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Albus Potter and the Path Left Untrodden by Gryffin_Duck
Chapter 29 : Increasing Tension
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 16


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   Disclaimer-  I don't own Harry Potter.


   Albus and John burst into the Marauder's Den a little while later to find that Matt and Kaden were the only ones there.  Matt's face was covered in ash and Kaden was grinning.  They were in the middle of a game of Exploding Snap.

    “And that makes four wins for me and none for you,”  Kaden announced as he collected the cards,  “Oh, Albus, John!  How was your detention?  Want to play?”

    “Not now,”  Albus said hurriedly as he sat down next to Matt,  “Matt, did you know your dad was just here?”

    “Yeah,”  Matt nodded,  “When he got my owl, he wanted to go talk to Kendrick. I went with him.”

    “Well, do you know where he went after?”  John asked.

    “Home, I guess,”  Matt shrugged,  “Why?”

    “He and Kendrick turned up in our detention,”  John said.

    “He what?”  Matt replied.

    “Yeah, it was really odd,”  Albus said,  “He came in with Kendrick and Kendrick introduced him to Balladanis.  Only Balladanis said 'we've met'.  You never told us your dad knew Balladanis.”

    “I never knew,”  Matt shrugged,  “Then what happened?”

    “Your dad was really angry,”  Albus continued,  “He thinks Balladanis taught us too much about how to figure out if someone's a werewolf and that's why Malfoy found out.  Then he told him how dangerous it was for him to use that anamatek in class-”

    “Oh, yeah,”  Matt said,  “I told my dad about the anamatek and that's one of the reasons he came here, to tell Kendrick about it.  Kendrick's making him get rid of it.”

    “Yeah, that's what your dad said,”  Albus replied,  “He's coming back to inspect Balladanis's room tomorrow to make sure he got rid of it.  He also said that if any of Balladanis's teaching puts you in danger again, the Ministry's going to investigate him.”

    “It's really not a good idea to get on my dad's bad side,”  Matt said,  “What did Balladanis do during this?”

    “He kept saying that he was going to teach however he wanted,”  Albus explained,  “Honestly, he did not look happy that your dad was there.  I think something happened between the two of them.”

    “But what?”  Matt asked,  “Dad's never mentioned him before.”

    “Think he'd tell you if you asked?”  John wondered.

    “Probably,”  Matt said,  “I'll owl him about it.”

    “Oh, and then your dad told Malfoy he'd better not tell anyone you're a werewolf,”  John said,  “He looked pretty scary, too.  I don't think Malfoy's going to tell anyone.”

                        ******

    It did not take very long for word to spread that Balladanis had gotten in trouble for having an anamatek.  Galleons exchanged hands the next morning at breakfast, as a few older students had bet on how long he would have it.  Somehow everyone knew that Matt's dad had showed up at Hogwarts the previous night and informed Kendrick about it. 

    Kaden had Defense that morning and reported to Albus at lunch that Balladanis was even stricter than usual and seemed incredibly angry.  That did not bode well for Albus's detention that evening.

    “He's downright scary,”  Kaden said as he piled steak and kidney pie onto his plate,  “Yelled at one of the Ravenclaws in my class for spilling her ink.  She was nearly in tears.  But I'd hate to be in your class, Albus, he's going to be brutal. I mean, it's pretty much because of Matt that he got in trouble.”

    Matt had gone up to the Marauder's Den after they got out of Herbology since he felt ill and wasn't in lunch.  Albus knew that Kaden was right.  Balladanis was going to take this out on Matt, and possibly Malfoy as well.

    “I don't know why he cares so much,”  John shrugged,  “I mean, the Ministry could have just taken that thing away.  He's lucky he just had to take it back to his house or whatever.”

    “I don't think he likes the government,”  Albus said,  “That's the feeling I got after listening to him talk about what he did before teaching here.  I think that's why he did that, instead of becoming an Auror.”

    “Well, I think it's a good idea for the Ministry to make him take that thing home,”  John said.

    “Me, too,”  Albus agreed,  “I mean, he could've turned it into a manticore next.”

    Kaden went to class after lunch while Albus and John went up to the Marauder's Den with Rose and Amanda. 
   
    “Think he's owled his dad yet?”  John asked as he gestured to Matt, who was asleep in his bed.

    “Doubt it,”  Albus said,  “He's probably been asleep since he got up here.”

    “Merlin, I just want to know what happened between his dad and Balladanis,” John groaned.

    “You're so impatient,”  Rose commented,  “Just let him sleep.”

    “I wasn't going to wake him up,”  John muttered.

    The remainder of the afternoon passed by quickly.  Albus was dreading his detention later and John complained loudly about how he had to go to the extra help session about werewolves when he already knew so much about them.

    Albus woke Matt up shortly before dinner and he looked much worse than he usually did the day of full moons.  They all escorted him to the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey rushed him into bed.

    Just as they were about to leave the hospital wing, the doors opened and in walked Matt's dad.  Albus assumed he was there to check if Balladanis had gotten rid of his anamatek.

    John nudged Albus.  “We should ask him about Balladanis,”  John whispered.

    “He's not going to tell us now,”  Albus muttered back,  “Look at him.”

    Mr. Eckerton looked tired out and incredibly worried.  He nodded to Albus and the others before rushing over to Matt's bed and talking to Madam Pomfrey in hushed whispers.

    As it turned out, Albus had been worrying about the detention for nothing. He entered the room before Malfoy and John was already doing his lines.  Balladanis said absolutely nothing to Albus as he handed him parchment.  Malfoy arrived a little while later and still Balladanis said nothing.

    Malfoy did not talk either.  He did not ask anything about Matt and didn't even comment that the full moon was that night.

    Balladanis let them leave at half past ten.  Albus and John found Kaden in the Marauder's Den and spent the remaining time left until Astronomy playing Exploding Snap and Wizard's Chess.

    “Why, why do we have to have this class with the Slytherins?”  John groaned as they made their way to the Astronomy Tower,  “If Malfoy doesn't make a single comment about the full moon, I'll eat an entire cauldron.”

    “I'm going to hold you to that,”  Albus laughed,  “But I don't think you'll have to.”

    Malfoy went so far as to actually set his telescope up next to Albus's. Professor Polo spent ten minutes telling them that they were to plot the position of Mars, Venus, the moon, and a handful of stars before turning them lose to actually do so.

    “The moon is so bright,”  Malfoy whispered,  “And big and...full....”

    Albus looked at John.  “Looks like I won't be eating my cauldron tonight,” John muttered.

    “Just shut it, Malfoy,”  Albus said.

    “Isn't his dad the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures?  Yeah, he must be, because he's the one who made Balladanis get rid of the anamatek.  Can't say I'm really upset about that,”  Malfoy said quietly, “But how ironic.”

    “Just stop talking about it,”  Albus muttered.

    “Oh, come on, Potter.  Even you have to appreciate the irony,”  Malfoy said.

    “Will you just shut up,”  Albus seethed.

    “Quiet over there,”  Polo said.

    Malfoy smirked at Albus one more time before going back to his telescope. The rest of the lesson passed without anymore commentary from Malfoy and Albus was quite happy when he was able to return to his dormitory.

                        ******

    “It's like back in first year,”  Albus sighed,  “Remember when Madam Pomfrey locked the hospital wing?”

    “That's why this is bad!”  Rose said.

    “Well, she didn't lock us out this time,”  John pointed out.

    “She didn't exactly let us in either,”  Kaden said.

    Albus and his friends had slept late on Saturday morning and after grabbing a quick bite to eat, had gone to visit Matt in the hospital wing.  Madam Pomfrey hadn't let them in.  They were currently in the Marauder's Den, trying to figure out why.

    “She always lets us in,”  John groaned.

    “He obviously had a really bad night,”  Albus said quietly.

    “Yeah, but why?”  Rose wondered.

    “Haven't you noticed that the full moons have been worse the past few months?”  Albus asked,  “He's been taking longer to recover.”

    “I wish he'd just let us become Animagi,”  John muttered.

    “John, I honestly don't think you could become an Animagus,”  Rose replied, “You'd wind up with a permanent tail affixed to your arse.”

    “That wouldn't be that bad,”  John grinned,  “Always thought it would be cool to have a tail.”

    “You're not helping,”  Albus sighed,  “What are we going to do?”

    “I think all we can do is just keep going back to the hospital wing,”  John shrugged,  “Until Madam Pomfrey lets us in.”

    Their efforts proved fruitless, though.  They went to the hospital wing twice that afternoon and then right before Albus and John had to go to detention.  Madam Pomfrey told them 'no' each time. 

    Sunday, the last day of Albus and John's detention, was the same.  Madam Pomfrey was quite livid when they showed up for the third time that day.

    “Nothing's changed!”  she shouted,  “Come back tomorrow evening!  I'll give the lot of you detention if you come back any earlier than that!”

    With that, she strode back into the ward and slammed the door.  “Can she even give detention?”  Kaden asked.

    “I dunno,”  Albus shrugged,  “I wouldn't put it past her.”

    Albus and John broke away from the group to complete their last detention. Balladanis gave them lines, just like he had the past three nights.  Albus sat quietly completing them, very grateful for the fact that Malfoy hadn't said two words to him since Astronomy.

    “You may stop,”  Balladanis said quietly after they'd been writing for about an hour and a half.

    Albus threw his quill down and leaned back in his chair.  Finally, it was over. 

    “I hope you learned something,”  Balladanis said, which shocked Albus.  He had been expecting Balladanis to continue his silence.  “If I catch any of you dueling in the corridors again, the consequences will be much more severe than detention and lost points.

    “Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy, I have given great thought to whether I should continue giving you extra lessons.  I have decided to give you one more chance. Lessons will continue this Friday at their normal time.  However, if either of you disregard my rules again, I will no longer hold them.  You may go.  I'll see all three of you in class on Tuesday.”

    “Merlin, I'm glad that's over,”  John muttered to Albus once they were on their way to Gryffindor Tower.

    “Me too,”  Albus agreed,  “He's going to be awful in class, though.”

    “Yeah, can't say I'm looking forward to that,”  John said.

    Albus couldn't concentrate at all in his classes the next day.  All he wanted to do was go to the hospital wing and find out how Matt was, but Madam Pomfrey insisted that they wait until evening.

    Rose and Amanda ate dinner with Linda, but they met Albus, John, and Kaden near the hospital wing afterwards.  They had all eaten a very rushed dinner due to Albus's Quidditch practice at seven.

    Albus cautiously opened the door to the hospital wing, half expecting Madam Pomfrey to yell at them again.  He walked quietly inside, followed the the others. Madam Pomfrey was sitting at her desk and she visibly sighed when she noticed them.

    “Go ahead,”  she gestured to the only occupied bed, which had the curtains pulled around it.

    Albus rushed over to the bed and yanked the curtains back.  Matt looked exhausted and there was a rather large bandage wrapped around his head.

    “I was wondering when you'd come visit me,”  Matt gave them a half smile.

    “We've been trying!”  John said,  “Madam Pomfrey hasn't let us!”

    “I know,”  Matt smirked,  “I've heard her yell at you.  It's kind of amusing.”
   
    “Well, we're here now,”  Albus said,  “How are you?  Why didn't Madam Pomfrey let us come visit?”

    “Because I didn't wake up until yesterday afternoon,”  Matt answered.

    “But that was-”  John began.
   
    “Nearly two days later?”  Matt cut him off,  “I know.”

    “But why?”  Rose asked.

    “A bunch of things, really,”  Matt sighed,  “First, I was worried about Malfoy telling everyone and it's always worse when I'm worried about something. Second, I hit my head really hard at some point that night.  It still hurts. Third, the transformations in general are getting worse, because I'm getting older.”

    That thought certainly hadn't crossed Albus's mind.  Albus and all his friends were obviously getting older and that brought plenty of changes, but he hadn't even thought about how the wolf would change when Matt got older.

    “So, are all of the full moons going to be this bad now?”  Kaden asked.

    “No,”  Matt shook his head and then winced,  “I mean, I don't really know what'll happen in the future, but this one was just a combination of bad things.”

    “That's good, I guess,”  Albus shrugged,  “When do you get to leave?”

    “Tomorrow night at the earliest,”  Matt sighed,  “Although that means I'll miss Defense.”

    “Wish I could miss Defense,”  John muttered,  “Speaking of Defense, did you owl your dad yet?”

    “John, he just woke up yesterday,”  Rose pointed out.

    “I didn't owl him,”  Matt said,  “But he came to see me earlier and I asked him.”

    “Brilliant,”  John grinned,  “And?”

    “And,”  Matt said,  “He told me all about it.  He told me Balladanis was a Presuler and was really surprised that I already knew.

    “Apparently, back when my dad had just been appointed Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in Australia, he hired Balladanis to catch a band of vampires who were attacking Muggles on the outback.  Balladanis caught them, but he thought Dad went too easy on them.”

    “What did he do to them?”  John asked.

    “Sent them to prison.  I think they got 20 years.  Balladanis thought they should have gotten life sentences.  Dad and Balladanis got into this huge argument at the Ministry about it and Balladanis stormed out.  The Australian Ministry didn't hire him after that,”  Matt explained,  “Although, I'll bet Balladanis and Lubar would agree on punishments.  I wonder if he's hired Balladanis.”

    “That explains a lot,”  Albus said,  “Did your dad say anything else about him?”

    “No, not really,”  Matt replied,  “Just that he's got a lot of issues.  Oh, and he wanted me to warn you not to listen to everything Balladanis says during those dueling lessons you've got.”

    “I'm not going to,”  Albus assured him,  “I think we've all seen a different side of Balladanis during the past week.”

                        ******

    Tuesday morning dawned quickly and Albus trudged to Defense with John.  Neither of them really knew what class would be like, but judging from what he heard about recent Defense classes in the common room, it wouldn't be fun.

    Malfoy was back to his smug self now that detention was over.  He sat next to Goyle wearing a smirk on his face.  Albus ignored him and went to his usual table.

    Balladanis stormed into the room a few minutes later.  He waved his wand at the door and it slammed shut with a bang loud enough that it caused the Jordan-Bell twins, who had been sitting closest to it, to jump.

    “Pass your homework questions forward,”  he growled.

    Albus handed his homework to the table in front of him and waited for Balladanis to collect it.  He paused in front of the table in front of Albus's.

    “Potter,”  he began,  “You can tell Eckerton that his homework is late and therefore I will not accept it.  If he wished to get credit for it, he could have graced us with his presence.”

    Malfoy snorted at this, earning him glares from both Albus and Balladanis. Balaldanis tossed the homework unceremoniously onto his desk and then turned back to his students.

    “Wolfsbane potion,”  he barked,  “Was created by a man by the name of Oliver Belby.  He finished the creation in 1991.  For most werewolves, the potion was a lifesaver.  Who can explain what it does?”

    Nobody, not even Rose and Linda, raised their hands.  Albus stared down at his desk, hoping that Balladanis wouldn't call on him.

    “Nobody?”  he said,  “Pity.  Wolfsbane potion renders a werewolf harmless during full moons.  The lycanthrope turns into a wolf, but a harmless one.  One that will just sleep until the moon sets and will not have the urge to bite and kill.

    “The potion is a lifesaver to those plagued with lycanthropy. I had been hoping to show you what a werewolf would look like on Wolfsbane potion, but my anamatek has been banned from the castle,”  Balladanis said with malice,  “Therefore you will have to go without the visual.  It seems that certain parents, Ministry officials, and the headmaster do not approve of my methods of teaching.  Unfortunately, it is all of you who are suffering for it.”

    “I wouldn't call it suffering,”  John muttered.

    “Quiet, Brickston!”  Balladanis shouted,  “Unless you have something to contribute to the class.”

    “No, sir,”  John replied.
   
    “Good,”  Balladanis muttered,  “Anyway, the anamatek will not be making anymore appearances in this classroom and your education is going to suffer for it. Nothing, and I repeat nothing can replace hands on training.”

    Albus usually agreed with that, but he drew the line at having what was in essence a live manticore in front of him.  There were some times when reading sufficed.

    The lesson continued with Balladanis talking about Wolfsbane.  He spoke about how the potion doesn't work for all werewolves and Albus found his mind drifting. All in all, the lesson hadn't been as bad as he'd been expecting.  Besides his brief rant about his anamatek being banned from the castle, he had been pretty normal.  Normal for Balladanis, that is.

    “Next lesson will be the last on werewolves,”  Balladanis announced at the end of class,  “We will learn about lycanthropy's effect on children.”

    Albus groaned inwardly.  Matt would be out of the hospital wing by then.  Why couldn't Balladanis just finish the werewolf unit already?

    “He won't be back next year,”  John muttered as they walked to Herbology.

    “I don't doubt that,”  Albus replied,  “I just wonder who we're going to get instead.”


A/N:  Thanks to my beta, Dancer_of_Starlight as well as all the lovely people who have read and reviewed this!


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