annoyance at Sue's barb and he hastily said, “Blaise Zabini, that's his name first name I think.” Lavender nodded in agreement and put the handkerchief away, “I don't care what we find out about him tonight but he's still a creepy bloke.”
“True enough.” Scorpious replied angrily. “The git probably is just waiting for the right time to bring his little friend into Hogwarts to eat us all.” Lavender opened her mouth to say something to that but their friend went on loudly, “if we figure it all out, do you think they'll put him in Azkaban?”
That thought fell on the rest of them hauntingly, like something that they hadn't considered very much. Albus sensed his mind growing dark with the thought that they might end someone's career and frowned, “Maybe, if he's guilty of anything.” He said to his moody blonde friend.
“What if he isn't though?” Rose asked worriedly, more to herself than to the rest of them and it made Albus's mind go blank with unease. “What if we do all this tonight and he's not guilty of anything? What if...”
What if...that seemed to hang in the air between them. Albus hastily thought of something to say but it was Lavender that spoke and her voice was strong and sure enough to make him feel better, “Even if he's not killing kids, he's up to something and I don't know about you all but I feel like some answers are better than none at all.”
A silence fell between the five of them and the only sounds were the laughter and cries of other students on the grounds, enjoying the snowy day. Albus felt very small just then and wished that the feeling of foreboding in his stomach would go away, “What if all we find out is that Zabini's just a nutter?” Scorpious asked.
“What if all he's guilty of is being weird you mean?” Lavender replied only a tad sharply. There was always bullying among some of the other Gryffindor students that she was strange but Albus thought that she was simply fantastic, in her own way, “maybe he's juts a Misfit like us, I wonder about that sometimes.”
Scorpious laughed doubtfully. “He might just be some nutter that likes to dance naked with pixies or something,” he said with a shudder.
“Or maybe he just prances about in a skirt after reading the latest thrilling article in Witch Weekly.” Albus said seriously.
Lavender heaved a sigh before saying lightly. “Perhaps he likes to read things on how to get rid of his constipation. Perhaps the trick is squeezing his butt real tight...like so...” she said, giving a very exaggerated face as she concentrated.
The others roared with laughter and Rose eventually said in pure, confounded exasperation. “You three are honestly so odd sometimes!” she cried, giggling madly despite herself. “Misfits and proud, apparently.”
That seemed to settle into Albus's head and he felt himself smiling. Misfits and proud...there was something very nice about that and he spent the remainder of the afternoon with those words in his mind, waiting for the night to fall.
Nighttime seemed to creep slowly and surely over the next few hours, nearly every corridor becoming bathed with the sudden orange glow of lantern light. The Halloween Feast was moments from beginning and Albus and his Misfit friends crawled out of the Portrait Hole as the rest of their House headed eagerly towards the warmth of the Great Hall.
“Its too bad that you won't be enjoying the Feast, Misfits!” Sally Creevey crowed as she passed by with Samantha Jordan. Apparently the news that they wouldn't be at the Feast had spread and Albus had a feeling that Smith had been bragging to the Hufflepuffs, who in turn had told nearly every single Gryffindor.
A blush stole into his cheeks and Scorpious took out his wand and shot a hex at Sally that barely missed. Instead it struck a suit of armor and caused it to burst into large, fat worms that caused several girls to run away shrieking, “Ooh, Malfoy you are such a beast!” Sally screamed as she ran off.
Lavender had laughed but Albus was frowning a little and she shot him an odd look before Scorpious made it upon himself to comment lightly. “Sally isn't the sort of girl you should be worrying about. She's just a hag,”
“I'm not worrying about her!” Albus lied and he watched his two friends exchange a look, Lavender appearing miserable while Scorpious looked more annoyed at the obvious fib. “We should be heading down to Smith's, the last thing we need to do is be late.” He said with a frown, starting on without them.
Though he had a point, Albus could practically hear Scorpious rolling his eyes and he frowned annoyingly. As they walked, he went over their plan one last time through his mind, hoping that everyone remembered their roles and that things would run smoothly for once, “Did you get all the trick sweets we needed from your brother?” Scorpious asked him curiously, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, I owe him my soul too.” Albus said with an exhausted sigh as he recalled the furious haggling prices that they had settled upon. Apparently he was going to be spending a lot of time calling James 'His Highness', “but these should be enough to get Smith out of our way.”
Scorpious's face broke out into an impish grin at the thought of the horrors to come and Lavender laughed. “I hope Weasley and Corner remember their parts too, we can't have anyone being suspicious of us,” she said with a thoughtful frown.
Albus nodded, knowing that everything depended on Rose and Sue staying calm enough to stick to the plan. “And this will be your chance to fight my cousin, Scorpious so you should be excited about that,” he said dryly.
“I sure am, I've been thinking of just the right things to get your cousin. I'm not sure what hex to use first,” Scorpious said, sounding far too delighted for his liking. Lavender appeared worried, “but she'd better not get too into it and send me to St. Mungo's instead of the infirmary.”
Madame Brown would be very annoyed if his cousin turned Scorpious into some sort of permanent ferret, Albus thought with a grin. “Yeah, just make sure its believable and that it gets Smith distracted while the rest of us take care of the plan—Lavender, do you have enough fireworks for your part?” this was actually his favorite aspect of their plan (Aside from sneaking around in his father's Cloak) and Lavender's face grew warm with a smile.
“I bought some from Mason Finnegan just before lunch and I've got my Invisibility Cloak too.” Lavender replied and Albus wondered why they seemed to keep buying things from his brother and best friend. “We probably should have asked your brother if we could use his help, Scorpious.”
Scorpious's face turned sour at the mention of his brother and he paused a little beside a window. Outside, Albus could see the shape of a full, fat moon peeking boldly from thin, rainy clouds, “I'm gonna tell you guys something okay and don't think my family is weird.” He said defensively.
Albus and Lavender exchanged a look with one another before he punched him lightly in the arm. “We deal with you everyday, why would we start thinking your entire family is weird?” Scorpious rolled his eyes, grinning. “What's wrong?”
Scorpious hesitated for a moment or two before he said carefully, not quite meeting their eyes. “Its about Benjamin...he's not really my brother, brother. I mean, he is but he isn't...” a faint blush was working into his pale face and Lavender gave him an encouraging smile to continue and he said hastily. “My dad adopted him from a friend when he was just a baby, I've never told anyone before but don't go around blabbing about it, all right?”
“Its fine Scorpious, we wouldn't tell anyone if you didn't want us to. And honestly, I like your brother,” Lavender said reassuringly and Albus gave an understanding nod before giving Scorpious's arm a brief pat. “He's like a dangerous animal that would be fun to play with.”
Albus stared at her warily. “Only you would think that.”
Scorpious let out a relieved breath and ran his fingers through his blonde hair, smiling happily. Albus wondered what he could be thinking but it was hard to tell when his next words were, “He's still a prat and you guys aren't going to taste good if Zabini eats us all tonight.”
Tonight would be the end of the suspicions about Zabini and Albus felt a chill go up his back. The full moon was tonight as well, meaning that whatever monster Zabini was in leagues with might show itself and yet he had never felt more determined and brave to know the truth.
There were children being murdered out there by some dark force that Albus couldn't even begin to wrap his mind around. And the carefully constructed laws and rules at the Ministry were being questioned in a way, his own father's Auror Department being torn apart by the Prophet.
This wasn't at all how Albus had pictured his first year at Hogwarts but with all the mess, he had somehow managed to snare two good friends that he hoped would stand by him even with the mess that inevitably ensued.
Even with all the confidence in the world, Albus had a feeling that this Halloween night would be more nightmarish than successful. It was a bizarre, unwanted sensation but he pushed the ominous feeling aside and smiled at his two friends, willing everything to go right for once.
“Even if we somehow do get eaten tonight, we're Misfits and Misfits go down together,” Albus said with a casual shrug, though disasters hovered in the air. “Isn't that right?”
Scorpious looked as if he might snort but instead, he gave a grim nod. “Right.”
Lavender enveloped the two of them in a very nice, sheltered hug and while the boys protested and blushed, she proclaimed happily. “No matter what happens tonight, we stick together! We're Misfits to the bloody, gruesome end!”
Scorpious was complaining lamely at such close contact but Albus closed his eyes peacefully, finding that he couldn't have wished for anything better. Even on a dangerous Halloween night.
Updates will be slow, sadly so I hope you guys can wait a while for the next chapter of not only this story, but all my others! Don't curse me! D':
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