Chapter 15 : Streamers and Newspapers
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“What?” Albus mumbled, yawning and opening his eyes. Once they were open, Albus saw David standing there, with streamers hanging from various body parts, including his ears, hair, fingertips, and nostrils.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” David yelled, and he threw a few streamers on Albus’s lap as well. Albus grinned and stared up at David.
“Why are there streamers hanging from your nostrils?” Albus asked. That seemed like a weird place to put them. David put his hand on the streamers.
“Oh, well, I thought they looked like boogers,” David said.
“Very colorful boogers, too,” Albus laughed. “How did you get it to stick there, anyway?”
“Oh, Rose got your cousin Lucy to put a sticking charm on the back,” David replied.
“Okay, er- are going to wear that all day?” Albus asked. Al thought it would be a bit weird if streamers were hanging from David all day.
“Yup,” David beamed. “I’m going to start a new fashion trend.” Albus sighed. He would pay to see David get embarrassed. He was sure David never felt even mildly uncomfortable.
“Where’s Art?” Albus asked, since he realized Art, or Rose for that matter, was not with them.
“Oh, he’s already at breakfast. Rose too,” David said casually, but Albus noticed a bit of anxiety that wasn’t there before. Plus, he wondered why Art was at breakfast already, since Art usually slept quite late.
“Okay, let’s get dressed and then go down to breakfast,” Albus suggested. They both quickly got dressed, with David still wearing his streamers. They then began going down the spiral stairs that led to the common room. David was in front, so Albus couldn’t see the common room yet, so when David abruptly stopped, Albus didn’t know why. Albus was about to ask David, when he was interrupted by a yelling voice.
“DAVID! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE WITH ALBUS!” Rose yelled.
“Um, well, I though it was time…” David mumbled.
“I TOLD YOU TO COME AFTER 15 MINUTES, AND IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN TEN!”
“Okay, Albus,” David began, turning around. “Uh, a dung bomb went off, so we should go back up.” Albus snorted.
“I heard Rose yelling at you,” Albus grinned. “She was pretty loud.”
“That was your imagination,” David said, sounding quite serious for once. Albus however, stifled a laugh. He’d eat Merlin’s boots if that was true, but he didn’t press the issue further.
For the next several minutes, Albus and David sat around idly and talked about Quidditch. After their debate on whether Slytherin or Hufflepuff would win the match in a few days time, Albus and David went back downstairs to the common room. This time, a happy Rose, as well as Art greeted them.
“Happy Birthday!” Rose exclaimed, as she hugged Albus around the waist. She looked the opposite of angry right now. In fact, she looked positively happy.
“Girls are weird,” David whispered, soft enough so Rose didn’t hear. Albus had to agree whole-heartedly.
After Art wished him a happy birthday, Albus got to look around the common room. There was a huge banner in the middle that said, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALBUS! with a colorful drawing of a broomstick underneath his name. Underneath, on a table, was a big chocolate cake with a thick layer of chocolate frosting. It looked like heaven on a table.
“Did you make that banner?” Albus asked Art. Art nodded, and blushed a tiny bit.
“Your cousin Molly hung it up though,” Art added. Albus sighed. His friend didn’t take credit for anything, really. Art was awesome, he just didn’t like to show it. Albus pushed this thought out of his head and instead focused on the enormous cake.
“Er, Rose?” Albus said, turning around towards her. “I don’t think the four of us will be able to eat all of this cake.
“We won’t be the only ones eating it, silly,” Rose said playfully, rolling her eyes at Albus.
“Then who will?” Al asked. He was still confused. Who else would eat the cake? It was just the four of them at Art’s birthday.
“Ooooh! Cake!” a strangely familiar voice yelled behind him. Albus whipped around and saw the grinning face of his brother, James.
“We can’t eat it yet, and Albus gets the first slice,” Rose informed James.
“Humph,” James pouted. “Though, I probably won’t have much anyway, there is a large overdose of chocolate. Why didn’t you get a vanilla cake?”
“Because chocolate is awesome,” Albus replied. He would never get his brother. Wasn’t it a well-known fact that chocolate was much better than vanilla?
“No, vanilla is awesome,” James replied. He then quickly pinned Albus to the ground like he was a feather. “Say vanilla is awesome,” James taunted. Albus squirmed.
“Let me go!” he whined fitfully. Thankfully, the rest of Albus’s cousins came into the common room just then. James quickly released Albus, and Victoire sighed.
“Honestly, James, you can’t even stop on his birthday?” she asked. James grinned and shook his head.
“Anyway, Happy Birthday Albus,” Molly said sweetly. Albus was then ambushed by all of his cousins as they ran, hugged him, and wished him a happy birthday. The next few minutes were chaos as Albus stammered thank you to all of his cousins. Finally, they all plopped on the couches around the fire and sank into the soft cushions.
“Is it just me, or do I hear a tapping noise?” Roxanne asked. Albus turned his ears on and listened as well. Sure enough, he heard a faint tapping. Al looked around the common room until he finally spotted the source of the noise- an entire flock of owls were pecking at the window.
“Looks like you have mail, Albus!” Rose laughed, staring at the entire flock of owls. Albus grinned ear to ear. Of course all of his aunts, uncles, and various others would give him birthday presents. Rose went over to the window and pried it open with her fingers. The entire flock quickly began rushing into the common room and started dropping packages on his lap. So many arrived that Albus was almost drowned in presents. One advantage to having a large family was that you got a lot of presents.
“Ewww!” a voice screamed. Albus removed the packages from on top of his head and looked around. It was Dominique who screamed, and that was because an owl dropping had landed on her hair. Uncle George’s owl was swooping around her happily, droppings still landing on the ground. Uncle George had never bothered to train his owl. Dominique was shrieking and dancing around like a lunatic, trying to get the droppings out of her hair.
Albus couldn’t help it- he burst out laughing. It was just so funny. The rest of his cousins started laughing as well. Soon everyone in the common room was laughing, except for Dominique, who gave everyone a nasty stare and then stomped upstairs. With a flick of her wand, Victoire cleaned up the owl droppings and the laughing slowly died down.
With his cousins watching, Albus began opening the presents he received from all of his aunts and uncles. He received a statistics book on Quidditch teams across Europe, an assortment of different decoy detonators, multiple potion ingredients, an extra set of scales for weighing potion ingredients, several medal spoons for stirring potions, and several crystal phials. There was definitely an advantage to having so many aunts and uncles.
“You received a lot of potion things this year, Albus,” Lucy commented, staring at all of the things Albus received.
“That’s because he’s a potion genius,” David laughed. “Charms, Transfiguration, Defense, and any class that requires a spell, not so much.”
“What will I do with this potion stuff?” Albus wondered out loud. “It’s not like I brew outside of class, since I don’t have an extra cauldron.”
“Maybe over the summer?” Rose suggested. “Since you bring your school cauldron home for the summer.”
“I guess,” Albus shrugged. Well, that was one thing to look forward to for the summer.
“Let’s go down to breakfast,” Rose suggested.
“But- but- we have to eat cake first!” David cried out.
“It’s extremely unhealthy to eat cake before breakfast, David,” Rose exclaimed. Victoire and Molly agreed. Lucy, however, had a sweet tooth, so she glared at them instead.
David, Art, Albus, and all of his cousins went down to the great hall for breakfast. As Albus was biting into his second bite of toast, four owls swooped into the great hall, flying towards him.
“There’s the rest of your presents, Albus,” Rose said, as they all landed at the table.
The first package was from Hagrid. Albus immediately started feeling guilty, since he hadn’t visited Hagrid since September. Albus still opened the present, and it was a cute bookmark of a monster with very large eyes and scary teeth.
“Aw, that’s cute,” Rose grinned, and picked it up. The second Rose picked it up, she starting screaming. The teeth were biting her hand! Albus immediately helped her pry off the bookmark.
“Thanks for helping me test that out, Rose,” Albus grinned. Rose’s response was an angry glare in his direction.
The nest presents were from Grandpa and Grandma Weasley. The first part contained some homemade fudge, which David instantly stole.
“You know, you could probably just send her a letter, and she’ll give you an entire plate,” Rose suggested. Albus expected David to jump on the idea.
“Er- probably not,” David muttered, which surprised Albus greatly. But then he remembered that David didn’t know Grandma Weasley, so it would be like asking a stranger for food.
Albus then continued to open his presents that his grandparents gave him. A huge metal board fell out of the wrappings.
“What is that?” Albus wondered. Rose immediately snatched up the direction sheet that came with it.
“It says that it is a portable heater for a cauldron,” Rose said, sounding rather impressed. “You just tap it with your wand, and it instantly heats up. Then you just place your cauldron on top of it.”
“Awesome!” Albus exclaimed. He no longer had to wait a while to heat his cauldron! And it was portable!
“That does sound awesome,” Art grinned. “Too bad I’m rubbish at potions.”
Albus finally decided to open his last present- the one from his parents. Albus fumbled slightly with the wrappings, and then finally pulled it out. Albus gasped rather loudly.
It was a cauldron. And not just any other cauldron, either, it was a shinning copper cauldron. Copper cauldrons were one of the best when it came to potion making, since it brewed very quickly. The shiny cauldron gleamed in the morning sunlight.
“Wow,” Albus whispered. This was great! And that was why he got all of those potion ingredients. Apparently his extended family planned the presents this year.
“Let’s put these in your dormitory,” Rose said. She wasn’t nearly as excited about the cauldron as Albus was. Probably since Potions wasn’t her best subject, it was Albus’s best subject.
The rest of the day progressed smoothly. First period was Defense Against the Dark Arts, which Albus didn’t do so well at. He was the worst in his year when it came to spells. Once again, he didn’t say Petrificus Totalus correctly, and he nearly ended up setting Art on fire out of frustration.
“It’s a short i, not a long one,” Fuchs told him kindly, but Albus still had trouble. “You’ll get it,” Fuchs assured him. “Once you pronounce it correctly, you always perform it flawlessly. Happy Birthday, by the way.”
After that, they had Herbology. Professor Longbottom obviously knew it was Albus’s birthday. He had brought in a plant that would repeat whatever you said, so Professor Longbottom had it sing Happy Birthday to Al. Once Longbottom learned Art’s birthday was just six days ago, Longbottom had it play for him as well.
“You should have told me!” Longbottom exclaimed, as Art had been much to shy to say it on his actual birthday. At lunch, Rose finally cut up the cake and allowed Albus have a slice. The rest of the cake disappeared quickly, since his cousins and most of Albus’s classmates wanted a slice as well.
In the afternoon they had double potions, which Albus was very happy about. They were brewing forgetfulness potion. Albus got his supplies, and busily started brewing his potion for the next few hours. When Professor Fawley finally came to do his rounds, he deemed Albus’s as “perfect” and awarded Gryffindor 10 points. Professor Fawley was also very excited when he heard about the potion accessories that Albus had received.
“You should really show me that cauldron heater sometime, it sounds fascinating,” Fawley said, then walked away with a wink in his direction.
Overall, the day was fantastic. People wished him a happy birthday all day, since David shouted that it was Albus’s birthday wherever they walked. Lily even sent him a happy birthday card that sang loudly whenever he opened it, so Albus kept it closed. The day finally drew to an end, and he went to bed, knowing that when he woke up, it would no longer be his birthday.
Albus had very little time to mess around with his potion things in the following days. The Quidditch match against Slytherin was just in a few weeks, so practices were nearly every night, unless Slytherin was using the field instead.
In addition, Rose had them in the library nearly every free moment. She was determined to locate the potion, and find more about the identity of Lord Zajecfer. Rose spent more time in the library then all of them combined. Albus was forced to spend the least time in the library, because of Quidditch. He still managed to spend hours upon hours inside the library, though.
“Nothing!” Rose yelled in fury one afternoon. “Nothing, nothing, NOTHING!”
She had been searching the Daily Prophet for a little while, when she suddenly stormed into the aisle Albus and Art were currently in, searching for the potion.
“Er- Rose?” Art asked a little bit timidly. “Can you lower the volume? I don’t want Madam Pince to kick us out again.
“Sorry,” she grumbled. “And I can’t find anything. I’ve been searching the Daily Prophets for ages, and the name Zajecfer isn’t even mentioned once.”
“How much have you searched?” Albus asked her.
“Just a from 1948 to modern day,” she grumbled. “It takes a while to search when there is two versions every single day.”
“Keep looking earlier, then,” Albus suggested. “Who knows, that Zajecfer guy could be two hundred years old. He may just not look like it.”
“Goodness, I hope not,” Rose whispered. “Then I’d have to go back all the way to the 1800s!”
Once Rose left, Albus continued searching books for the potion. He went through so many books that Albus couldn’t count them on all of his fingers and toes, as well as Art, David, and Rose’s hands and feet. He was currently looking through a book that was titled The Top 100 Successful Potions. Currently, he was on potion eight-two. It looked like they might have to go into the Restricted Section sometime, after all.
David joined them later after his homework was done, although Al suspected he hadn’t been doing his homework at all. The four of them searched in silence, late into the night, until Madam Pince forced them out of the library.
“Find anything else?” Albus muttered to Rose as they left. He was actually quite thankful that Madam Pince obliged them to leave; he was exhausted, and his eyes were drooping with fatigue.
“Nothing,” Rose whispered.
“We’ll just have to try tomorrow, then,” Albus replied. Despite saying this, Albus couldn’t help but feel let down. They were at the library so many hours, and had searched so many books, with no result.
It was hopeless.
Yay! I always love leaving off at dark endings. :)
I apoligize greatly for the delay- I did not write about Albus at all most of July.
I would really like to hear what you think about the events that occured this chapter!
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