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Chapter 14 : The North Tower Brewing Room
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“Why isn’t Kendrick canceling class?” John asked Kaden as he and Albus sat down on either side of the younger boy.
Kaden shrugged and stifled a yawn. “None of them seem to have noticed. Either that or they figured it out early and already put everything back the way it’s supposed to go.”
John’s face fell. “I hope not. What a waste that would be.”
Albus looked down the table and noticed James, Cedric, Ben, and Nathan were whispering amongst themselves and stealing glances at the staff table every few seconds. Lily, Hugo, and Ashtyn weren’t at the table yet and Albus had a feeling all three of them would sleep through breakfast, given how late they stayed up. He was surprised Kaden was there, and he’d had to prod John awake five times.
“The castle is haunted! Haunted!” someone screamed near the doors.
Albus turned around and saw Professor Trelawney running down the aisle in between the Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables. She looked terrified, with her scarves askew and glasses perched at an odd angle on her face. Seeing her in the Great Hall alone was odd, but to see her running full speed toward the staff table was beyond strange.
“Someone’s turned my classroom into a- a- brewing dungeon!” she exclaimed. “I immediately consulted the orb, and it told me this means darkness is settling upon the school! You must do something, Headmaster! Everyone is in grave danger!”
The Great Hall erupted in chatter. Students who had previously been half-asleep, eating their scones and bacon without much enthusiasm, were now talking animatedly with each other. Those just entering the Great Hall, who had missed Trelawney’s first outburst, were asking their friends to explain.
Professor Kendrick stood up. “Quiet, please!” The Hall quieted and the headmaster turned to Trelawney. “Sybil, please explain what has happened.”
“I awoke this morning and when I descended into my classroom to do my usual morning crystal ball gazing, I found my crystal balls to be nowhere in sight!” Trelawney shouted. “They’re gone, every last one! And in their place are cauldrons, and potions ingredients, and potions textbooks. Nothing in my classroom is how it should be! My chairs and poufs are missing and in their place are tables and stools. It looks like a brewing dungeon!”
“How curious,” Kendrick said. Albus thought he looked somewhat amused.
“What kind of school do you think you’re running, Kendrick?!”
Albus turned back to the doors, where Professor Burke stood, his robes and hair even more askew than they had been in the hospital wing the previous day. He was breathing heavily, and he looked ready to hex anyone or anything in his path. He stomped up the aisle to the staff table, his eyes fixed on Kendrick.
“Why is my classroom filled with desks and Arithmancy texts?” Burke demanded. “And where the bloody hell-”
“Professor Burke,” Kendrick interrupted. “Please watch your language.”
This only seemed to enrage Burke even more. “My language? My language?! That should be the least of anyone’s concern, considering all of my cauldrons and potions supplies have gone missing. There is no telling what kind of danger this school could be in if they fall into the wrong hands. If certain ingredients are mixed, we could all end up perishing in a school-wide fire!”
Leave it to Burke to immediately think the entire castle would die because of the prank, Albus thought. He had to stifle a laugh as he watched the potions master get increasingly infuriated. He really wished Matt could’ve been there to see it.
“I doubt things would get quite that bad, Professor Burke,” Kendrick said. “Now, I would ask every teacher to check their classrooms to make sure they are in possession of their own teaching materials. I will proceed to the dungeons, and then to the North Tower. Professor Longbottom, I leave you in charge, as I doubt anything has happened to the greenhouses.”
Longbottom nodded. Albus noticed that Longbottom couldn’t quite contain his grin as he gazed at the students in the Great Hall. Trelawney and Burke fled from the room first, followed by Kendrick and the rest of the professors.
John burst out laughing as soon as they left. His grin was as wide as Albus had ever seen it.
“John!” Rose seethed. “Don’t laugh that loud or Longbottom is going to know you did it.”
John quieted. “Sorry. This is just too brilliant.”
“I thought you were going to leave the Potions room alone,” Rose said. “What if this tips Burke over the edge?”
“He’s already over the edge,” John said. He lowered his voice. “And we left his weird smoking potion alone. We’re not that stupid.”
Rose breathed a sigh of relief. “Good.”
“So, how much do you want to bet Binns doesn’t notice his room is any different and just keeps on teaching?” John asked.
That sent all five of them into fits of laughter. “That’d be hilarious, considering his room now looks like Trelawney’s room,” Kaden said after he calmed down.
“What’s going to happen now?” Amanda asked. “Classes begin in five minutes.”
As if he heard her, Longbottom stood up and motioned for everyone to quiet down. “For now, I’d ask everyone to remain at their house tables, until we figure out what’s going on. I’ll have an update once Professor Kendrick returns.”
It took Kendrick another twenty minutes to return to the Great Hall. None of the other professors were with him, and Albus assumed they were fixing their rooms. Kendrick took his place at the staff table, and this time he didn’t have to ask everyone to be quiet. The entire room was silent before he even opened his mouth.
“Very amusing prank,” Kendrick said, smiling. “But a nuisance, nonetheless. Morning classes are canceled-”
A monstrous cheer came from every student in the entire room and Kendrick paused until everyone quieted down once more.
“Yes, yes, I am sure that was the desired effect of the prank. Use your free time well. Prefects, Head Boy, Head Girl, please come up to the staff table as we require your assistance to put everything back where it belongs. Everyone else, you are free to go.”
The entire room made a mad dash for the door, resulting in a traffic jam in the Entrance Hall. Albus and Rose said goodbye to John, Kaden, and Amanda, as they headed to the staff table. Albus didn’t think it was quite fair that he and Rose were the ones having to help undo the prank, when neither of them had participated. John and Kaden owed them, that was for sure.
Once all the prefects arrived at the staff table, Kendrick assigned each of them to a professor, and their job was to assist said professor with transporting the contents of their classroom back to their actual classroom. Both Albus and Rose were assigned to Professor Burke, as he had specifically requested them. Every professor was assigned two or three prefects.
Albus really had no desire to help Burke put his classroom back together, especially after the professor’s outburst at breakfast. On his way to the North Tower with Rose, he contemplated all the ways he could get back at John and Kaden for this, such as having them do his homework for the next month. That would certainly give Albus a bit more time to relax.
Albus had never been to the North Tower before, and neither had Rose, but somehow she knew how to get there. As soon as Albus saw the ladder he’d have to climb in order to reach it, he groaned and thought about just how long this would take. He and Rose would only be able to carry so much stuff on each trip, between the ladder and the sheer distance between the North Tower and the dungeons. Divination and Potions were probably the classes that were farthest apart, not counting Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology.
“Why couldn’t they have put the Potions stuff in the Transfiguration room?” Rose muttered as they climbed the ladder.
Albus nodded in agreement. When he emerged into the Trelawney’s room he noticed that it looked exactly like Burke’s room. John and Kaden had certainly done a good job with their prank. The brewing tables stood throughout the room, each containing a few cauldrons. Bookshelves, which Albus assumed normally contained divination books, crystal balls, tea cups, and whatever else was used in Divination, now contained potions ingredients and textbooks.
Professor Burke stood in the middle of the room, a pained expression on his face and his hair sticking directly up in the air. In his left hand he held the cauldron that normally sat on his front table, and smoke still mysteriously emitted from under its lid, despite the fact that it wasn’t on a flame.
“There you two are,” Burke said. “We must get started immediately. No time to waste.” He set the cauldron down on the closest table and hurried over to Trelawney’s desk. He retrieved a roll of parchment and set it next to the cauldron. “This is a list of everything normally in my classroom. Every item must be accounted for and checked off this list before we can move them. After we’re done inventorying I will shrink everything that can be shrunken and you two will transport it back to the dungeons. We should be done by dinner.”
“Dinner, sir?” Albus repeated.
“You will have permission to skip your afternoon classes,” Burke said. “Not to mention one of them is mine, and I am canceling my classes for the whole day. There is not a chance we’ll finish before lunch.”
Albus and Rose exchanged glances.
“Let’s get going,” Burke said. “Potter, you read off the names while Weasley and I locate the items.”
Albus sighed and sat down at the table with the roll of parchment. He unrolled it and noticed just how tiny Burke’s handwriting was. He didn’t think there could possibly be this many items in the Potions dungeon, but yet there were. It also appeared to be organized by type of item. Potions ingredients were first, followed by textbooks, followed by brewing implements.
“Two phials of armadillo bile,” Albus read.
Burke located the phials and set them on the table closest to the door. Albus checked them off the list.
“One box of ashwinder eggs,” Albus read.
And so they continued. Albus made his way down the list of ingredients, which was actually shorter than what he would’ve expected. He suspected Burke kept most of the ingredients, especially the more dangerous ones, in the supply closet, which was always locked. Then they moved onto the books, the list of which was significantly longer than the list of ingredients.
The two prefects in charge of Trelawney’s stuff had to put everything in a spare classroom nearby, since Burke, Albus, and Rose were nowhere near being done. This sent Trelawney into a tizzy and she stalked off to find Kendrick, but never returned. Albus could only assume Kendrick had somehow calmed her down.
Burke released them for lunch a third of the way through the list of books. Neither Albus or Rose spoke on their way to the Great Hall, but Albus had quite a few choice words to say to John and Kaden once they arrived.
Albus spotted the two boys, along with Amanda, halfway down the Gryffindor table. He pushed his way in between John and Kaden and grabbed a sandwich off the nearest platter.
“So,” Albus said after swallowing his first bite, “what have you two done with your morning off?”
“Went back to bed,” John said. “Late night last night. How is Burke?”
“Surprisingly calm,” Albus said. “But we’re nowhere near being done. While you two have been sleeping, Rose and I have been inventorying Burke’s entire classroom. He’s afraid stuff’s gone missing, you see.”
John laughed. “That doesn’t surprise me.”
“Nothing’s missing,” Kaden assured them. “I did Burke’s room myself.”
Albus threw his sandwich onto the table. “Do you want to go tell him that, then? Because of you two and your stupid prank I’ve got to spend the entire day with Burke, organizing his classroom and moving stuff from the bloody North Tower to the dungeons! Do you realize how long of a walk that is?”
“Well, yeah,” Kaden said. “I did it last night.”
Albus groaned. “Your prank was pretty funny, but now Rose and I are being punished for it.”
“You’re not mad, are you, Rose?” John asked.
Rose looked incredulous. “Are you kidding me, John?”
“What do you mean, the entire day?” Kaden asked.
“I mean the entire day,” Albus said flatly. “As I said, we’re not done. It’s going to take all day.”
“Does that mean-”
“Yes, John, that means potions is canceled today,” Rose interrupted.
“Excellent.” John grinned.
“Attention students!” Kendrick shouted. “All classes except potions will be resumed this afternoon. Divination classes will take place in the empty classroom nearest the North Tower on the seventh floor.”
“Albus, we’d better go if we want to be done with this before dinner,” Rose said.
Albus nodded, and with another glare at John and Kaden, followed Rose out of the room.
Once back in the North Tower, Burke continued the inventorying as if Albus and Rose hadn’t left for lunch. Nobody spoke, except for Albus calling out names of books, for the next two hours as they finished the rest of the books. They moved onto brewing supplies and Albus began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Five standard sized pewter cauldrons,” Albus said, despite the fact that he could see the cauldrons right in front of him. He checked them off, but Burke and Rose didn’t bother moving them. “Two standard sized silver cauldrons.”
Burke gestured to the two silver cauldrons on the far table, and Albus checked them off. He’d never seen silver cauldrons in the dungeon before, and figured the sixth and seventh years must use them.
“One gold cauldron, size one,” Albus said.
“Kendrick better figure out who did this,” Burke muttered as he picked up the tiniest cauldron Albus had ever seen. “I never would’ve taken this position if I knew I’d have to put up with wasting an entire day of brewing on moving my classroom down seven floors.”
Albus glanced nervously at Rose, suddenly even happier he hadn’t participated in the prank.
But Burke didn’t seem to be looking for answers from Albus or Rose. Instead, he was perfectly happy to rant to himself as they inventoried, decrying the state of Hogwarts under Kendrick’s charge, and insisting this never would’ve happened under Dumbledore’s care. Albus resisted telling Burke about all the pranks his grandfather, not to mention his Uncles Fred and George, got up to while Dumbledore was Headmaster.
It was just after three in the afternoon when the final test tube was accounted for, and just as Kaden had said, nothing was missing. Yet Burke didn’t seem relieved by this.
“They got lucky,” he muttered. “But if they do this again, there’s no telling what might happen. I’m amazed no one was injured transporting some of these ingredients.” Burke gestured to a small collection of phials he’d set aside from the others. “Leave these for me. They’re extremely volatile. Everything else you can take.”
Burke walked methodically around the room, shrinking the books, cauldrons, tables, stools, and kits of brewing supplies. He conjured boxes for everything and with a few more waves of his wand, the shrunken furniture and supplies were packed.
“I don’t want you using magic to transport these,” Burke said. “Carry them.”
Albus groaned inwardly. There were at least two dozen boxes since none of the ingredients had been shrunken. Albus didn’t bother asking why, as he’d surely receive a ten minute lecture on how shrinking ingredients makes them more likely to blow up and kill someone.
Burke picked up his smoking cauldron and the box of volatile ingredients. “I’ll set everything up as you bring it.”
“We’ll be lucky if we’re done by dinner,” Albus muttered after Burke left. “We’re going to have to make twelve trips.”
“At the most,” Rose said. “Some of these boxes are small. We’ll be able to carry two.” She pulled out her wand and pointed it at one of the smaller boxes.
“What are you doing?” Albus asked.
“Sticking charm,” Rose said as she stowed her wand and picked up another box. She set it on top of the first. “So they don’t slide off.”
“But Burke said we couldn’t-”
“I don’t really care what he said,” Rose snapped. “We’ve been helping him for nearly six hours. I want to be done.”
Albus couldn’t agree more. Without another word, Rose affixed sticking charms to every single small box and stacked them. Now they each had eight trips to make.
After the first trip Albus began to debate with himself whether he’d rather sit through History of Magic than move boxes of shrunken books down seven floors. After the second trip he decided that sitting through any class would be better than moving boxes. After the fourth trip he began to think of ways he could make John and Kaden’s lives miserable. By the time he and Rose descended the ladder to Trelawney’s room for the last time, Albus had come up with seventy-four different ideas and began to ponder which one he should do first. On the fourth floor he decided to dissolve a Puking Pastille in their pumpkin juice the next morning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this exhausted and achey,” Albus said as they walked down the stairs into the Entrance Hall. “Even after Quidditch practice.”
“I don’t even play Quidditch, so think how I feel,” Rose muttered.
“I’m starting to get jealous of Matt,” Albus said, thinking of how Matt was most likely asleep in the hospital wing. “Getting to sleep all through this.”
“He’d get to miss all of this anyway,” Rose said. “He’s not a prefect. And the rest of the prefects didn’t have it this bad. Burke happens to like us, for whatever reason.”
“Are you regretting agreeing to help him research?” Albus asked.
“No,” Rose said. “Just think, now that we’ve helped him, maybe he’ll be more likely to tell us what’s in his mystery cauldron.”
“Not if he ever finds out Kaden was behind the prank,” Albus pointed out.
Rose groaned. “Good point. Damn, I’d been wanting them to get in trouble, but now I’m not so sure.”
“Don’t worry,” Albus said. “They’ll pay. Next time, we prank them.”
Albus and Rose didn’t bother looking for John, Kaden, and Amanda before heading to the Great Hall for dinner. They’d already missed half of dinner and didn’t want to risk missing the rest of it by searching for their friends. Afterward, they planned on visiting Matt. Albus was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to take a nap before Astronomy, but he did want to see how Matt was doing.
“Do you want to find everyone else before we go to the hospital wing?” Rose asked as they left the Great Hall.
Albus shook his head. “The hospital wing is on the way to the common room. I don’t want to have to walk any extra. Anyway, I don’t feel like hearing about John and Kaden’s lazy day anymore.”
“I don’t blame you there,” Rose muttered. “But the one good thing about this is that Burke won’t have had time to visit Matt.”
Albus hadn’t thought of that, but Rose was right. When they left the dungeons earlier, Burke was still rushing around his room trying to get everything back to exactly the way he had it.
Madam Pomfrey was sitting at her desk when Albus and Rose entered the wing a short while later. The lights were dim and the only sound came from the scratching of her quill. She looked up and smiled. “Mr. Dursley told me about your helping Professor Burke. All finished?”
Albus nodded. “Thankfully. It took all day.”
The nurse chortled. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh. But I am happy Professor Burke was kept busy all day. Matt was awake a little while ago, so feel free to visit.”
Rose followed Albus to Matt’s bed and Albus pulled back the curtains. Matt was still awake, but looked like he was going to fall asleep again within minutes.
“Hey,” he said as he shifted in order to give Albus and Rose room on the bed to sit.
“How are you?” Rose asked. “You still look exhausted.”
“I am. Madam Pomfrey isn’t sure I’ll even be able to go to class tomorrow.”
“You can copy my notes,” Albus assured him. “Is it because of the blue moon?”
Matt shrugged. “I guess. Madam Pomfrey thinks it’s the potion Burke made and he thinks so, too. Madam Pomfrey said he was in here yesterday, demanding to talk to me about it.”
“We were here, too,” Albus said. “He was weird about it.”
“Madam Pomfrey told me,” Matt said, stifling a yawn. “But he hasn’t been back because he’s been fixing his classroom.”
Albus groaned. “Don’t remind me. I feel like I fell off a broom and landed on rocks. He refused to let us levitate the boxes.”
Matt laughed. “Sorry. And tonight’s Astronomy, isn’t it?”
Rose nodded. “I’m hoping for a nap beforehand.”
“I don’t suppose you want to join us?” Albus said.
“For the nap? Yes. Astronomy? No.”
“I think I’ll go take my nap now,” Rose said as she got up. “Glad you’re feeling better, Matt.”
“Yeah, make sure you’re out of here in time for Quidditch on Saturday.”
“That depends on the weather!” Madam Pomfrey shouted. “If it’s cold and windy, like they’re predicting, you’re not going.”
Matt groaned. “She won’t let me go outside in the cold this week. Even if I’m out of here tomorrow I can’t go to Care of Magical Creatures.”
“You’re still recovering,” Madam Pomfrey explained as she walked over to the bed. “And you’re taking much longer than normal. You know you’re more likely to get a cold or the flu while recovering from a transformation, and the cold will only weaken your immune system even more. If you get ill this week you’ll be in here for at least another week getting over it. It’s not worth it for Quidditch.”
“Fine.” Matt sighed.
“Albus, Rose,” Madam Pomfrey said, turning toward them. “I suggest you two sleep until Astronomy before the both of you wind up here from sheer exhaustion.”
Albus nodded. He said goodbye to Matt, knowing it was beyond pointless to argue with the nurse, and headed to Gryffindor Tower with Rose. A night of bed rest in the hospital wing certainly sounded appealing after the day he’d had, but if he missed Astronomy he’d have to do the work at a later date and he didn’t have any spare time.
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews!
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