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Chapter 6 : Sink
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The flame by his tableside flickered, illuminating the dark circles etched under insomniatic green-eyes. His pale face wore the damage of countless nights spent poring over books—her books—yet remained unquestionably handsome, striking-yet-rigid features basked in candle’s glow. A radiance without warmth. Deciphering highlights and ink-stained pages, zealous notes made in the margins, he was able to retrace her steps through the Latin works of Flamel, Godelot, Antioch, etcetera. But Rose had been clever. Vital information was missing, still keeping him from piecing together the secret behind her coveted method.
In his private study—away from the masses of Hogwarts yet right under their very nose —Albus resumed her dark work. The moon outside the window reflected off the curve of his jaw-line, ethereal and angelic and almost convincing—until late night passed and the orb ascended, beams shifting onto the surrounding pools of lethal red.
Rabbits and serpents and rodents and owls and deer and the borrowed pets of his peers…no, not borrowed—for Albus took without asking and did not return. The floor was damp and sullied, discolored by the trailing of their cadavers. The bottomless pile of corpses stacked high, high enough to cause a mere flicker of emotion in emotionless eyes—but the surge was quickly discarded as frivolous.
Inquiry, after all, was useless without experimentation. Research was objective. Research took risks.
Every pioneer in the field of magic knew that.
Life and death were lovers, locked in a perpetual tango. One could not exist without the other, and he would be the maestro in their match-making. The putrid smell of evisceration lingered on his agile fingertips, racing over dirtied blood-crusted paper with the fervent passion of a novelist as he made notes, crossed ideas, and pursued alternative methods, mind on the thin-slice edge between harm and harmony. Shrouds of blood and secrecy, a nauseating stench of enthralls— oh Death— encompassed the near-godly boy as he sought the means to Life.
What poetic horror.
Even in such a violent state of mania, her last words to him burned in his memory like acid.
“He’s made you sick, Al, ” She had said, referring to his father— looking at him with those eyes. Big, brown, and sorrowful; they was practically parasitic. Her heavy gaze seeped through his flawless skin, scrutinizing the diseased blood underneath. She stripped him down to the cold, hard bone and he hated her for it.
No…hate was a strong word. Albus could never really hate Rose.
She pushed him further than he would’ve liked, though. Further than he would’ve allowed anyone else. Her single-mindedness grated on his nerves, as well as that damned inability to acquiesce with his demands. No doubt, it was long-festering jealousy; he had always been better than her and she knew it.
“It’ll break your heart. You’ll hate me.”
This further infuriated Albus—and piqued his interest. What horrifying secret about the spell could induce such a reaction from him? What did Rose know that he didn’t?
What could possibly break the stone heart of a boy who didn’t, couldn’t, even cry at his father’s death?
Meanwhile, Hogwarts suffered from the aftermath of his expedition involving unicorns. The tip of the Astronomy Tower, with its dangling shadows held ideal for private discussion away from prying ears. Members from his own private cabinet of Slytherins clamored in heated debate from his left and right, about the latest developments.
“Well Pucey and Higgs reckon they overheard the Ravenclaw Prefects talk about seeing flames in the Forest as well.” Reported Adrienne Everett, her voice shrill and nasally.
“Bullshit.” Fired back Balustrade, “I was there with Malfoy that night. Your informers are lying, Potter.”
“Is that so?”
The informers- sheepish fourth Years- sank further down in their seats as Albus lifted an eyebrow at them.
“I was out there—I didn’t see anything either.” Rigel said earnestly.
There were mumblings of general consensus in the room.
“If no one heard or saw anything, then explain how the Head Boy found out?” said an enraged Everett.
“Obviously we have a double agent in the room.” Reed grumbled, looking toward the drowsy Slytherin Prefect, Roderick Halen, who had drool sticking out the side of his mouth.
Scorpius rolled his eyes at Reed. “Well spotted, he looks like a mastermind at deception.”
Albus cleared his throat, loudly.
The messy Prefect head shot up, alarmed (“P-Potter! S-Sorry, j-just resting my eyes a b-bit!”), and fell once more into a deep slumber. Albus let it go. Halen had been tasked with relaying information about James day in and pulled regular night shifts, and thus, earned the occasional benefit of the doubt.
“It was a clean getaway. No one should’ve seen us.” Scorpius confirmed, looking at Albus.
A solemn silence followed in which the only sound was the contemplative drumming of his fingers against the side of his chair.
After a moment of deliberation Albus finally spoke: “We’re aborting all further operations until we find out who’s tagging them.”
A loud raucous of displeasure followed his statement, and he had to verbally dismiss the meeting. Scorpius caught the back end of his arm as he started to leave, drawing a gaze toward a nervous looking Balustrade. Albus gave him a pointed look.
“Fancy a walk to Hagrid’s with us, Potter?”
Thick gusts of wind blew against their faces while the three boys trailed past the ends of the Herbology garden. Albus kept his neck erect and presumed not to be bothered. Scorpius strolled lazily beside him, hands tucked in his pockets. Balustrade walked behind them, keeping his gaze on his feet. Blatantly withdrawn. Hollow cheekbones. Dark patches under sunken eyes. The sheen of energy normally coating the arrogant Fifth Year seemed dull. After a few moments of silently walking, Albus spoke sharply:
“Out with it, Balustrade. What do you want?”
There was a slight hesitation in Albus' next step.
“It was you.” He muttered, quietly, watching the brunette’s face redden with shame.
“M-Malfoy and I split up when we were scouting for unicorns, and t-there was an accident.” He stammered.
Oh how Albus hated hearing these words. “What sort of accident?”
“I had to do s-something, P-Potter. It j-just came at me—”
“So you started a fire.” He interjected, seething, “Of all the things you could do to scare some stupid animal away you chose arson?”
“It’s my fault,” Scorpius intervened, “I should’ve kept a better eye on him—“
“Don’t defend him.” Albus turned his sharp gaze toward the whimpering Fifth Year.
“Balustrade can speak for himself.”
The boy swallowed, bottom lip trembling.
“Who was this Ravenclaw that saw you?” He demanded.
“Some g-girl. But that’s not even the worst part.” Balustrade looked near tears, “I may have k-killed a unicorn in the fiendfyre.”
Albus deadpanned. Killing a unicorn reduced the consumer of its blood to a miserable half-life (Voldemort, his father’s First Year. Albus had carefully reviewed all the mistakes of previous recipients). He had specifically given the boy a syringe to obtain a sample of blood, not butcher the whole damn thing.
Albus had nearly drunk it. Albus had nearly given it to Rose.
He took out the cursed vial and shoved it in Balustrade’s hands.
“Drink it.” He ordered, cold eyes narrowed on the whimpering boy.
Balustrade stood there, scared shitless. Albus procured his wand and aimed it towards him. “Drink it. ” He enunciated, “You had no problem handing it to me. So now you’ll drink it.”
Again, the boy refused.
He was shot down. The spell induced pressure on his ribcage until whimpering transformed to full-blown screaming.
“Stop, Potter. He’s learned his lesson.”
Albus ignored this. His eyes flashed intently as he increased the power beyond the spell's intended capabilities. Slowly, until the shrieks subsided to air-stricken gasps. At that moment, he did not want to listen to reason. He did not want to listen to anything except the sounds of bone rupture--
“I said stop,”
His wand flew out of his hand and landed ten feet away, jinxed. Balustrade, seizing the opportune moment and scrambling to his feet, quickly staggered out of sight.
Albus turned toward Scorpius with a fierce look.
“What the hell was that?”
“Trying to save us the clean-up,” He replied mildly.
“You do not get to make that call.”
“He would’ve pissed himself…you remember what that’s like don’t you?”
His unabashed look made Albus visibly falter. The calculative fingers slipped in retrieving their wand. Scorpius pretended not to notice.
Following silence indicated the matter was dropped.
Now there was the bigger issue at hand. A unicorn carcass wouldn't go unnoticed.
“What’s the plan?”
Scorpius waited patiently as Albus paced back and forth, mulling it over.
They had to cover their tracks. Killing a unicorn was a serious offense and held the penalty of murder. Hiding the corpse was out of the question, as they couldn’t be seen anywhere near the Forest with James breathing down their backs. Naturally the Slytherins wouldn’t speak a word. Balustrade would go mute and stay out of sight until things died down. Then there was the matter of the Ravenclaw mentioned…
“It’s simple. There was only one witness. We eliminate the witness and we solve the problem.”
Scorpius paled. Albus raised his brows at the reaction.
“I’m not proposing we kill her. Planning a murder to cover up an unplanned murder is stupid, don’t you think?”
Like many other girls, Daphne Williamson had fancied the younger Potter since her eyes fell on his polished features and silky locks. Sure the older one, James, was cute in his own right—but Albus could not be summed up in such a syllable.
He was elicit. He was tantalizing. He was positively Untouchable.
Sure enough, there was something quite suspicious about being asked to Slughorn’s party by the elusive boy—and not even directly but via letter. I’m taking you to Slughorn’s party. No need for reply. I’ll see you there. –Albus Potter. He was in her Defense class no doubt, but it was likely he didn’t even know her name. A Ravenclaw ought to have been intelligent enough to note this, but Daphne was too preoccupied with instant romantic notions to care.
Gold and emerald hangings draped from the walls. Brilliant specks of light flashed from the ornate lamp hanging from the ceiling as music throbbed in the background. House elves interspersed themselves around the knees of taller beings, managing large platters of food. Daphne could spot her date—how she loved saying this—off to the side, immersed in conversation with Slughorn. His gaze flickered toward her and he briefly excused himself.
Clad in well-fitted robes and groomed to a handsome finish, he may have resembled any other boy at the party, yet there was an easiness in his strides that made him stand out. It was the firm shoulders, the steady brow, the undisputed confidence that radiated from his mere presence. Without trying, he attracted the attention of every eye in the room.
Her breath left as his tall silhouette approached hers, a jovial smile easing over the stone-polished features. In a single fluid movement, he grabbed two glasses from a passing house-elf and handed one to her.
“Sorry about that. The professor kept me.”
“He was probably telling you about his contacts.” Daphne fought the urge to blush, “I mean you’re so brilliant at potions. Everything, really.”
His gaze drew to her and a curious brow quirked. Daphne instantaneously went red. Was she too transparent? Someone like Albus must’ve been used to girls fawning over him—though he didn’t give them a passing glance.
Nevertheless the boy smirked, drawing the cup from his lips.
“I assure you I’m not brilliant at everything.”
She had to admit she was curious. “Like what?”
“Dancing, for instance—never got the hang of it.” A small smile played on his mouth, “But you could show me, couldn’t you?”
Any girl would’ve been ecstatic to teach dance to Albus Potter, and Daphne was no different. He stumbled over her feet, mismatching her steps as he clung to her waist and ran shivers down her arm. Then his sheepish and endearing apologies, which she countered with assurances. You’re not that bad, she said and he laughed. Daphne decided she liked his laugh—tinkling and reverberatingly masculine.
Daphne truly, honestly thought she was seeing a side to the boy no-one had before.
Little did she know that Albus was an excellent dancer. And that every slip, stumble, mistake he made had been carefully planned, brandished with enough lingering eye-contact and playful smiling to keep her thoroughly immersed in him. Aesthetics. Just as perfection-or the façade of it- was vital for maintaining dominance, Albus knew all too well the importance of feigning imperfection. Flaws broke barriers between people. Allowed for disclosure.
Still, on some latent level he couldn’t help but feel irritated. She was quite stupid—steadfast on laughing at all his jokes, blushing at all his superficial compliments, and not having enough sense to recall the mostly-true rumors about him. And all the small-talk of school and weather and friends—how the idle chatter grated on his nerves.
This had always been his problem, tolerating people beyond their worth to him, feigning interest in mundane low-intelligence subjects when all he wanted was to remain inside his head.
“I had a question.”
Damn girl, interrupting his thoughts. Albus glazed his annoyance over with a smile.
“What is it?”
“I just mean that,” She mumbled bashfully, eyes downward, “No, never mind, you’ll think it’s stupid.”
“Tell me,” He urged. Though he could sense all her surface thoughts through Legilimency, there was the matter of putting stray ideas together—which he found to be of great nuisance.
“You know, people say things about you,” She stammered, “Some of it is quite unsettling…not that I believe them, Albus. I mean my friends say that—but I don’t think you’re a…vampire or anything. Never mind, the rumors are just silly.”
“I assure you some of them are quite true.” He winked at her.
Daphne giggled, unsure why she was doing so. Then her mouth slipped. “What about the one with you and your cousin?”
Albus fought the urge to roll his eyes. Of all the malicious things said him, girls grew fixated with that one. Over the years his consistent lack of interest in girls had heightened focus on his attachment with Rose. Scandalous insinuations followed that sort of thing and annoyed his cousin –who knew better— to no end, but Albus had cared very little.
Often he aggravated them on purpose.
“That one’s not true.” He muttered.
Daphne relaxed, now that the main cause of her tension had been dispelled. Her affection for Albus was only heightened of course. Obviously, her friends had been wrong. How could a boy so kind and intelligent, not to mention mind-bogglingly handsome, be anything but misunderstood? True there was a …strangeness about him, but maybe he just needed a brave girl like Daphne to get through the shroud of mystery to the soft interior. Yes, that’s what Albus required. A love interest.
Albus was a performer at his finest.
"I'm glad you came." He beamed at her. "I don't ask girls out often. And it’s not very often I find someone so special."
"Oh?" She flushed with pleasure. With a few chosen words, he'd heightened her importance and boosted her own admiration of him. Pleased with the result, Albus continued, silver tongue spinning gold.
He leaned over, lazily stroking a tendril of her hair. "So pretty," he admired, sending excited shivers through her body, "Different from your friends. They're all average aren't they? You're talented, exotic, unique."
“You’re so sweet, Albus” She giggled nervously, eyes on the ground, “But I didn’t think you knew my name.”
“Of course I do.” With a delicate finger, he pulled her gaze into his. She stared, transfixed by his smolder-heavy eyes. He had her. Any moment now she would melt to his feet.
Albus pulled away at the opportune time moment she leaned in to kiss him.
No. Too early.
Embarrassment flitted across her face, but she said nothing as he politely excused himself to the bathrooms. When he returned he asked her to dance as if nothing had happened. She did not attempt to kiss him again.
The night dragged on, filled with dancing and surface-level flirting.
Despite his growing impatience with the charade, Albus continued with his performance, playing the coy date and dispelling the belief that, in reality, he found her as interesting as flobberworms and slightly more useless (flobberworms could be a key ingredient in the right potion). Finally he’d had enough.
“It’s too loud here, Daphne,” He murmured, with a lazy bat of the eyes. She liked the way he said her name. Provocative, seductive, absolutely sinful—just like everything that rolled off his tongue.
“Are you getting tired?” She said.
“Let’s go somewhere…more private.”
Her heartbeat picked up. With a sly finger to his lips, he pulled her out of the door, away from the masses of people, down the corridor, down the halls, down the stairs, and still down. Like a moth to cold flame—for how could she be anything but?—she followed him. Rebellion danced in her excited thoughts, and he was able to sense every one of her desires as he pulled her into an empty classroom.
A smile flitted across his face as he turned toward her, though it was far from good-natured. Cold and enigmatic, it ran an odd chill through Daphne, “Are you scared?”
Daphne shook his head. Albus smiled and leaned toward the girl, running his thumb gently down her soft cheek—a cold touch leaving a trail of numbness on her skin. Daphne wasn’t whether to feel excited or repulsed by this action, her attention held by the strange fascination in his green irises, shimmering without warmth. He leaned forward, “I answered your questions tonight, didn’t I?” He purred into her ear, “Now you answer mine.”
He must’ve been flirting, but it made her nervous that they were alone.
Nonetheless, she gave a hesitant smile, batting her eyelids. “W-What do you want to know about me?”
“Not about you,” His lips quirked up, smile widening and reflecting the manic look in his eyes. He circled her closely, fierce predator toying with prey. “What you saw. What you’re hiding. It presses against your conscious. It haunts your every nightmare. Even tonight when you were so foolishly immersed in me, I saw the flicker of guilt trace across your face. I note these things, Daphne. In a matter of hours, I have noted everything about you.”
He stopped, glancing intently at her, “Secrecy is a disease. Tell me, what secrets are you harboring?”
The sudden shift in conversation left her mouth too dry to speak. With a lazy tilt of the head, the boy continued, “Now, now. Humor me. We’re just talking here, like friends yes?”
Friends. Scorn laced every syllable as he pronounced the word.
“I-I really shouldn’t, Albus.”
“Don’t be silly. Friends share secrets don’t they?” In seconds he had her against the wall, wry grin snaking across his well-defined features. Honey dripped from his poisoned lips, “Secrets are bad things to keep, Daphne. You can trust me. You want to trust me.”
“I saw s-something in the Forest.” She gasped.
His eyes flashed as he tilted his brow. “What?”
“What did you see, Daphne?” He insisted, jaw clenching. It took all his willpower to keep his temper in check.
“I-I can’t tell you—“
“Who did you see?” He demanded, “What did he look like? What did he do? Who was with him? What precisely did you see?”
Without warning he pressed his Veritaserum-coated lips (only two drops) against hers, rendering her incapable of speech for a few good seconds before pulling away. “Two boys.” She gasped, pink faced, “Brunette and blond. I saw…I think I saw a unicorn. It was dying. There was fire. I ran. I don’t know. I fancy you. Why am I saying this? Please don’t hurt me.”
Albus gave a rigid scowl, “Who have you told about the unicorn?”
“N-No one, I swear.”
He pressed his mouth against hers again, palms digging into the wall behind her. She let out a soft moan, heart pounding against her chest. Her hands gripped at his collar, ever-eager lips enveloping his with impossible expectations.
Albus could easily sense her multitude of conflicting emotions through Legilimency. The mental invasion made it easy for him to comprehend her relative level of delusion. Apprehension, excitement, intrigue, lust—he could taste it in the air between them. Snippets, mind you. Albus could not grasp it all. He did not want to. Nevertheless he delved further into her cerebral cortex, on the basis of academic inquiry.
It was revolting. There was no intelligent thought, no substance, no greater scope of understanding. Barren landscape lain to waste by drunkenness and disease. Carnal. The most primal of human emotions had consumed her pathetic little world and Albus could not be more disappointed.
Disgusted by both himself and the girl, he pulled away.
“Who have you told about the unicorn?”
He turned around and spat on the ground, wiping his foul mouth. With his wand pulled out, he turned toward her, and in five heartless seconds erased a week’s worth of her memory.
In the upcoming days the investigation was expected to die out without witnesses or proof. Daphne would carry on with life, oblivious to everything she had seen. Balustrade would –as Albus ordered—keep his mouth and head out of trouble. Things would go back to normal.
Except they didn’t.
Hogwarts—the iceberg, on the brink of tilting. Since the uproar that Rose’s spell had caused in England and following near-anarchy, even the safest of havens for aspiring wizards stood shaky. Often in times of great distress, all it takes is One Little Push to sink even the unsinkable.
In this case, it was the centaurs.
They discovered the unicorn carcass first. Outrage struck, against the foolish and cruel wizards, but more than that, it was fear. The ancient pact between their clans and long-gone Dumbledore crumpled. Threats were received by Headmistress McGonagall who, in all honesty, tried her absolute best to placate the tension. But the centaurs would hear none of it. Enough was enough. Filthy humans. Did their depravity know no bounds? First revival of the dead and now this –not since Voldemort’s time had the dead body of a unicorn been found in the Forbidden Forest, and everyone knew the dark chain of events that set off.
And so, the centaurs declared history was not allowed to repeat itself.
Hogwarts strengthened curfews, reinstated dementors at security positions, and prepared itself for battle. But students are not warriors. Expecting parents to willingly send their children against war bred half-breeds was outrageous. First-through-Third Years were pulled out instantaneously. Then the raids started. Hogwarts adopted an alarm to warn of break-ins. The Di-ding—Di-ding! and teachers would go scouring the premises. Prefects made the headcounts but it didn’t matter because students disappeared and reappeared regularly, beaten and bruised.
The iceberg sank.
The centaur search for the perpetrator would continue for three months until Headmistress McGonagall put a stop to it---in the bitterest way. She addressed the Great Hall, her tone foreboding:
“These are very dark times for us all at Hogwarts. We cannot sacrifice the security of our students for their education. Therefore, I stand today addressing the school with heavy heart and great regret”—pause, nostrils flare, continue— “I must declare that unless the culprit confesses, Hogwarts will shut down…”
Albus stopped listening.
He could feel the heavy stares of his classmates at the back of his head. Balustrade watched him with a fearful expression, sinking in his seat—the pathetic coward. Scorpius gave him a desperate, half-eaten look, silent plea in his eyes resonating with the same message as James’ judgmental glare.
McGonagall’s eyes flickered over his impassive expression but didn’t linger.
Confess. Repent. Redeem.
Following the end of her speech, Albus made his way out of the Great Hall.
You can change, Albus. You can fix this. All it takes is one confession.
He knew no one would betray him. Fear induced powerful loyalty.
Turn yourself in. Redemption waits. It’s what you want.
Without proof, no one could touch him.
Redeem. Redeem. Redeeeeeeeeee—
Albus slammed his fist against the wall, hard. Feeling his bones break, pain reverberated through his arm. Blood grazed the tops of his knuckles; he ran his fingers over the bruises. No tears built in his eyes but there was pain—stinging, poignant, and well-deserved.
And pain was better than nothing.
“Let me take the blame.”
At last, Scorpius found him in the astronomy tower. With his back towards the blond, he stood near the edge staring down at the grounds, watching their peers scatter through the courtyard like specks of sand. He did not reply.
“I’ll say I did it.” Scorpius pleaded again, “I might as well have. I was there.”
Albus did not turn around, nor did he flex a muscle.
“Don’t be daft, Scorp. This was Balustrade’s fault.”
“Does it matter?”
“Don’t try to play hero,” Albus muttered, “One James is more than enough.”
“Someone needs to take the blame here.”
Albus pulled his wand out and turned to him with a headlong glare—the threat hanging between them unspoken. But Scorpius did not meet his anger with his own.
“I won’t tell them it was your fault.”
And this was the truth, as close to the truth Scorpius would ever get with the boy. Even in the face of expulsion and possible imprisonment, never would he even consider betraying Albus.
“I’ve always covered your ass, Potter.” He looked at him, “I’m just asking this once, please— as a friend— please don’t let Hogwarts shut down.”
“I don’t have friends, Scorp.”
The cold dismissal angered the blond, for it was now more inexcusable than ever. This was the boy who carried Potter to the hospital following his brutal beating their Second Year. This was the boy who stayed up nights after his horrific nightmares, checking the damn windows. This was the boy who gave Potter the benefit of the doubt and threw himself into harm’s way again and again for him—and for what? What sort of boy ran and got tea at blasted 4AM for his non-best mate?
Scorpius would always defend Potter—against classmates, the school, Rose, and the whole damn world if asked. It was the nature of their duality. Prison didn’t ever register when he would go to the depths of hell for the boy.
“I don’t give two shits what you think about it all, Potter,” He snapped, “As far as I’m concerned, we’re friends.”
At these words, a flicker of something passed over Albus’ face and his shoulders descended.
“They’ll connect the dots,” He said, voice weary, “Your confession will sink us both.”
“Then let’s sink together, Potter. For the good of the school.”
He stood on the verge of tears but spoke with a conviction Albus had never heard before, using superfluous words like good and friend. For once the Impressionist wasn’t sure how to respond.
In a milder world, perhaps, Albus would’ve shown the moral consideration and taken the bitter pill of his punishment. Confess. Repent. Redeem. But not in their world of chaos and uncertainty, horror and intrigue. It did not make sense to pursue some outdated code of ethics when the Wizarding world hung on the brink of rebellion. Truth held no guarantee of justice and he could not stomach the thought of going to prison.
Not when there was so much to do.
Braver generations had tried to save the world. Albus was concerned only with surviving it.
“I won’t be a martyr, Malfoy,” He replied coldly, pointing his wand at his chest.
From all sides, Slytherins emerged so that there was not one but twelve wands pointed at Scorpius. Cowards would undergo their conscience at the prospect of fear, and Albus was excellent at playing everyone’s worst nightmare.
Playing. He didn’t know when to stop. Scorpius sent him a wretched look of disappointment.
“This isn’t you.”
A jeer flitted his face. “You haven’t a clue what I’m capable of—“
“I know very well what you’re capable of, Potter.” The blond spat harshly, “But I also know where the limit stands between that and what you’re willing to do.”
“I don’t have limits.”
“Bullshit.” He scowled, “The wit and the wand tricks, you might have these idiots fooled, but in the end you’re human—”
“Stand down, Malfoy.” Albus gritted his teeth.
“No.” His brow narrowed, “In the end you bleed and hurt just like the rest of us, Potter. And you’re damned if you think I can’t see it.”
The sudden flash of light hit Scorpius square in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Everyone dodged out the room, Pretense had been dropped. The confrontation between Caesar and Brutus had floundered off the edge.
Albus approached the boy on the ground, eyes stone-green with anger. He had never lifted a wand against Scorpius before. Never had to until now.
They were now the only two in the room. Albus leant on his knees near him. “If you want to see blood, I will gladly show you your own,” He hissed, “Don’t make people into heroes, Malfoy, and do not underestimate me.”
“Then wipe my memory and be done with it.” The boy croaked. If Potter was that heartless of a bastard, then he could prove it. “It’s your quick-fix solution to everything isn’t it?”
Albus did not answer immediately. “I want you to remember this moment.” He said at last, standing up. “I want you to remember that heroes don’t exist. There are two kinds of people in this world—those that survive and those that don’t.”
Scorpius grimaced as if he had been kicked, while the boy stalked away.
He reveled in his crushing disappointment. There would be no hand to help him up; he had long stopped expecting it. The battle was lost and now the guilt would set in about bringing the end to their school-days. As Potter chose to ignore it, Scorpius would carry the weight for both of them. It wasn’t meant to be like this. No, Scorpius didn’t want to feel like this— the lingering delusion, sadistic optimism, that in their five years of pseudo-friendship, he had made an impact on the stone-cold boy just as he had on him.
Potter would do great things someday. Everyone knew this.
Scorpius had hoped some of those things would be good too.
“And so Hogwarts shut down,” I blinked. “Then what, Rose? How do we get to the war?”
The old woman looked at me. As it seemed, the more I learned the more confused I grew about it all. I asked her if this was normal.
“All in due time, Mr. Walker.” She nodded, understanding my frustration. “We are still years away from the war. True, war served an absolute end…. but there were other ends along the way—tragic, bitter, miserable ends, and with every one of those ends there was a beginning. For Albus, as you very well know….the end of Hogwarts was only the beginning.”
I braced myself for the darker part of the story.
A/N: I'll admit this wasn't my favorite chapter to write. It's a very in-depth character study of Albus, more to mark the transition he's going to soon make in the story. Not all parts were absolutely crucial to plot but I hope they was interesting to read :)
Next chapter, lots coming up! Albus makes his way in the real world, Rose and Scorpius work together (kind of), the Harry Potter storyline moves forward, and we get more insight on the war. And romance. There will be romance, or whatever twisted variant of it I can muster.
But first, please drop a line in that little box below. Your comments are awesome and always appreciated!
And major thanks to all the people that have reviewed and favorited this story!
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