Chapter 28 : Old Acquaintances
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Albus and John sat as far away as possible from Malfoy in Balladanis's study. Balladanis just stared at them before speaking.
“I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in all of you,” Balladanis began, “Especially you, Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy. I am sure I taught you better than this. The two of you especially should know how uncalled for that was. You are well aware of your dueling skills and what sort of responsibility lies with them. I have half a mind to discontinue our training sessions. However, I am willing to hear all sides of this story before laying out any sort of punishment. You may go first, Mr. Malfoy.”
“I was just walking to class and Potter pulled out his wand and attacked me. Then Brickston joined in. I was outnumbered, sir. I had to defend myself,” Malfoy said.
Albus had to try hard not to snort. He and John looked at each other and John rolled his eyes.
“Very well,” Balladanis said, “Mr. Potter, if you please.”
Albus took a deep breath. He was going to tell the story. The whole story. “Malfoy was threatening Matt, sir,” Albus began.
“Mr. Eckerton?” Balladanis asked, “I did not see him anywhere.”
“He left after Malfoy threatened him,” Albus continued, “You see, Malfoy has figured something out about Matt, after listening to your lectures on werewolves.”
Balladanis's eyes widened and he looked at Malfoy. “Is that true, Mr. Malfoy?”
“Yes,” Malfoy muttered, “And I wasn't threatening him. I was asking him about it. I think I have the right to know if I'm in school with a werewolf.”
Malfoy said 'werewolf' with disgust and it made Albus want to hex him once more.
“Mr. Eckerton has the right to keep his medical issues to himself,” Balladanis replied, “His health is none of your business whatsoever. Please continue, Mr. Potter.”
“After Matt left, I wanted to be sure Malfoy wasn't going to go tell the whole school about Matt's lycanthropy,” Albus explained, “And I guess we just wound up dueling.”
“Just wound up dueling?” Malfoy scoffed, “You had your wand on me.”
“You sent the first hex,” Albus muttered.
“Do you have anything to add, Mr. Brickston?” Balladanis asked.
“No,” John replied, “Albus is telling the truth.”
“Very well,” Balladanis replied, “I see this matter goes much further than a duel. All three of you will receive four nights' detention starting tonight at eight. Each of you have lost ten points from your respective houses.
“However, I am taking all three of you to see the headmaster. There are things more important to discuss than detentions,” Balladanis said as he stood up.
Albus knew full well what Balladanis was insinuating. He and John said nothing as they followed Balladanis to Kendrick's study. Malfoy walked a few feet behind them.
Albus hadn't been to Kendrick's study since his first year, when he went to talk to Dumbledore's portrait. The place hadn't changed in the slightest. Everything seemed to be in the exact same place. Both Dumbledore and Snape were awake and in their portraits.
Kendrick was behind his desk writing something when they entered. He looked up curiously at them. Albus, John, and Malfoy stood near the door while Balladanis strode forward.
“We have a problem,” Balladanis said, “These three have been dueling.”
“I trust you to hand out detentions, Tethys,” Kendrick replied, “I am busy at the moment.”
“It's not the dueling,” Balladanis said, “It's what they were dueling about.”
“And what would that be?” Kendrick asked.
“Mr. Malfoy has discovered that Matt Eckerton is a werewolf,” Balladanis answered, “And I believe Mr. Potter and Mr. Brickston have known for quite some time.”
Kendrick dropped his quill and looked up. “I'll take this from here. I believe you have a lesson to teach.”
“I believe I do,” Balladanis replied and left the room.
Kendrick conjured a few chairs and gestured for the three boys to join him at his desk. Albus sat down in the middle chair and waited for Kendrick to begin. He noticed that both Dumbledore and Snape were paying rapt attention.
“Well, well,” Snape said, “Deja vu.”
“Not now, Severus,” Kendrick said, “Mr. Potter, perhaps you can tell me if anyone else knows about Matt's lycanthropy?”
“Er, yes,” Albus replied, “Rose Weasley, Amanda Tagger, and Kaden Dursley.”
“I knew that Dursley kid knew something,” Malfoy muttered.
“Not now, Mr. Malfoy,” Kendrick said, “I'll need to speak with them, as well as Matt. I imagine they're all in class.”
“Sir,” Albus interrupted, “I don't think Matt's in class.”
“You may be right,” Kendrick sighed, “Do you have any idea where he might be?”
“Yes,” Albus answered.
“Very well. Please go find him,” Kendrick said, “And Mr. Brickston, please go find the others.”
Albus nodded and he and John left the study. Albus went straight to the Marauder's Den while John went to the dungeons as Rose and Amanda would be in potions.
Matt was sitting on his bed in the Marauder's Den, staring at the wall and not moving a muscle.
“I suppose Malfoy's told everyone,” Matt said without turning to look at Albus. His voice was hollow.
“No,” Albus replied, “He hasn't had the chance. John and I dueled him after you left. Balladanis gave us all four nights of detention and took points away.”
“He'll tell everyone soon,” Matt replied, “I should probably go pack. You know, I really thought I'd get to finish school. That's not even the worst part. It's going to be all over the Prophet. My dad's going to lose his job again. We'll probably have to move to New York.”
He finally turned around and looked at Albus. He no longer looked anxious. He looked absolutely terrified, yet sad at the same time.
“Why did Balladanis have to be such a good teacher?” Matt groaned and laid back on the bed, “If he had been some sort of awful teacher then maybe Malfoy wouldn't have found out. He's just so thorough! He left nothing out! Even the way he described the transformation. It was so, it was just so, realistic.
“And that stupid anamatek!” Matt sat up and looked at Albus, “That thing looked just like me, only older. No wonder Malfoy found out.”
“You're not going to get kicked out,” Albus assured him.
“How do you know?” Matt shouted, “How do you really know? I know Teddy's dad got to stay after Snape found out, but this is different. That was when Dumbledore was here! Everyone says Dumbledore was barking mad. Kendrick isn't. Kendrick's perfectly sane and he's not going to want to deal with this.”
Albus didn't really know what to say to that. Everything Matt said was true. Kendrick was not Dumbledore. Nobody could compare to Dumbledore.
“Kendrick wants to see you,” Albus said, “He's got Malfoy up in his study. He wants to talk to all of us. Me, John, Rose, Amanda, and Kaden.”
“I don't want to go up there,” Matt said, “I never want to see Malfoy again. I just want to stay here. Merlin, my head is killing me.”
“I think you have to go,” Albus said quietly.
“I know,” Matt groaned and got up off the bed, “This just isn't fair. I hate it. I hate this whole thing. I don't want to be a bloody werewolf anymore.”
“I know,” Albus said, knowing just how miserable Matt was at that moment. Albus had never once heard him complain about being a werewolf. Not when he was too tired to do anything because of the full moon or when he was laid up in the hospital wing for days afterwards.
They walked quietly back to Kendrick's study. Albus muttered the password, that he had overheard Balladanis say, to the gargoyle and they ascended into the study.
Everyone else was already there and they all turned to Albus and Matt when they walked in. Matt froze in place and Albus stopped and looked at him. He was staring directly at Malfoy.
“Take a seat,” Kendrick gestured to the two empty chairs, one of which was next to Malfoy's.
Albus took the seat next to Malfoy's, but didn't look at him. Matt took the other one.
“First, I want to assure you that you do not have to leave Hogwarts,” Kendrick said to Matt, “Nobody else will be finding out about your lycanthropy.”
Matt didn't look reassured by this. Malfoy looked mutinous.
“My father won't agree with that,” Malfoy muttered.
“Your father has no say whatsoever in which students I admit to this school,” Kendrick replied, “He works in the Ministry, and may I point out that his position is not very high.”
“Matt,” Kendrick turned away from Malfoy, “Does anyone else know?” Matt shook his head. “And did you tell the others, besides Mr. Malfoy, willingly?” Kendrick continued. Matt nodded.
“Very well,” Kendrick said, “And how long have they known?”
Matt seemed unable to speak. After a few moments of silence, Kendrick turned to Albus. “How long have you known, Mr. Potter?”
“Two years,” Albus answered.
Kendrick repeated this question with Rose, John, and Amanda, who all gave the same answer as Albus. Then he moved onto Kaden and Albus suddenly remembered the Sileo Altus charm. He shared one horrified glance with Rose and waited for Kaden's reply.
Kaden looked at Kendrick and then turned to Albus. His mouth was agape and he looked a little panicked.
“Are you all right, Mr. Dursley?” Kendrick asked.
“Fine,” Kaden answered, “It's just, well....”
“Professor, Sir,” Rose began, “We sort of put this charm on Kaden, so he wouldn't tell anyone. He can only talk about it with us. He won't be able to say a thing about it around you or Malfoy.”
Albus braced himself for Kendrick's response, but before the headmaster could say a word, Dumbledore chuckled in his frame.
“The Sileo Altus charm,” Dumbledore smiled, “Ingenious. Who performed it?”
“I did,” Rose answered.
“Remarkable,” Dumbledore said, “You must be an incredible witch, Miss Weasley.”
“Too smart for her own good, more like it,” Snape muttered.
“That is indeed quite the amazing feat, Miss Weasley,” Kendrick said, “Can you tell me how long Mr. Dursley has known?”
“About a year,” Rose said.
“Thank you,” Kendrick replied, “Now I have some things to discuss with Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Eckerton in private. The rest of you may go to the Great Hall. I believe there is still a half hour or so left of lunch.”
Albus didn't really want to leave without finding out what was going to happen to Malfoy, but he knew Matt would tell him.
Matt never showed up in the Great Hall for lunch, nor did he go to Ancient Runes or Charms. Albus could not concentrate on either of those classes and was very happy when Charms was over and he was able to leave.
Wood was not very happy that Albus had acquired four detentions. In fact, he was livid. He spent twenty minutes telling Albus how he shouldn't be picking fights with other students so close to the next Quidditch match, especially in front of teachers' classrooms. The lecture had only ended when Albus told him he was late for Charms. Albus had run into Wood in in between Ancient Runes and Charms.
“What do you suppose Balladanis is going to make us do?” John asked as they walked towards the Marauder's Den.
“Haven't a clue,” Albus replied, “But whatever it is, it's going to be bad since we have to do it with Malfoy.”
“True,” John agreed.
Rose, Kaden, and Amanda were with them. Albus wanted to go find Matt before they went to dinner. They had to wait a while for the corridor to clear out before they were actually able to get into the room, though.
Matt was fast asleep on the couch when they entered. “Good thing he doesn't have detention tonight,” John pointed out.
“Yeah,” Albus agreed.
John gently shook Matt's shoulder until he cracked his eyes open. “Wake up,” John said, “Or you'll miss dinner.”
“I'm not hungry,” Matt muttered.
“What's Kendrick doing about Malfoy?” Albus asked as he sat down on the other end of the couch.
“He should put that charm on him,” Kaden announced, “The one you lot put on me.”
“I wish he would,” Matt sighed, “All he did was tell Malfoy how important it was not to mention anything. He said telling his father would do nothing. Then he told him that if he ever did tell anyone, he would face expulsion for revealing another student's medical information. But that's it! I mean, Malfoy did promise he wouldn't say anything, but who really knows? Sure, if he tells, he'll be expelled, but that won't take it back. I'd still have to leave.”
“As much as a git as he is,” Albus began, “I don't think he's going to tell anyone if it meant he'd be expelled. That would be the ultimate shame in the Malfoy family, besides being a Squib or marrying a Muggle or something, getting expelled and not being a fully qualified wizard. Malfoy won't want that.”
“I guess you're right,” Matt sighed, “It's just so strange, knowing that he knows.”
“I know,” Albus said, “Do you want to go eat dinner?”
“No,” Matt shook his head, “You guys go on ahead. I've got to send an owl to my parents, let them know about this.”
Albus nodded. “We'll see you later, then. John and I have got detention tonight.”
“Oh, right. Good luck with that,” Matt replied.
Balladanis's detention was a bit anticlimactic. Albus had been expecting him to think up some really creative and taxing detention, but instead he assigned them lines. Lines were possibly the most boring detention ever thought up, but they were preferable to cleaning the bathrooms or something.
“Potter, Malfoy,” Balladanis said after they'd been writing for ten minutes, “Your dueling lesson is canceled for tomorrow night due to your detention. Detention will be at nine, after my extra help session, something I'll expect you to be attending, Brickston.”
Balladanis said nothing more and began grading essays at his desk. He completely ignored the three boys, which Albus didn't really mind. He just wanted to get his lines done and get out of there.
“Where does he go?” Malfoy hissed at Albus.
“What?” Albus whispered.
“You know, on full moons, where does he go?” Malfoy elaborated.
“I'm not telling you that,” Albus muttered.
“My dad said a werewolf used to teach here, and he got fired when everyone found out,” Malfoy drawled.
“He quit,” Albus corrected him, “He wasn't fired. He was the best Defense teacher any of our parents ever had.”
“Quiet!” Balladanis shouted, “I didn't say you could talk.”
Albus was grateful for Balladanis's scolding. Malfoy stopped asking questions and went back to his lines. Albus sighed and went back to his own. How far was Malfoy going to go? Why couldn't he just be satisfied with having worked out Matt's secret?
A half hour into their line writing, when Albus was contemplating switching hands despite the fact that he wrote horribly with his right hand, there was a knock on the door. Albus looked up and saw Professor Kendrick standing in the doorway, along with none other than Matt's dad. Albus set down his quill and turned to John. John had set down his own quill.
“Who's that?” Malfoy asked.
“Shush!” Albus hissed. The last thing they needed was for Balladanis to remember they were there and tell them to get out so he could have whatever conversation he was about to have in private.
“Tethys,” Kendrick said quietly, “This is Walter Eckerton.”
“We've met,” Balladanis muttered.
Albus turned again to John. Matt's dad knew Balladanis? How? Matt had never mentioned that before.
“That's his dad?” Malfoy whispered.
“Shush!” Albus said again.
“I wish to talk to you about what happened earlier today,” Matt's dad said quietly.
“What about it, Eckerton?” Balladanis asked.
“My son told me about your lessons,” Mr. Eckerton said, “How, informative they are.”
“I teach my students what they'll need to know in order to defend themselves,” Balladanis replied.
“I think you go too far with that,” Mr. Eckerton disagreed, “Merlin, showing them exactly what a werewolf looks like before a transformation with an anamatek? Do you realize how dangerous those are?”
“Of course,” Balladanis said, raising his voice a bit, “You're not the only expert on magical creatures. I have perfect control over my anamatek.”
“Nobody has perfect control over an anamatek!” Mr. Eckerton said.
“The headmaster has already told me I'm not allowed to use it anymore, so you really don't need to be lecturing me about this,” Balladanis seethed.
“Oh, it's not only that,” Mr. Eckerton stepped a bit closer to Balladanis, “It's how much you taught the third years about werewolves. The details about their transformations, how to pick one out of the general population, what happens before, during, and after transformations. Your lesson was far more detailed than a third year text book.”
“You'd find that all my lessons are like that,” Balladanis replied, “Text books do not give enough details.”
“I think giving enough details about identifying a lycanthrope so that a third year would be able to work out that someone not even in their same house is one is going too far,” Mr. Eckerton seethed, “You knew about my son. You should have been a bit more cautious with your lesson.”
“Withholding information from an entire class because of one student is not a good method of teaching,” Balladanis countered.
“It is when it could be dangerous for that one student,” Mr. Eckerton said, “Fan of the greatest good for the greatest number, are we?”
“There are times when that is a good philosophy,” Balladanis replied.
“We'll agree to disagree, then,” Mr. Eckerton said, “But if I find that your lessons are putting my son in danger anymore, you may find that the Ministry is inquiring into your teaching practices.”
“I'll teach however I like,” Balladanis muttered.
Mr. Eckerton ignored this and turned to the three boys, none of whom were writing lines any longer. “Is that him?” he asked.
“The one who found out?” Kendrick replied, “Yes.”
Mr. Eckerton strode over to the table Albus, John, and Malfoy were working at. He nodded hello to Albus and John before turning to Malfoy.
“I realize the headmaster has already gone over this with you,” Mr. Eckerton began, “But I feel the need to repeat that there will be consequences if you make public my son's condition.”
Malfoy nodded. “I know,” he muttered.
“Good,” Mr. Eckerton replied and returned to where Kendrick was standing. He turned once again to Balladanis. “I'll be returning to the castle tomorrow to search your study and classroom for the anamatek. If it is still here, I will take it into custody.”
Balladanis muttered something under his breath as Matt's dad left the room with Professor Kendrick. Albus exchanged a glance with John. He wanted nothing more than to leave, so he could talk about what had just happened.
“That's enough for tonight,” Balladanis barked, “Get out. Be back here tomorrow night at nine.”
Albus nearly spilled his ink in his haste to get up. He ran out of the room as fast as he could with John following. Malfoy made no move to try and talk to them again, so they headed straight to the Marauder's Den.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight as well as all of the lovely people who have read and reviewed this! You guys are awesome!
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