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Chapter 12 : Tensions
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Hope so, replied Albus. The door opened and Hermione smiled at the two boys.
“Al, Sev. Are you boys all right?”
“We wanted to ask you something, actually,” said Albus. “What do you know about telepathy?”
Not like you did, Albus shot back.
“Telepathy?” asked Hermione, confused. “Gosh, um. I know that it’s when people communicate with their minds, but that’s about it. Why are you asking?”
Albus took a deep breath. WE’RE TELEPATHS! He tried thinking it as loud as he could, to see if Hermione would get the message.
Hermione blinked and rubbed her head. “Was – was that you?” she asked Albus.
“Yes,” he admitted. “Sev and I can communicate telepathically. We’ve been doing it since the start of term.”
Can I say blunt now?
Shut up, Sev.
“That’s amazing,” said Hermione slowly. “That’s incredible. It defies all laws I’ve ever heard of, the laws of physics and biology and-”
“The laws of what?” asked Severus.
“Oh, nothing. I guess we all defy the laws of physics, don’t we?” She smiled at a mystified Albus and Severus. “Sorry, Muggle concepts. Basically, I’ve never heard of any real-life telepaths. What else can you do besides communicate?”
“Sometimes I can hear other people’s thoughts,” said Albus. “Not all the time, though. It comes and goes.”
“Wow…” Hermione seemed at loss for words. “Do Harry and Ginny know?”
“Not yet,” said Severus, “should we tell them?”
“I’ll do it. You two focus on school, and I’ll read into Legilimency and Occlumency, see if they sound similar.”
“Thanks, Aunt Hermione,” said Albus. He and Severus left to go downstairs and read up on werewolves.
The rest of the holidays passed quickly, 2017 switched to 2018, and suddenly Albus found himself back on the train to school. He had left his trunk in the compartment with Dillon, Rose and Severus and was searching up and down the train for Daegan. He looked in every compartment and all up and down the corridor, but when he saw the trolley witch for the third time he was forced to give up. He returned to his compartment with a worried feeling in his stomach.
“I can’t find him,” he announced. “He’s not on the train, at all. I asked the trolley witch and several other people if they’d seen him and they all said no. I’ve walked up and down the corridor about five times. He’s not on the train.”
“Do you think something went wrong during one of his transformations?” asked Dillon worriedly. “There was one over the holidays, wasn’t there?”
“There was one in December, I looked it up,” said Albus. “Can things go wrong? What if – what if Lord Alpha kidnapped him for some reason?”
The entire compartment rolled their eyes, but Albus could see trepidation in their eyes too. It was a valid possibility, and one that meant bad, bad things.
“It’s got nothing to do with I know why he’s not on the train,” said Rose quietly. “The full moon was last night. He’s probably going to wait until the third or fourth night and come back, faking an illness.”
Albus’s tension disappeared. “Thanks goodness,” he said. “I mean, at least we know where he is.” Severus, Dillon and Rose nodded. It was better for Daegan to be at home because of lycanthropy than in the clutches of Lord Alpha. That’s what went through Albus’s mind, anyway.
The next day the first lesson they had was Defence Against the Dark Arts. So far the lessons had been uneventful and informative. Keane had been a good teacher so far, though he never took the register and seemed hardly bothered about how many students actually turned up. Albus thought everyone would be skipping his class, but for some reason they stayed. The lack of interest on Keane’s part made skipping class seem less worthwhile.
That day was no different, except Keane came in and paused by Daegan’s empty desk. “Where’s Mr Black?” asked Keane loudly.
“He’s not in school, sir,” said Severus.
“Why ever not?” asked Keane, walking to the front of the classroom.
Severus started to speak but Albus cut over him. “We don’t know sir. He hasn’t owled us or anything.”
If we know too much, he’ll suspect something, Albus sent to Severus. Albus saw his twin nod out of the corner of his eye.
“Most odd. The school has not been notified, either,” Keane said.
“Sir? Why are you taking a sudden interest in Daegan when you said you don’t care about people who skip classes?” asked Fraser boldly. In the silence that followed, you could hear a pin drop.
Albus suddenly realised that there was a fine line between Gryffindoric bravery and downright stupidity. Fraser’s comment bordered on the side of downright stupidity.
“You’re right Mr Williams. However Mr Black has skipped rather a lot of my lessons, due to – things beyond his or my control – and I’d hate for him to fail the tests. He’s such a talented, knowledgeable student, it would be a shame.”
Albus stared at Keane. That was the most openly he’d ever spoken about a particular student. Usually he just got on with the lesson.
“You say that Daegan is off school? Very well. Take out your books and turn to chapter six,” he said. “If you finish that come up and take a questions sheet from my desk to fill in. It shouldn’t take you longer than the period, but I will set whatever isn’t finished for homework. Begin.”
“Things beyond his or my control.” Hmm…
Albus heard the thought and, though he was staring fixedly at the book he was meant to be reading, he was formulating a reply to Severus. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Let me just check…
Albus felt a strange sensation, like somebody was reaching into his brain and going through all his thoughts. He felt invaded, under attack, he felt like kicking and screaming with all he had – and then the sensation was gone. His brain felt empty, laid bare, and Albus realised what Rose meant when she asked him not to do that again. Not only did it feel wrong, but it was disturbing. Albus knew he would spend at least the rest of the day wondering exactly how much Severus had seen.
Yup! I’m thinking exactly what you are, came Severus’s voice happily. I guess all the teachers know, right?
It took Albus a moment to realise Severus was waiting for an answer. Yeah, I guess they must.
So then how could Keane not know that there was a full moon two nights ago?
I don’t know.
Are you alright, Al?
Yeah, fine. Albus glanced at Severus and then up at Keane, who was watching him. Albus quickly ducked his head. I think we should start reading now.
He ignored all thoughts from his brother and worked steadily through the lesson, finishing the chapter and the worksheet with plenty of time to spare. He spent the rest of the lesson staring into space, thinking nothing, seeing nothing. He hardly even noticed the bell ringing, and when he did he rose, picked up his already-packed bag and left the room for Transfiguration without waiting for anyone. He needed to be separate. He needed space to think his own thoughts. He needed to think something his brother hadn’t seen yet.
He knew how Rose felt.
Daegan came back after three days and avoided all questions about his illness. I really think we should just tell him what we think.
That would be a bit blunt, Sev, Albus told his brother.
The five of them were sitting in the Gryffindor common room, working on their various homework assignments. Albus was discreetly reading Magical Animal Trivia, soaking up all werewolf information he could find.
Ha ha ha. But seriously, if he hasn’t told us by now, I don’t think he ever will.
I still think we should wait…
No! He needs to know that we know!
Because I hate keeping secrets!
Albus looked up at his brother in surprise. Severus kept loads of secrets. He had kept the telepathy secret for half a year, and back before they were at Hogwarts Severus had hidden Albus’s glasses and kept them hidden for a whole week. Albus could name plenty of times when Severus had kept secrets…
…but one thing struck him. Severus could keep secrets, but not for very long. He always had to tell, even at his own expense. He always cracked under the pressure of keeping quiet.
How long would it be before he cracked under the pressure of this secret?
I’m not that bad at keeping secrets, am I?
Yeah, you are. And your tell is that you rub your left ear with your right hand.
Albus stared pointedly at his brother’s right hand, which was stretched across his face and rubbing his left ear. See?
Severus quickly put down his hand and looked around to see if anyone had noticed. Whatever. And I don’t crack under pressure.
Well, don’t tell Daegan then!
Fine. I won’t.
Severus glared at Albus before returning his gaze to the Potions textbook. Albus snorted and picked up his quill. Now, what was the third ingredient of the potion? Albus couldn’t remember.
“Daegan, can I speak to you?”
Albus looked up in alarm, but realised it was only a fifth year Gryffindor, someone Albus vaguely recognised. “Yeah, sure,” replied Daegan. “What is it?”
“Keane wanted me to give you a message… in private,” said the fifth year, eyeing the group.
Daegan rose from his armchair and went into an empty area of the room. The fifth year whispered something to Daegan and he paled before rushing out of the common room. Albus strained to hear his thoughts and heard He knows – he knows – he knows over and over again.
Who knew what? Albus wondered. Did it have something to do with Daegan’s lycanthropy?
Severus’s head jerked up. What’s this about Daegan’s lycanthropy?
Were you reading my thoughts? Albus asked, annoyed.
Does that matter right now?
I guess not. Daegan just left the common room thinking ‘he knows – he knows – he knows’ in a really panicked way.
We’d better go find him them.
As one, Severus and Albus stood. “Where’re you going?” asked Rose.
“To find Daegan,” said Albus. “He just left the common room and he looked worried.”
Rose and Dillon got up and followed the twins out of the common room.
Daegan sprinted through the corridors, barging past people and ignoring angry shouts. This was more important than running in the corridors! This was his whole future at stake!
They were right about Keane, thought Daegan grimly. They always said he was odd.
The Defence department! That’s where he’s going!
Albus followed Severus’s instructions and the two veered off to the left, leaving Rose and Dillon to correct themselves. Albus knew that this was important to Daegan, that whatever the fifth year had told him made him scared. Albus picked up the pace.
Daegan came to a halt outside the classroom and entered slowly. “You wanted to see me sir?”
Keane was sitting behind his desk, watching the door. When Daegan came in he jumped up and strode menacingly towards the door. “Yes, Mr Black, I did, but not in here. Come with me.”
Daegan followed his Defence teacher out of the classroom and up a flight of stairs. They met Malfoy and Gaunt on the way and Daegan tried to ignore them. However, Keane stopped and spoke.
“Is it done?” he asked sharply.
“We’re on the way, sir,” responded Gaunt. Malfoy looked utterly terrified and only then did Daegan get a sense of unease. He wondered whether they were being blackmailed too, and for a moment he felt sorry for them.
But only for a moment.
Keane led Daegan up the stairs and through the winding corridors. “Where are we going, sir?”
“A place of secrets,” replied the teacher.
Daegan’s feeling of unease intensified.
Albus, Severus, Rose and Dillon skidded into the Defence department and came face to face with an empty corridor. They searched each and every classroom, grateful that they were empty, but found no sight of him. Albus emerged from one classroom and saw Malfoy and Gaunt sneaking away. Sending a quick thought to Severus, he pulled the Cloak out of his pocket and followed them invisibly.
Daegan gaped at his professor, who surely must have gone mad. “Why do you want me to go into a girl’s bathroom?” he asked incredulously.
“Get in,” snarled Keane, jabbing hs wand at Daegan.
Resisting the urge to pull out his own wand, Daegan pushed the door open and walked in. The floor was covered in water, and each sink was full. Daegan could hear crying from somewhere, a girl sobbing in one of the cubicles.
“Hello?” he called as he splashed towards the row of cubicles. “Are you alright?”
“No talking!” hissed Keane. “Myrtle!”
A pale ghost of a girl with thick glasses soared over the top of the cubicles and hovered in front of Keane. “What? Come to call me more names?”
“No. If you promise not to tell anyone what we’re doing here, I can help you move on,” said Keane silkily, unlike Daegan had ever heard him speak before.
Myrtle’s face brightened. “You can do that? Wait, I don’t trust you. I’ll think on it.” Before Keane could say another word Myrtle soared upwards and dived down into one of the cubicles.
“What are we doing here?” asked Daegan, a hint of fear creeping into his voice. “What do you mean?”
Keane pulled Daegan by the arm over to a sink. He pointed at the tap and Daegan saw a tiny little snake carved there. “You are going to help me with something.” Daegan looked up and saw Keane was smiling evilly, manically. “You are going to open the Chamber of Secrets.”
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