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 Seven Years and Counting

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Maelody
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PostSubject: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:03 am

Summary: In a Multi-Pov story, with the main focus being on Molly Weasley II and Albus Potter, we witness first loves, losses, and an odd sense of humor in the next generation. They are perfectly happy living the lives their parents built for them, but what will they have to do once they learn there is an organization inside the school trying to bring back a new Dark Lord? Will they bring in the old reinforcements (their parents), or will they go in themselves?

A list of characters for you to go off of. Not all of them have been introduced yet, and most all of them probably won't be either, but I had extra characters names just in case. Smile

Spoiler:
 

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, besides the ones that I made up on my own. Nor do I own any of these settings, and if anything seems familiar that is not in the books, it is unintentional seeing as I live in America and have never once been to the UK in my life(: Everything you see here is owned by Mrs. J.K Rowling herself and I am merely borrowing it for my and your enjoyment.

~~~

Chapter One

A flash of dark, olive green swept past the mirror, and if someone looked right, at last glance, they would have seen a huge amount of ungodly-like white ruffles and lace. For a girl raised by a fashion designer and with looks even Aphrodite would be envious of, Victoire had the absolute worst dress sense known to the Delacours! Molly Weasley II fully believed that it was, anyway.

Molly turned and stared at the reflection in the mirror. Her black curls were twisted here and there with silver flowers pinning them up, and her soft blue eyes were staring at her in disgust. There was more fluff and poof to the dress than the last time she put it on! Not to mention the shade of green it was, which made her skin look ghostly white and unhealthy. Nonetheless, as it was Victoire’s wedding day and Molly was one of Victoire’s bridesmaids, she couldn’t really complain.

She sighed and flopped into a tattered old chapel chair behind her. The dress shot up at odd ends, but Molly hardly cared. Honestly, she couldn't wait for the whole day to be over. Victoire and Teddy were too young to even consider what the word marriage meant, let alone follow through with it. Molly knew when her two pennies were wanted and unwanted, so she didn't say much to the couple, but she did let the rest of the family know about what she thought.

In fact, her opinion was so unwanted, it was half the reason why she was left alone in the dressing room. No one wanted to hear what the bridesmaid had to say about her best friend's and cousin's wedding. Her solitude did not last very long however, when someone rapped lightly on the door.

"Molly, babe. Are you going to be much longer?"

It was Noah Clark. Molly's boyfriend.

"Come in," she said, slumping even more so into the chair and placing her hand over her eyes as a sudden headache crept along the right side of her head. She peeked through her fingers as he walked in to see how much better his appearance was compared to hers.

Noah was clad in dress robes that nearly matched hers, with white ruffles but less lace. He wasn't the best man but Molly thought if she had to go along with the torture, she'd bring him along with her. The olive green didn't look any better on him than it did her, especially with his sandy blond hair untamed and gracing over his shoulders. His darker complexion didn't go well with it at all either. Although he spent the majority of his time inside reading books, the Australian tan stuck with him.

"Well, don't you look beautiful, babe," he complimented while extending a hand out to her. She accepted it and glared at him. "Aw, come on now, sweety. Cheer up! It's your cousin's special day, and you only have to wear the dress once." He grinned a very boyish grin and blew a strand of hair out of his face.

Molly went for her bag and pulled out a tonic for her headache, turning on Noah as she did so. "That's all you have to say? It's my cousin's special day? Noah, she's walking down the aisle in less than an hour to the beginning of the next four marriages in her life! Godric's Sword, she's only twenty years old. They've been dating two months and then all of the sudden we're standing here. If she thinks this is some romantic Beauty and the Beast fantasy then she needs to realize she hasn't lived her life yet! Am I the only one worrying about this?" Tears were falling down her pale cheeks, but she wasn't so much as furious as she was terribly upset.

Noah lightly chuckled and tried to embrace his short-fused girlfriend but she jerked away from him. He sighed and looked down into her eyes. "You're not really the person who’s worrying about this, but more of the only person who is making a big deal out of nothing."

"A big deal out of nothing? Noah, two months isn't—" Molly started but he interrupted.

"They broke up for two weeks after a four year relationship, Molly. I don't think it really counts for two months." He wiped a tear from her face with his thumb but she turned away and wiped it herself.

Sometimes she didn't know why she continued to go out with Noah because he angered her so often, but the thought of rejection bothered her more than her anger did. What he said, however, was not true at all. Yes, they may have been dating for four years before they broke up for two weeks, before getting back together again, but it was the reason why they broke up that bothered her. There was really no reason at all for Teddy to break up with Victoire at all, yet he still did. Molly thought that they were not mature enough for a married relationship.

A clock nearby started to chime five o'clock. They had thirty minutes until the wedding. She looked up at Noah, bit her tongue from arguing further with him, instead saying, "We'll talk more about this later. Right, let me fix your hair before we go out there. You're a mess."

"Are you seriously annoyed at me for defending them? I mean, come on, Molly I—"

"Noah, I've told you. I don't think they're ready, you don't want to stand by me on that issue and that's the end of it. Do you want me to fix your bloody hair or not?" Molly asked belligerently. She crossed her arms and glared at him. He still showed no real signs of anger, only of hurt and confusion.

He couldn't believe what he was hearing, that she was actually irritated at him for sticking up for Teddy and Victoire. He shrugged and turned toward the door. "My hair’s fine, Molly," he said. He opened the door and looked around to see her grab her bag and stomp toward him with her clacking heels.

"Fine." She walked right past him and continued to trudge along in the hallway. He shut the door and followed her.

"Seriously, Molly. Think for a moment about this wedding and why they're even having one in the first place. If you think long enough, I bet you'll find out that it's not just to make you hate them for eternity," he said as he caught up right behind her. Even though Molly was so short, he was finding it difficult to keep up with her.

Molly didn't stop, but turned her head to look at him momentarily before she answered him. It was more of a death glare, but sometimes she did that even when she meant to show true compassion to him.

"Is it to know what it's like to be young and attached forever to someone who leaves for no reason?" she retorted and faced forward again.

"Um, no..." he said, grabbing hold of her shoulder and stopping her. He walked around her and faced her again, this time making sure that he didn't let go. "They're marrying each other because they love each other, Molly. You know how that is. They've been dating each other for four years. It’s about time they show that love by marrying."

"Four years is hardly enough time to decide if you love someone, Noah. Apparently Teddy wasn't so sure of himself two months ago," she replied, flushing. Still he didn't let go.

"Really? ‘Cause everyone has their hard times, Molly. And who even knows, maybe something happened those two months ago we don't know about. Either way, four years is plenty of time. I mean, look at us!" Noah smiled at her, his hands still on her shoulders.

She looked up into his brown eyes as if she was expecting something different to come out of his mouth after that. As though she thought he was joking.

"Look at us, Noah? What do you mean look at us? We've only been dating for three years. That doesn't mean that we're in love. And you'd better think twice if you asked me any time soon to marry you, because I do not plan on being the only Hogwarts sixth-year married couple!" Molly was still looking up at him, but that was a mistake. Her anger fell almost immediately along with her stomach dropping.

Noah's face fell and his grip loosened until he let go of her completely. He didn't look away, but something was in his expression before that wasn't there anymore. "What's wrong now?" she asked, not letting her guard down completely, her voice quivering slightly.

He pulled her close to him and hugged her tenderly before whispering in her ear, "But I love you, Molly."

~~~

The doors finally opened and the old dusty pipe organ began to play. No one was at the organ, of course, but it still played beautifully. The music wasn't nearly as beautiful as the woman walking through those doors, though. Molly watched as Victoire walked slowly down the long, silver carpet laid across the marble chapel floor.

Her cousin was being accompanied by Molly’s Uncle Bill, Victoire’s father, as they walked past rows and rows of family and friends. He too, was wearing green dress robes, and Victoire was wearing a white dress with a huge olive green bow tied behind it and green sequins spiraling down the front. Of course she couldn't see how beautiful her face was because it was hidden behind the veil, but Molly was certain that her cousin was absolutely gorgeous in the horrid color, unlike anyone else.

Tears found their way yet again on Molly's face, but it wasn't because she was happy for her cousin. No, that was pretty much shown from the start that even though she thought her cousin was gorgeous in a wedding gown, she was far from happy for her. Nor did they start because of the bouquet of flowers she was holding that she was mildly allergic to. As Victoire was making her way down the aisle, she passed Noah.

He was sitting right behind Aunt Fleur, who was still very gorgeous even with her red blotchy face borne from the tears of joy for her daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law. Noah was looking at the bride, but his eyes were sad, and he avoided following her any further once she was close enough to include Molly in his vision.

What should she have done? He told her just moments ago that he loved her for the first time they started dating three years ago, and she just left him standing there behind her. It wasn't easy, but she did. "I have to go and get ready before they start this dreadful thing without me," was the last thing she said to him, and then she just walked away.

Victoire finally came to a halt in front of everyone and Uncle Bill removed her veil. Sure enough, her pale blond hair was curled elegantly and framed her face just right. Her blue eyes were very bright and shiny with tears of joy as Uncle Bill kissed her and gave her away to Teddy. Soon, Molly's cousin,Victoire Weasley, would become Victoire Lupin, and all Molly could think about still was how she had just left Noah the way she did. With no answer at all.

Not that she had one for him.

~~~

"I do." Theodore Remus Lupin said to her.

"I do." Victoire Ginevra Weasley answered back to him.

"You may now kiss your bride," the priest said to the both of them.

Teddy kissed her, and at first she thought it was their first kiss again. It was just as lovely, and passionate as their first, but she knew that it was the first kiss of their marriage and how he would continue to kiss her every day of their lives together.

When they finally broke apart, her new husband's hair, as close to normal as he could get, changed from a mousy brown to a very deep purple. Victoire laughed and kissed him again as her family and friends stood and cheered for their new respective members of the family.

Victoire Lupin looked out into the crowd and smiled, clinging to her new husband, tears glistening on her cheeks. Thankfully, she wasn't the only one crying. One of her bridesmaids, Molly Weasley, was crying for her as well. She smiled slightly at Victoire and the new bride reached out for her cousin's hand and squeezed it gently.

"Thank you," she said softly and then turned her attention on her other bridesmaids and maid of honour, which were her sisters. The day ended up being absolutely perfect, and she couldn't be any more in love than she was now.

She and her new husband made their way back down the aisle, and greeted family outside of the chapel. The reception would be soon, and the chapel was hosting that as well. Though her parents were fully capable of affording the whole wedding on their own, the Potters agreed to take care of it as long as the wedding was held in London. Victoire couldn't complain; it was an absolutely beautiful wedding.

"Darling," Teddy said, pulling her towards him and smiling down at her, his hair still a dark shade of purple, "I love you." He kissed her again. And again. And again. She laughed and pushed away, winking at him and walking ahead of him.

"There will be plenty of that later during the honeymoon, dear," she said and they made their way to a small tent around the back of the chapel. "We have to celebrate with everyone else first."

~~~

"You s'pose she's pregnant?"

Molly choked on her Firewhiskey and sat up immediately from her stool to see her younger cousin, James Potter, smiling at her.

"Ugh-bluh-whu?" she managed to get and put the glass down behind her.

"You know," James said looking directly at Victoire now, "they split up and all of a sudden they're getting back together and making sure they get married right afterwards? Seems a bit odd to me, ya know what I mean?" His attention went right back onto Molly. He was still in his olive dress robes, too. He was Teddy's best man.

Molly hadn't thought of that. Her eyes were wide and she stared right at her newly wedded cousin.

"I—I never thought that—"

"Calm down there, cuz! I was only joking!" He laughed and then turned around to order a butterbeer. "Besides, you don't really think they'd do that sort of thing, do you? Not telling us, I mean."

"Well it does make a lot of sense, if you think about it," Molly wasn't about to let this theory down.

James laughed and spun around his is stool. "Come now, Mols, look at her! There isn't an ounce of fat, er, I mean, morning glow on that woman! Aw, if only she wasn't my cousin!"

"JAMES!" Molly was revolted, and she slapped his arm, causing him to spill a little of his Butterbeer on his dress robes. He didn't seem to mind and just continued to laugh.

"I mean that in the most non-disgusting way possible, Mols. Trust me. I'd say the same thing about you if you weren't attached to Noah. What's going on between you two anyway? He’s been looking a bit bummed out all this time. Wishing it was his own wedding, eh?" He jeered and elbowed her side.

"Stop that! And…and no. Not at all. We just had a little argument, that’s all," Molly said quickly, returning to her glass and taking another swig.

James took a quick look at Noah and back to Molly. The Butterbeer must have been taking a real effect on him, because he was really beginning to get a bit loopy.

"Oh really? Wha' twas it 'bout?" He slurred.

"How many of those things have you had, James?" Molly asked, taking the empty butterbeer bottle from his hands as he ordered another one.

"Huh? Oh. I dunno. Four? Five? I dunno but I'm loving it! Waiter!" He was absolutely beaming with nearly drunken joy. He was as weak as a house elf when it came down to it.

"And why, may I ask, are you even drinking all of these anyway?" she asked, taking the new bottle he just ordered from him and setting it on her other side.

"The same bloody reason you are, Mols! Celebration! If you 'aven't noticed yet, we just finished a wedding!" James staggered from his seat and grabbed for his bottle again and took a huge drink from it. "Ahhhhh. Nothing better than a good ol' Butterbeer. Whatcha got there, anyway?"

"Firewhiskey," Molly answered, taking a drink of her own. "And I'll have you know, I'm not drinking for celebration, I'm drinking for grieving issues."

"Grieving? Godric's Sword, you make it sound as'if someone's died.... Someone's not died have they?" Complete shock overtook James as he waited for her answer.

Molly looked at him with disgust and took another drink. "No, James. No one has died! I'm grieving because I don't think this wedding was done properly. They just sort of jumped into this whole thing. That answers your question too, by the way. Why Noah looks so annoyed. We're currently fighting over what we think about this wedding and we just simply don't agree."

"Tha's it? I though' you two 'ad broken up or somethin'. Tha' can' be it. Noah's totally whipped, he woul'n' be so bummed ou' jus' 'cause you two are figh’in'!" James went for another drink again, but found that Molly had it once again. "Ey! Give me tha' back!"

"I'm finding it very hard to understand you when you're so drunk. You can have it back after you have a civil conversation and prove that you're decently sober. What do you mean, he doesn't looked bummed out because of a fight?" Molly asked suddenly, more concerned than she thought she would be.

James shrugged. "I dunno. Jus' though' that maybe the two of ya broke up or somethin'. Well, you broke up with 'im. He's too miserable to 'ave broken up with ya. Jus' doesn' seem whatever yer fightin' over is 'cause of this weddin'."

Molly tossed the butterbeer back at James. "That's enough from you!" she said. Her heart was pounding and her face was flushed. "There’s nothing going on with Noah and I, we're just having a little fight, that’s all. We haven’t split up or anything. Now go on, and this better be your last one or else I'm telling Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry."

"Alrigh'! Alrigh'! I gotcha. Jus'... jus' lighten up, OK? Noah's a good guy, and he's been waitin' round on ya hand an' foot. 'Sides, whatcha gotta argue over this weddin' for? Seems perfectly righ' to me." James turned to watch as Victoire and Teddy danced in the middle of the dance floor. He was right. Everyone besides Molly was very happy to be at the wedding with one another. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and dancing.

Uncle Harry was dancing with his daughter, Lily, and Molly’s dad was sitting at a table making a toast with her mum. Some of her friends that weren't on the dance floor were chatting away at a large table with a silver cloth draped over it. Everyone seemed to be having fun, everyone but herself and Noah, who was sitting at a table full of old spinster ladies and a few older gentlemen.

The piano was playing by itself again, and soon everyone was sitting or standing at the sides as the bride and groom danced by themselves while the song Piano Love Song played. Soon, everyone moved onto the dance floor. Even James left Molly’s side and began to try and get his younger brother, Albus, to ask a girl to dance with him.

Noah caught Molly staring at him and looked up. He didn't greet her with warm eyes or a welcoming smile, but with sad eyes and a small smile. Her thin lips formed into a smile as well, and he made his way across the room to her.

"You know," he said, "for a wedding that was a bad idea, everyone seems to be having a good time on the dance floor. Care to join me?" Noah asked, extending his hand out to her once more. She hesitated, but accepted it anyway. She didn't say a word while they made their way to the dance floor, and she laid her head on his shoulder and he rested his chin on top of her head.

That's how it was for a while. Silence. Nothing but the music playing in the background and the occasional distinct laugh he could pick out from an old aunt or someone, but otherwise he was lost in his own world with her. Finally, Molly broke the silence.

"About what you said earlier—"

"I meant it, you know?" Noah said hoarsely, his chin still resting on her head. He felt her jaw clench against his chest. "About what I said earlier. You really do look beautiful in that dress."

"Oh..."

"Unless you meant what I said after that. When I said—"

"I know," Molly cut in, her voice choked. "I know what you said. There's no point in bringing it up again. Otherwise I'm just going to have the same answer as before." Her arms gripped him even tighter, as though she were hoping that no matter what either of them said, he wouldn't let go of her. It was these things that she did that kept him from leaving her. It was these things that made him tell her that he loved her. Because he did. Noah loved her nearly from the moment she walked into his life in third year.

"OK," he said, kissing the top of her head.

The song ended and she looked up at him for the first time. She had been crying again, but she leaned in and pecked him on the lips, and then turned around and back to the bar. He stood there and watched her go, not sure of what was currently going on in his life. It wasn't until the next song started did he move to a table of friends and ordered his own drink of Firewhiskey.

He didn't really care about what Rose or Michael were currently arguing over at his newfound table. With one last look at Molly, he took a huge gulp of his Firewhiskey and finished the night listening to an argument about Muggles and children born without magical parents (because that's how Michael's sister was) and how they should get along.


~~~

What did you think? I already have a few chapters done and they'll be up shortly, but I can guarantee anyone who reads this will be able to catch up with this story before it is ever close to being finished. I've been working on it for three years now, so I hope I've made it enjoyable enough for everyone. Anyway, please leave me some feedback and let me know what you think. Stick with it, I promise it gets better. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:07 am

~~~

Chapter Two

James Potter woke up feeling perfectly normal the next morning after the wedding. The Butterbeer he drank the night previously was charmed to make him merely loopy, for the sake of celebration; otherwise it had no effect in actually making him drunk. This was a good thing, too, seeing as how he would never hear the end of it once he stepped into the halls of Hogwarts with his shiny new Prefect's badge. There was only a week left until the new term at Hogwarts started and the Potters and Weasleys were celebrating everything like mad.

His little sister Lily and cousin Hugo were going to be first years this year, and so they wouldn't take part of today's festivities as they were at Diagon Alley with his mum, and Aunt Hermione also started early this morning. Lily had turned twelve last week and already had a majority of her things, but that didn't stop the young girl from the want to shop.

He dragged himself out of bed and pulled on a shirt lying across the back of a chair that he most likely wore a day or two ago without being washed. He pointlessly ran a hand through his mess of dark brown hair which had a hint of red in it, and grabbed for his rectangular shaped glasses on his bedside table. He remembered being little and wanting to wear glasses like his dad, but decided against it when he started school known as 'Potter's boy through and through!'

With pyjama bottoms on and wand in hand, James made his way downstairs where he found the remaining members of his family and friends eating breakfast. Seeing as it was the weekend, no one had to be at work, so after the wedding they all crashed at his place. His dad was by the stove top, cooking bacon and talking to Uncle Ron about something from work, and everyone else was fighting for the remaining food on the table.

James took a seat next to Rose Weasley, who was desperately trying to start a conversation with Molly. He grabbed the piece of toast from her plate since there wasn't any more anywhere else.

"That's mine!" Rose realised right away and gave up on Molly, who was sulking over her eggs and bacon.

"You could stop talking long enough to realise? I'm shocked," James pretended to get out of her way by sitting as far back in his seat as possible as she reached for her piece of cold toast. "Nice hair this morning by the way, Red." The compliment was for the already bushy wildfire hair on her head that was still untamed from when she woke up. She glared at him and ate her toast in one quick bite.

"Be nice, James. Rose had a tough night with her boyfriend and all last night," Albus said as he came up from behind him with a plate and gave it to his older brother. He took the seat next to him and smiled cockily at Rose.

James turned to Rose in true shock this time. "What happened between you and your boyfriend?" he asked, shooting a quick glance at Molly and then back to Rose.

"Nothing, you idiot! That was..." She nudged her head behind her, gesturing to Molly.

Albus choked on his tea a little and apologized quickly. "Sorry! How was I supposed to know? Word may travel quickly, but you lose track of who's being talked about in this family!" he defended himself. Molly started to sob silently and left the table to sulk, and she went out of the kitchen and back upstairs.

"Now look what you've done!" Rose griped, taking a look at the end of the charmed table to see Noah quietly eating his own breakfast and listening to something Fred had to say. That probably wasn't a good idea, since Fred would be making all the wrong jokes at the wrong time, but James felt it was best not to interrupt.

"Someone's a bit on her high horse seeing as nothing is wrong with her this morning," Albus argued in front of James, blocking him from touching his own toast. He placed a hand on Albus' face and pushed him away, and when he tried to do it again, James threatened him with a fork.

"Excuse me, but I shared a room with her last night and she spent the whole night crying!" Rose retorted, "So I’m sorry if I'm not an exact charmer for conversation."

"Where's Ted?" James interrupted, feeling like some names would start flying across the room if the conversation went on any further. Rose’s attention went to Albus suddenly, as he insulted her wild hair yet again. She stood up, before she registered James’ question. Then she sat down again and crossed her arms.

"He's at the honeymoon, obviously," she huffed. She looked down at her nearly empty plate before deciding she was going to stand up again and leave the table. "Excuse me, but I'm going to go and pack."

"We have a week until—"

"Not for school, James. I spent the night here, remember? I don't live here!" Rose rolled her eyes and threw her hands into the air before turning on her heels and leaving.

"Oh. Right. Well then, that's a lovely dosage of female drama this morning, wouldn't you say so, Al?" James asked his brother, who was still fuming from before. It wasn't normally a custom for the Potter kids, or the Weasley kids for that matter, fought with one another very often, especially not Albus. Especially because Albus was a Slytherin, he decided a long time ago that it would be pointless to further the stereotypical lie that Slytherins could never get along with anyone else. "You all right, mate?" James asked Albus.

Albus looked up and sighed. "Yeah, just... I don't know. Yeah, I'm fine. I just didn't expect her to get so annoyed with me, that’s all. I really didn't know that it was Molly who was having boyfriend trouble last night," he added, hoping someone would side with him on that issue.

"And why, may I ask," someone said directly behind them, "should it matter who you asked?"

James and Albus turned around to see Noah looking straight down at them. He wasn't smiling but thank Godric he wasn't angry. He was a bigger person than both James and Albus put together, almost like an Australian replica of their Uncle Charlie.

Albus stumbled for words to come up with a reason but couldn't find them and settled with, "Sorry, Noah," before retreating to his breakfast. The guy wasn't the least bit intimidating, but neither one of the boys wanted to pursue the issue and James finished off what he wanted from his breakfast and made an exit for the bathroom before any awkward couple talk was admitted to the breakfast table.

~~~

The fireplace was clean and there was no fire going on inside it, mainly because it was just September, and the weather was not ready for the heat. The other reason was that fireplace's sole purpose was for Floo use. The fireplace downstairs was what assured any Muggles that the Potters were just a normal everyday family.

As if, thought Molly. The Potters had never been normal and everyone knew that. It mostly started with her Uncle Harry, but his dad had a few great stories here and there as well.

Suddenly, the fireplace lit up and emitted emerald green flames. The fireplace did this four times and each time one of her family members appeared. Molly calmed down a little once she realized it was her Aunt Hermione and Aunt Ginny, along with Hugo and Lily. Most of the time the fireplace produced people from the Ministry, and they weren't normally fun people to be around.

"Daddy! Daddy! Come and look what wand I got from Diagon Alley!" Lily squealed and ran out of the study with her wand extended up in the air. Ginny chuckled and looked at Hermione, who was squeezing Hugo's shoulders and telling him, "Go on. Go and tell your father what wand you got." Hugo shot out of the room with an all black wand.

The two women embraced each other and began to laugh and talk about their little shopping spree as they went to follow their children, until they noticed Molly sitting in the red chair in the middle of the room, trying to hide herself behind a book.

"Molly?" Hermione released Ginny and headed for the chair. "What are you doing up here all by yourself?"

Ginny stood behind her and asked, "Why aren't you celebrating with everyone while they're still here?"

Molly sighed and shut her book. "I don't know," she answered honestly. Really, she had no idea why she was upset. She couldn't necessarily tell if she was having any real boy problems or not at all, but she knew that at the current moment she couldn't just waltz up to Noah and ask. She couldn't reply to what he said last night, so surely that was the cause for some sort of boy troubles. Wasn't it?

"You've been crying, dear. What is it?" Hermione sat down next to her in the chair and stroked her black curls, which thankfully were not as wild as Rose's. When Molly didn't answer Hermione, Ginny took that as the sign it was nothing they could help with. Her two aunts shared a very concerned look. "Do you need to speak with your parents?"

"What?" Molly asked, shocked and somewhat horrified about talking to her father about boy advice. "No. This has been going on since last night. If I needed them, I would have asked them then, but no. I'm all right. I just wanted to read up on a few things while I still had time, before going back to school."

"If you're sure," Ginny said and headed for the door. "We could always go and get—I mean—I can tell your mum to come up."

"No!" Molly said quickly, her face puckering up. Molly would much rather have the 'birds and the bees' talk with her father than her mother. It wasn't that she couldn't stand her mother. Not that anyone really could stand how pompous her mother was; no, Molly just didn't think she would understand.

"Listen, if I promise that I'm absolutely fine and my tears are due to a few things in this book, will you promise not to tell my mother?" Molly asked, hinting at a smile and somewhat of a chuckle.

Hermione and Ginny exchanged glances again and warily agreed to come to terms with Molly. Hermione left Molly in the chair she was sitting in and was about to follow Ginny out the door until the fireplace took light again with the same emerald green flames. This time another family member of Molly's came out, but not to any of her relief.

"Ginny, go and get Harry," Percy Weasley commanded his sister. "Hermione, get Ron please. Both of you, hurry!" As he barked his orders, Kingsley Shacklebolt himself came in right behind Molly's father. She was completely unnoticed until he said, "Hello,Miss Weasley."

Percy looked at the same chair Hermione and Molly were sharing moments before, and welcomed her with a tight smile. "Sorry, dear, I didn't see you there. Listen, we're about to have a very important meeting with the Ministry members so if you could—"

"Got it, Dad. All you had to say was ‘leave’," Molly grumbled as she stood to her feet and snapped her book shut. She didn't mean to be so rude, but the fact he didn't even notice she was upset was a little unnerving. To make up for it, she went up and pecked his cheek before leaving the room, just in time for Ron, Harry, Hermione and Ginny to file past her and enter the study.

"What is it, Percy?" she heard Harry ask just as the door was shut behind her and the locks magically turn to keep her out. The light chatter from downstairs was hesitantly growing back to the roaring conversations they were once before, most likely startled from the sudden interruption of their breakfast.

Molly leaned up against the wall, debating whether or not she should just go to her room or downstairs, but something caught her attention through the door. For the greatest wizards of their time, you'd think they'd remember to place enchantments on the door, Molly thought. Something they said had her attention. In a trice, she had her ear glued to the study door she wasn't planning on missing out on such a top secret Ministry meeting.

~~~

Albus found out that having a conversation about girl problems wasn't that bad. Well, at least not as bad as he thought they would be. He was genuinely surprised that Noah cared that much about his relationship with Molly in the first place. He didn't get a lot of details on what exactly was going on with the older couple, but he did know one thing was for sure, and that was that his cousin was pretty uptight about such things.

When his mother and aunt came rushing into the kitchen, however, the entire room went quiet and everyone stared at them. Normally, this wasn’t out of the ordinary for the children, but the adults—at least Aunt Hermione and Albus’ mum Ginny—had never been ones for running around.

"Harry, Ron, could you come upstairs please?" Aunt Hermione asked, still holding the door open between the kitchen and the hallway. Neither of the men asked any questions and did as their wives instructed. Uncle Charlie took over the cooking and the silence in the room was rather grave. The bacon sizzled and it wasn't until Charlie asked who wanted more food that conversation picked back up, focusing either on the wedding last night or school, which was coming up.

"And then I got this really cool folding pot that Mum was talking about." Lily had replaced James' spot as soon as she got back and was filling Albus in about her whole shopping trip. The conversation mainly consisted of her wand and robe fittings and how her mum wouldn't let her have any house-coloured clothing because she wasn't sorted yet.

"I'm sorry, Lils, but I've really got to use the loo," Albus interrupted. He left the table. Nobody noticed him leaving and Lily immediately asked Hugo what house he thought they'd be sorted into.

After all, Albus didn't really lie, as he did need to go to the bathroom, but he also planned on seeing if he could find out what his parents were up to. On his way, however, he saw someone had already beaten him to the punch.

"Molly? What are you doing?" Molly wasn't expecting anyone and she jumped as soon as Albus said her name. With sudden shock she pulled out her wand and cast a silencing charm on the door immediately.

Molly spluttered a combination of four-letter words that would disgust her mother as she realised immediately what she had done. "I'm going to be expelled! I'm going to Azkaban!" She looked so worried as she dropped her wand onto the floor, looking at it as if it were some sort of cursed item.

Albus went and picked it up for her. "Our family is best mates with the Minister for Magic, I'm sure you're fine," he said handing the wand over to her. She rolled her eyes, taking it back and placing it in her back pocket. She glanced at the door in hopes that no one heard Albus before she placed the charm and sighed.

"I—I wasn't doing anything," she said. "I heard voices and I wondered who it was, checked really quickly and now I'm leaving." She began to turn around but Albus stopped her.

"You just wanted to hear who was in the room? Their little chat about gnomes is so important that you had to cast a silencing charm on the door? What are they talking about, Molly?" Albus was insistent; maybe it was a family trait.

"I told you," she said, "I was just startled. I'm going to go and get ready to go home. Um, why don't you go and tell James I'm sorry about earlier?" And with that, she turned around and ran down the hallway. He stared at the corner of the hall that she turned at and then at the door. He took is own wand out of his back pocket, and, remembering what he said to Molly, took the silencing charm off the door and leaned against it.

Soon, he forgot all about Molly and the wedding, and what he was supposed to tell James later. The adults weren't completely clueless about the way they were talking in a house full of people, but their whispers weren't exactly all that quiet either.

"Listen, Harry, Ginny. We think it'd be a lot easier if we could send a spy or two and see what becomes of this. With Albus, it'd be a lot easier." The voice sounded like Uncle Percy's and Albus found his ear was beginning to get very warm for how tightly he was against the door.

"I am not sending my son into something like this, Percy!" That was his mum. She sounded worried, but not angry. "Tell him, Harry! We can't do something like this; I mean, they're just children! It might not even be anything worth meddling with."

There was silence in the room for a moment before his dad answered. He sounded close, like he was right next to the door. "Ginny, I think Percy has a point. They may be just kids, but you remember how Voldemort started. He was just a child, too. We can't underestimate children, dear. What say you, Kingsley?"

"As much as I agree we do need spies to check in on these children periodically, I can't say that I believe sending more children into this is a good idea. At least, not your son, Harry."

Percy spoke again, "But, Minister, Albus would fit right in! He's a pureblood wizard, and by the sounds of it, that's who these children are recruiting—“

"Don't go offering my own children as bait, Percy!" Ginny half-shouted.

"I'm only saying, Ginny that if we could send Albus into investigate—“

"No, Kingsley is right," Hermione interrupted suddenly. The room went silent. "If we send Albus in, they'll see something is up. Albus is the son of Harry Potter and Harry’s the Head of the Auror Department. We'd be committing murder doing something so foolish. We do need spies, however. I can—I can investigate. I could see to it that the animals at Hogwarts are being treated fairly for a period of time. Every weekend should be about right, don't you think? Ron?"

"Yeah, and Harry and I could go in every once in a while to make sure everything's in order. We could say we heard some rumours going around outside Hogwarts and we need to keep things straight at the school. That should put a stop to whatever these kids are up to, right?" Ron suggested, agreeing with his wife.

Albus gulped. His hands were sweaty and his glasses were slipping from the end of his nose. Hogwarts was in danger. Last year there were some issues with bullies, but they never did anything major. What could be going on that they needed spies for? If they wanted Albus as a spy, it must have meant that whoever they were expecting it to be was a Slytherin.

"That's it then, isn't it?" Ginny asked hopefully. "If we can make sure that everything is going smoothly at Hogwarts ourselves, then there is no reason to get Albus into this. There’s no reason to get any of the children into this."

"I'm not sure if adult spies will completely do, Ginny but," Percy said matter-of-factly, "it should do for a while at least."

"If everything seems settled by the Christmas holidays, then we can resign, but until then I will need all of you, and a few of the staff members, to go along with this. You can’t tell anyone, especially your children," Kingsley said, his voice deep and authoritative yet soft at the same time.

"OK," Harry said. "I'll ask my top Aurors and see what they have to say. I'll have them start as soon as the term starts."

"We mustn't rush into this, Harry," Percy interrupted again. Albus was finding that his hands were shaking and immediately let go of the door frame to hold them behind his back. His uncle was definitely ticking him off, but he couldn't pry his ear from the door as easily as his hands. "If we do, they will assume something is up. I'm sure you can remember when we were in school and there were Aurors running around all over the place."

"That was different," Harry said, sounding off, almost sad. "Everyone knew that Sirius was an escaped convict then and we needed the protection."

"The rumours are out there, Harry. Soon, even the children will know, but we mustn't rush them," said Kingsley. He too, sounded as if he was close to the door now and Albus realised that this little meeting would be over soon. Right before he left his spot of the past ten minutes, however, he heard his Uncle Ron's voice again.

"Just like old times, eh mate?" There was a thud and Albus was pretty sure that Ron had just clapped his dad on the back.

"Yes," his dad said solemnly, "but it isn't a good thing."

With those last words, Albus ran at the sound of the locks being turned. His legs had lost all feeling due to standing for so long, but he made them run anyway. He ran all the way up to his room and shut the door behind him. All the while, he was hoping to Godric himself that no one saw him.


~~~


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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:09 am

~~~

Chapter Three

The rest of the week went by relatively quietly. Everyone left the Potter's on the day of the interrupted breakfast, around supper time, and started packing things up for Hogwarts. Noah, on the other hand, had an extremely quiet week considering he was having no contact with Molly at all since their dance. It wasn't that he never tried; she just refused to answer him.

His room was all packed up and nearly looked as if no one occupied it at all. His parents loved him with all their heart, but when he was gone, Noah’s bedroom became an excellent guest bedroom. Either that or a good room for his little sister to take over during sleepovers. His family was a long line of Muggles. Noah just happened to be the lucky freak who blew up a few lamps on accident and was sent off on a train to a magical castle where blowing things up was normal.

"Noah!" his mum sang from downstairs. "Come on darling, it's already around ten o'clock and we still have to stop for a quick bite to eat!"

"Coming!" Noah said, taking one last look around his room. It wouldn't be the last time he saw it, but it was always sad to leave home for nearly an entire year sometimes. Sure, there were always holidays, but most of the time he spent those with the Weasleys and Potters. "Well, I guess that may be changing this year," he mumbled to himself before he lifted his trunk behind him to drag it down the stairs.

"Wait!" Noah's little sister shouted at him as she hobbled down the stairs after him. She broke her right leg playing an awful game of rugby a few weeks back. Otherwise, she looked almost exactly like Noah, at the age of thirteen. The only difference was her hair was slightly longer and she had...well...she had she parts. "Are you leaving right now?" she asked, only making it halfway down the stairs.

"Well, in five minutes or so, so get ready," Noah said. He was looking at his watch and then he looked back up to his sister. She had a guilty expression on her face. "What is it?"

She twirled her hair a little and bit her lip. "I-I'm not going," she stammered. "I have a game today."

"What are you going to do? Sit on the bench?" he asked, slightly annoyed. As he was thinking earlier, he was hardly home and he hardly saw his family. She pulled back and looked down at the stairs beneath her, thumping the large cast on her leg against the base of the step she was on.

"It's a part of being included with the team," she said quietly. He regretted his comment, but he didn't have much time to apologise properly either.

"Listen, I'm sorry, kiddo, but I've really got to head out—"

"Wait! Before you go, I have something to tell you!" she said quickly, her bashfulness forgotten. He felt the need to say something witty; that if she came they'd have plenty of time, but Noah decided against it when he looked at his watch again.

"What?"

"Well, it's about what I heard the other day. About...it was about your world." She motioned for him to step closer to her so she didn't have to say it too loudly. Noah was concerned, so he took his trunk down the remaining bit of the staircase and skipped a few steps up to her. "I was sitting on the bench during my last game," she started, whispering so quietly in his ear that he had to strain his hearing, "and I heard some people like you talking. At least I think they were like you. They were talking about Hogwarts. That is the school you go to, right?"

He nodded his head and felt her wobble under the sudden movement and he grabbed hold of her elbow. When she regained her balance, she continued.

"Well, they were talking about something happening this year. Something that may cause trouble at Hogwarts this year." She pulled back and looked at him. His expression never changed. Things at Hogwarts were always strange, even at its most normal times, and his Muggle sister wouldn't understand something like that. However, she did seem thoroughly worried about it.

"I'll keep an eye out," he promised quickly. He kissed her forehead and turned to head back down the stairs. "Stay out of trouble and I'll see you sometime during the holidays or after term!" With that last call, she waved goodbye, wished him well, along with warnings to be safe and stay out of trouble himself.

By the time Noah slid into the passenger side of his mother's black SUV he completely forgot about what his sister told him. At the current moment, he was a little more worried about seeing Molly for the first time all week and how their relationship would progress from there.

"Are you feeling all right, sweetie?" his mother asked, not taking the risk of looking away from her rearview mirror until they reached a crossing with a few children crossing her path.

"What?" Noah snapped out of the small conversation between Molly and him he was having in his head and looked at his mother. She was a small woman and the vehicle looked more like it owned her rather than the other way around, but otherwise he inherited the rest of his traits from her. "Oh, no," he said quickly once he realised what she said. "Guess I'm just beginning to miss home all ready," he added to satisfy her question.

She stuck with that answer and the rest of the trip was made in silence, only breaking it to ask if he wanted anything to eat while she stopped at a drive-thru and he said he'd get something from the trolley. The relationship he had with his mother wasn't all that bad, It was just that things became very awkward when she remarried two years ago to a man she never wrote to Noah about and surprised him with a new stepdad when he came home over the summer holidays that year.

It wasn't that he didn't get along with his stepdad; the man just seemed a bit odd. He tried everything he could to be really cool, even to the point where it became stressing. Noah didn't always like sticking around him though. His real dad was still in Australia, where they left him over twelve years ago because he wouldn't follow along to England with them.

The awkward moments between him and his mum were due to the fact that she felt, somewhere, deep down, she was wrong. Noah assured her hundreds of times as long as she was happy he didn't care what she did, but something was still strange between the two of them.

"We're here," she said. His mum stopped the car and turned to face him. It wasn't exactly as cheery as most goodbyes were, but he knew it'd be better to say goodbye to her there instead of inside. Inside King's Cross, he would only end up going through nine and three quarters and spending the rest of the time with his friends. His mum didn't mind his magical abilities, but she didn't feel comfortable about knowingly hanging around a lot of people like him.

Noah reached over the seats and gave her a kiss on her right cheek. "Goodbye, Mum," he said and began to unbuckle himself from the seat. Before he went to get his trunk however, he looked at his mum for a moment and gave her a small smile. "I love you."

His mother was taken aback at first, but then she composed herself and smiled widely. "I love you too, son! Are you sure you're all right?"

"Just peachy, mum," he said with a meaningful grin of his own. Then, with an awkward giggle or two, he shut the door and dragged his stuff along the paved lot and straight into King's Cross.

~~~

"Mum, I just want to get onto the train!" Lily Potter whined as she tugged at her luggage that was bundled with everything else on top of it. This was including her genuine, one-of-a-kind Firebolt 2000 from the Holyhead team. Long story short, it once belonged to her mother. Though it was an older model, it was still wicked fast. Technically she wasn't supposed to be carrying it around at Hogwarts, but she figured she could at least fly around the fields during free time if she couldn't play Quidditch.

"She doesn't seem worried at all about the Giant Squid initiation test I told her she'd have to pass before she even made it to the castle," James put in to his mother as he passed her on his own. Lily's eye twitched once before she stamped her foot and began to yell at him.

"There is no such thing, James!"

"Believe whatever you want, but you'll regret it later!" James then left ahead of everyone else when he saw his friends, Addie Sanders and William Troy. He straightened the Prefect’s badge on his Muggle shirt and trudged along.

"I bet he doesn't realise I've watched all of my family members go into Hogwarts before me and none of them have ever done a Giant Squid initiation test! There really isn't a Giant Squid initiation test, is there?" Lily asked, slightly panicked as she looked at her parents with hope.

"Of course n—" Ginny started.

"Well, that's because not everyone has the same test, Lily," Harry broke in. "Look at me. My test was against a snobby little git who tried to coax me into a house I really had no interest in at the time, and I passed, didn't I? They change it every year though, and this year it must be the Giant Squid again. Too bad about the last first year that failed that test when I was in school..."

"HARRY!"

"DAD!"

Ginny swatted his arm but couldn't help but laugh at her husband's gentle humour. Lily, however, didn't take it so lightly.

"I didn't study!"

"You're not spending your weekends at Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's house anymore, Lils," Harry grinned.

"Don't worry," Albus chimed in, "at least you didn't have to fight off a dragon before the train even reached the castle. I took on the whole thing by myself!" and then he too ran off to see some friends crowding around a mutual friend's new owl.

"I don't remember anyone ever talking about these tests!" Lily cried, near panic now.

"That's because no one is allowed to tell the first years until the day of school. That way, they worry about not studying before it," Uncle Ron said as he suddenly came in from behind her mum and dad. Aunt Hermione had the same soft laughter Ginny did when her husband joked, but Hugo looked just about as terrified as Lily did.

"Honestly, you two. There's no point in scaring them. Lily dear, Hugo, there are no such tests. Just worry about having a good head on your shoulders when you're sorted, and you'll be fine," Ginny confirmed as she continued to hold on to Lily in the crowd of rushing people.

"That is, if you manage to keep your head on your shoulders after facing the Giant Squid!" Ron and Harry said at the same time. In turn, both wives scolded their husbands and laughed heartily. The fun came to a hold when they reached the scarlet train at last and Lily tried to get on without saying goodbye.

"Hold on a second there, darling," Harry said while pulling out his wand to enchant her trunk and other belongings. "I've got your trunk, now you come here and hug your good ol' mum and dad properly." After Lily hugged both of her parents, a fellow first-year walked by with wide eyes and pointed right at the family of redheads and Potters.

"That’s—you're—they're—you're—you're Harry Potter's daughter!" said the very literate child he ran off to tell a rather round, fat friend a few yards down.

"Guess I've got to get used to that, now I'll be around people I don't know, huh?" Lily sighed. It was people like that kid who made her first year much less exciting. She knew they'd expect her to be some great Gryffindor like her father and company, but her older brother Albus was a Slytherin. The only reason he wasn't forgotten about was because he was the first Potter ever to be sorted there, especially after the feats his father managed to do. If Lily were a Slytherin, the wizarding world would think the Potters were just making a bad brew of children. Anything else and she'd just be some other smart kid in Ravenclaw or whatever the heck a Hufflepuff was.

Harry knelt down on one knee, almost identical to what he did two years previously with Albus, only he kissed her cheek first. "Lily," he said, "I wish there were things I could do to make that easier for you and your brothers. I wish I could make it easier on any of our family, but people just don't understand that people like you and I went and go through exactly what they go through. Just don't draw attention to yourself and you should be fine. If not, then just tell them you'll get your famous father who’s Head of the Auror Department to come and find their parents and have a talk with them, OK?" Lily laughed and then hugged her father goodbye. Her mother kissed her and then patted her bum before watching as Lily boarded on the train with Hugo following close behind.

"Be sure to write to us every day!" Ginny called out while Hermione told Hugo something about telling Professor Longbottom hello from the Weasley family. The train whistle sounded and everyone who wasn't on the train scattered in a hurry to board before they were left behind. Lily waved goodbye to her parents until she could no longer see them. What she missed, as the train turned around the corner, was the look the rather large family shared with one another of concern.

The train was loud and roaring on the outside, but inside Lily and Hugo found their walk to the nearest compartment very easy.

"So tell me," Hugo said once they walked into an empty compartment and placed the remainder of their things they carried up on the racks where their luggage magically appeared. "Do we really have to pass an initiation test?"

~~~

The compartment James was in was very full. In fact, he was sure if one more person were to come in the trolley lady would send them all out to find somewhere else to sit. He wouldn't have to worry much longer about how packed the compartment was for much longer, however, because soon he and two of his other friends would be leaving for the Prefects’ meeting.

Albus was sitting by the window in full conversation with Fred and Lucy, while Rose, Will and Dominique were talking about what it would be like the following year if Rose were a Prefect. The only other person in the room was one of James' best mates, Addie Sanders, who was contently staring at him with a warm smile. She, unlike James, was already wearing her Gryffindor robes and had the brand new Prefects badge pinned right below her left shoulder.

His plan was to surprise her and Will with his accomplishment, but she was ready to go and boast to the world about hers. Not that James really minded, but she really couldn't believe it when he showed her his. Ever since then, however, Addie couldn't seem to stop staring at him.

"Don't you agree, James?" Dominique asked, turned away from the conversation Rose and Will were having with her. When he didn't answer right away she tried again. "Don't you think Rose would make the perfect Prefect next year?" she asked with wide eyes.

"Um, yeah," James hesitated, looking from Rose to Dominique and at Will who was giving the clear heads up to agree. "If that's what the Head Girl believes, then yeah, definitely." Dominique turned and looked at Rose with a very 'I told you so' pose.

"See? I told you people already saw you in a leading position," Dominique assured her.

"Yeah," Fred jumped in, "but that's just the nice way of saying that we all think you're an insufferable know-it-all." He high-fived Albus and Lucy broke into a fit of giggles.

"Take that back, Fred Weasley!" Rose threatened. That was as far as the threat reached because just then the compartment door opened and Brandon Nelson peeked his head in just far enough so everyone could see his Head Boy badge just above his Hufflepuff badge.

James and Addie stood up abruptly, unsure of what to do in the presence of the higher authority. Dominique sighed and said, "I'll see you later, Rose. Then we'll talk more about next year, OK?" She placed the rest of her belongings and treats with her luggage above and followed the other three out of the room.

"Hello, Brandon," she said once they were in the hallways of the train and shut the compartment door. "I didn't realise that you were appointed Head Boy or else I would have come to say hello a long time ago," she added with her most sickly sweet voice James recognized as the 'there's no chance of that ever happening' voice.

"I'm sure, Dominique," Brandon said, not bothering to turn around. It was apparent to James in his previous years at Hogwarts that Brandon always had a little thing for Dominique, but his mess of brown hair and as-tamed-as-magic-would-allow acne were no match for what remained of Veela blood in Dominique. "It was announced in the letter you received over summer who was Head Boy, but I suppose you must've forgotten or jus—"

"Excuse me!" Addie interrupted. "But er, where are we going exactly? Are we going to some secret huge gigantic room in the train that I've heard about? Where are the other Prefects? And where—"

"I'm sorry?" Brandon turned around and raised an eyebrow at the figuratively much smaller girl. He was a very tall boy, nearly a head taller than James, but that wasn't saying much in Addie’s case, who stood unknowingly dumbfounded before him.

She spoke again, but this time faster. "It's just that someone once told me that all the Prefects met with the Head's on the train in some big elaborate room where they hold their meetings and pass out duties and everything! I mean, I've never seen this room once since I've been riding the Hogwarts Express, but that doesn't mean magic doesn't hide or conceal it somehow. You see, magic has this curious way of hiding things and I—"

"Oh! No, no!" Brandon was a bit overwhelmed and looked at James for help. James placed a hand on her shoulder and that immediately calmed her down. Addie's face turned an instant shade of red and she looked down at her shoes and decided they were very interesting to look at for the rest of the conversation.

"There are a few rooms like that, yes," Brandon said calmly after a moment or two of silence.

"But not for us, you silly girl," Dominique sneered. "We are just here to make sure you know to watch this hall from now until departure, along with the next carriage. That is all, and we have to tell you not to let anyone escape their compartments as we come closer to Hogwarts, as there have been...troubles in the past with not getting off in time." Dominique winked at James and he knew she was directing her comment towards his father.

Addie looked up fiercely. Her bashful, unexpected persona ended the moment Dominique called her a silly girl. James knew she had a temper and she didn't control it well, but she luckily kept her mouth shut for the remainder of Dominique's speech.

"That is all," Dominique ended and then turned around, forgetting Brandon was right behind her and running straight into him. "Will you please move!" He shifted to the side and allowed her to pass by. He gave Addie and James a look as if to say, "I'm sorry about that, guys," and then went off to follow Dominique to do whatever the Head Boy and Girl do.

"You could have told them that when they were in your compartment!" he called after her and then they both entered a different cart.

Addie and James were left in the aisle by themselves. When she still didn't say a word, James broke in with, "So, are you OK?"

She huffed and crossed her arms, making her robes look a size or two too small. "I s'pose," she replied. "It's just she didn't have to be so rude! I know she's your cousin, James, but I'm not going to get along with her this year if that's how she is going to be!"

James looked at her for a moment, trying to take her seriously, and then began to laugh. Addie giggled, too. Neither one of them were very serious people, and neither one of them knew what Professor McGonagall was thinking when she appointed them their roles. Either way, they were role model students in a strange sort of way.

"You'll have to get used to her, Addie. She's a lot like my Aunt Fleur, who was only used to get along with Uncle Bill and my dad for the longest time before she decided to, er, adapt the rest of our families into her life. Dominique takes after her mum, that’s all," James reassured her after the two had calmed down slightly.

Addie was still smiling and a hint of laughter was still in her eyes. "I s'pose so, but she could have still answered me nicely," she commented as they began to move down the hallway and check to see everyone was getting ready.

"Eh, they probably just go around gathering all of the Prefects just so they can tell them to patrol hallways, like what we're doing now," James pointed out.

"Do you think we'll patrol together often?" Addie asked, turning her head so she could see him behind her.

"We are both in Gryffindor," he grinned. Addie blushed and turned around.

"Oh. Yeah," she said and then jumped a little right as a compartment door slid open next to them. "WHOA!" She jumped right into James and he caught her before she knocked both of them over.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

"Noah?" James asked in surprise. He looked in the compartment and saw no one else was in there. "Why aren't you with Molly? I didn't think things actually ended with you two."

"No, we're still together. I'm off to see her right now actually," Noah sighed. James didn't know if he should take his comment as a good or bad thing. Addie suddenly extricated herself from James' arms, realising where she was, and then she brushed her robes off.

"Right," she said officially. "You shouldn't be running off anywhere. We'll be at Hogwarts soon and you need to get into your robes!" she said promptly. Noah chucked and pulled on his robes to show her he had them on already. "Oh. Right. Well then you can't leave this carriage!"

Noah lightly pushed past her and James with a large grin and turned back to look at them. "She's just down a few compartments. I won't get lost, I promise, oh mighty great ones!" and he was off.

"Nice one, Addie," James smirked. She punched him in the arm and continued to go forward.

"Come on, oh mighty great one. We have to check the next cart." James laughed and then he led the way in front of her.

"Oh ha ha! Aren't we original! Mighty Great One!"

The second carriage wasn't as calm as their first one, unfortunately. It must have been the carriage all of the first-years decided to sit in because everyone was going from compartment to compartment as they were looking for friends or siblings. One first-year was even looking for a lost sock!

Girls were huddled together in a shared compartment while boys were in another so no one would see the other change, but others were still undressed and doing everything imaginable with their wands.

"What are we s'posed to do?" Addie asked, her own wand out, as if she was defending herself against a group of Dementors.

James lowered her wand arm and opened the nearest compartment door. "Follow my lead," James whispered. "Hey! You lot in here! If you're not dressed in those uniforms in the next five minutes, the Hogwarts Express will suck you right up in its luggage racks and take you back home!"

The compartment of first-years who decided their robes weren't important at the moment hurried to their feet and started rummaging through their luggage bags. One girl even began to cry. Instead of apologising, James and Addie left them to change and went for the next compartment. The same sort of threats continued all along the row, making boys laugh and girls panic, while others stared blankly at them in their already changed robes. Addie had a blast, telling one lot that if they didn't get changed and in their compartments soon, Hogwarts would absolutely refuse to sort them and make them work in the kitchens all of term.

When they reached the end, the havoc died down and there was only one compartment left. It was Addie's turn to come up with the first year's demise, but when she slid open the door James heard her say, "Oh," and then she tried to turn around.

"What is it?" he asked, pushing past her. He immediately saw what it was. Lily and Hugo were completely dressed and ready to go, but what he also noticed was that their compartment was completely full as well. He recognised two of the seat occupiers as his brother Albus, who managed to sneak his way over to the compartment after they left, and another one of his cousins, Roxanne. Other than that, he didn't recognise any of the girls, who seemed to be ogling at him religiously. There was one boy whom he thought may be a second-year, and he recognised him to be Joseph Bartly, but he couldn't be sure.

"Hi, James! Addie!" Lily chimed, in a very good mood. Hugo was sitting next to Albus and the kid that might be Joseph, and all of them were continuously making the girls squeal and giggle. The kid who may possibly have been Joseph was trying very hard to make Lily laugh at one of his jokes about some troll and a gargoyle, and it seemed to be working. Albus took no heed to it, but James stared at him for a while until Addie spoke up.

"We were just making sure you all were changed and ready to go. We'll be arriving at Hogwarts soon!" she exclaimed, very enlightened.

"That's good," Lily said, "because Joseph told Hugo and I all about how there is no initiation test. None that he could remember anyway. Isn't that right, Joseph?" she asked him merrily.

Joseph sputtered for a moment under the pressure of James' intense staring. "Um! Yeah! Then again, I said, not that I remembered, Lils—I MEAN LILY!" Addie found the situation all too humorous and began to laugh and soon all of the first-year girls stopped their own hysterics and glared at her. Apparently, due to Addie's size, they thought she was just some first-year girl who was coming in trying to steal their amusement.

"It's OK, Joseph," Lily assured Joseph, with a quick glance at her brother, "he's just being stupid, that’s all. Don't be afraid of him. He still goes to bed every night by lullaby."

"Oh?" Joseph perked back up and then smirked right at James. James blushed but glared at his own sister.

"I see that this room has everything sorted out now, so I guess we'll just be going!" Addie said quickly, pulling James by the back of his robes out into the hallway and then sliding the door shut behind them. "Your sister is very pretty, James. At least you don't have to worry about no boy ever liking her."

"Why would I worry about some boy liking her? I've gone out and specifically bought potions from my Uncle Ron and George's shop to keep guys away from her! She's twelve, for the love of Godric!"

"Oh come on," Addie smiled and then pulled him by the hand. It was odd, he thought, that the slightest touch from him made her face flush, but she could touch him at will without anything happening. "We're done here now, and the train will be stopping soon. Let’s go back to our compartment."

~~~

Some girl Noah didn't know sat in the carriages, pulled by Thestrals, to Hogwarts with him. They were the only two, and she tried to start conversation with him, but he didn't feel like speaking at the moment. His little meeting with Molly on the train didn't go exactly as he planned.

He was sitting there in a compartment by himself, wondering when the best time to speak to Molly would be. She had completely ignored him at King's Cross, and he didn't see her board the train. It wasn't until they were nearly at Hogwarts that someone knocked on the sliding door and let themselves in. It was Molly, and she didn't look too happy.

"Meet me in my compartment. Four doors down." With that, she left. He didn't say anything to stop her, but he didn't get up right away either. When he did get up and out of the compartment, James and Addie were waiting outside for him. It wasn't until then did he realise that Molly actually wanted to talk to him. He was genuinely excited to see her and apologise for everything he did the week before.

When he opened the compartment she told him to be at, Molly was sitting in the corner, next to her two best friends, Luke Matthews and Avery Masters. They were sitting right next to her so Noah had to sit across from them. Avery was reading, or cowering, behind a book while Luke was trying to look as big as he could, while staring Noah down.

Noah watched him with curiosity as he sat down, and then looked right at Molly, who looked as if she were fighting tears and scared at the same time.

'Listen, Molly, I'm sorry about—"

"Noah, I think it's time you and I broke up," she said flatly. Her voice was faint, yet neither one of her friends moved. He had the feeling this was planned between all three of them.

"What? But, Molly, I—" he tried to speak. He tried to put sense to her words, but she closed her eyes and a tear ran down her cheek.

"Enough, Noah. It's clear that you and I don't have the same interests as one another, and that's not healthy in this relationship. I—I think it's time we split up and that's final."

Noah opened his mouth to argue, the smile on his face from moments ago long forgotten. He gave up and slumped in his chair. There was nothing more for him to say. Apparently there was nothing more for her to say either, because Molly stared out the window and avoided looking at him.

"I think you should leave," said a small voice that cracked. No one bothered to see who it was but Noah. It was Avery, peeking at him from her book and biting her lip. Her glasses were rammed tightly onto the bridge of her nose so they wouldn't fall off as she read, and her mousy brown hair hid most of her face. Noah looked at her, then at Molly, who still refused to look at him.

With one last look at Luke, he stood up and opened the compartment door. Then he turned back to look at all three of them. His anger had got the better of him, which didn't happen often, and he looked right at the back of Molly's head.

"I hope you know," he spat, "that I meant what I said that day, Mols. And I always will, too. I love you, and if you don't love me back that's fine, because no one asked you to. Doing this? Well it's just foolish, but whatever makes you happy I guess is fine with me. Just remember what I said, and don't let it hit you when it's too late!"

He heard her sigh and then he slammed the compartment door shut behind him, huffing off back to his own compartment.


"I know that you're not the kind to start friendly conversation, even when you're with one person who was completely bored on the way here, but I thought I'd let you know that we've arrived," said the girl who had been sitting with Noah all along. She seemed very annoyed, and before waiting for his response, she stomped out of the carriage.

"Well," Noah sighed to himself, "that's two women I've manage to tick off in one evening." He climbed out of the carriage and looked before him to see his old home. He smiled faintly and walked on forwards to the castle doors.

~~~

Feedback please! Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:11 am

To those who will be wondering later, yes, I am very aware of the fact that I am terrible at writing Sorting Hat Songs, however I wrote one and it is the one I stuck with. Maybe, if I can get it to me the same thing still, I'll change it later down the road, but today isn't that day. Enjoy!

~~~

Chapter Four

Lily never knew that Hogwarts was so beautiful. All of her life everyone told her all about the beauty of the castle walls, but their words couldn't do it justice. Those were just her thoughts as Hugo and a few others rode in a boat with her on the way. The interior of the castle alone was more of a fairytale unknown to mankind.

Professor Flitwick, the Deputy Headmaster was inside the Great Hall after explaining the expectations at Hogwarts, the herd of first-years waiting not-so-patiently on the other side of the doors.

"I have a bad feeling about this. A very bad feeling. Very bad indeed," some kid was mumbling behind her, manically rocking back and forward. His eyes were wide and his bottom lip was quivering in panic.

“And what, may I ask, is it that is so very bad?” Lily said, intruding on the conversation the boy was having with himself. She shared a concerned look with Hugo.

The short boy was rubbing his plump hands together and his mop of red hair was sticking up all over the place, allowing his terrified brown eyes to look straight into her calm blue ones. “T-the initiation t-test!” the boy stuttered. “I d-didn’t study! There’s a t-troll in there! I kn-know it!”

A few of the other kids gasped behind him and a few others smirked. Lily, however, had to keep herself from laughing on the spot. To be fair, she, too, had been just as terrified, hours before. Hugo, however, found laughing very appropriate at the moment. So much so that tears began to stream down his face.

“W-what’s s-so funny?” the boy demanded, nearly sent into hysterics.

"Are you daft?" Hugo asked. Knowing the truth, he gained a lot of courage in teasing the other kids.

"N-no!" the boy exclaimed, terrified of the other children's laughing. How his parents even thought he'd survive away from his house was a mystery to Lily. "I'm Muggleborn!" he added, and then everyone had a right good laugh at his comment.

"Muggleborn, are you?" a girl said as she stepped up, with a thin smile at her lips, which was abnormal for how tall her face was. Her nose was long and had a rather large crook in it. She had chopped up brown hair and freckles spread over her porcelain looking skin. In no means was she an attractive girl, but she was brave enough to step up. Everyone was paying attention to her now. "Well, that changes things, doesn't it?"

Everyone shifted looks from one to another, trying not to make their concern obvious. The loud-mouthed girl waited a moment before speaking again and then smiled a very toothy grin (much larger than her smile from before).

"Muggleborns have different kinds of initiation tests." That remark earned a few more gasps and smirks. It was becoming more and more obvious to Lily who would be in what House and she became less worried of what House she'd be sorted in. "Your lot have a go with Devil's Snare and duel some big nasties and—well. I’d better not give the surprise away, shall I?"

"Oh, come off it! All of you!" interrupted Lily. The girl stared at her with narrow eyes. Lily ignored her and turned back to the plump boy. "There is no initiation test! They'll just place a hat on your head and it sorts you, the end. Unless you're too scared to do that?" she added with a hesitant look. He looked down at the stone floor and mumbled something that sounded like, "Thanks. No," and twiddled his thumbs.

"You've a mouth there, for a Potter," said the girl with the chopped up hair. Her arms were crossed, but the crowd was beginning to consume around her again and Lily could hardly see her. "Sticking up for someone like him. Afraid of the world. Have you talked to your Daddy lately?"

Lily, who was trying her best to ignore the girl’s bucket face, looked up suddenly and felt her anger rise.

"I see you know my name, but I haven't the pleasure to learn yours," she said, holding a hand out. Her father's words before she left were running through her head, and she didn't want the Sorting Hat to have any last minute changes. The girl snarled at her outstretched hand and backed away in disgust. She turned back and faced the doors, and Hugo grabbed hold of Lily's shoulder and forced her to turn around quickly as Professor Flitwick returned with a friendly face (which she only saw because she was in the front of the crowd.)

"Well, now that we're all friends," he said, looking around the crowd, "it is time for the sorting!"

The entire crowd of first-years walked in, huddled behind the tiny man. Some of the student's eyes went wide with fear at the amount of students who were going to watch them, and others’ eyes were wide by the amount of people who were going to watch their initiation test (these were the first-years who didn't hear Lily's speech about there being no initiation test). Lily and Hugo looked around all of the tables and waved at everyone they knew.

"That's my sister!" somebody yelled out from the crowded tables that were somehow supposed to make room for the oncoming first-years. Lily turned as soon as she recognised the voice as her brother James. He was standing and applauding and others were laughing as they tried to tug him down. Lily's face went slightly red but Hugo nudged her and winked. They were going to fit in fine, he thought. However, Lily wasn't so sure.

Above, in front of everyone, sat the staff of Hogwarts, and Lily was glad to see familiar faces in nearly every chair. Professor Longbottom was sitting in between Professor Hagrid and Professor McGonagall. Professor Firenze was sitting near the end of the table, or standing really, in order to save room for everyone else. He noticed Hugo and Lily and waved. Hugo—who was entirely focused on the empty gold plates around him, knowing that they would be filled with food soon—didn't notice, but Lily smiled and waved at everyone.

The group came to a sudden halt and the Great Hall whispered into silence. Professor McGonagall rose from her seat and looked down upon them all. "Students," she announced, "I recommend you all stay quiet until the Hat's speech is done, and then we shall begin the sorting!" She pulled the Sorting Hat from the other side Lily was paying no attention to and walked around the table to set it upon a stool, already set out.

As soon as the hat touched the stool, as if it were on top of a student's head, it came to life and the seam of its mouth opened up.

Welcome one!
Welcome all!
Here at Hogwarts we take the tall,
And even the small
It's what we are all about, you know?
Together we are a
Family, but apart
That is not what we show
For here we are
Still four houses strong!
Not yet as one
Which we all belong
Those four have made our past
Our present and our future
To do so differently now
Would break this human adventure
So let’s begin and go back
To where this all started
And what has caused
The students to be parted
Rowena Ravenclaw, as cunning
And smart as she may seem,
Has hidden her talents and
Will settle you here
Yes smart you may be, but don't be fooled
By your once sallow dream,
That here is where they belong,
And that's the end of her song.
Onto noble Godric Gryffindor,
The bravest yet among all of thee!
Though now determined,
And almost predicted,
You'd much rather be here
And your innocent thoughts addicted.
Your hearts lead one way
And noble that may be,
One's boastfulness will lead to another's dying day.
Helga Hufflepuff, once so sweet and true
She takes you in
And helps you with your problems through!
A warning heads to you
To keep watch out on your friends!
They see you not as one of them
To help them with a journey's end
To cunning old Salazar Slytherin,
Who takes only those who are strong,
Be watchful of the words you speak,
Or else you will lose sight
You’ll lose sight of what you seek.
Be wise and gracious!
Allow those in,
And start a new beginning,
To lose the spot so spacious!
Think once and you've made
Your very first mistake!
Think twice and you'll see what
Was once laid before you was fake
And now, without further ado
No longer will I sing
As you place me on your head
And the sorting will begin!


One student tried clapping at the hat's song, but no one followed. No one had ever heard the Sorting Hat sing out a warning. Not in several years, at least. Most of the first-years’ mouths had dropped, and the fat boy who was trembling behind Lily before had now fainted onto the floor. Nobody laughed, fortunately, but no one noticed either.

At last, the Headmistress surveyed the students and staff and then said, "With that delightful welcoming," she said as she cleared her throat, let’s move onto the sorting! Arndale, Chloe!" Professor McGonagall called out. The entire hall remained quiet, waiting to see what the first first-year’s House would be.

A girl about the same height as Lily strolled past, with her robes looking freshly ironed, and black hair just as straight and smooth. She had a lopsided grin on her face as she sat on top of the stool. Lily was almost certain the hat would have sorted her right away, because she recognised her as one of the girls hanging with Freckle Face, but Chloe's smirk slipped away after she was still sitting there longer than fifteen seconds. Finally, the hat came up with a decision.

"SLYTHERIN!" the Sorting Hat announced and Chloe's face showed a lifetime's worth of relief as she stepped down from the stool and over to the roaring crowd of Slytherins waiting for her to have a seat at their table (which looked to be charmed to fit more people since Lily last looked when she came in).

"Just think," Hugo whispered by her side as some of the kids behind them revived the now pale and sweaty kid from the floor. "Being so young and being deemed evil!"

"Slytherin does not mean evil!" Lily hissed. "Albus! Remember? My brother?"

"Oh. Right. But still? She has to worry about who she talks to, or something like that, according to that hat," Hugo added, his voice hoarse.

"Carson, Niel!"

Lily was sure her face looked a lot like Sir Faint-A-Lot’s, who was behind her.

"Something tells me that Chloe Arndale isn't worried about not making friends, Hugo," she whimpered.

"Something the matter, Lils?" Hugo asked, placing a hand on her shoulder. Lily had the feeling that Hugo didn't get the full meaning of the Sorting Hat's message.

"I'm sort of afraid of my sorting now," Lily told him honestly. "Seems like no matter where we get sorted, it's not exactly better than the other."

Hugo looked thoughtful for a moment, and then said something Lily didn't expect for him to say, at least not five minutes after the hat's song was over. "I think maybe that's what it was supposed to mean."

"What?" Lily asked, whipping her head toward him.

"Well, if we all have something to worry about no matter which House we go in, we're equals, aren't we? And seeing as how that entire song pretty much said if we don't work together with the other Houses, then all of those bad things will happen, won't they?"

Lily didn't think of it like that, but in many ways it made sense. Her nerves were calmed. Somewhat.

"Moracy, Caleb!"

When nobody stepped up, Lily looked around along with everyone else. The fat boy that fainted earlier was looking at the floor and trembling violently. Hugo grinned and then pushed him forward. "Go on, Caleb!" he said, and everyone else got out of the way.

Caleb stood in his spot for a moment with his eyes clenched shut.

"How did his parents expect him to survive away from their house?" Hugo whispered to Lily, and she giggled.

Caleb was trembling so much and he wasn’t opening his eyes. Professor McGonagall stepped forwards and placed a hand behind his back, lightly pushing him forward. "Come along, Mr. Moracy," she said and then led him up to the seat. Not only did he squeak when his bum made contact with the stool, but he screamed nearly as soon as the hat touched his head. Hopefully, not many people heard, because the hat roared "HUFFLEPUFF!" just as quickly.

"Poor kid," Hugo said, still laughing to himself. "I wonder if he realises he can let go of the stool now?" Caleb, who could have still saved himself from years of terrible teasing if no one heard him apart from the front row of first years still waiting for sorting, would no longer be saved now that he was still clinging onto the stool with students all over in the hall were laughing at him.

Professor Flitwick grabbed hold of his hand and led him away. He never opened his eyes, but Lily was sure that if he did he would have been terrified of who was holding him and then cut his hand off later in fear of liver spots sprouting all over his hands.

"Oliver, Benjamin!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Omar, Trevor!"

"GRYFFINDOR!"

"Potter, Lily!"

That was it. There was cheering for her before she made it to the stool, but she was sure that was helped out by being related to half of Hogwarts. She took a deep breath, a last look at who remained in the small group of first years, and then everyone vanished as the Sorting Hat was placed over her red hair and covered her eyes. All of the sudden, she knew just how Chloe and a few other students before her felt.

"The last Potter? Hmm, this should be fun. Your parents were both Gryffindors, along with your brother James. But what about you?" the hat jeered in her ear.

"Albus was a Slytherin!" Lily reminded it.

"I've not forgotten. Is that your wish as well? Another Potter headed to Slytherin? You know? It is not as bad as you may think. I offered to put your father in Slytherin, but he refused. Your brother took his sorting. Your father still loves him. Yes?"

"I do
not think Slytherin is bad! My brother is good!"

"Your brother and I understand this, but do you?"

"Of course!"

"But after my warning?"

"I..."


Lily found herself speechless.

~~~

"GRYFFINDOR!" the Sorting Hat roared and Professor McGonagall removed the hat from Lily's head and she ran straight for the Gryffindor table. James was waiting for her and cheering and calling her. When she joined them, her face was flushed. The cheering died down as she took her seat and the next victim walked up.

"Way to go, Lils! You're a Gryffindor now! Wait ‘til Mum and Dad hear about this! Took a while though. What did that old hat have to say?" James asked while he pointed out to everyone that Lily Luna Potter was in fact his little sister.

"Just thought about putting me in Ravenclaw," she said as she glared up at him for embarrassing her.

"Really?" James wondered out loud. "You're smart and all, but has anyone who’s blood related to us been in Ravenclaw? That would have been weird!" he said, pointing out the obvious.

"Yeah. Who would have thought? Dad did say I should spend less time with Aunt Hermione," she said thoughtfully.

Rose, who was sitting three seats away, was smiling as she congratulated Lily. Even though the two girls were only cousins, they looked more like siblings than James and Lily did. He was more afraid of when Lily and Albus grew up, because they would always be mistaken for their own parents rather than siblings.

Dominique was too far away, but James was sure her interest was lost as soon as the next student was sorted.

"Congrats, Lils," Fred winked, nudging Roxanne, who was missing out on the sorting completely to talk with her friends.

"Oh! Hi, Lily!" she said and then went straight back to talking again.

Addie was sitting right next to James and he felt that she might have been a bit too close, but she was too deep into conversation with Noah who seemed to be smiling and nodding in all of the right places.

"Weasley, Hugo!"

"Shhh!" Rose and Lily said at the same time. James looked at her with a sense of pride, but instead of looking right at Hugo afterwards, he shared a quick glimpse around the room at his brother. Albus was smiling and nudged his head towards Hugo, who still hadn't been sorted.

"GRYFFINDOR!"

"Great!" Lily squealed, and she stood up, clapping. James patted him on the back once he came to sit down next to Lily at the Gryffindor table. "Hugo, what did that hat say to you?" Lily asked him. James thought it was an odd question. Lily took the longest to sort, but most of the time it was just because the hat was indecisive, or the student. James had the feeling that the hat said a lot more than Lily might do well in Ravenclaw.

"Um, nothing really," said Hugo, looking around at the plates, seeing if any of them and produced any food yet. When none of them did, he looked disappointed and finished telling Lily." Just that I was a cheeky lad, probably could do with a bit of Ravenclaw if I didn't want to go into Gryffindor. I told it, 'Mr. Hat, sir, I don't mind that Ravenclaw lot, but I don't much fancy being sorted there,' and he sorted me into Gryffindor. What about you? Your sorting went on for ages!"

"The same," Lily said quickly.

"Winters, Hayden!"

A girl, who was no bigger than Lily, stepped up to the Sorting Hat and sat down. As soon as the hat touched her head it shouted out, "RAVENCLAW!"

"What?" Lily and Hugo said at the same time.

"I was sure she would have been sorted into Slytherin as soon as the hat touched her head!" Lily exclaimed. "Didn't you, Hugo?" she turned on him quickly, catching him off guard from the shock he was momentarily put in.

"Yea!" he managed to spit out.

"Winters?" James asked, watching as Professor McGonagall called the last student up and there were only a few seconds of waiting before they were placed into Hufflepuff. "That might be Jackson Winter's little bro—er, I mean, sister? I'd be surprised too; he's a sixth-year this year, he’s part of some Slytherin lot who think being snarky in the back of classes is really cool. Not much to them, but their family has a pretty bad rep."

"Aren't they the ones whose mum went crazy a few years back? Killed off their father and was shipped off to Azkaban afterwards?"

James looked at her in disbelief for a moment. As far as he knew, Lily was far too young to remember that ever happening. Maybe around two or three.

"Dad told me," Lily reassured him without his asking and smiled up at him. "That is the Winters family, isn't it?"

"Yeah," he said. "Now they live with their grandmother, last I heard. I wonder what Jackson's thinking, now that his little sister is in Ravenclaw."

"Is it really all that good to be in Ravenclaw this year? You heard what the hat said," Lily pointed out. "Yes, smart you may be, but don't be fooled by your once sallow dream. It sounds like we've all been fooled by what Ravenclaw really is, at least by these new members."

"I'd hope not, they considered putting you in there, didn't they?" James pointed out. Lily blushed and nodded weakly. "Anyway," he continued, "the Sorting Hat doesn't really just sing a song all about the first years. It's more of a warning to them. To everyone really. It seems like something weird is going on this year, if the hat’s going to be singing that song, anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about it, though. If it were too bad it would’ve started warning us years ago. If there is any trouble, it's only just beginning."

He could see that Lily wanted to make a remark on this, but she hesitated.

"What is it?" he asked her.

"Well wouldn't it seem that if the hat is warning us this year, it's not beginning but has been—"

"Welcome, to those of you new here at Hogwarts. And, of course, welcome back to those of you returning here at Hogwarts!" Professor McGonagall was standing from her seat at the table and looking out towards all of the students. James' attention went from his sister and right to the Headmistress.

"Before we begin this lovely feast, there are a few things in order. Though we are not joined with their presence this evening, this year at Hogwarts we will have occasional visitors to check up on the magical creatures of Hogwarts to be sure that we, as staff, and you, as students, are taking excellent care of our creatures and friends. This occurs every two hundred years, so be sure to be very hospitable to our guests from the Care of Magical Creatures Centre and Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Anyone seen being uncaring towards any creature, including those outside of our grounds, will be expelled.

"Also," Professor McGonagall continued, "on a lighter note, please be sure to recognise your fellow classmates Dominique Weasley," she paused and motioned towards the Gryffindor table and Dominique stood up with a slight bow, ” and Brandon Nelson," she said as she motioned towards the Hufflepuff table, where Brandon stood up reluctantly and looked at all the students. "These students are your Head Boy and Head Girl. Please get to know them in the course of this year if you have any troubles, and if not, please try and stay away from them when it comes to mischief. I am sure all of you would like to win the House Cup, so try you best to win as many points as possible for your House. With that, let the feast begin!"

The golden plates on the tables sprouted food from nowhere, and Hugo began attacking all of the dishes nearest him.

"You can sit down now, Dominique," James shouted across the table to snap his cousin out of her Head Girl world. She looked around for who yelled at her and locked eyes with James as she took her seat.

"Sod’you fink Mum’ll be ‘ere? A’sool?" Hugo asked James (with his mouth stuffed with a roll James was sure he never took a first bite of). "Sorry," he said somewhat unapologetically, after a huge swallow. "So do you think Mum will be here at school?"

"Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Aunt Hermione might be here, once in a while at least," James answered honestly. She was head of that department, so he didn't think they'd see much of her, but she would try as often as she could with her children and family there.

"I've never heard of a check up on the creatures here at Hogwarts!" Addie added.

"Well, I don't think you've been around two hundred years either," James mocked. She wasn't annoyed, but it looked like she was racking through her brain and trying to remember.

"I've never read about it either, though," she said. "Well, with what I have read," she added.

"There's your answer," James grinned.

The feast continued on and James grabbed onto what he could without his hands being torn off by Hugo, who eventually stuffed himself so much that by the time desserts popped up, he was groaning with delight yet pain, as he didn't think he would be able to eat another morsel despite wanting to devour the desserts. Lily seemed to have forgotten all about what may have possibly been bothering her from earlier, and James checked on his brother at the Slytherin table. He was talking and drinking something frothy from his goblet and James didn't know what it was.

It wasn't until Professor McGonagall stood up again and everyone's food disappeared on their plates that the Great Hall became quiet. "Heads and Prefects, please go on and take the first-years to their dormitories. Do watch for Peeves! He's been seen lurking around the third floor!"

"Come on, Lils, Hugo. I know a shortcut that will come in handy for all of you in the long run!" James winked at Lily, who smiled mischievously at him. Hugo, on the other hand, looked confused and tried asking Lily what was going on.

"Oh, nothing," she answered. "Nothing a little mischief won't solve on the first day at Hogwarts at least!" And with that, James, Addie, Dominique, and all of the first-years filed in behind them and rushed to keep up with them so they wouldn't get lost with the following remainder of the students.

~~~

Remember my warning!

The voice echoed back in Lily's head over and over again. The site of the castle and the shortcut James showed her, along with the common room was enough to subdue the voice, but once she made it to the girl's dormitory and managed to slink into bed after meeting everyone else, the thought swam through her mind.

When she told James the hat was considering putting her in Ravenclaw, she had lied. The hat had never stopped trying to coax in her into Slytherin, but it had sang the words of Godric Gryffindor again to her as she sat there on the stool.

"Onto noble Godric Gryffindor,
The bravest yet among all of thee!
Though now determined,
And almost predicted,
You'd much rather be here
And your innocent thoughts addicted.
Your hearts lead one way
And noble that may be,
One's boastfulness will lead to another's dying day.


Yet she still insisted on being in Gryffindor. She could only hope that what James said about it being a warning to all, and not just her, was true.

~~~

Feedback please! Very Happy


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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:13 am

~~~

Chapter Five

A week had gone by and nothing out of the ordinary was going on, much to Albus' luck. It was even the first weekend and there was no sign of his dad or uncle and aunt. As far as he could tell, things were fantastic for Albus. He had three classes, two in the morning and one after lunch, with his best mate Christopher Jacobs. He also hadn't been bothered by any of the crazy first-year girls who thought he was "Oh So Hot!" Unfortunately, that wouldn't last much longer.

"You know," said a girl with the impeccably straight, black hair and fine-pressed robes as she sat directly between Albus and Chris at breakfast on Saturday morning, "this entire week went by and we didn't have a single class together. I wonder why that is?" Albus didn't know this girl, who crossed her legs and batted her eyelashes at him, but he'd seen her lurking around him.

"Dunno," Chris interrupted, halting the conversation the girl was trying to have with Albus in between bites of his hot waffles, "maybe it's because he's a third-year and you're a first-year? Just a thought!"

The girl glared at him and then fixed her hair as if something was wrong with it. She uncrossed her legs and stood, swatting at her robes like they were lying in mud moments before. "I suppose I'll have to ask you at a time when the entire world isn't getting into our conversations. See you later, Albus," she said, and with that she turned and walked toward the giant doors of the Great Hall and left.

There was a moment's pause before Albus finally decided to ask, "Chris, who was that?"

"That was Chloe Arndale. She's a first-year and if you ask me, a bit mental." Chris smirked and added a mountain of strawberries and syrup on a fresh batch of waffles.

"She was pretty, though," Albus noted, not making a grab for the new display of biscuits.

"Yeah, for a stalker. I'm sure the only reason she decided to talk to you is because of some silly dare," he said. Or, at least, that was what Albus thought Chris said with his mouth full of steaming food.

"What do you mean?"

Chris went to explain again but Albus raised a finger, waiting for his friend to finish his current mouthful before he spoke again. "She's been hanging around you all week. Be glad you don't have to have her in any of your classes."

Chloe's porcelain face was in Albus' thoughts along with her sweet smile. He didn't see anything stalker-like about the girl. "Maybe we're just at the same places at the same time?" he suggested. He stood up from the Slytherin table and began walking, not waiting for his friend. As he predicted, Chris grudgingly left his food heaven and caught up with him.

"Not likely, Al. I think she goes out of her way just to be around you." The doors swung open to let them through and they continued straight until the doors to the courtyard swung open as well. "Just you wait, she'll be waiting for us down in the common room."

Albus chuckled and looked at his friend. "Really?" he said. "Because I see two things wrong with that. One, I'm sure she has more to do on her first weekend at Hogwarts than hang around in the common room. Two, last I checked, there is no us with her. Seems like she could live the rest of her life without regret if she never saw you again."

"Thanks, mate," Chris said sarcastically and turned just before the bridge. When Albus didn't follow, Chris stopped and asked, "Where are you going? Dungeons are this way."

"I have better things to do on my first weekend back than hang about in the common room," Albus chided. "I'm going to visit Hagrid. Tell him hi for my mum and dad and all."

"Al, you had him in class three times this week! You could've said hi any one of those times he was trying to sick one of his creatures on us."

"He wasn't sicking them on us," Albus defended. Most of the students thought like Chris did. They thought Hagrid wasn't fit to teach, but if he was able to last this long, he was credible enough to Albus. "And those were classes. This is a personal visit. You're welcome to come if you'd like," he offered.

"No way!" Chris exclaimed. "Lesson time is enough danger for me. I'm not going to willingly walk to my death. Let's just say that I hope that Care of Magical Creatures Department comes soon. It's about time that giant oaf is properly fired."

Most of their entire first year consisted of Chris talking about Hagrid this way. A lot of those talks involved loud fighting and minimal hexes. Albus couldn't remember what solved most of those fights, but he didn't want to start one today. Especially since ever one of those fights resulted in a detention and he didn't want that one week into term.
"Whatever," was all he said as he waved him off and made his way across the bridge before he could be angered further by anything else that Chris had to say. He took a deep breath and put that aside.

It was clear and wonderful outside according to Albus, who was wearing his normal Muggle clothing. If it weren't for his dad, his entire family would have no idea how to dress. A few other students were hanging around practicing spells, and first-years were working on levitating pebbles and succeeding in blowing them up. Albus recognised a few of them and waved as he strolled to Hagrid's, trying to calm down. It wasn't until he heard a very familiar voice calling his name did he stop and groan.

"Albus! Hey!"

Mia Dangers was sprinting to catch up with him. She was a fourth-year with brown wavy hair and blue eyes. As she ran for him Albus noticed she lost some weight in her face, but even so she was highly attractive. So attractive Chris couldn't help but fall for her. She wasn't exactly Albus' type, but he had the feeling that she had the wrong idea about him.

"Hey, Mia," he answered sullenly once she caught up with him. "You got taller!" he pointed out, in an attempt to sound unhappy to see her. For a third-year, minus Chris, he wasn't very tall himself, but Mia came from a very, very tall family.

"Don't remind me," she groaned. "Makes wearing heels pointless. I swear that I must have some sort of faint bloodline of giants in me!" she joked and he smirked at the thought of his previous conversation.

"Right," he said and began walking again as she followed. "I'm heading to Hagrid's, what about you?"

"'Oh hey, Mia! How's it going, Mia? How was your summer, Mia?' Hey, Albus! My summer was great! Went to America for a month and saw New York. It was great! I missed you, too. What did you do this summer? Wow, Al, sallow much?" she teased, ruffling his hair. That was exactly why she wasn't his type. Albus could hardly stand her, let alone start brewing her love potions.

"Nothing really," he answered honestly. "My brother Teddy had a wedding before term. That was fun."

"Wow, you Potters are such a bore. Is Teddy really your brother?" she asked, completely disregarding her first statement.

"God-brother," Albus answered with gritted teeth.

Mia was waving at some boys playing Exploding Snap by a large stone. They looked like a group of seventh-years with a lot of free time on their hands. One of them noticed Mia and waved her over. "I've got to run!" she said, and she was off in an instant. Albus couldn’t really care less what she did, and he sighed with relief as she left his side. He made his way through the stone circle and he heard another low, familiar voice.

"Why don't you come over here, and I'll help you with your practice, first-year." The voice was false, and he knew it was disguising a nice front that it never used before. He watched as Jackson Winters pulled the girl he was talking to under his arm. Even though Chris reminded him of her name earlier, and her face hadn't left his mind, Albus couldn't recall it at the moment.

Albus stopped walking as soon as he was on the other side of the rock they were hidden behind and Albus hid behind it to hear what they were talking about.

"Chloe," That's her name! he thought. "Thank you for meeting me here." Jackson's false act from before was gone now, and he was speaking in a low, whispering voice. Albus hardly heard him and was about to use a sound enhancing charm, but Chloe didn't seem to realise the sense of privacy.

"Well, meeting in the Slytherin common room would have been too much of a hassle," she blurted, over slightly annoyed.

Jackson was caught off guard for a moment before he spoke again. "We don't need the whole school to know about our business."

"Right. So why don't we just stand here, where the entire school is? I really don't think this is going to help," Chloe said harshly. Albus would’ve laughed at the amount of common sense the first-year had over Jackson if he didn't feel, deep down in the pit of his stomach, that this conversation was actually going somewhere.

"Listen," Jackson barked, his whispering no longer in use, "you didn't have to come if you didn't want to."

"You mean I had a choice?" she asked in mock surprise. "I wasn't aware a threat on my life wasn't important enough. I'll keep it in mind next time, though."

Albus dared to switch rocks and see the quarrelling couple. Chloe was trying to walk away but Jackson grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her back. Apparently he didn't really mean what he said before.

"That threat only sticks if you leave now!" he said, and he cringed, as if he didn't really want to be saying these things.

"Listen!" Chloe said hastily, "I've got homework I should be getting done now. The next time I catch you smuggling in love potions, don't threaten my life not to tell, and I'll be more willing. I won't tell, and now I've got to go!" With that, she pulled her arm from his grip and stormed off for the dungeons. Jackson stood there stupidly for a moment before realising he had been ditched and made his way down the hill.

Albus, who was still confused by Chloe's sudden change of mind (and it seemed as though Jackson was, too) left his hiding place and followed him quietly so he wouldn't gain suspicion. He was glad the conversation had nothing to do with what he thought it would, but he was sure that Jackson wouldn't appreciate his eavesdropping on any conversation he had.

Finally he saw the targeted hut and bolted past Jackson to get inside. Catching his breath for a moment, he knocked on the door and danced with anticipation until Hagrid opened the door to allow him in just as Jackson caught sight of him entering the hut. He slammed the door shut and smiled as though he hadn't been up to mischief and said, "Hey, Hagrid!" before he found an empty seat nearby and sat down.

"Well 'ello yerself, Albus!" Hagrid beamed and picked the small boy up in his arms for a greeting hug. Just before Albus passed out from lack of air, he put him back down in the chair and, he too, ruffled his hair. "So, 'ow yeh been?"

~~~

Not believing how stupid someone like Jackson Winters could be, Chloe made her way down the dungeon staircase and shouted out "Fortune is fame!" before the bricks in front of her collapsed and allowed her passage. She was sure that if it was possible for steam to blow through one's ears, hers would be steaming. The common room was practically empty, except for a fifth-year helping a second-year with an essay. She ran upstairs to the girl's dormitory to grab her bag and books. Her excuse to get away from Jackson wasn't a lie; she really did have homework, but the urgency of it came suddenly due to Albus Potter eavesdropping on their conversation.

What provoked Jackson to meet her at the stone circle was beyond her. She knew exactly what the meeting was for because she wasn't stupid like him. The day was clear and beautiful, no one would be in the common room today, and he decided to have a meeting outside! Chloe stomped down the spiral staircase and threw her bag onto a small standing table nearby.

"Not a surprise," a man in the portrait above commented as he sighed and strolled out of his portrait. She grunted and pulled out parchment, ink, and a quill. She had an essay for Charms over a wand's core and how it could help in charm-work.

The most simplistic moron I've ever met! Chloe started insulting Jackson in her head as she wrote down the beginning of her essay. Was he wanting someone to hear? Not that we couldn't use Potter, but what about everyone else? And to threaten me no less! I've known what this plan was for ages, and he threatens me? The nerve!

The ink splotched on the parchment. She cursed and pulled out her wand as she remembered a spell to suck all of the ink in her wand and produce it back into the tiny vial.

If I can do a spell like that, I'm sure as hell not ignorant enough to not understand what Jackson and his gang are up to. She smirked and dared to have a go with her quill again. Not like they've necessarily kept things quiet about it. I'm going to have to do something about that. Idiots! Can't even run things right!

She must have been mumbling strange noises while she wrote because the two students working before she came in were now staring at her. The fifth-year cleared his throat and gave her a concerned look. She grimaced and shrugged them off, getting back to her essay and scrawling away.

When they hear about this Jackson is sur—

"What are you working on there, dove?"

Chloe nearly jumped out of her seat. Just as before, there was spilt ink all over the table. Only, this time it was the entire vial she had spilt. She looked up and cringed.

"You are the last person that I want to see right now, Winters!"

"Oh, come on now," he said smugly as he sat on the table and watched her clean up the spilt mess. "It wasn't all that bad. If you ask me, Potter bought it."

Chloe, who was hunched over her parchment in hopes to ignore his presence, looked up with annoyance.

"What are you talking about?"

"You don't think I'm that much of an idiot, do you?"

"That much?"

"You know what I meant!" he snapped, losing his cool for a moment. Chloe smirked and then continued with her writing. "Either way, Potter bought our little act."

"What act?" she asked and her writing slowed down as she waited. "What are you on about, Winters?"

He placed a hand over her parchment and forced her to look up. When she did she saw that he was smiling and the fire was illuminating his face so he looked like he actually knew what he was talking about. Well, in the evil genius sort of way.

"We had Albus on the back of that rock the entire time, didn't we?"

"You noticed and you didn't do anything? You idiot!" she said, and now she was standing, having left her chair, and she looked directly into his eyes. (It was easy to do that since he was leaning on the table.)

"Shhhh!" the fifth-year interrupted, this time rudely, since she had ignored him earlier. She shot them a nasty glare and he nudged at the second year to relocate elsewhere.

Jackson began to laugh and positioned himself more comfortably onto the table before answering.

"Winters!"

"Now now. No need for last names, Chloe. We're all friends in this little organisation and you are the best of those friends. I'm sure that a little thing such as a first name shouldn't be that hard to say?"

He waited for a moment, and when he didn't say anything else Chloe rolled her eyes and said, "Fine. Jackson, tell me what the hell you are talking about. Now."

"That's a good dove," he winked and stroked her hair with one hand.

"Urgh! Don't touch me!" she grimaced and pulled back, running her fingers through her hair as quickly as possible.

He chuckled once more and raised his hands in surrender before crossing them again and continuing his story.

"Either way, I called you out there in hopes of Potter maybe showing up. If he came, all the better, if not, we would have done what we are doing right now. He came and heard, you ended it when you noticed him, which was good since we were getting a little further than I thought we would, and he ran to that giant oaf. With a little luck, we should have him spying on us more often."

Chloe looked at him as if she couldn't believe her eyes. In many ways she couldn't. However, she kept reminding herself that he was in charge of several things for a reason.

"So you went off on chance and your stupidity?" she asked at last when she could find the words.

"Chance, maybe, but I wouldn't exactly say stupidity--"

"The plan is to tell Albus eventually anyway! Why get his suspicions rising in rumours when we can just tell him and do something about it if he tells!" she fumed, knocking a book off the desk and not caring. His smirk was wiped off of his face almost immediately. "And the next time you want to make some high and mighty plan that might work, let me know about it so I can tell you just how stupid you really are!"

"You're doing a fine enough job at that already," he mumbled. If she wasn’t so angry at him, she might have laughed in his face for that comment, but she wasn't cooled down enough yet. She let out a cry of aggravation and turned from him, running up the staircase once again to the girl's dormitory, leaving all of her things behind.

~~~

To Rose, the library was the only place one could study. That may be a habit that she picked up from her mother, but she knew for sure the Gryffindor common room was too full with fifth-years on up who were doing their own studying. No one, of course, was in the library. As far as she could see at least.

Madam Pince nodded her head as a welcome gesture as Rose walked in with an armful of books. Rose smiled with her welcome and found her usual seat towards the back of the library so she would have her own lamp and table. When she arrived, she spread the books out evenly and opened each to the pages she would need to start on. She had both History of Magic and Transfiguration homework and she could only assume she would be in here for the next few hours.

She was just beginning to get the rest of her things out when voice she didn't recognise at first spooked her.

"Perfect way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning, isn't it?" Scorpius Malfoy mocked her, looking over her shoulder. "Why do you have so much homework anyway?"

"Scorpius? What are you doing here?" Rose asked, disregarding his questions. Her face was flushed and she wasn't sure if she should be angry or pleased. Scorpius had been making her feel that way recently and she wasn't sure if it was good or not. He seemed to have enjoyed her surprise and sat down next to her with a simple grin on his pale face.

"Nothing much. Decided to get some homework done. You know, History of Magic and Transfiguration?" he said while looking over to see what books she brought. The butterflies in her stomach appeared just as they always did when he made her feel good like this. "Besides, if I get it out of the way now then I have plenty of time to hang around with you tomorrow." It was a moment before Rose understood what he meant. Her face was as bright as her red, wild hair that she didn't bother to tame before she went to the library.

"Are you asking me out on a date, Scorpius?" She felt like a young school girl for having to ask; well, a younger school girl. He arched his eyebrows and leaned in closer to her.

"What do you say, Miss Rose?" he asked, and he eyed her books and then back to her, the same smile he had from before was still planted on his face.

Rose didn't know what to say. She didn't know if she could say anything. Her grin felt as though it were stretched from ear-to-ear and goosebumps rose on her pale, freckled arms as soon as Scorpius reached out to run a hand through her hair. In his doing so it made her immediately aware of her hair and she pulled back to frantically brush at it with her fingers.

Then he stood up, rising to lean in and give her a kiss. She was stunned, and didn't know what to do. She forgot about her hair once again and when he got so close her body froze and her lips automatically puckered as her eyes closed. He was moving slowly, but Rose couldn't tell if time itself had stopped or not. Everything had gone too fast. Too fast to be true, in fact.

When Scorpius was just close enough Rose could feel his hot breath on her lips, he opened his eyes and frowned, pulling back and sitting back in his chair.

“I don't believe it,” he said, pounding a fist onto the table. "I just don't believe it! Rose, why didn't you tell me?"

Rose, who was confused and wasn't sure what was going on, found herself searching for words. “I—well, I didn't—you know that I—wait, what?”

Scorpius groaned and then put his head in his hands, his pale blonde hair sticking up at odd ends for doing so. He wasn't looking at her.

"They told me at the end of last year and I didn't believe them. I told them, 'No way! Rose and I are just friends. Of course she doesn't like me!' I said. And now here it is, obvious to the world and you never told me!" Scorpius was rambling on without stopping and Rose wasn't sure what to do. It was true that Scorpius and Rose's relationship had progressed over the last two years and they had become best friends.

In their first year they could hardly stand one another and Rose lived with her father's words playing in her head, "Make sure you beat him in every test, Rosie. Thank God you inherited your mother's brains." In fact, those words not only led to every test, but to everything in life that year. In their second year, however, they gained a little shred of sense and started talking to one another. In other words, they were forced to be partners in their Herbology lessons. Professor Longbottom never heard the end of that from her father either.

"What are you talking about?" Rose finally found the words to say. Her face was flushing again, but this time it was out of anger.

Scorpius hardly looked up at her before he resigned his head again and shook it in his hands. "It's just that I was so sure you didn't like me."

"Of course I like you, Scorpius. You're one of my best friends!" Rose argued, still confused about what he was going on about.

"Not like that, Rose. I meant that I didn't think you liked me that way!"

There was silence when she realised what he meant.

"Oh." She uttered and then slumped into her chair. Finally, he looked up at her, his face completely sour.

"Listen, I'm sorry, Rose but I had to—"

"Is that the way you made sure?" Rose said suddenly. Her eyes were shut as she was trying to hold back tears.

Scorpius realised this and made to wipe away any tears that would stray from her eyes and down her cheek. She sensed the movement and stood up and away from him behind her chair. "Is that the way you made sure?" she repeated. "By toying with my emotions and making it some sort of game so you could make sure?"

"I was going to ask you but I thought it'd be too weird. I figured that if I pretended to have feelings for you like you do for me then it would be less awkward..."

"Pretended?" Rose said. The word was simple. It was almost as if she didn't know what the word meant at first.

“Yeah,” Scorpius said slowly. He stood too to give her a hug but she pulled back again. "I didn't think you'd react this way, Rosie. I'm sorry."

"Just leave me alone," she snapped and then turned to pick up the things she had just unpacked and made to pass him.

"Where are you going?" he asked desperately.

"Far away from you, Malfoy!" she hissed and then turned the corner of books all about wizarding sweets and how they were made.

"Oh, come on! There is no need for that!" he shouted out to her. Rose stopped in her tracks and wiped a tear that had fallen from her eye. She turned around and peeked her head around the corner before she said, "And just so you know, I do like you. Thanks for asking!" and she stomped off to the seventh floor. Just past the library doors she passed her cousin James and the Prefect girl he was best friends with. They tried to greet her but she was too busy sobbing now, and ran past them.

~~~

If there was one thing about girls Addie understood, it was boy trouble. Addie never tried to get herself mixed in with other girls' troubles, but lately she was able to find herself easy to relate with them more often.

"What do you suppose was up with her?" she asked James, having to look up as she strolled beside him.

"Who knows," he shrugged.

Madam Pince came strolling from behind a shelf and didn't look too friendly. "Make sure you stay quiet!" she snapped before charging off to some other shelves to replace the books students misplaced.

James led her to the shelf the angry librarian just came from and to their surprise they saw Scorpius Malfoy packing his things up. He too, was very angry and shoving books into his bag. If Madam Pince came back right now, Addie knew she would suspend him from ever walking into the library again.

"Malfoy?" James asked, his fists clenched. When Addie noticed the motion she wished to take hold of one of those fists so she could calm him down. It took all of her inner strength just to restrain herself from doing so.

Scorpius glared up at them and sneered at the sight of James. "What do you want, Potter? Come to jinx me for that cousin of yours?"

"That explains Rose's crying," Addie whispered to James, standing on the very tips of her toes just so he could hear her. To the best of Addie's knowledge, Rose and Scorpius actually tried to make a friendship work, despite their parent's wishes. She thought they were doing a really good job at it, too, but today said otherwise.

"As much as I'd love to jinx you just for the heck of it, that's not why I came here. I'm here to study. As for Rose, what did you do to her?" James asked curtly. She'd seen him serious before, but the hate he had for Scorpius was growing stronger by the second.

"Look, the way things are with our parents, we can't be friends. You and I both know that. Blimey, even she knows it! She's just too stubborn to admit it!" Scorpius exploded, dropping his bag to the ground and gesturing to where they entered. Just then, the bag full of books he dropped onto the floor started to hover from the ground and the books tumbled out of it. The bag, however, continued to float out of the library.

James, who looked about ready to kill, was held back as Addie grabbed hold of his arm and directed her gaze to Scorpius.

"You best get out of here before Madam Pince realises one of her spells has taken effect and traces it to you." Addie’s blue eyes bore into his gray ones until he took her hint and huffed past them. James fidgeted under her grip, but she didn't let go.

They made their way to the table and he threw his bag onto the table. Addie set hers in the chair next to where she would be sitting and glanced up at him. "Careful, or else your bag will do the same thing," she mused and tried her best to impose her smile upon him.

"I don't have any books in there," he barked and then shoved himself into his seat.

Addie, who was not one accustomed to quiet, started pulling her own books out and then started up a conversation. "Can't believe it's fifth year. Can you believe how much homework they're piling on us for OWLs?" James wasn't into conversation at the moment. He didn't pull anything out of his bag or get up to get any books. "Something on your mind?" Addie asked, and then she gave up, plopping her elbow onto the table and resting her head on her hand.

His fists were clenched again. "It's just what he said," he boomed.

"Shh!" Addie warned, perking up and looking around for Madam Pince before she let him continue.

"Sorry," he rolled his eyes and continued. "Rose and him can't be friends because of their parents? I like their friendship as much as my Uncle Ron does, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go around and end perfectly good friendships because of it."

Addie thought about previous conversations they have had about Scorpius and Rose and she bit her lip before she spoke. She was almost hesitant. "In some ways, this is what you sort of wanted, isn't it?" He looked at her, his face hard at first, but then he took one look at her innocent but full of joy blue eyes, and he calmed down at once. His face relaxed and his fists became flattened palms on the surface of the table.

"Yeah," he admitted, "but you saw Rose! She wasn't crying, she was sobbing! However he let her down about it, he didn't let her down lightly."

"Well, to look at his side, she's always been hard to deal with—not that I'm on his side!" she said quickly as James arched an eyebrow at her. He grinned and laughed a little. Feeling the tension breezing past them, she laughed too. "You've said it yourself. Maybe she just didn't want to take it the light way."

"That'll be Rose for you," James admitted and then stood to reach for a book he found on the shelf before him.

Addie started writing something about human Animagi when James sat down next to her again and said, "It is weird, huh?"

"Sorry, what?" she asked, looking up from the three words she had written down.

"One week into term and they're working us as if we were stepping out into the big Wizarding world by ourselves tomorrow!" he laughed, sliding her ink cartridge over to the middle so they could share. He shared a look with her that also told her he would need to borrow a quill as well.

"Honestly," she chided, "what is even in that bag you brought?"

"Oh, the usual. The Marauder's Map, my pointed hat, just in case they actually ever make us wear those things again, and a tub of my mum's delicious brownies to share," he winked. Addie beamed and grabbed the bag herself, reaching right over him and his work to get it.

"You should have told me before!" she demanded while she was pulling the Muggle Tupperware container from the brown bag.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" he responded, laughing even more as he pushed her away. She knew all too well if they didn't quiet down soon Madam Pince would come over and confiscate the brownies. Food wasn't allowed in here, but his mum made the best brownies ever! She would know, because he had shared them with her many times before. "Who said you could have any?" he teased, pulling the tub away from her.

Addie made a pouting face and placed her hands underneath her chin as if she were a puppy and began to make whimpering noises.

"You know? That's not very productive. You're never going to get your homework done in time if you keep this up!" said James, and he stuffed a brownie into his mouth and closed his eyes as he entered the chocolatey heaven his mum discovered some time ago.

"James Sirius Potter! As Prefect, I am confiscating those brownies from you!" Addie reached over and took the tub from him and stuffed one into her own mouth.

"Five points from Gryffindor for thievery!" he objected.

"Five points for Gryffindor for having a mother that's brilliant in the kitchen!" she added quickly so there would be no real points taken away from Gryffindor.

"You know," James chuckled, "you just made a woman's sexist joke?"

Addie's eyes went wide and the brownie she was about to take a chunk out of was frozen inches away from her mouth. "James, how could you say such a thing!" she said, and then she threw the soft, moist brownie in his face. One day, the two would learn to put a silencing charm near them whenever they entered the library. Then maybe they wouldn't be kicked out for having a very messy, but very delicious food fight by an infuriated Madam Pince.

The dynamic duo were still laughing in the hall once they finished cleaning one another up with flicks of their wands.

"Did you see her face?" James asked and he mimicked her from when she was wagging a finger at them as if they were a household pet.

"No, ‘cause I wasn't right there or anything," Addie said as she rolled her eyes and then shouldered her bag. "I really needed those books, too," she sighed, the laughter still leaving traces in her voice. "S'pose I'll have to check them out again next week when the essays are already due."

"I'd say sorry if you hadn't started it," James said as he nudged her shoulder with his elbow and looked down at her.

"Shut up."

Once they made their way back to the common room, and Rose was nowhere in sight to blubber about the events from downstairs, they relaxed in front of the fireplace, completely neglecting the fact they were even trying to study for their OWLs. When Addie suggested it, James just shrugged it off.

"Eh," he said, "I don't need it to become a Herbologist, do I?"

"What?" she was surprised. James had never said what he planned on doing outside of school before, but a Herbologist was not what she had expected. "Well, perhaps an O in Herbology would help, but what do I know?"

"Oh, hush up," he pushed her and then placed his hand behind his head and relaxed with his feet up. "What do you want to be anyway? Journalist? Auror? High Inquisitor?"

Addie laughed at all of his ridiculous guesses and shook her head. "No. I want to be a Healer."

"Really?" he asked in complete shock. She nodded her head and propped her feet next to him and leaned against the armrest. "Huh, never would have thought. Maybe you should be studying for those OWLs now then."

"Nah. It's not like I'm going to be stepping out to St. Mungo's tomorrow or anything," she teased.

"Hey, guys!" Will fumbled in from the portrait and stood behind the red, tattered sofa. "Miss out on anything fun?"

James and Addie shared a look and then looked back to their other best friend. "Just studying," Addie said, and then made room for him to sit in between with them.

~~~

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Maelody
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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:17 am

~~~

Chapter Six

The silence that Molly Weasley had kept was not something she expected to still have two weeks into school. She sat in the Ravenclaw common room and stared at the fire. It wasn’t something she’d normally do during her free periods. Normally, this time was filled with homework, or hanging around by the lake with… Noah.

She found it extremely hard to believe that it only happened two weeks ago, but it did, and she had practically become an emotionless robot. Her two best friends, Luke and Avery, came into the common room with sighs of relief as they found their disgruntled friend sitting on the sofa and staring blankly at the fire.

“Molly?” Avery bravely nudged the puppet that had become of Molly. It was a careful gesture, because the two soon found out that, if she was interrupted during certain deep thoughts, she would break out into severe sobbing. Luckily for Luke, that generally only happened in front of Avery.

The free period was nearly over, and they needed to get her to Potions, one of the only two O.W.L classes all three of them had together. "Mols, it really is about time that that we get to our lesson."

Without crying or showing any emotion at all, Molly stood up from the sofa, her long, black robes reaching the floor as she stood up. "All right," she said blankly. Her face was white, making her black curls look extremely dark and blue eyes like crystal. Avery and Luke shared a look before escorting her to the dungeons from the tall tower of Ravenclaw common room.

When they reached the dungeons and entered the Potions classroom they saw a desk with three available seats left for them. After two weeks of term, everyone that was in the class was pretty comfortable with where they were and knew where everyone sat or who they sat with. The table left from them wasn't their usual table, but it would do.

"Ah!" said Professor Wilkes, the Potions teacher, "So glad you could join us today!" Her smile was wide, nearly too sweet, and it matched her voice. She really brought a ray of sunshine to the dark, damp dungeons. She wore bright red robes with a few emerald accents here and there. She even had the biggest and ugliest brooch Molly had ever seen. It was like a dark red stone that was planted in the middle of a batch of wild flowers. Flying just centimeters away from it as to not bother the wearer was a bunch of buzzing bees.

Professor Wilkes was a Slytherin who left Hogwarts about fifteen years ago, but she was too sweet and overly rambunctious when it came to her Potions classes. She took over the position a couple of years before Molly started school, when Professor Young died from an experimental potion over a summer holiday. Needless to say, the Slytherin students couldn't stand her, and stuck with Professor Reubnon as their Head of House.

She flicked her wand and the door shut from where the trio previously entered. Luke sat by the boy who saved their seats and Avery sat on the other side of Molly. It was as if they were expecting her to faint or drop suddenly wherever she was.

"It's about time," whispered the boy harshly to Luke. "I swear, if we get points deducted from Ravenclaw one more time this week—”

"Owen, give her a break. She's going through a hard time right now, and you need to respect her condition." Luke's retort made Molly cringe her face. Condition? You'd think I had three months to live or something! she thought as looked directly at the two boys bickering.

"Excuse me!" said Professor Wilkes, her smile huge and voice sweet, "do you have a question, boys?" Every Ravenclaw and Slytherin head turned to see who she was talking to.

Shrugging one another off and grimacing, they both replied with a "No," and returned to facing forwards. Most of the time, Molly spent her time trying to earn points for Ravenclaw, but this year she ended up losing points more than she ever had by lack of answers when teachers asked her questions and being late to classes twice. She even had to admit that she wasn't acting like herself, but describing herself as a “condition” was not exactly what she had in mind. After dating someone for three years and then having to break up with him was a perfectly good excuse to be reclusive and robotic. It was, to Molly, at least.

"Well, if that's it then," she said, her hands clasped together and wand sticking out at an odd end, "let’s get started!" She turned so everyone could see the back of her bright red robes as she reached down for a cauldron that apparently had been there the whole time. She heaved it up with all of her strength and slammed it onto the table, holding onto the lid so none of the contents spilled. "Now, can anyone tell me what this potion is?" she asked as she pulled off the lid and showed it as if a model were modeling a new broomstick. She was leaning more towards the Ravenclaw side.

The potion was marble-coloured or maybe even pearl-coloured, and it swirled around in the cauldron. As soon as she did so, nearly every girl began to giggle and turned straight to their neighbor to tell one another what they smelled and who they connected it to. The boys started groaning and leaning back in their seats. Molly turned to Avery, expecting to hear her express her current infatuations, but she simply blushed and slumped in her seat.

A girl from the Slytherin side raised her hand immediately and started waving it frantically. Professor Wilkes, who was surprised by the sudden involvement in the small class, turned and asked sweetly, "Yes, dear?"

"That's Amortentia! A love potion!"

"Very well done! Five points to Slytherin!" she said, and she put the lid down at last and stood in front of the table. "Now, can anyone tell me what it does or how it works?"

Every hand that was up before immediately went down, and the giggling skyrocketed as every girl began to blush and look at the boys. None of them wanted to give the boys any wrong idea, or let out a hidden crush. When no one replied and Professor Wilkes had to ask again, the unimaginable happened. Molly raised her hand.

"Molly Weasley? I didn't think you were much for words this year. Go on! Tell me!"

"Amortentia is a very powerful love potion in which the drinker falls into a deep infatuation with the maker. The maker, who believes that they love the drinker, will recognise smells that are similar to the one they love. The side effects are extreme paleness and loss of weight because the drinker has lost all sense of mind for themselves and have completely started obsessing over the maker. Also, the drinker must be given the potion continuously, or else they will slowly go back to normally and more than likely hate you."

The words came out of her mouth before she knew it. Even though they were nothing impressive and could have done with at least some sort of emotion, since the class had lost interest in her explanation long ago, it was progress from one-worded sentences. No one was really shocked or surprised by her speech, especially since it was usually normal for her to do so, but Luke, Avery and even Owen all looked very relieved. Any point, they didn't seem so worried about her dropping dead all of the sudden.

"Very good!" said Professor Wilkes, trying to regain her interest after the dull speech Molly had given. "Five points to Ravenclaw! Now tell me, dear, what do you smell from the Amortentia?" she dared to ask.

This was the part she had been worried about. The fact she even answered a question that remotely involved anything with love in it was automatically surprising to her, but to admit to what she might smell? Her hands automatically drew up to her black curls and she started fidgeting with her hair and bit her lip. She took a whiff and nothing came to her. Well, something came to her, but it wasn't from the Amortentia.

Damp, cold stone and mixtures of herbs and potions were wafting around the room. Possibly even Avery's shampoo, but it wasn't anything she liked. If it were a smell protruding from the potion, it would be much stronger, and impossible to mistake. She would know, because she'd been to her uncle's shop more than a few times. The class was expecting her answer.

"I smell nothing," she admitted. Luke, who was looking at her expectantly, was disappointed in the lack in her answer and returned his focus to the front of the class.

"Curious," said Professor Wilkes, "nothing at all?"

"Nope. Nothing."

"Well that can't be right. You must smell something! Are you sure?"

Molly, who was getting more than annoyed now, answered, "Yes, Professor. I am sure." She wasn't sure if this change in attitude was exactly on the positive side or not, but at least she was trying.

"Nothing at all? Maybe you're just confused, maybe your senses are being blocked because they are so... close." Her gaze went straight to Luke and her smile was wide. Luke perked up again at this sign and meant to look at Molly without her noticing, but she did notice and he turned and quickly began looking at whatever notes he thought he took.

"I'm not confused, Professor. I don't smell anything!" retorted Molly.

"Well, if you say so," she said, as the walking lobster of a woman began to stray away.

Molly, whose ears were now red and face flushing, couldn't help but reply anyway. "I did say so! I don't smell anything!" Maybe the sudden change wasn't a good thing. Hopefully, it wouldn't last long and she could go back to being normal as soon as class was over.

"Well I never!" she said, pulling her hand back as if she were slightly appalled. "Five points from Ravenclaw, Miss Weasley, and I hope next time you decide to talk to me, you have a much better attitude!"

Owen groaned and looked at her with great disappointment. "That's great, Weasley, thanks!"

"No need for the name calling," she said, sinking back into her seat. She thought she was returning to her normal self, but the loss of house points spoilt it for her. She slumped into her chair and began twiddling with a quill she pulled out earlier.

Professor Wilkes returned to the front of class and regained her sweetness again. "Seeing as we now know what Amortentia is, can anyone take a guess at what we'll be doing as our first official project this year?”

"Drinking Amortentia!" several students from behind Molly chorused, giggling.

"Sweet Salazar, no!" Professor Wilkes exclaimed, hand over heart. If she really tried at it, she could be head of Hogwarts theatrics department, if they had one. Molly was almost certain the enchanted bees were going to sting her hand and automatically began to wonder if the sting would hurt or not.

"Perhaps we are going to make Amortentia?" Owen said while still in the process of raising his hand, and then lazily put it back on the desk, as if his hand didn't really matter. He had a cocky grin on his face but he also looked slightly annoyed about the stupidity of his fellow classmates.

"That's right, Mr. Bates! We are going to make Amortentia! We will be starting today of course, but first I'd like you to take a few notes. Of course I know that O.W.L classes are supposed to help the individual student and be more of an independent working class, but I think I'd like for this project to be done with a partner!" she clapped her plump hands once more, which Molly noticed were sting-free.

There was excited whispering all around and Owen smirked, watching as several girls were fawning over him. Molly groaned and slammed her head on the desk. It wasn't that one of her friends would have to go partner-less because there were only three of them, which would more than likely be Luke because Avery couldn't bear talking to anyone else, but she thought the idea of the lesson was pointless. Why make a potion if it was illegal to use it and Hogwarts banned it from any students? This thought would soon be voiced, too, when Professor Wilkes noticed her new-found behavior.

"Is there a problem, Miss Weasley? You know, just because you don't smell anything from the Amortentia does not mean you are excused from this project!" she told her, not unkindly, or at least she didn't sound mean, but she sounded as though she were now being forced to talk sweetly to Molly.

"It's not that," Molly explained and rested her chin on her folded arms, "it's just that I don't understand the point. Why make a potion we can't use?"

Wilkes cleared her throat and then batted her eyelashes as though the question was out of hand and she didn't understand. "This is a very advanced potion, my dear! This is your OWL year, and Salazar knows you'll need to know things like this if you plan on making it to your NEWT year!"

"Of course," Molly grunted.

"Now, you will all be able to choose your partners, but the pairings must be boy and girl!"

Owen, who was about to high-five a boy behind him stopped, mid-high-five and looked at her in disbelief. "What, Professor?"

"You heard me, dear! I want this to be a girl and boy partnership. It'll be interesting and a good way for all of you to meet new people." Professor Wilkes looked completely innocent in her own way underneath all of the green and red makeup. She looked more like an awkward Christmas advertisement.

"Don't know if you've realised or not, but we're all sixth years and have been in the same houses with one another for years!" Jackson Winters from the Slytherin side of the room remarked. It was most likely the most intelligent thing she'd heard him say in a while, and even that wasn't very intelligent.

"Then perhaps you should try partnering with someone different in, I dare say, another house, Mr. Winters?" That shut him up quickly and he turned to a girl that was sitting right next to him and was already pulling at his sleeve to be his partner. "Now get to it! And once you're paired, get your books out and look Amortentia up to take notes and make sure you let me know who you are paired with!"

Professor Wilkes retired behind her desk and prepared a piece of parchment and quill. Luke took immediate action and instead of turning to talk to Molly, he leaned out behind her and started giving commands to Avery.

"Now I have to be partners with Molly here, OK? I think its best—”

"NO!" Avery burst out. "You can't! I c-can't work with anyone else!" Her naturally sickly pale skin looked even paler. Molly never saw anyone more scared to leave their most immediate group of friends. If it wasn't for Molly insisting Luke and her go up to talk to Avery in their first year, the girl would have no clue on how to breathe by herself.

"Listen, Avery, Molly needs someone to work with and I think if I work with her that'll make sure she doesn't daze off and make a harmful mistake. You can manage with someone else, I'm sure. Let's see, who here would like to be Miss Masters' partner?" Luke looked around him but no one was paying attention.

"Everyone is nearly all paired up, you dolt," Owen jumped into the conversation. "Besides, I don't think the girl could work with anyone else. She may wet herself!" Avery didn't stand up for herself and only sulked in her chair and blushed heavily.

"Why are you such a prat?" Molly butted in. "Avery is fully capable of doing this project with anyone she wants."

"Aren't you capable of working with anyone you want?" he asked cheekily and eyeing Luke.

Molly didn't think of that and glared at him. "Yes. Avery, who do you want to work with?"

Avery looked at her hopefully and then to Luke again. "I can't handle working with anyone else, Molly. Please?"

"OK then," Molly said, unsurprised. Avery stuck to Molly and Luke like glue, and with Molly automatically out of the picture, Luke was Avery's only option. "You work with Luke and I'll find another partner."

"Did I hear that Miss Masters and Mr. Matthews are now partners?" Professor Wilkes peeked up from her desk and grinned excitedly. Before she got an answer, she began scrawling down the duo and then looked back up at them again. "That only leaves us with Miss Weasley and Mr. Bates. Congratulations, you two!" she said, and she proceeded to scrawl their names down as well.

"What!" Molly exclaimed, but Wilkes ignored her and began tallying the number of pairs she had in the class. Owen was a jerk, and had always been one since she knew him. He was exceptionally intelligent, of course, but that was ten times worse. He was never wrong and he knew it. He smirked and looked over at her from across Luke.

"Well, partner, get over here," he told her, patting the seat Luke stood up from in order to sit next to Avery. When she stood, she had a small thought in the back of her mind that she should pretend to faint right then and there. Maybe then the two weeks of obsessive following her friends were doing would finally come in use. She changed her mind as soon as the thought came to mind and sat in the wooden chair and grimaced as he started opening the Apothecary and Beyond. "Come on now, it's not that bad."

"You have no idea," Molly moaned.

"I rather like this situation; it means that I can maybe prevent you from losing future house points! Oh look! It says here that Amortentia takes just a little over a month to brew perfectly!" Owen pointed to the spot on the book and she groaned.

"You did this on purpose, didn't you?" Molly asked, opening her own book and trying to avoid eye contact with him. Instead, she focused on her friends on her other side and saw that Avery was reading aloud while Luke was glaring across her to Owen. She was thinking that he was just about obsessed with watching out for her well-being. "I'll be fine," she mouthed to him, but his eyes never left Owen. She wasn't even sure he saw what she said.

"Actually, I was trying to get to the point where Avery would want to work with me. I figured you and your little boyfriend would want to work with one another," he said, still gazing at the book and checking things off with his quill. She wanted to make a comment about how he shouldn't be writing in the books, but the thing he said about Luke caught her attention first.

"What was that?" she asked, without waiting for an answer. "Luke and I aren't, never have been, and never will be girlfriend and boyfriend!" she barked, slamming the book shut that had finally found the right page they needed.

Somewhat amused, Owen looked up from their lesson and grinned. "Oh really?" he asked, gesturing to Luke who was now focusing severely on Avery and Molly couldn't see his face. She knew her comment didn't bother him because he knew that they were just very good friends, or at least, it shouldn't bother him. She couldn't tell, but she didn't feel like bringing it up there.

"He just likes to make sure that his friends are OK when they are being antagonised by insensitive prats like you!" she whispered harshly so Luke would not hear. Owen, too, got closer to her face and then began to whisper a little louder than necessary.

"Whatever you say, Molly." His attention when straight back to the book and he read for a little bit before she was speechless for too long and then asked, "What do you mean, I'm insensitive?"

"It means," she answered quickly, "that I just broke up with my boyfriend of three years and I am not taking it very well, if you must know!"

"Oh! So that's your ‘delicate condition’"? Sounds like you just need to grow up to me."

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me," he said, and he was near laughter now as the volume was picking back up, "you need to grow up. So what? You broke up with someone and you're a teenage girl with plenty more opportunities in life to have another three year relationship. Maybe, if you're lucky, and a bit more mature, you could have one for longer than that, how's that sound!" he mocked her, just as a small child would.

Luke, who was, thankfully, concentrating on his book, wasn't hearing their conversation and Molly was full of rage. Soon, maybe her new self would have a happy change, but Owen wasn't going to be the cause of that any time soon.

"I'd prefer if you don't refer to my past relationship with Noah like that!" she said matter-of-factly, but inside she felt like she was near tears.

"Noah? As in Noah Clark? You two went out?" He shook his head and let out a long whistle. "Poor guy."

"Hey!"

"Do you two plan on getting to work today?" Professor Wilkes chimed once she started walking around to inspect the room.

"Yes, Professor," Owen reassured and then went back to his book. "Now," he said, directing his conversation back at Molly, "I'm thinking that it'd be best if we split the ingredients up between us. A few of them can be found in the room so we should probably get those now. With classes every Monday and Thursday, I'd say that in between now and next lesson should be when we have all of these ingredients. You find these," he slid a piece of parchment toward her with a list of items, "and I'll find these," he indicated to his own parchment.

"Now listen here, Owen," Molly scolded, "You don't go telling me off about relationships and then change the subject as though nothing's happened!"

Owen was annoyed now and let out a cry of aggravation. "I understand, Molly. You're too delicate to live life normally now and can't do homework by yourself. That's what I'm here for, since your friend over there seems to be permanently and emotionally unstable. According to you, I'm just here to make sure you don't pass out from fatigue or something from lack of eating because your thoughts are too focused on some past relationship that was probably never going to work anyway and pass this project for you. I'm not going to linger, OK? Now pay attention."

Molly looked at him with utter scorn. She would have been less annoyed if it wasn't for another Ravenclaw girl turning around from in front of them and saying, "If you two don't want to work with each other, I'll switch!" Owen broke out into laughter.

Molly hid her face in the book and read about Amortentia and how each ingredient could be found and when it was grown at what specific times. The potion was very advanced. By the time she finished reading, Professor Wilkes dismissed the class, Molly grabbed a hold of Avery's arm and Luke followed as they stormed out of the dungeons.

~~~

"I can't believe him!" Molly cried as soon as they entered the Ravenclaw common room. She was so frustrated that she couldn't even answer the riddle to get inside. "First he mocks me for the stupid house points, and then goes on about my relationship!"

She punched the seat of the sofa as she sat down on it and Avery sat next to her. Luke, who hadn't said a word since they left class, didn't sit. He looked from the two girls and upstairs and then finally said, "I'm tired. I think I'm going to rest for a bit before I catch up on some homework."

"What about dinner?" Avery asked, her brown eyes inspecting him carefully behind her round glasses.

"Not hungry," he said before heading up to the boys’ dormitories.

"I wonder what that was about?" Molly said aloud as she watched him walk away. "I'm having a breakdown here, and he's walking away?"

"Seems out of character for him," Avery pointed out quietly, focused deeply on a piece of lint on the arm of the sofa.

"It does, doesn't it? He probably heard what Owen had to say about us going out. I mean, Luke is a guy and he even understands what a girl goes through when they get out of a three year relationship! I wouldn't doubt it if that's his problem," Molly fumed, crossing her arms now and staring at the fire that was already started. There was silence for a few moments before two boys that went unnoticed before playing wizard's chess got up to leave for dinner.

"Yeah," Avery answered finally. "He likes making sure that no one is going to mess with you when you're so upset. So do I."

Molly forced a smile at her delicate friend. "Thanks," she said, trying to calm down a bit more. "I just think that Owen really needs to learn what it is like to have something taken away from him after so long."

"Something he loves?" Avery asked solemnly, head hanging down.

"Well, it doesn't have to be something that he loves," said Molly thoughtfully, "just something he's attached to, or always used to having around."

"I don't think you can take his brain away," Avery retorted. Molly snorted and then looked at her small friend for the first time and saw how uncomfortable she looked with the whole conversation. More uncomfortable than she usually was that is. With the current conversation and events, she quickly put two and two together and realised what was wrong, but before she could voice the problem, Avery said, "I think I'm too tired for dinner too. I'm going to maybe see if anyone knows where a few of the ingredients are for the Amortentia and then go to bed. I’ll see you later."

"Yeah, see you," Molly returned, eyeing Avery the entire time she walked away and up to the girl's dormitory.

What is everyone's problem today? she thought to herself, before shrugging it off and then heading down the staircase by herself.

She started thinking about how emotionless she had been the past two weeks, and wondered if she missed it yet over being constantly angry now. She didn't like getting in trouble, but either way she managed to get in trouble somehow. The robot Molly seemed to get less attention though, and less attention meant fewer questions and awkward conversations that made her want to cry, even if she was angry. During her thoughts, however, she heard someone else nearby talking aloud to someone else.

"Jackson wants to see you tonight, after dinner," said a voice that Molly didn't know at all. "Not in your tower, but in the North Tower. Says it's important so you should be there."

Jackson Winters? thought Molly. What's he going to be up to after hours? She looked over the flight of stairs she was on and saw two girls waiting for the third floor staircase to finish connecting to the second platform before continuing their walk. Both of them were still in school robes, but they were too far for her to see a house badge. One had black, straight hair, and the other had short, choppy brown hair. The stairs connected and she tried to keep up and listen at the same time without letting them know she was following.

"Something about a meeting. Says he hasn't seen his little sister since she was sorted and he needs to congratulate her. I suppose you know what that means?" the girl with the black hair asked sarcastically, her voice melodic and smooth.

"Of course! North Tower you say?" asked the one with brown hair. Her voice seemed somewhat soft and quiet, but it echoed in the Grand Staircase.

"Yes," said the first girl, "he can't see you any other time—"

"Because it may raise suspicion. Yes, I get it, Chloe, you don't need to explain everything to me in child's terms. I am not my brother!"

"Sorry, Winters. Forgot." The voice which belonged to Chloe, the black haired girl, seemed unpleasant and very annoyed. "Just show up and don't be late. Don't tell anyone either!"

Molly's head snapped back away from the railing and thought about what they were saying. Obviously the other girl that wasn't Chloe was Jackson's little sister, and typically it wouldn't be anything Molly would worry about if meetings and stupidity weren't involved. She waited for the girls to enter the Great Hall first before she walked in, too. As soon as the doors opened her attention was caught again by the doors to the courtyard swinging open.

"Told you we'd make it with plenty of time!" James laughed while Addie and Will were following behind them. Will was panting for breath, and the trio stopped when they saw Molly standing there, face as emotionless as it was earlier in the day. "Something wrong, Mols?" James asked her, laughter dying down.

"I don't know," she said honestly. "I've heard someone is planning on sneaking out after hours today though, you may want to check that out," she added for safe measure.

"Oh," said Addie, a smile still plastered on her face from whatever the trio was talking about seconds before. "Any idea where they'll be?"

"Um, North Tower I believe. I would have told the Head Boy or Girl, or the prefects in my own house, but I've just heard."

"Will do," James said and then led the group past her. "I'm hungry now though, so I'll see you later, Mols!" And he stormed past her, with Addie and Will in toe. Molly followed shortly after, not bothering to find anyone at the Ravenclaw table to sit with.

~~~

"Suppose you already have that card, would you be willing to trade?" Will asked the girl sitting next to him, Ava Travers. "I have three Diggoty Babbers cards already; I bet you have none of him!"

"Four, actually," she replied with a smirk and pocketed her new Chocolate Frog card, "but you can have the Frog."

James and Addie, who were watching the exchange, smirked and paid attention to their own evening mail. "Mum's written to me. The second time this week," James noted as he passed over the Quidditch Weekly issue and The Quibbler.

"Any more of your mum's brownies?" Addie asked hopefully, looking up from a letter sent from her home.

"No packages today. Everything good at home?" James tossed the mail aside and promised himself that he would read his letter before going to bed.

"So far so good. Mum's wedding plans are in place, and they should be running in course time for me to attend during the Christmas holiday." Addie frowned. She had explained before that she wasn't happy her mother was remarrying. Again. It was to be the fourth husband, and it had only been just this last summer since the last divorce Mrs. Sanders had. "Suppose that maybe she'll stick with Jim—although I can't say I know him very well."

"I'm sure he's not all that bad. Your mum seems to have good taste," James reassured, just as Will decided to engage back into their conversation.

"Yeah!" he said, "I mean, look at you! Your dad must have been pretty OK to have you. Does Jim at least know that you two are witches?"

Will was referring to Addie's second father. After her birth father died, her mother decided to marry a man without telling him that either Addie or herself were witches. They were married for nearly an entire year before he found out and left. Addie was so upset she ended up coming to James’ house for the last week of summer. His parents, being as understanding as they were, also allowed for Will to attend the festivities and the three spent the remainder of their summer causing mischief and mastering new spells (there was always that small advantage to one's father being the Auror Department Head of Ministry of Magic).

"Yes," she answered. "She says here that I can invite you two. If you'd like to come I guess that's your invitation. She can't even plan a wedding properly!" she said as she,too, tossed her letter to the side and laughed half-heartedly.

"Aw, come on, Addie, it can't be all that bad," Will said comfortingly, "my parents absolutely hate each other and they're still married to one another."

"That's just love," Addie joked and then bit into her supper at last. "Besides, they're still together, so it's not the same."

"How many times has your mum been married, Addie?" Ava asked, peeking around Will's head.

"Four," she answered openly. "I doubt she even knows what love is anymore."

"I don't know," Ava chided, "maybe she knows what it is, and she's just trying to find it?"

Addie and James looked at her in disbelief. James normally wouldn't mind, but he knew Addie. Thankfully, so did Will, who jumped in and tried offering more of his Chocolate Frog cards.

"So when is the wedding?" James asked as a few of the surrounding students stood to leave and head for their common rooms for the rest of the night.

"December the twentieth. Are you coming?"

"Maybe. I'll have to let Mum and Dad know first."

"I'll ask my mum if they can come along. She should allow it, your family has done so much for us," she added with a smile.

"Yeah, but have you seen the size of my family, Addie?" James scoffed. When she said family, she was also including the Weasley side, which was even bigger than the Potter side.

"Right," she said, "maybe then it'll look like a decent-sized wedding. I'm sure my side of the family has stopped showing up after the last one." Most people would have been brought down by that sort of news, but not Addie. She was just as spunky as James himself. That was probably one of the high factors of her being one of his only girl friends. The only other girls he talked to were family, and even they got on his nerves most of the time.

Suddenly, something caught James' eye and he turned and watched as a group of girls walked by behind them to turn in for the night.

"Oh dear," said Will, noticing his friend's gaze.

"What?" Addie asked, trying to see past James' big head and messy brown hair.

"He's spotted her."

"Who?" Addie pushed James aside and saw a group of Hufflepuff girls walking by.

“Angel Robins” James replied shortly as he watched the girl with very dark hair walk by. Her skin was dark and she taller than the rest of her friends, but they weren't very tall to begin with. Her hair was in braids and her smile was very white; not that he really saw her smile because she was walking away.

"Who is that?" Addie interrupted his misty bliss and watched him from behind. A bit of distaste behind her voice.

"How do you not know?" Will groaned and began to laugh at his friend's absent gaze. "You still with us, James?"

"What? Oh, yeah. What are we talking about?" James then turned his gaze from Angel and back to his friends.

"Still about Angel. Do you like her or something?" Addie asked bitterly and pushed the golden plate from her, knowing the answer already.

"Where have you been for the past year?" Will asked her, stealing the plate she delightfully passed off.

"Year?"

"Of course. He's been raving about her in the boy's dormitory for the past year. Thought he told you?"

"Yeah, I thought I told you about her?" James said suddenly, and he took a drink of his pumpkin juice, face blushing and eyes wondering to Addie's direction. "If not then ... I like Angel Robins. Just thought you should know."

"Thanks for telling me, you prat!" He couldn't tell if she was playing around or just naturally peeved. "Does she at least know about it?"

"Of course not, Addie! You don't go telling girls you like them, it makes you look like an idiot!" Will teased.

"Oh, right," Addie huffed, crossing her arms and looking away. Almost as soon as she did so, though, her attention changed and she turned to James again. "Hey, there's Dominique! Didn't Molly want us to do something tonight? Maybe she's the one to tell about the meeting in the North Tower tonight!"

"Hm? Oh, right!" James said, standing up and meeting his cousin further down the Gryffindor table.

Dominique was talking with Ethan Trotsky, a seventh year Gryffindor boy, and a few other people and relatives he recognized that still hadn't gone up to bed. When she didn't notice him standing there, Ethan pointed and she rolled her eyes to take a look.

"Yes, James?" she asked with over slight annoyance.

"I've come to report that it has been told a few students will be out of bed after hours tonight in the North Tower. I thought you should know," James said with a sly smile. If his presence annoyed her, surely this did as well. Unfortunately, his plan backfired.

"Why did you have to tell me? You and Addie are prefects, you aren't around just to listen to me give orders, but you can take matters in your own hands, too," she said bluntly, and then tried to get back to her conversation she was having with Ethan, who stared at her awkwardly.

Addie, who wasn't going to stand up for this sort of behaviour from a Head Girl, piped up, "And what do you expect us to do? Wait around until after hours to see who shows up?"

"James has an Invisibility Cloak, doesn't he?"

"Way to go, Dominique, just blurt that out to everyone, why don't you?" James scolded, frustrated at his cousin's boy-crazy behaviour.

"What?" she scoffed and then rolled her eyes and went back to trying to converse with everyone else.

Addie pushed James passed her and stomped off. "The nerve," she grumbled, and then lead the two boys out of the hall. "Will, do you have anything you want to do before James and I just hang around for the next few hours? Seeing as the Head Girl can't?"

"Why don't you just ask the Head Boy?" William asked while he wiped the crumbs from his robes that Addie didn't give him the chance to do before. "I'm sure Brandon would do something about it."

"No, Dominique is right," James said much to Addie's displeasure, "we are Prefects this year. We need to take care of it."

"Why can't I come with you? There should be room under the cloak—”

"That's considered after hours for you, Will," Addie added, looking up at him with a very disappointed face. Her short, blonde hair was sticking up and blue eyes were fierce; without a doubt, anger suited her more than it should.

The trio decided that going to their common rooms would be wise for the next hour to catch up on studying before James and Addie went off for their rounds (even though it was Hufflepuffs' turn). James suggested they tell the Hufflepuff prefects after he thought about it, but Addie was too determined to tick off Dominique at that point. They waited until Addie was halfway finished with her Charms essay and James read the letter from his mum.

It was filled with what his mum normally wrote about. How was his week going and if he'd been in any trouble? Had he been keeping an eye on his brother and sister? This time she asked him something she didn't normally ask, however. It was possibly the reason for her writing him two letters this week. She asked him if he'd noticed anything peculiar happening so far this year. He didn't have the time to reply, but he thought about the answer and couldn't think of anything. Hogwarts was perfectly normal as it was every year.

Finally, Addie was ready when the rest of the Gryffindors filed into the common room with dinner chat still wildly going on. "Let’s go and get the Cloak," she said, leading the way to the boy's dormitory as if she were used to this. Truth be told, they were used to it. In previous years they used it to sneak into the kitchens, and a few times this year they decided to have a go at creeping up on students that stayed out after hours. Most of the time rounds were boring, and the students were never doing anything too bad to cause a lot of trouble over, so the cloak was their only source of fun.

"Do you think the two of us can still fit underneath this thing?" James asked, pulling it out of his trunk and holding it out at arm’s length. "I know that Dad and Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron used to fit under here all the time, but I'm taller than my dad was at fifteen."

"We should be fine. I'm sure that your Aunt Hermione was taller than me, so it should even out. Just be happy Will isn't coming, then we'd have problems!" she chuckled and then folded the cloak and stuffed it in a bag.

"I heard that," Will said, coming up into the dormitory, "and I'll have you know that I take that offensively!" But he smiled and then sat down at his four-poster.

"Having an early night?" James asked, making sure that his prefect’s badge was now on. They were supposed to wear them at all times, but sometimes his mind would slip past him and he'd forget to wear it for the day.

"Yeah. If I even look at a book one more time tonight I think I'll go mental and start shooting hexes at the next passer-by," Will said while kicking back in the bed.

"That's not good," Addie said, "term has only just started."

"Yeah, well, I wish fifth year would hurry up. I hate these OWLs already!"

"I know what you mean, mate," James laughed. "Well, we better get going before they get there before us. See you later?"

"If I'm not asleep, tell me all about it when you get back. Take away loads of points too!"

"Will do!" James pushed in before Addie could protest and then took her down the stairs and out of the Gryffindor tower.

~~~

The halls were empty and everything that normally filled them was gone, and it was extremely quiet. The windows illuminated a night sky across the echoing floors and James walked just a few paces in front of Addie. Moments ago she was angry because they had to do this, but the further away from the common room they got, the more she thought about their conversation at dinner. James admitted to her that he liked another girl and she wasn't sure if she liked her or not.

Truth be told, she had never even heard about Angel Robins until today, but she could already tell that she wasn't going to like her. She wanted to ask him what was so interesting about Angel, but she also couldn't think of a way to begin conversation. So, James, I know you like this girl, Angel, but what does she have that I don't have? Addie looked down and frowned. That wasn't the best way to bring it up, but she also realised she now hated Angel even more.

Fortunately, James was able to break the silence. "Would you count this as something peculiar?" he asked, turning his head slightly so he could see behind him. Addie raised an eyebrow.

"Peculiar? How do you mean?"

"Well, Mum sent me a letter today, as you know, and asked me if I'd noticed anything peculiar. I think it's a little unusual, seeing as she'd be one of the first to know if something peculiar happened here at Hogwarts, but if she has reason to believe something peculiar should be happening ..." he babbled, concern showing in what little bit of his face she could see. She hurried to catch up to walk by his side and looked up, her steps long strides next to his normal ones.

"I'm sure she's probably just run out of things to ask you. I mean, she did send you two letters this week. Probably bored around the house and needing something to write. I mean, the Quidditch season this year isn't going that great, so she probably ran out of things to write," she told him. The Tornadoes were on another one of their random winning streaks, but no one followed them so no one really cared. Addie's favourite team was the Soaring Ravens, but they had been losing all season.

"Maybe you're right," he said, the worry disappearing from his face a little bit more. "So someone meeting in the North Tower isn't peculiar at all? I mean, they could have met anywhere else."

"Anywhere else includes the North Tower as well. Is there something big and bad about the North Tower I should know about?" she asked, smirking to herself.

"I guess not," he sighed, relief overcoming his face now. James wasn't normally one to worry, but if it was something his family worried about, that was generally the right time for anyone to be worried. His attention then went downward and he walked while looking right at her. "What about you? You OK with your mum remarrying?"

Addie sighed and thought about it for a moment before answering, "I suppose so. I mean, at least she tells me when she's interested in another man and getting married," she said as she shot him what she hoped to be a playful glance. It must have worked because he laughed.

"And what is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing," she said, "just that I can't believe that you never told me you were interested in anyone!" To add to the act, she nudged him in the side of his stomach.

"I didn't think it would matter to you that much, Addie. I'm sorry," he replied honestly. "I just think that she has great potential for being my first girlfriend, that’s all."

Addie's breath caught and she choked a little. "Girlfriend?" she sputtered. "No offence, James, but does she even know you exist?" she asked when they turned the corner and entered the Great Staircase.

"Of course she knows I exist! I am a Potter after all," he boasted. Addie glared at him. She knew he was kidding, but if that was how he associated girls with liking him, then she didn't want anyone knowing she liked him or else they'd think it was because he was a Potter. "I'm kidding," he confirmed. "We've talked a few times."

"Oh," she dragged, "you've talked. Did this all happen when I took my nonexistent trip to Canada?"

James laughed and then stopped walking for a moment, checking down the stairs to see that no one would hear them walking down the stairs and make a run for it. When he deemed it clear, he continued. "OK, so we haven't talked much, but she’s in one of my classes. She was in two last year, and we partnered up once."

"Was she the girl who transfigured your tie into a monster eating clothes shredder last year?" she realised, and stared at him wide-eyed.

"Yeah, that's her."

"Oh, OK. So you're attracted to girls that try to rip you to shreds, I should have seen that," she said, and she tried her best again to sound as teasing as possible.

"Do you think it's a possibility that she could like me too?"

"Isn't this a conversation you should be having with Will? I mean, he was the one you told in the first place."

"Yeah, but you're a girl. You should be able to talk about this sort of thing."

"Now you're being sexist!"

"I am not!" James cried.

"Shhh!" Addie tried to force out between the fits of giggles and placed a finger to her lips. They were walking up the spiral staircase to the North Tower. When they reached the top, Addie grabbed the Cloak from her bag and draped it over them before they opened the door and walked into the circular room once making sure it was clear. No one was there.

"No one is here," James pointed out the obvious. "You think we should wait here?"

"Yes," she said without thinking about it. In truth, she just wanted to figure out more of his girl situations. "Whoever it is will probably show up soon," he answered quickly and then led them to a spot that would help them hide without having to wait underneath the Cloak the entire time.

"What about you?" he asked unexpectedly. "You seem to be so frustrated that I didn't tell you who I liked, but I don't even know who you like. Hypocrite," he winked.

"I—I'm," she tried finding her words, "I'm not a hypocrite! I just don't happen to like anyone that you wouldn't know of," she answered, blushing at how honest she wasbeing.

"Really?" he asked, shock apparent in his voice. "Hmm, would have thought that someone as pretty as you would have someone barking up your tree by now," he absentmindedly commented. Addie's face was going to peel off from embarrassment any moment now.

"Me being pretty has nothing to do with there being someone that I like," she mumbled, trying to find another spot in the room to look at. James grunted contently and smiled just as she noticed the door opening and a young girl walked in with Jackson Winters following shortly behind. "Shh! Put this back on!" she whispered frantically and put the Cloak back on them.

They would have come out of hiding by now to catch them, but they were already engaged in conversation.

"Thanks for coming and meeting me, sis," Jackson said playfully (well, for Jackson it was playful). The girl must have been Hayden Winters, who also looked very unhappy.

"Of course, Jackson. Now come on, I don't want to get caught out of bed this late!" Hayden demanded, but she didn't show signs of not caring for her brother's wishes.

Jackson pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to her. "I want you to have this from now on so we don't have to use so many people to get in contact. This whole plan is proving to be much more complicated than I thought."

"You're telling me," she said, taking whatever he was giving her and pocketing it, "the Sorting Hat triple-checked to make sure I thought I knew what I was doing asking to be in Ravenclaw. I thought you said we'd see each other more often than this either way though?"

"I thought so too, but things are hard. I can't make it look obvious I'm OK with you being in Ravenclaw and still keep up in homework," Jackson complained. "I just thought you should know that you and Chloe are bored now, and I'm working on a few others. Oh, and no one else has one of those," he nodded his head toward her pocket, "so be careful no one realises that you have it. How are things going in your House?"

Hayden yawned and wiped sleep from her eye, "Good for now. I haven't talked to anyone about it, but Chloe is trying to get me to."

"That's a good girl. If only she weren't so stubborn, she'd have far more potential." He shook his head and tutted as if it truly were a loss.

"Why did you want to meet up here anyway, Jackson? Wouldn't it have been easier to meet in the middle so you don't have to go all the way back to the dungeons?"

"You're a first-year, and if someone catches you all the way down there at these hours you're likely to be expelled if you're not a Slytherin. Besides, I know a few shortcuts here," he answered with a loving smile. It was perhaps the weirdest sibling appreciation Addie had ever seen.

"Well, how considerate of your brother," James said suddenly, revealing him and Addie from underneath the Cloak. The two trespassers pulled their wands out, and Addie pulled hers out as well since James already had his. "Put those away and show me what's in your pockets," he said, pointing toward their robe pockets with his wand. The siblings shared a look but didn't comply. "Accio!"

Any other circumstance and Addie would have laughed at the tried attempt, but she needed to be serious, and to her surprise, the spell worked. A few Galleons, Knuts and Sickles flew to his hand along with a parchment with a list of things to do. She couldn't see what the parchment actually said, but she assumed so since she could see ticked boxes on the side. Thinking that these were what the intruders were trying to conceal, he took the parchment and tossed the money at their feet.

"Seems pretty risky to come all the way up here to exchange parchment, don't you think, Winters?" James asked him, lowering his wands. Thankfully, the duo opposite them did the same.

"Sorry, Potter," Hayden jumped in suddenly before Jackson could say anything, "I'd tell you why but I'm sure you heard the whole story from there with Miss Sanders. My brother and I haven't seen each other since term started and now was the only time to meet." She spoke innocently, but Addie wasn't buying it.

"I'm sure. What about Chloe, you mentioned something about her. Is she a part of this? Is she out of bed, too?" she asked, remembering to lower her wand too so she wasn't threatening them.

"No, Addie," Jackson rolled his eyes, "Chloe isn't a part of this. If you two would kindly not interrupt our conversations anymore, we'll just be going after you tell how you knew we'd be here."

"Seems as if we just love to walk into conversations because we had a tip off that someone would be up here after hours," James said coolly, staring at Hayden with his shielded brown eyes. "You two will have a Saturday detention and both Ravenclaw and Slytherin will lose five points from their Houses once I tell Professor McGonagall about this. As for now, go on and don't let us catch you two out of bed after hours again or we'll call Peeves and let Filch come and get you."

"Very well then, Potter," Jackson glared and then bent down to pick up their belongings. "Come on Hayden, we have to get out of Potter's and his little girlfriend's presence," he sneered, and they both left, slamming the door and leaving James and Addie alone again.

"Why did you let them get away like that? They were obviously up to something, James!" Addie exclaimed at last.

James put his wand away in his robes at last and folded the Cloak back up. "We don't really have any proof of that, do we? We'll just have to tell McGonagall about this and see what she says."

"But you and I both know that wasn't an ordinary meeting after hours. They were talking about planning things and how things were going as they were supposed to. What things do you think they were talking about?" Addie insisted, pushing his shoulder so he'd look at her. He looked grave and almost sick. "James? What's wrong?"

"Do you think this counts as something peculiar?" he asked, his voice shaking. Addie's face dropped and the blushing that occupied her face only ten minutes ago was now cold and pale.

She wanted to say something, that it wasn't something to worry about, but she couldn't honestly say that. If his mother already had her suspicions then most likely so did James’ dad. Something was up, and it had the Potters's attention.

"Do you think we should head back to the common room now?" Addie asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah, let’s go, Addie," he said, and they walked down the staircase in complete silence again. Addie found herself wanting to break the silence again, but couldn't find her mind thinking of anything but the possibilities that they could be wrong. She thought maybe asking Jackson and Hayden what they were up to and not giving up would have been a good idea, but McGonagall handling it and finding everything out was probably the best thing they could do. That way, they wouldn't be getting too involved in whatever was going on.

"What was that?" James asked, holding out an arm so Addie wouldn't step any further. He was listening for something, and Addie heard it too. Someone was in the room, or closet at the bottom of the staircase.

"Help!" came a muffled voice that heard them as well, and then there was banging at the door. James pulled at the door but it was locked.

"Alohomora!" he said, pulling his wand out and the door unlocked and out came Christian Jacobs, falling to the floor.

"Thank you so much!" he said, picking himself up. "That Jackson Winters guy saw me and pushed me in here!" he complained.

"What were you doing out here after hours?" James asked him. Addie never would have thought about asking Chris what he was doing out of bed, because she was a little more focused on the being pushed in a closet bit.

"I, um, er... I was distracted by Peeves," he answered, hanging his head.

"Is Peeves still hanging around here?" Addie asked, looking around.

"Doubt it," Chris answered honestly, "once Jackson came up, Peeves was gone, feeling like his job was done."

"Why didn't you get yourself out?" she asked finally, once James had gone quiet again.

Chris looked ashamed and looked down again. "Jackson stole my wand."

"He what?" Addie exclaimed. "What did he do with it?"

"He still has it as far as I know," he shrugged.

"We'll have to tell McGonagall about this, too, James," Addie pointed out and James nodded.

"We'll tell her in the morning. As for now, I'm afraid that we're going to have to give you a detention too, Chris," James said bluntly.

"What? Wait! You would never have known I was here if Jackson didn't take my wand! What about him? Are you going to do anything about him for being out of bed?" Chris demanded, face turning red.

"That's not the point," James argued back, "you were out of bed and now you have detention. Talk to McGonagall if you don' like it. As for Jackson and Hayden, we've already caught them out of bed and they have detention already as it is. Probably double for this closet and wand thing. Now if you don't mind, I have a letter to write still and I'm tired. Come on, Addie. Goodnight, Chris."

They walked away, leaving Chris behind cursing and shuffling down the steps and to the dungeons.

"James, what in the hell was that about? Chris didn't deserve that and you know it!"

"Addie, McGonagall will take care of it, OK? If it was that big a deal, you should have stepped in. Can we please go to bed and just drop it?"

She was shocked and angry at the same time, "As soon as you forget about the deal with Jackson and Hayden I can. Otherwise, give me a chance to do my job as well instead of taking it all into your own hands!" she scolded. James ignored her for a moment and she continued. "Come on, James! What exactly are you thinking?"

"I'd rather not worry about it, Addie. It may be nothing, so please just drop it." He placed his hands on his temples and took his glasses off momentarily.

"Fine," she answered after a while, "as long as it's nothing." They couldn’t have reached the common room any faster, and they finally parted ways without another word.

~~~

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Maelody
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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:19 am

~~~

Chapter Seven

The next morning seemed to take forever to come along. After Addie and James split their ways last night, James had a rough time getting to sleep. He decided the best action to take would be telling Professor McGonagall before sending word to his parents. There really was no need to get them involved if it was nothing to worry about.

He ventured down the stairs and saw Will chatting with Addie already. More than likely Addie was filling him in on what they heard last night.

“Really?” Will asked, actually shocked Jackson would do anything like sneaking out of the dungeons late at night. “Who is his little sister?”

“Don’t know,” James interrupted and made the two jump a little in their seat. “We forgot to ask her last night. I think it could be Hayden, but Professor McGonagall should know though.”

“James sort of jumped to the punishments before finding out all of the explicit details,” Addie informed Will.

“Did you take loads of points away?”

“Honestly!” Addie hit Will in the back of the head and fumed.

“Not really,” James admitted, “but perhaps McGonagall will raise the stakes.”
“Oh yes!” Addie barked. “Leave everything to McGonagall. We should have told Brandon last night and he would have been able to make the necessary measures right then and there. Whatever we tell McGonagall will be difficult to explain since she wasn’t there firsthand.”

“Even if Brandon were the one to see last night’s little meeting, he would still have to go to McGonagall and set things straight. There was something not right about last night, Addie, and that is why she must know before we anger them.”

Addie crossed her arms and looked at Will for help. When he didn’t say anything to defend her, she huffed and said, “Whatever.”

“Lets go down and get some breakfast,” Will attempted to break the silence.

Dominique was coming down the girls’ dormitory and stretched once she reached the bottom of the stairs and Addie greeted her with a, “This is all your fault!” and stormed off in the direction of the portrait hole. James looked back at his baffled cousin with an apologetic look and followed Addie with Will right behind him.

When they made it to the Great Hall and ate some breakfast, Addie still hadn’t calmed down.

“Look,” she said while indicating with her head that McGonagall was at the staff table, “you can run up there and tell her now.”

“Are you being serious?” James asked her. He was far more annoyed with her behavior now than he was earlier this morning and she was not easing up on him. When she didn’t reply, he sighed and slammed his Daily Prophet down on the table. “I’ll be right back.” Will looked up at him sympathetically before he left and then continued onto his cauldron cakes.

There weren’t a lot of people in the Great Hall today so James was able to make his way up to the Headmistress without too many wary stares. Before he reached the table, though, Professor McGonagall looked up and asked, “What is it, Mr. Potter?”

James looked down the row of staff and saw Hagrid wave merrily down at him. James nervously returned the gesture and settled his attention back on McGonagall. “I need to tell you something that happened last night on prefect duties.”

McGonagall was puzzled at first as to what he was talking about. He couldn’t blame her because last night was supposed to be the Hufflepuff’s patrol.

“I don’t see why you can’t bring it up with Miss Weasley or Mr. Nelson, Potter.” She said finally. It seemed just as strange and awkward for the old professor to be talking to a student at the staff’s table as it was for James to be up there. Never in all of her career, or James’ schooling, had anyone waltzed up to the table to talk to any of the staff like this.

“I can’t, Professor. Dominique wouldn’t listen when we tried telling her someone would be at the North Tower after hours last night, and Brandon’s information would be just as useful as mine.” He said, trying not to give too much away to the rest of the staff.

“Very well,” Professor McGonagall said sternly. “See me after breakfast in my office and I will excuse you from your next class. This better be important, Mr. Potter.” She looked up at him over the brim of her hat with a sort of smile that only she could pull off as loving.

“Yes, Professor,” he said and then he turned to meet up with Addie and Will where he was previously sitting.

“What’s going on?” Addie asked, her mood considerably better since he left. “I didn’t see the Slytherin points change.”

“She didn’t take any points away,” James corrected. Will looked disappointed and took a swig of his pumpkin juice. “Not yet. I have to meet her in her office after breakfast to tell her the details.”

Addie had a rather smug look to her and James scowled at her. He didn’t know why she was behaving this way toward him, but he hoped it stopped soon.

“Aahh!” she exasperated after taking a huge gulp of pumpkin juice and setting the goblet on the table with a little more force than needed. “Well,” she said happily, “I have Ancient Runes to get to. What about you, Will?”

“Muggle Studies with Professor Bintz,” Will said quizzically. He shared an odd glance with James and the two boys gave up on Addie’s rude behavior for the day before parting their separate ways.

Once James arrived at Professor McGonagall’s office, he found being a prefect came to his advantage. “Morphed Animagus.” He said simply and the ugly gargoyle started to spin upwards as the stairs allowed him to advance to the office. Professor McGonagall was already up there, along with many still sleeping past Headmasters.

“What is it, Potter?” the professor asked while looking down at a rather large document in front of her and looking over her spectacles. “Whatever it is, you made it sound certainly urgent at breakfast.”

“It is, Professor,” James said, walking toward the desk and looking around at the still amazing ornaments that littered the room. “It’s about Jackson Winters and his little sister, err—”

“Hayden?” she asked, raising her pencil thin eyebrow in wonder.

“Yes. That’s her. Jackson and Hayden were in the North tower last night after hours and I have reason to suspect a girl named Chloe is involved, too.”

“Miss Arndale? Was she out of bed after hours last night, too?” The professor’s collected attitude just seconds ago seemed more worried now. James didn’t know who Chloe Arndale was, but he didn’t like the way Professor McGonagall said it.

“Not that I know of,” James admitted, not sure if he should continue with the rest of the information until McGonagall insisted he went on to tell her the rest.

After he finished recalling everything that was said last night, Professor McGonagall’s face went pale and she seemed more worried than before.

“I really hoped there would be no need for our extra precautions this year,” she said somewhat to herself. “Not this early in the term at least!”

“Excuse me, Professor McGonagall, but what do you mean?”

The Headmistress sat upright and looked at him firmly as though she had momentarily forgotten he was in the room. “It means, Mr. Potter that we will have to call your parents.”

The points taken away from Slytherin and any form of possible punishments were forgotten.

~~~


Albus was eating his supper without any complaints of his day until the doors opened to the Great Hall and the last people he wanted to see in the world urgently trudged into the room.

“What’s Mum and Dad doing here?” he wondered to himself with his forkful of green beans almost to his mouth.

The entire Great Hall went silent and Professor McGonagall was standing at the head of the table as a few more people from the Ministry followed Mr. and Mrs. Potter.

“Welcome!” McGonagall said, though she didn’t seem too pleased with the circumstances. Professor Flitwick started making the necessary procedures in getting a few extra chairs added to the already full table. “Students,” she said while the company made their way to the front, “I’d like to remind you about our visits by the Care of Magical Creatures Center and Department of Magical Law Enforcement. They are here tonight and for the rest of this week to take precautions on the goings on here at Hogwarts. To further inform you is Minister of Magic, Mr. Shackle bolt.”

The students, automatically, cheered for the Prime Minister as he rose from his new seat and smiled down at the crowd of students. “Thank you for having me on this fine evening,” Kingsley started and the students hushed others around them that were beginning to pick up the excitement of their guests. “As Professor McGonagall has informed you, there will be Ministry officials checking up periodically on how smoothly things here at Hogwarts are running.”

“Shows just how low Hogwarts is stooping, doesn’t it?” Some Slytherin girl that Albus had no care to see who it was sneered at a friend next to her.

“Two hundred years have gone by since the last time any Care of Magical Creatures Examination has occurred and we are pleased to say there were never any calls for an early return. No one has done anything particularly wrong, but we would like to keep up with our magnificent creatures here at Hogwarts.”

Albus’ mum was scrawling everything Kingsley said as though she were writing it down for some report in the Daily Prophet. She was doing a good job at making it believable, but Albus knew why she was there. He knew why all of them were there. Something strange was going on like they said it would and they came to investigate.

“Here to explain in further detail is Mrs. Hermione Weasley and her team of the Care of Magical Creatures Center and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.”

The students cheered again after Kingsley’s spiel was done and Hermione stood once he sat down. She was not smiling.

“Thank you, Prime Minister. Now, as you all know, I am head of both Care of Magical Creatures and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. What I am here to do is make sure the creatures here at Hogwarts are in a safe environment and do not feel in danger by the students or staff here at Hogwarts.”

“It’s about time!” Chris shouted across the Great Hall and directed the comment straight to Hagrid. A few of the other Slytherins laughed and Albus jabbed him in the ribs with his elbow to silence him.

Hermione shot a very nasty look at Chris and then an apologetic one toward Hagrid before continuing her speech. “If there is any cruelty toward any creature of Hogwarts while I am here, or any magic to torture or bind an animal, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement will be sure to take your wand away and set your very own trial up at the Ministry of Magic. You will be treated as an underage witch or wizard outside of school no matter what your age. This is a legal issue.”

Hermione sat down curtly and expected no applause, but Albus’ father made sure to start one and the rest of the Great Hall responded by doing the same.

“Thank you for that, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry’s voice boomed politely around the hall. “As you all know I am Head of the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic—”

“And Harry Potter!” someone at the Ravenclaw announced to the rest of the students as though they didn’t have their own set of eyes. Yes, Albus thought to himself, Ravenclaw really are for the witty.

“Yes,” Harry said, momentarily stumbling over his words but smiling at the same time. “My name is Harry Potter. So glad we got introductions out of the way.” He winked at Albus and his youngest son smiled at the witty remark. “Do you wish to know why I am here as well, or do you already know?”

There was no answer from the boy who shouted so rudely to everyone about Harry Potter, but the rest of the Great Hall began to laugh. Harry was definitely making this whole deal a lot easier to deal with.

“No? Good. I am here to assist the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in making sure no wand waving occurs to any of our beastly friends, or our fellow students. It is not unusual for a group of Ministry officials to intimidate more than a few students in doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Myself and Mr. Weasley are only here as a precaution so nothing happens. We will not even be here the full week. Those who have any questions concerning of what exactly is mistreating a creature, you can come and ask Mr. and Mrs. Weasley or myself so you can stop yourself from doing so or discontinue your current actions. There truly are little acts into mistreating an animal, so be careful with what you do.” Harry then smiled and sat down in his seat.

More cheers emanated from the students as though they had just heard the Queen of England herself give a moving speech on dragon dung. Harry nodded his head and waved his hand appropriately to those he recognised before Professor McGonagall stood and raised her arms for absolute silence. Once the room was again silent, she cleared her throat before talking and rested her hands on the table before her. It wasn’t a usual sight, but Albus didn’t think much of it.

“Now that the introductions have been made, I expect every student to be warned and be on their best behavior for our guests! Gryffindors, you shall play host for these guests and I want them to be very comfortable in their stay. For now, finish your feast at your leisure and head back to your common rooms!”

~~~


Albus didn’t even bother with talking to Chris after the comment he made about Hagrid before running off to Professor McGonagall’s office. This was the first time ever that his parents, or anyone in the Ministry for that matter, had ever visited Hogwarts in a very long time. Once he reached her office he needn’t worry about knowing the password because the gargoyle was already activated. In fact, someone could be heard walking down the stairs right now.

“Albus! I was just coming to get you,” James reached for his brother and hugged him. “Mum and Dad are upstairs along with the rest of them. We’re having a meeting.”

“I knew this wasn’t going to be a little family get-together,” Albus sighed and followed his brother up the spiraling stairs. When he walked into the room, Ginny ran up and embraced her son. His father walked up and placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled down at him. Albus looked around the room and noticed he was the last of the Potter/Weasley clan to arrive.

“He’s here now,” Dominique pointed out. “Can you tell us why you’re all here please?” There was an edge of worry in her voice, and she was embracing Louis and Lucy.

What happened? Albus thought to himself as he sat next to Lily and James. James seemed more tense than anxious and had his hands in pale fists. Lily automatically grasped at her other brother’s hand and looked expectantly up at their parents.

“Nothing yet,” Aunt Hermione said in between Hugo and Rose. It was hard to believe she was the strict witch in front of the entire school not only an hour ago. “We decided to come just for the time being so nothing does happen.”

“James,” Harry said with a calm sternness, “why don’t you tell everyone what you wrote to your Mum and me.”

James left Albus’ side and stood at the front of the room and Harry took his place.

“Last night Addie Sanders and I were patrolling the North Tower when we caught Jackson and Hayden Winters out of bed exchanging something. I wouldn’t have put any thought in their meeting if it weren’t for Mum tipping me off something peculiar should be going on. I took an ordinary piece of parchment with a list of ingredients on it. They had nothing else on them.” James was explaining everything in detail while Albus remembered the strange meeting between Jackson and Chloe a while back.

“That’s why the entire Ministry of Magic is here?” Fred asked with more than a little annoyance. “There was a grocery list exchange?”

“It could be much more than that,” Harry warned while shooting Fred a stern look. “Did they have anything else at all on them, James?”

“Just some Galleons and Knuts,” he remembered and his dad shared a concerned look with Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron.

“Harry, unless he’s sure we can’t just pop up out of the blue like this. The kids can’t expect anything bad is going to happen if there are parchment exchanges going on.” Uncle Ron looked sympathetic but Albus knew he was right. It was one of the reasons he never wrote to his Mum and Dad about Chloe and Jackson: he had nothing to go on. James was playing it safe.

“He’s right, son,” Ginny said with an apologetic look toward Harry. He wasn’t wavered by everyone’s disbelief in his son. “Unless you have anything else to go off of… We really shouldn’t be here.”

“Wait, Ginny,” Professor McGonagall stood behind her desk after keeping quiet all this time. “There is another who may be a potential factor to James’ suspicions of these children’s intentions. Miss Arndale seems to be involved in it all.”

“See!” Harry jumped in. “James stuck with his gut and he was right. If Chloe Arndale is involved, there is definitely something to worry about this year.”

The room sputtered to life and the kids started whispering amongst one another. Albus heard Lucy ask Dominique what was going on at Hogwarts and that seemed to be the topic everyone else picked up on. What Albus wanted to know was what was wrong with Chloe Arndale.

“Are you telling us there was something to worry about before coming to school this year?” Jane jumped in automatically. Her beefy face was confused but also somewhat threatening. “If so, why didn’t you tell us before?” The other kids looked up with the same look of longing in their eyes. Albus felt guilty. He knew all this time there was something to worry about, but he didn’t know what.

Harry felt the pressure of his family to answer their questions. Ron, Hermione and his own wife looked at him expectantly, knowing the secrets had gone on long enough. With one last look at the Prime Minister, he decided to tell them all.

Albus sat up considerably straight so he could grasp what bits of the story he never heard. Only one other person in the room seemed to show as much enthusiasm as he did and that was Molly. She didn’t seem so keen on getting to hear the story as much as she seemed more enthusiastic to get out of there. Now Albus knew she knew more than he did from the morning after the wedding.

“We think someone may be trying to replace Lord Voldemort and rise to power. And that his followers are starting here in Hogwarts.”

The entire room gasped and the whispers became more urgent. Albus felt his jaw drop. He didn’t think parchment exchanges and secret meetings behind the stone circle would lead to the rise of another Dark Lord. Obviously it wouldn’t be the same Lord Voldemort, but who would try and take his place?

Some of the girls were crying and the boys were comforting younger siblings or their own mothers. Harry put an arm around Ginny, who remained strong, and said, “If anyone has any leads or things they’ve heard in the halls, please don’t be afraid to come up and tell us. Anything at all can help us. We think we may have a few suspicions as to who may be following, but there is nothing we can do until you tell us. Anyone?”

“I found out about the meeting last night from Molly,” James answered, darting his gaze toward the older girl.

She looked up as though she hadn’t been fazed by the news told to everyone about the rise of a Dark Lord. Instead, she hugged knees and rested her chin on top of them. “I heard Chloe Arndale telling Hayden to meet Jackson up in the tower. That was all.” Besides not mentioning how she heard the entire conversation between her father and Albus' father, she seemed to be telling the truth.

“Anyone else?” Harry asked desperately. When no one answered, he nodded his head and looked at his immediate family with a small smile. “Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”

“It’s OK, Daddy,” Lily cried, shoving her face into his chest and wrapping her arms around him. Albus felt sick at the thought of his sister having to do that to him if he were the one to break the news. Now he most definitely couldn’t tell anyone he knew.

Harry patted her on the head and kissed her forehead. “It’s time for bed. I’ve kept you all for far too long and I’m sure there is lots of studying to get done. Goodnight and be sure to tell no one of what you heard tonight. We wouldn’t want the whole school to start worrying about nothing now would we?”

“Aren’t you coming to Gryffindor Tower, Daddy?” Lily asked before taking hold of James.

“Later tonight. As for now, I have to talk with Professor McGonagall and the rest of these Ministry officials. I’ll see you soon, Love.” He winked at Albus and James and that was their goodnight for now while they dragged Lily down the stairs.

When they reached the bottom and the rest of the family cleared out, Albus said his goodnights to his brother and sister and went to catch up with Molly. It didn’t take long because she was sluggishly making her way back to Ravenclaw Tower.

“Molly!” he called. Her attention peeked and she turned around to see who it was that called her.

“Oh,” she said, “it’s just you.”

“That’s a great ego boost,” Albus said but disregarded the comment almost at once. “You knew.”

“That’s cutting to the chase,” Molly said with a tone of surprise. She stopped walking and turned to look at him. He was only thirteen years old and he was looking her straight in the eye. The stare down intimidated her. “Alright, yes! I knew. Did you?”

“Yes, and it’s been killing me not to tell anyone. Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I don’t think my dad deserves the weight of the world on his shoulders again,” Albus pointed out. “Plus, I didn’t think this whole thing would wind up being another rise to power. I wasn’t on the other side of the door as long as you were.”

Molly squinted her eyes at him and looked as though she were about to hex him, but she did just the opposite of that. She began to cry.

“What’s wrong?” Albus was shocked at the sudden change in attitude. He hadn’t done anything to upset her as far as he knew. Molly shook her head and then wrapped her arms around the younger boy. He sputtered a few encouraging words like, “Buh. Uh. Well. Um. It’s OK?” and patted her back. She choked back a laughed and then pulled back.

“That was rubbish,” she said, wiping away the tears with the back of her hand.

“Sorry?” he walked back to get a better look at her. She seemed more relieved than anything. “What exactly is wrong with you?”

She laughed again and sniffled before answering. “Nothing really,” she said. “I mean I’m terrified as hell, but I’m glad someone knows about this besides just me. All I know is someone is trying to rise to power, but I really have no idea as to who their followers are or how to find them.”

“I have no clue either,” Albus said honestly. “What James gave us isn’t exactly a lead.”

“So you were being honest back there? You haven’t actually heard or seen anything? Not even with being in Slytherin?”

“Now you’re just stereotyping,” Albus pointed out. It wasn’t something he usually let slide, but he knew what Molly meant. “I haven’t really heard anything out of normal. I mean I keep running into Jackson and Chloe having meetings all over the place, but Jackson has always been known as the school bully. I figure he’s just trying to get Chloe to join his group because she’s pretty.”

“Maybe,” she said hesitantly, “but that leaves Jackson and Chloe in the lead for most suspicious things around school.

“You don’t know Jackson like I do. He may be in your year, but I practically live with the bloke. He doesn’t seem the type who could help bring a Dark Lord to power and keep it a secret at the same time.”

“Apparently it’s not so secret now.”

There was a moment’s silence as Molly’s words sunk in. Minor things really were beginning to change once Albus discovered Jackson and Chloe had strange meetings once a week. Most of them he never heard, but he saw them speaking in a dark corner in the common room. Some of the Slytherins, and even the Ravenclaws, began to become dismissive in class and weren’t as bold as they use to be. Some, more than others, were too bold. Could Jackson be behind the rise of a new Dark Lord?

“Want to make a deal?” Albus asked his cousin as seriously as he could. Molly nodded as though she had seen it coming. “We can’t let anyone know about what we find out. Not for a while at least. If it is something that is just starting and a bunch of kids are in control of it, I’m sure we can do this on our own. We don’t need to bring anyone else into this and we don’t need to worry any more people about it. If you tell me about what you see and hear, I’ll tell you, too. The less activity the rest of the gang hears about, the more invisible this whole issue becomes to them. What do you think?”

Molly took a moment to think about his proposal. It was risky because they were messing with the darker side of things that hadn’t been touched in over twenty years. However, she knew Albus was right about how they could bring the followers down if they were only just forming themselves up. Albus was tired of waiting and placed a hand out in front of her. With one moment’s more of pause, she shook his hand. They would now stop the new Dark Lord, whoever they were, from rising. Alone.

~~~

Jackson Winters was looking around the dark and secluded room and smiled at the thought he was not alone. It was extremely after hours and most of the group was extremely tired, but they were waiting for someone to arrive. They had to know just what the Ministry was here for. While they waited he sat back and took pride in the room he found in the beginning of last year. It was something much more different than the Room of Requirement, which meant it was that much less likely to be found. It was below the surface of even the dungeons, so the walls were extremely moist and there were dark pools of water on the cobbled floor. It was probably not quite as low as the supposed Chamber of Secrets, but it was close. No one would bother them here.

There was a long, black table reflecting shadows of the members around it by the two torches lit in the entire room. The numbers weren’t great, but soon they would amount to something after this year. Hopefully, even sooner. Hayden was sitting next to him and twirling her chopped haircut with her wand while she was talking to Chloe next to her. The girls were extremely self-indulged in the conversation they were having about how stupid Jackson was in their opinion to notice the two other boys that accompanied them. Scorpius Malfoy and Lorcan Scamander were sitting opposite of the girls and were having their own conversation about the Weasley girl Scorpius dumped the other day. He had to. Jackson made him. There was no need for one of his possible best Angels to be distracted. It was either the Angels, or death.

At last, the final member ran into the secret room and struggled to catch her breath.

“Any news, Dursley?” Jackson asked her as the rest of the table went silent and stared at Jane huffing and puffing before them. “Well?”

“They—” huff-huff, “they—” puff-puff, “know!”

“Everyone?” Chloe asked, her eyes flickering to Jackson and back to Jane. “Including the Ministry?”

“Y-yes! Uncle Harry and all!”

“******!” Jackson exclaimed, pounding a fist on the dark table. His eyes were completely adjusted to the remaining darkness now and he could see the startled faces of everyone but Chloe. She glared at him and spat at him.

“I knew your plans were idiotic!”

“Hey now, Arndale, that is my brother!” Hayden pounced into the conversation and placed her hand inside of her robes where Jackson assumed she kept her wand.

“Enough!” he said, pulling his sister aside. “It is just a simple drawback in the plan. So we got a few more people than Potter to know who we are. We’ll lie low for a while and they’ll go away. We need more recruits anyway before we can do anything. You lot haven’t been doing your job.” With that last sentence he focused right on to Chloe.

“I’ve tried getting Albus alone, but he always leaves without explanation once I’ve had him for too long,” Chloe explained her antics but did not break the eye contact she held with Jackson. He really did loathe this girl.

“Perhaps we need someone else to do the job since it seems Miss Arndale can’t keep track of the one she has.”

“How dare you, Winters! I’ll have you know that if it weren’t for my—”

“I’ve had it with you and your threats, Arndale. Either you can convince Potter to join or you can’t. You choose. It’s your life at steak.” The threat seemed odd coming from Jackson. He was used to making the petty threats of locking Hufflepuffs in Moaning Myrtles toilet if they didn’t get out of his way. A death threat was a big deal for him, and the power was always hungry. “So, can you get Potter?”

Without hesitation or falter, Chloe looked right at him and said, “Yes.”

~~~

Feedback please! Very Happy


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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:21 am

~~~

Chapter Eight

eople are idiots sometimes. Unfortunately, the ones that are the biggest idiots were those in love. According to Rose that is, along with her two best friends Ava Travers and Abigail Rodgers. September wasn't even over yet and Rose already managed to lose her absolute best friend, her most recent fancy, and discovered there could possibly be a Dark Lord on the rise. Speaking of crazy psycho people rising from the dark, that is exactly why Rose felt like an idiot.

Quidditch tryouts were today, and even though she didn't particularly care for Quidditch, she found herself in the Gryffindor piers watching as the Slytherins auditioned. Scorpius was the Slytherin team captain and this was the only place she could find him since that uneventful day in the library.

Seven members were airborne with Scorpius: Albus and his best mate Christian Jacobs were last year’s Beaters, Dylan Klyser was looking for the Snitch, and three girls Rose did not recognise were chasing around the Quaffle. Scorpius had his whole team planned out and they were good .One of the Chaser girls managed to get five shots passed him throughout the tryout. When Luke Matthews came onto the field with his hopeful Ravenclaw team, Scorpius and his team came down and headed straight for the changing rooms.

Rose followed after hurriedly, gathering her things and running down the Gryffindor pier. The Slytherin changing room was a huge contrast to the Gryffindor rooms with the silver and green splattered across the tent. A fire was lit in the middle, but since it wasn't that cold out yet, it had no real heat.

When she entered Dylan looked at her skeptically before returning to his stance with one arm resting on a pole and looking down at one of the girls who was trying out for Chaser. Albus was already changed and getting his things together when he saw her and nudged his head in Scorpius' direction and Rose thanked him with a thin smile.

"Scorpius?" Rose asked the back of an extremely blonde head. His shoulders tensed at the sound of her voice and he turned around. Rose was beginning to wonder if she would regret her decision to see him but by the look on his face he didn't look too upset with her for showing up unannounced.

He looked down at her for a few seconds without saying anything and his lips twitched once before he realised what was going on and his face hardened instantly. This was exactly the reaction Rose thought meant something about Scorpius’ behavior the other day.

“The list of those of you who made it will be up by next Monday,” he said, his gaze leaving Rose now and looking around the room. “Practice will be that evening and those of you who made it better be there. There’s a lot of work to be done before our first game and we’re taking the cup this year. Now go on!” He turned around and started fidgeting with a few things at a desk before speaking again once everyone was gone. “What do you want, Rose?”

“Nothing much,” she said honestly, “just to know why you did that to me the other day in the library.” She pulled herself up onto a broom rack and swung her legs without thinking and kicked one of the brooms over. “Sorry!” she said, but he didn’t bother to turn around and see what happened. With that attitude, she didn’t even bother to get it herself.

“You were dishonest with me, Rose, and that’s that.” He maneuvered away from the desk and began taking his Quidditch gear off. The gloves were discarded onto the same desk along with most of the pads he wore. Rose looked at him in horror, not that he saw though.

“Me not telling you I have a crush on you is dishonest? Honestly, Scorpius, that’s what you’re mad about?” He didn’t answer verbally. Instead he shrugged and then worked with taking the robes off and showing his bare back. Rose’s stomach leaped inside of her and did a somersault in the process. Working passed her heated face and bashful voice, she said, “And this is supposed to help how?”

Scorpius rolled his eyes and turned around at last. His chest was rippled with not quite man muscles, but not exactly a boy’s muscles either. He had the perfect Quidditch body. Rose was speechless.

“You came here for my answer and I’ve given it to you. If you don’t like my answer then don’t expect anything else. Now excuse me please?” His voice was stiff, but his eyes were practically pleading for her to drop it, but that wasn’t Rose’s style. Something wasn’t right about what he did to her. Scorpius was a gentleman, despite what her cousin James thought. He was always kind to her and sometimes, Rose could have sworn he had the same feelings toward her as well. Someone had to have put him up to this.

“N—no,” she said with as much confidence as her voice would allow. He was still standing half naked in front of her after all!

“Fine.” He threw down his robes and went behind a curtain to change out of the tight practice pants. Behind the curtain he asked, “So what is it you want to hear? I’m sorry? I think you should be the one apologising, Rose.”

“Excuse me?” Rose exclaimed, stamping her foot as she stood. “Do you recall exactly what you did to me the other day? Or do I need to apologise for your behavior as well?”

“What I did, Rose,” Scorpius said behind the curtain, “is stop you from getting hurt and confronted a lie before it went further. Then you went crazy on me!” He stepped out from the curtain and was wearing a green, baggy shirt and a pair of dark jeans and converse. Rose loved the weekends.

She had nothing to say. Everything he said made no sense. It was like he was trying to find an excuse to be away from her. Someone must have put him up to this. Before she knew it, she was confronting him of this. “Are you doing this because someone told you to?”

Scorpius tried to answer but he was cut back and surprised. He was ready to have an answer for her but he couldn’t do it.

“Scorpius, what’s wrong?”

He looked down and smirked. It was an odd sight, but at least she knew he wasn’t angry with her. She gulped loudly, afraid to hear what he was about to answer.

“Rose,” he said with a chuckle and then peeked up at her, “you’re not supposed to fight for someone who does something like that to you.”

Confused, she smiled and stepped closer to him. What exactly was going on she wasn’t sure, but he had just as well admitted to having not wanted to play her on like he did. He placed a hand on her shoulder and looked down, and for a moment she felt like she did in the library again before he hurt her so much. It was the afterthought that kept her from leaning up and kissing him right then and there.

“What do you mean?” she asked, biting her lip and smiling up at him. He sighed and hugged her, wrapping his arms around her waist. Taken aback, she patted him on the back and then pulled away before he did.

“Rose, you’re my best friend and I want to tell you everything, but sometimes I can’t.” He looked guilty and she felt as if she was certain that he was a part of something dangerous. She was scared for him, but also disgusted that he could ever join a group of people that would help a man come to power. She knew his father was like that when he was younger, but she spent a majority of her time at Hogwarts swearing up and down that the Malfoys were changed people. “I knew you liked me and so I was trying to protect you—”

“Are you a part of something dangerous, Scorpius?” she asked before he could finish. She was getting tired of his excuses now. If he was a part of some group trying to give this new Dark Lord power, then she would have to turn him in, no matter how much she thought she loved him.

“What?” he exasperated. “Rose, no! I was trying to say that I knew that you liked me and I was trying to protect you by telling you I don’t feel the same way about you because I’ve found someone else. A Muggle in fact,” he added quickly. “I met her this summer and I didn’t know how to tell you without showing you myself that I could not like you.”

Tears started to form behind Rose’s eyes and a huge ball was caught in her throat and she couldn’t get rid of it. When she talked the lump was evident and she wanted to curse herself for showing her weakness to Scorpius again. “Oh,” she managed to spit out. “Well if that’s all, I guess I’ll just be going.”

She turned to leave and folded her arms as she walked away.

“Rose!” he made a quick run to catch up with her but stopped and decided it wouldn’t be worth it right now. He was right. If he laid one finger on her Rose was certain she would have to hex him to the next year. “I’m sorry,” he gave in and she stopped to look over her shoulder at him.

“It’s OK,” she said with the only smile she could make, which wasn’t very attractive, “at least I still have my best friend, right?”

“Yeah! Of course,” he said, laughing lightly and went to walk up again.

“Good.”

She walked away before he reached her and went outside to head back up to the castle, her tears flowing with ease now. She would have to tell him later why she suspected he was in danger and what her family told her, despite telling her not to tell anyone. As for now, she was too hurt to even look at him again.

~~~

Gryffindor Quidditch tryouts were running really smoothly with James as captain this year. Lily wanted to play Quidditch so bad, but she would have to wait until next year before she could even consider auditioning. So, for now, she was sitting in the stands with her father and Hugo, watching James make selective choices over who would do what in the air.

"Dad?" Lily asked while still looking out at her brother.

"Hmm?" Harry replied, his attention at the same spot hers was.

"Were you a Quidditch captain your fifth year, too?"

"No, dear. I wasn't captain until my sixth year. Kids gave me a lot of trouble for it too because it looked like I only let my friends on the team. Truth is, the Potters and Weasleys are where the talent is at." He looked down at her and winked.

"Will you audition with me next year, Hugo?" Lily asked her unsuspecting cousin and he looked at her nervously.

"Err, no. Sorry, Lily." His face was somewhat green at the mere thought of joining the Quidditch team and being that high in the air. Both Lily and Harry laughed at the thought of Hugo in the air and Harry patted him on the back, reassuring him his father would be proud.

As amazing as it was to watch Gryffindor members flying in the air and trying their best to be worthy enough for her brother's team, Lily knew what her ultimate goal was here. She needed some alone time with her father to ask why he was really here. Hugo felt the same way and decided to tag along with her today, even if the sight of other people on their brooms made him slightly queasy.

"Daddy," she said with her sweetest little girl voice. "Can we talk?"

"Of course, darling," Harry put an arm around his daughter and kissed the top of her head. "We can talk about anything you want. It's not boys is it?" His face fell at his last question but Lily shook her head and he laughed nervously before speaking again. "Good. You're not allowed to date until you're thirty-five anyway, so don't get any ideas!"

"Dad!"

Hugo burst out laughing and one of the players auditioning for Keeper was sidetracked and looked at him just as the Quaffle zoomed by him.

"What is it, sweetie?" His glasses were at the tip of his nose as he looked down at her and he looked like one of the happiest men alive just then. Lily hated having to bring up such a serious subject with him.

"What is really going on? I know there are a lot of things you aren't telling us, all of us do. I want to know. I'm not a little girl anymore, Daddy."

"Lily, you're twelve."

"This makes me just as old as you were when you learned everything about Voldemort. I want to, and so does Hugo, know everything that is really going on."

Harry looked at her for moment as if contemplating if she was really right or not. She knew how important James, Albus, and she were to her father, but she wasn't sure if she could get the information she wanted to know out of him.

"What's going to happen and who is planning all of this?" Lily pressed when her father didn't answer right away.

Harry bit his lip and thought for a moment before he could answer her at last. He ran a hand through his hair and took his glasses off as though he were cleaning them as he spoke.

"I can assure you nothing is going to happen, love. Not to you, James, Albus, Mum, Hugo, or anyone. All the Ministry is doing is taking extra precautions and making sure these students that are causing a lot of trouble here stop. If there is no trouble, then we know it was all rumors."

"You of all people know that's now how things work, Uncle Harry," Hugo chimed in. "How many times did Mum and Dad tell me how you used to tell them what you thought and they never listened when they should have."

"This is different," Harry said without losing his temper, like he hardly ever did. "When Voldemort was around he had been gaining power while he was in Hogwarts and for years after that."

"What's so different about it now then, Daddy?" Lily asked, a bit of fear in her voice giving her true feelings away. What if someone was inside the school right now and trying to destroy all of the half-bloods and Muggle-borns?

"For starters, the trouble isn't starting in the school. Whoever is possibly trying to gain power is not a student, we know that for sure. However, they are trying to get students involved instead of their own pears so we have to find out who it is they're close to. Do you have anything you've been meaning to tell me?"

"No," Lily answered honestly. "In fact, I haven't seen anything strange going on around here at all. What James described didn't sound dangerous to me at all."

Harry sighed and looked down at his hands after finally placing his glasses back on his face. "I know," he said. "I'm beginning to wonder if asking him to keep an eye out for things was a mistake. He seems to think we are actually looking for something wrong to happen so everything is ten times worse than it actually is." He looked out on the field where his son was and smiled as though he had created the most important thing in his life.

"So do you think we're all safe, Uncle Harry?" Hugo asked hesitantly, not certain if he should break such a pensive moment. Harry clasped his shoulder and nudged him a little before winking.

"Perfectly safe," he said and with that, James blew his whistle and the remaining group in the sky dove down to the ground and headed to the tent.

~~~

“Isn’t this just a perfect day for uprooting Taber Roots?” Owen looked up from the roots he was pulling and looked up at Molly as he wiped his face. He managed to get more dirt on his face than before and Molly scoffed at how ridiculous he looked. Honestly, though, she could think of a million other things she wished she could be doing right now than looking for Amortentia ingredients with Owen. She wasn’t really expecting to spend her weekend working with him, but he cornered her after dinner the other day and suggested they started looking for the ingredients now in order to finish the potion on time. Molly, not one for a bad grade, obliged and hated her decision ever since.

“Are we done yet?” she asked, not trying to hide how miserable she was in her voice.

“Nearly there,” his smile spread wider and she was beginning to think he took joy in making her miserable.

“Listen,” she threw down one of the roots in the cauldron they were using to hold them and rested her hands on her knees. “If you wanted Avery as your partner you should have said so. I wouldn’t have to worry about dreading every Potions class for the next month and Avery possibly could have made a new friend. Not that we would ever become friends because of her.”

Owen laughed at her and stood to gather their roots. He started walking without warning her they were done and she leaped to her feet, chasing after him. “It is best I’m working with you anyway. As you said, with you and your delicate situation right now, the last thing you need is your best mate fawning over you while you work on a love potion together.”

“For the last time, Luke does not like me like that!” Molly fumed and pushed his shoulder from behind, but the effect wasn’t near anything she wanted it to be. Again, he laughed at her and bent to pick up a few of the roots she caused him to drop.

“Either way, it is all for the best. Seems as though if you aren’t interested in him, your other little friend is. Surely you can’t be blind to that as well?”

“Of course not! Avery is my best friend. I mean, yes it did take me a while to realise, but I know she likes him… Why am I talking about the affairs of my friends with you? Are we done or not?” Molly didn’t know why she stuck around for the answer, but she tapped her foot impatiently, make a thud. Thud. Thud. as she did so.

“If you think you can get a bit of Doxy Venom by yourself, then yes. We are done for the day.”

Molly glared at him and wished she brought her wand with her because she would hex him right now if she could.

“There is no Doxy Venom in Amortentia Potion, Owen.”

“I know that. However, you want us to be done so quickly I may as well get the rest of this potion's ingredients out of the way and you can get what I need for my other classes since I won’t have the time.”

“Oh ha ha. I hate you.”

“Are you always this upfront?”

“I’ve known no other way,” she growled and began to stomp off ahead of him.

“Hey, Molly!” he called after her, a laugh hidden behind his all too large grin.

“What?” she whipped around and glared at him, face fuming.

“Welcome back.” His smug look made her think he looked as though he had accomplished something. Did he think he was helping her? The hell with him! She turned without saying anything and continued to tread up the hill.

“Oh, and Molly!”

She stopped this time, but didn’t turn around.

“I expect my Doxy Venom by tomorrow afternoon. I need it for Monday’s class.”

In reply, Molly gave him a lovely hand gesture that showed him exactly how she felt about him and his Doxy Venom and went on her way.

~~~

James was exhausted after a long day of Quidditch tryouts with the other Gryffindors. He was really hoping being Prefect and Quidditch captain wouldn’t take too much out of him. As it was now he was avoiding his homework by going to dinner with his dad. They were walking through the corridors as it was and talking about a conversation Lily and his dad had earlier during the tryouts when James blocked everything his dad was talking about as Angel Robins walked by. She smiled in his direction.

“Uh—eh—hey!” He fumbled and she laughed as she walked by with a quick, “Hi,” and giggled with a friend James had no clue was.

“Quite the charmer there, son,” Harry observed and put a hand on his shoulder. His eyes squinted with laughter and showed the years his father had on him. James shrugged him off and blushed.

“I know. I know. I’m horrible about that sort of stuff when around her.”

“And who exactly is her?” Harry chided at his oldest son and strolled along with him.

“Angel Robins. I think she’s the most beautiful girl in this school and we’ve talked a few times, but unless it is for a class I can’t find the strength to do it on my own.” James sighed heavily in longing for her to come back so he could try that conversation with her again. “Call me a romantic.”

“I understand, son. I’d say you get it from your mother, but that’s not exactly the truth,” he chuckled as they entered the Great Hall. It wasn’t nearly as full as it was normally over the week days so there were only a few students here and there, leaving James and his dad plenty of room to sit and talk about girls in private.

“So how long have you been liking this Angel girl? She really is pretty.”

James thought back about the conversation he had with Addie and decided he liked his father’s reaction to this situation much more.

“A little over a year I guess,” he estimated and sat down before some steaming hot chicken. “You sure are taking this better than Addie did the other day,” he pointed out, hoping his father could pin what was going on with her.

“Addie? What about her anyway? Don’t you like her?” Harry smirked and bit into a hot roll.

“Who? Addie? No! She’s my best friend, Dad!” The very idea of it seemed quite impossible for James to even think about. Addie and he may have several things in common, but they would be the absolute worst couple in all of Hogwarts A History!

“Oh. Right! Sorry, son,” the look on Harry’s face was absolutely amused but he went along with what his son said.

“You’re a lot of help, Dad. Thanks.” It was the most sarcastic James could be but he didn’t mean anything by it. Harry just smiled down at his spoonful of potatoes and winked up at his son.

“While we’re on the subject of girls, son,” Harry started after a while of silence, “you know how to be completely responsible right?”

“Oh Holy Hufflepuff, Dad, not here!” James exclaimed, throwing his spoon onto the plate. A few of his friends looked down at them with bemused expressions and James glared at them until they looked away. His entire face was completely red.

Harry was so amused by the conversation and his son’s reaction, but he considered their surroundings and decided to drop the subject entirely. “Alright, I trust you. Just remember that you need to focus on your studies,” and he winked at his son again before James rolled his eyes and commented at how Aunt Hermione-ish he just sounded. “However, on a more serious note, we need to talk about what you heard the other night.”

“I know what you’re going to say, Dad. I’m really sorry I ever called you guys,” James said apologetically and quit trying to eat all together. When Harry looked at him oddly he added, “Lily came to me before you did. She told me about how I may be overreacting to this whole situation.”

“I didn’t mean it like that, James,” Harry said hurriedly.

“No—no, its fine, Dad. I really do see what you mean and I agree. I guess I was just on nerve with what Mum had sent me and I wasn’t sure of what to do. Normally if you and Mum here something bad is happening and it worries you, then it’s something the rest of the Wizarding World should freak out about, too. So, do you really think it’s something we don’t have to worry about?”

Harry was unsure at the moment of what to say. James had the feeling he only told Lily about that because she was so young and he didn’t want her freaking out, but that wasn’t his dad’s style. If Harry Potter really thought something was safe, then nothing could pass him. His dad was ultimately the one who knew it all.

Harry paused for a moment before answering as honestly as he possibly could. “I wouldn’t say it is something to push to the side, but no. I don’t think you kids will have anything to worry about. There hasn’t been any trouble with the kids here and it was only a rumor that something would start here. I’m sorry we scared you.”

James was sure he was telling the truth, but there was still something bugging him about the other day that he really wanted to know.

“If that’s the case, then why was there such a big deal about Chloe Arndale?”

“I regret saying what I did then, James. I shouldn’t assume what a student is like because of her family’s past.” Harry’s eyes that were full of laughter moments ago now looked tired and rather unhappy.

“What’s wrong with her past?”

~~~

She could see Albus sitting at a desk and trying to read a book. He looked really aggravated and as though he wanted to be doing anything other than what he was working on right now. Just as she thought, he slammed the book shut and headed up the stairs to leave the common room. With a small smirk of gratification, Chloe followed shortly behind him.

He was heading for dinner so she rushed up by his side.

"Hey, Albus!" she said with her dazzling smile that normally got her anything she wanted at him.

"Um, hey," he replied, wondering where she came from.

"So I was wondering," she was trying to act as flirty as possible, as though she was one of the blubbering Hufflepuff girls swooning over a Quidditch boy, "if you had a moment before dinner."

"You could, er, join me at dinner if you like," he said, but she could tell he honestly didn't want her there.

'No, that's fine. I just needed to ask you real quick if you remembered me wanting to talk a couple of weeks ago. You know, without your dorky little friend around."

"Oh," Albus thought back and nodded.

"Well, here I am. Ready to talk to you! And I was wondering if you had any plans on Tuesday evening?"

"Why Tuesday?" Albus said dumbly. She bit her tongue and fluttered her eyes as quickly as she could.

"A group of us are getting together. Scorpius is in it, I'm pretty sure you two are mates, right?"

"Right." He was beginning to look a little shifty and she had to be careful with what she said. According to Jane, he already knew that there could be a group of students around supporting a Dark Lord.

"It's mainly just a little gathering Professor Reubnon is throwing for special Slytherin members that are struggling in Potions because he's a little shifty about Professor Wilkes' teaching." She made the whole thing up on the spot so he wouldn't get any ideas at all. It seemed to work because he nodded and smiled awkwardly at her.

"I'm not failing Potions or anything though," he pointed out last minute. "Neither is Scorpius now that I think about it."

"Scorpius is there as a mentor. Maybe if you're good enough, you can be my study partner?" Chloe added quickly, and she could feel a bead of sweat begin to drip from underneath her bangs. She didn't think talking to him would be this hard.

"Sure."

"Well I'll see you later then, Albus. It was nice talking with you." She walked right passed him while placing a hand on his arm and took one last glance at his direction before going off to talk to Scorpius. She needed him to reinforce her story for her to make sure Albus would come. Jackson would have to shut up during their meetings now, and everything would be back to normal. All they needed now were for those stupid Ministry members to leave.

~~~

“Professor Reubnon, may I ask you something real quick?” Albus knocked on the Professor’s door, but it was half open so he peeked his head inside while he knocked.

“Come in, boy,” the Professor said, not looking up from a stack of paper’s he was grading. He was the teacher for Ancient Runes and Albus had no idea what he was like as a teacher, but the entire Slytherin House looked to him as their Head of House instead of Professor Wilkes. “What is it?” he asked as Albus sat down in one of the red, leather chairs left empty before the desk.

“I was just coming to inquire about your study groups for Potions class.” Albus said bravely. He knew there couldn’t be such a thing, but he had to make sure before he told Molly about this.

Professor Reubnon looked up over his spectacles but continued to write down the letter “A” and draw a circle around it before concentrating completely on Albus. “What are you talking about, boy?” he asked at last. “I have no such organisatioin. You can ask Professor Wilkes if she does, but I highly doubt it.”

“That’s what I thought, Professor. Thank you. Have a good evening.” He bowed his head and hoisted himself from the seat.

“Wait, Mr. Potter. Who invited you to this club? I must assure they know they have been played as a fool to think there is such a thing.” The old man was waiting for an answer, shaking his chair as though he were extremely cold.

“Chloe Arndale, sir.” Albus answered, hoping to get some sort of reaction out of the Professor.

“Ah,” he said, “Miss Arndale. I must warn you, Mr. Potter, not to be making a standardised friendship with this girl. She has many troubles, and none that I see you fit to resolve.”

“What sort of troubles, if I may ask, Professor?” Albus sank back into the seat and waited expectantly for an answer.

“A dark family history I’m afraid. Something your father did long ago before you were born will have caused a hardship between you two as students, but there is much more to her family than a feud with your father.” Professor Reubnon’s information wasn’t proving to be more helpful, but more stressful when he was only adding to the questions in Albus’ head.

“What did my dad do, Professor?”

“Oh, he tracked down Miss Arndale’s father many, many years ago after the final fall of Voldemort. There were Death Eaters on the loose and her father was one of them. He promised to avenge Voldemort and make sure the Muggle-born race would be extinguished. It was sheer chance your father found him when he did, and it resulted in a terrible fate for Benjamin Arndale.”

Albus was in complete shock of the whole story. He knew about how Death Eaters were still all over the place after Voldemort fell, but his father wasn’t one of the people that went searching for them. In fact, Zabini made it practically illegal for Harry to hunt down any Death Eaters, along with his Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron. Where did his dad find Mr. Arndale and what happened?

“Did my dad kill Chloe’s dad?” He asked, terrified to hear the answer.

“Slithering Salazar, no! Though to the Arndales he may as well have. Harry reported Benjamin to the Prime Minister Zabini and he was then placed into Azkaban. Their most threatening Death Eater was caught and they no longer needed to worry about another rise of a Dark Lord.” Professor Reubnon looked at him with a puzzled expression.

That’s what you think, thought Albus.

“What is with the sudden curiosity, Mr. Potter?” The shaking Professor then pushed his full spectacles to the bridge of his nose and frowned at the student before him.

“Nothing,” Albus said sullenly. “My Dad never told me about this is all.”

With that, Albus left without another word and shut the door behind him. He knew what he was going to tell Molly, and he now knew who they had to worry about. They could not let Benjamin Arndale rise to full power.

~~~

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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:23 am

~~~

Chapter Nine

Scorpius hated Chloe Arndale more than anyone in this entire school. The only thing that was worse than hating her was feeling undignified in doing so because she was only a first year! Late last night, while contemplating what happened with him and Rose and what he should do about it, Chloe came up to him with a very smug smile placed right on her pointed face. She informed Scorpius on how she invited Albus Potter to join their 'Remedial Potions' class but she was skeptical if he actually believed her or not. It was now Scorpius' job, according to Chloe, to find Albus and reassure him that everything was alright. The little witch had absolutely no problems starting things, but she sure as hell didn't finish anything.

The next day Scorpius found himself waiting at the top of the stairs in the Divination Tower. Chloe took it upon herself to somehow learn Albus' schedule and tell Scorpius where to be. At least she's good for something, he thought. Albus had the next hour free, something Scorpius couldn't say for himself, but it was the only time he could get a hold of the younger boy and at least quickly inform him of their so called 'class'. He would just have to figure out later tonight that Professor Reubnon had nothing to do with it.

At last, the trap door came down and a ladder extended downward so the students of Divination could scale down it. When Albus' feet made contact with the ground, Scorpius took his opportunity to strike.

"Hey, Al!" he started, but Albus did not stop for him. Instead, the black haired boy continued to walk quickly ahead of him and Scorpius had no choice but to follow. "You'd think we would see each other more, being in the same house and all," he tried again, with the same cheeriness as before.

"Save your breath, Malfoy. I've already talked to Reubnon." With those words Scorpius froze in his tracks and Albus continued to move forward. His insides twisted and turned inside out. If Albus already asked Professor Reubnon, then we are as good as found out! his thoughts were mind-numbing. If it weren't for the confused look Albus was giving Scorpius once he finally stopped to see the result of his words, Scorpius would have called himself done for.

"Look, Albus, it really isn't what you think-" he started, but Albus grimaced and cut Scorpius off.

"A group of students supporting and following someone trying to take over as some sort of new Voldemort isn't what I think? Are you not trying to rid the world of Muggle-borns, Half-bloods, and blood traitors alike? Or are you guys really just an organization gathering charity for unicorns and rainbows?" Surprisingly, Albus was remaining decently quiet and calm. It almost seemed as though he didn't want anyone to hear about what was going on. Scorpius found this at his advantage and decided not to show his weakness and how awful he felt about the whole thing.

"Albus, if you come tonight, I can explain everything to you. What you don't understand is they want you, and they'll do anything to get you." His voice was low and somewhat menacing. Passerby were looking at the two so Scorpius grabbed Albus by the arm and they started walking down the stairs while continuing their conversation in hushed voices. "It doesn't matter if you come tonight or not, once they want you, they will get you."

"Who exactly are they?" Albus snapped, pulling his arm from Scorpius' grasp.

"I can explain it to you if you come tonight. Please, Albus, I don't want to see you get hurt." Scorpius stopped their strolling when they reached the main floor and then pulled him underneath the staircase.

"What will they do to me?" Albus asked, his voice wavering a bit. He had no idea what he was getting into. "Why do they want me?"

Putting a finger to his lips, Scorpius began writing down the location in the dungeons where they would meet.

"You're the Slytherin Potter. What you and your family hoped to make no difference in the world means everything to us. You know what it would be like if Harry Potter's son joined the Dark Angels?"

Scorpius' stomach twisted in knots and his face turned green at the thought of wanting to be a part of that group. Calling themselves Angels was just a sick way of thinking they were doing good for the rest of the world.

"My father's choices when he was young have resulted in my life today, Al. Because of who I am, they wanted me too. Trust me, you don't want to decline their offer." He shivered at the thought of when he declined them and refused to join in the beginning of summer. Jackson and a few of the seventh years from the previous year hunted him down. Literally.

"How do I know you're not just saying this to make me go?" Albus didn't sound as though he doubted Scorpius. He seemed to be double checking, but succumbing to the blonde. He answered with the shake of his head and Albus nodded in understanding. He looked away and at first Scorpius thought maybe he was hiding tears, but he turned again and dismissed himself. "I have to go," he said, rushing by other students with his bag over his shoulder.

"Be warned, Al! Don't tell anyone!" Scorpius waved goodbye but the younger boy didn't notice and continued on his way.

"Good job, Scorpius." Jackson came around form behind the staircase. "I think he'll come around now. As for you," an evil smile played on his face, "we need to have a little talk."

Scorpius felt his fists clench and face harden for his hatred of the older boy. He hadn't noticed before, but he was sweating and he felt his knees become weaker. He felt as though he had no control over himself anymore, as he usually did when around the Angels.

"Come on, mate." Jackson said too cheerfully with an arm left open for Scorpius to step into. Scorpius was taller and better built than Jackson, so he felt confident enough to refuse the gesture.

"What do you want, Winters?" Scorpius walked next to him instead but didn't look down at him once. Instead, he looked down at the stone bricks he walked on.

"Good work with Potter. I think he'll be with us in no time!"

"Get to the point, Jackson!"

"I really don't think you want me to do that, Scorpius." He stopped to allow a few Ravenclaw girls pass them, watching them walk from behind. "But if you insist. I heard you had a little get together with Rose last night." It wasn't a question.

"How did you find out?" It was all Scorpius could bring himself to say after the initial terror rang through.

"You could say Dylan and I are becoming friends." That was all it took for Jackson to say before Scorpius realised the trouble he was in. That was another player on his team now in the Dark Angels. Things weren't looking good for this season.

"I didn't tell her the truth, if that's what you're wondering. I needed my best friend back," Scorpius said, but Jackson didn't seem to care.

"Oh, poor Scorpius! You need your little girlfriend to run to when things get tough? Would you like out of the club? Or perhaps you'd like to ask her to join us? After all, you did such a wonderful job with Potter. Rosie would make a wonderful addition." The words were like venom from Jackson's tongue and Scorpius could feel the sting settle deep inside him.

"Stop it!" Scorpius demanded, his hand gripping his wand in his robes. "I don't see the harm in keeping her in my life." He shuddered at the thought of Rose having to suffer with what the Angels would do to her if she did join.

"I told you not to see her at all! That's the point, you dolt! We don't need everyone knowing about us just yet, especially little blood traitors like her! I can promise you if it happens again then she'll be one of the first to go!"

"Says who?" Scorpius couldn't control his temper anymore. He brought his wand out and the people surrounding them gasped and huddled to the walls.

"Says me, Malfoy! Now put that away!" Jackson retorted, bringing his own wand out but not threatening Scorpius with it just yet.

Scared students were whispering around them and Scorpius looked around and saw a few first year students nearby and his temptation to kill Jackson there swayed. He put his wand hand down and Jackson held his hand out to take it. That was something Scorpius would never have done in front of all these people, but Jackson reached over and took the wand with ease. Scorpius was so powerless and drained from the past few weeks he couldn't do a thing about it.

"You better follow me, Malfoy." Jackson sneered and lead him into a deserted classroom, locking the door from behind.

~~~

Albus was finding it very hard to take in the new bit of information Scorpius just provided him. As it turned out, no matter how much he wanted to help his family by laying low and spying, he was going to be a part of it anyway. What would he have done if he never heard the conversation on the other side of the door? How would he react to Scorpius telling him he had to join a terrible group of people and he had no choice? Albus wanted to know.

Should I tell Molly? was the only thing going through his mind constantly now. He knew they made a pact to only tell one another the things they heard, but this seemed more personal. The way Scorpius talked about the Dark Angels made Albus even wonder if he wanted to put her in that sort of situation.

There was a Quidditch practice going on right now, but Albus really didn't want to see Scorpius again until he had to. He also needed to say goodbye to his father and the rest of the Ministry. After realising nothing was going on and none of the children had heard anything around Hogwarts, they decided it would be best to leave now.

"We really must be getting back to work, dear," his mum said when everyone arrived in Professor McGonagall's office. "I'll see you again for the first Quidditch game this season, though!"

The whole crew was there, with a few minor exceptions. Uncle Percy never bothered to show up so Molly and Lucy weren't here, along with Dominique and her sister.

"Albus, are you feeling alright?" Harry asked after his youngest son hadn't said anything for the passed several minutes.

"Fine," Albus perked up in his chair, not realising he had zoned out. "A little nervous about what Scorpius will make me do for missing practice, though." He added quickly in hopes to sound convincing. Fortunately, there was a little honesty in his words.

"I'm sure Scorpius will understand," Aunt Hermione jumped in before her husband could.

"I will write Mister Malfoy personally, excusing your absence, Mister Potter." McGonagall smiled weakly and glanced over at Albus' father when she said their last name.

"How are you fairing, Minerva?" Harry asked, a hand on her shoulder and a stern look down at the older witch.

"I'm getting along in my years," she said, patting the large, hairy knuckles of Harry's hand. "But I am well."

"Excellent," Hermione beamed and then turned back to her children. Albus noticed Rose and how exhausted she seemed. She had been that way since the day in the library with Scorpius.

Would he get Rose involved in this, too? he wondered and hoped not.

"You two will do fine. I'm so proud of the both of you!" Hermione was lifting Rose's chin and kissed both her's and Hugo's cheeks before embracing them tightly.

"Will you be leaving soon?" James asked, aware of the time. Looking out the window, Albus could tell practice would be over now.

"In the next ten minutes or so," said Harry, looking at his wristwatch. "Albus, may I have a word with you?"

Albus' emerald eyes snapped out of their trance and looked up into a matching pair. It was almost like looking into a mirror that could tell the future. At that moment the miniature Harry couldn't get his voice to work and nodded his head instead. The actual Harry pulled him along down the stairs from McGonagall's office.

"Son," Harry started, "I've realised in my time being here I've spent more time with James and Lily and haven't made time with you. Is there something you want to talk about? you've looked pretty distant all week."

Although his dad not hanging around with him wasn't what was bother Albus at all, he did have a question pressing in his mind since the talk with Professor Reubnon.

"I do," he said, stopping their walk and looking up at his dad. "I want to know hwat happened to Benjamin Arndale."

Harry's face grew grim but his gaze never left his son. "Who told you about Benjamin Arndale?"

"I heard Chloe Arndale talking about her dad to some girls in the common room. She said you got him locked up in Azkaban and I was wondering if there was a way he could have- you know? Escaped?" He tried to put as much of the truth in his story as he could.

Harry looked shocked and sputtered for just a moment, trying to recall that bit of his past. "I can assure you there is no possible way Arndale could escape Azkaban."

"Why not? It has been done before," Albus pressed.

"Not by a dead man," Harry said with finality.

"What? But h- Chloe said you didn't kill him." Albus nearly gave away his sources and decided to control what he would say from now on.

"Really?" a weary smile crept onto his dad's face. "I was so sure the entire Arndale clan blamed me for his death in Azkaban because I'm the one who sent him there." His eyes were cast away and Albus regretted bringing the whole thing up. When he was about to apologise, Harry jumped back in. "Why do you have so much interest in Arndale?"

"Chloe!" Albus quickly answered and panicked. He had to watch what he said from now on. "I heard Chloe, as you know, and she said her dad tried rising as a Dark Lord, so I was just wondering if that could be a lead. Obviously its not." He shifted uncomfortably.

"Obviously..." Harry said, still unconvinced. "Has Chloe been up to anything? Is there something I should know, son?"

"What? No! Why?" Albus stammered, trying to think back where he lead anything to Chloe. He cleared his throat and squeaked, "I just like her is all." His eyes grew as wide as plates at what he said.

Harry smirked. "You like Chloe Arndale? I feel as though I'm missing something about you and your brother. Godric help me if you're sister comes up to me next with boy problems." Albus had no idea what he was talking about with James. It shouldn't have been that hard to figure out Addie and James were into one another. "Well, you know if you have any questions about girls, this old chap has any answers you need."

"Dad! No!" Albus backed away and gagged at the thought of him and Chloe. Sure she was pretty...vindictive...and had a little edge to her, but she was not worth a conversation like this with his dad.

"You know, my advice isn't that bad! But, I can see you're not ready for that talk yet. However, I am your father, and I will tell you to be careful. Don't be afraid to floo once in a while and contact your Mum and me. Be careful and watch out for things that go on here."

Albus didn't recall when they started, but they were already heading up the stairs.

"Are you leaving now, Dad?"

"Yes," Harry said to his son and to the rest of his family once they entered McGonagall's office. "We need to get going and all of you really should be getting to bed."

"As if you were ever in bed this early, dear." Ginny strolled over to her son and kissed him, patting him on the cheek before grasping her husband's shoulder.

"Goodnight, dearests," Hermione said, joining the adults with Ron in toe.

"Rosie, don't worry about that Malfoy boy. Dad will take care of him." Ron winked.

Only a few minutes later went by before the Ministry officials and family were gone. Albus waited for everyone to go to bed before heading to the meeting.

~~~

The outside was possibly the most calming place Noah had found in all his years at Hogwarts. One hand brushed through his sandy blonde hair while the other shook out his quill. He was ashamed, but it was the first time since the beginning of term he could write to his Mum. Even now he found out he was failing terribly.

Dear Mum,

Things here are fine. What about at home? Everyone doing well? Molly broke up with me when school started. I'm fine. I think.

Love,
Noah


After he was able to bring up Molly, he lost all train of thought and couldn't continue. He had been up there for hours. Finally, he determined he had to go to bed at some point. Surely the Prefects would be done with their rounds by now and it would be safe to return to the common room.

Without taking any precautions opening the door to get inside, he was busted right away. Addie Sanders was startled by his presence and held her wand out directly in front of him.

"Noah?" she asked quizzically, lowering her lit wand a little so she could see. "Noah! What are you doing here?" she put her wand away and smiled up at him as if she forgot he should currently be in trouble.

"I was just writing a letter to my mum. I haven't kept contact since I've got here," he said hesitantly. "Where's James?" He looked around the room for the Prefect but didn't see him anywhere. Addie glared at no one in particular and crossed her arms.

"He spent the entire evening saying goodbye to his family so he asked to stay back and work on homework," she huffed.

There was something more to it than that. He could tell. "Sorry to hear that," he said and sat down on a bench nearby. She joined him and sighed.

"Thanks. Sorry to hear about you and Molly."

"Thanks."

There was an awkward, uncomfortable silence between the sixth and fifth year. Even though they were in the same House, the two hardly talked and had anything in common. Most of the time Noah was in and out of the Gryffindor common room and didn't talk with others much. When he wasn't with Molly in the past, he was normally seen with Ethan Trotsky.

"Would you ever tell me if you liked another girl?" Addie broke the silence with a question that, honestly, freaked Noah out.

"No offense, Addie, but we don't know each other that well for me to share that sort of information." Noah said honestly.

"I know that," she said matter-of-factly, "but say we did. Wouldn't you tell your best friend who you've been fancying over the past year?

Putting two and two together, Noah figured out what Addie was talking about. "Assuming you are my best friend, why would you want to know?"

"Uh, duh! You should tell me everything! And what if I don't like this new girl? Maybe I know something about her you would hate! You should want to know these things." Addie crossed her arms and legs as she huffed.

Noah decided he was done playing along. "Is that where James really is tonight? With some girl he fancies?"

"No!" Addie snapped. "He really is doing homework. Who said I was talking about James?"

"You did," said Noah with a knowing smile, "in your eyes," he added before she could ask when. Addie sat there for a moment in silence. Noah couldn't tell if she was furious or confused. She seemed to have a twisted look on her face so he settled with confused. "So you're jealous of some girl James is seeing?" He asked to break the silence.

"Angel Robins," she spat out the name quickly, "and he isn't seeing her, he just fancies her. And I'm not jealous!" Addie reached over and punched him in the arm.

"Uh huh," Noah vocalized and chuckled light-heartedly much to Addie's dismay. "Then why is this a problem?"

She had to think about her answer for a moment. Her face grew more complex as she searched for a logical reason to be mad. At last she found one. "I've been best friends with James since day one. That is two days longer than Will has! When James finally expresses interested in a girl he tells Will and I have to find out a year later! It is not fair! Just because I am the girl friend does not mean he should feel embarrassed to tell me things like this." Her voice continued to grow softer as she went along. If Noah didn't know the little bit he did about Addie, he was sure she was about to cry.

"Well, it is odd that he wouldn't bring it up with you if you two are just friends." Noah left what he said to her interpretation. She did not pick up on this hint however.

"That is all James will ever see me as. We've been friends so long, he should feel comfortable coming to me for things like this." Addie said almost to herself, completely oblivious to what Noah meant. Again there was silence as her thoughts drifted into nothing and Noah remembered how late it was. It was time to get out of there if he didn't want Addie to realise the time.

"I'm terribly sorry you're upset, Ads, but I," yawn, "really must be getting to bed." He stood up and stretched, adding another yawn for good measure.

Addie looked up with a faint smile. Faint enough to make him feel guilty for not wanting to stick around. She didn't make an effort to stand but she waved a hand that meant either goodbye or whatever. With that note, Noah took her hand and helped her up. He pulled her in to a friendly hug while saying, "Sorry," in her ear at the same time. Addie was stiff at first but then embraced the gesture. They were friends after all.

"No, I'm sorry," Addie said, pulling back with a big grin replacing her old, sad one. "Did you think I forgot you were up after hours? I do believe this results in a detention Mr. Noah Clark." She laughed and waited for his response before letting go. Even to his own surprise, Noah laughed light-heartedly and gently nudged her away.

"Yeah, yeah. Goodnight," he said while turning to head the opposite way of Addie.

"Maybe I'll forget to mention it just this once," she replied over her shoulder.

For the first time since school started, Noah went to bed with a smile on his face.

~~~

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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:24 am

~~~


Chapter Ten

Parents gone, along with what seemed like over half of the Ministry of Magic, Albus felt it was safe to go down to the Dungeons. Since Scorpios mentioned that the Dark Angels wanted him, he could not get them off his mind. Even if he never heard the conversation on the other side of the door, they still would have come after him. Of course, he didn't know exactly who they were, but he knew they were bad. Now it was up to him if he would become a spy for his parents or try and run.

There is no way they'll end up getting me to side with them, Albus thought.

All day he debated if he would tell Molly about the meeting tonight, but with her fragile state at the moment, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He saw her not only an hour ago and she seemed so exhausted. Pact aside, he decided this was something he needed to do alone. The way Scorpios went on about the group, he wasn't sure he wanted Molly to be a part of it anyway.

Harry and the rest of Albus' family only just left, and it was well past after hours. Albus was making his way down the stairs to the Dungeons like he did everyday, but he had no intentions of going to the common room. Where he needed to go was much farther than that. There was an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach as he continued going down the stairs and his legs ached because of how tight his muscles were. He couldn't help but remember how scared Scorpios seemed about the whole thing, and his parent's involvement wasn't reassuring him any. Albus knew that running to his parents would be the best idea, but how is he to know if the Dark Angels are really something to be scared of? Besides, they were only trying to raise someone to power and Albus' father had dealt with far worse at his age.

The plan was to see who all were involved in this so called 'Dark Angel' group, catch their plans, and then tell his father about anything he learned. That wouldn't be so bad. Albus would still get in a little bit of an adventure and he would end up doing the right thing. As he ventured down further it was getting colder and the walls began to leak. He was beginning to wonder if he passed wherever it was he was supposed to be. A part of him thought that wouldn't be so bad. Then he heard a frustrated sigh just around the bend, and when he peeked around it to see who it was he saw Chloe Arndale waiting in front of a dead end. That part of the castle must have collapsed centuries ago.

"I've gone too far haven't I?" Albus asked once he figured it was alright to show his presence. Chloe was, after-all, the one who initially invited him. Her group must have sent her to wait for him just in case Albus went too far.

"It's about time you're here," Chloe said without answering him. She did not seem very happy either. "You're late." She turned to the dead end wall.

"You're lucky I came at all," said Albus, confused at to what she was doing. "Considering I know you lied to me."

Chloe didn't seem phased by this news at all. Did Scorpios already tell everyone I figured it out? Albus wondered.

"Do you have anything valuable on you?" Chloe asked, even more aggravated than before.

"Just a couple Galleons," Albus said honestly. She reached her hand out in his direction and demanded the money. "What do you need it for?"

"This cursed wall keeps raising its prices. We need something valuable to pass through."

"Will I get it back?" he asked, already giving her the two Galleons before she answered.

"No," she said curtly and then turned to face the wall. Albus watched as Chloe placed his Galleons and two of her own on a ledge above her head. As soon as she laid the payment down it disappeared. There was a loud Pop! noise but nothing else happened. "Come on," she said, and before he knew it she was walking through the dead end wall. Albus didn't waste much time in following just in case the wall decided to close and needed another payment.

Besides the payment, the wall was a lot like Platform 9 3/4. On the other side was a small, dark leaky room lit by only two torches. There was a long, dark table in the middle with a goblet set before each chair. Albus' heart began to race and his stomach dropped once he realised he recognised everyone in the room.

Dylan Klyser, one of the newest members on his Quidditch team, was sitting next to an empty chair and looking just as comfortable with being here as Chloe did. Chloe sat in front of the empty chair and next to her was Lorcan Scamander, who was a complete opposite to Dylan and looked nauseous. Albus had a feeling he was one of the wanted ones as well. Next to Lorcan was probably the most surprising member to him. His cousin Jane Dursley, with all her smugness and mean spirit, was making sure not to make any eye contact with him but he could tell she was a true member of this group. She was most likely even in the Dark Angles the year before, that is, if they were a group prior to this year. She sat across from another empty seat, but next to her was a girl Albus actually didn't recognise. She was small like Chloe, but nowhere near as pretty. She had chopped up, sandy brown hair, freckles all over her face, and huge teeth. She was also wearing Ravenclaw robes so he couldn't think of who she was.

The last two seats were taken up by none other than Scorpios Malfoy, who sat across from the ugly little girl, and Jackson Winters who seemed to have deemed himself the leader of the Dark Angels because he sat at the head of the table. Albus' fear dropped just a little bit at the thought of Jackson leading anything. The boy was a fool. Even Albus, who was two years younger, had more smarts than he did. Whatever this group was, they would fail with him at the lead.

Feeling as though he was taking too long to observe and stand, Albus took the seat sat across from Chloe and next to Dylan. His Quidditch mate didn't bother to register his appearance, but Chloe looked right at him as she took a drink form her goblet. Feeling uncomfortable, Albus felt compelled to do the same thing. It tasted like a wine of some sort so he made note to drink it slowly.

"Now that we are all here," Jackson stood as he made his announcement and gestured toward Albus, "I would like to welcome our newest member, Albus Severus Potter."

"I am not-" Albus started, but Chloe kicked him under the table and he let out a small cry.

"I have been informed by Lorcan that our awaiting chapter Lysander will not be joining us because his dearest brother does not wish to invite him." Jackson had a sick smile across his face and Albus noticed Lorcan practically cower in his seat. This was not normal behavior for either of the Scamander twins.

What are they so afraid of? wondered Albus.

"Scorpios, my greatest friend, why don't you do the honours since your guest showed up." It was definitely not a request, but Scorpios didn't seem to understand that.

"Chloe invited him!" he whined, eyes wide. Albus looked at Chloe to see if she would speak up but she only smiled coyly and took another sip of her wine.

"Scorpios," Jackson said with a warning tone, "just do it."

Scorpios unwillingly stood and walked around to Lorcan's seat. "Sorry, mate," he said before pulling out his wand and whispering a spell Albus couldn't hear. Before he knew it, Lorcan was petrified and Scorpios was dragging his body off to a corner where he started kicking and hexing the silent boy. Albus could hear Scorpios aplogise after every hit and hex.

"So glad you could join us, mate." Said Jackson, indicating toward Albus again. The word mate caught Albus off guard and he choked on the sip of wine he was taking right at that moment. This time, before speaking, he managed to pull his legs back so Chloe couldn't reach him.

"I am not your mate, and I most definitely am not a member of your sick little group." Albus slammed the goblet down and some of the contents of the drink spilled out.

"I'd be more careful if I were you, mate. If you aren't a member of the Dark Angels, then what are you doing here?" Jackson asked and proceeded to sit back down. Albus didn't think his words all the way through. He couldn't just admit that he was here to spy and then go and tell his parents everything. Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut?

"Oh, quit trying to think things through, Potter," Jackson said impatiently. "Do you really think we are so idiotic as to invite the son of Harry Potter, and nephew to every other bloody person in the Ministry of Magic to be here with us without thinking it through?"

Albus scoffed at the thought, Yes.

"You can say you're going to run back to Mummy and Daddy all you want after you're done in here, but you won't." Jackson said matter-of-factly. "Not with your life on the line."

"What are you going to do to me, Jackson?" Albus asked, not feeling threatened at all. "What you did to Lorcan? I'm not scared of you."

"Do you know what this room is, Albus?" Chloe asked and every eye at the table was on her. "We make a lot of payments in this room for it to work. You see, Scorpios is just being weak over there," she indicated to the corner where Albus didn't realise Scorpios was still beating up on Luna's son. "This room was built centuries ago when this castle was. It is a punishment room. Professors used to bring children down here to get them to tell on other students, punish them for cheating, sneaking out, and other naughty things. Since it was punishment, everything done in this room is completely legal. However, when the years passed and a certain Headmaster decided he didn't like the idea, he had it collapsed." Her voice was so smooth and enchanting. the way Chloe talked about these things sent shivers down Albus' spine, but he couldn't help but listen to her talk.

"Well, everyone believed it was collapsed, but we believe the Headmaster turned it into his own storage room and paid with many valuable things to keep them safe. this was before the discovery of the Room of Requirements of course."

"Anyway," Jackson cut in, impatience settling in again, "if we so please, we could kill you in this room, torture you, or command you without anyone ever knowing."

"You're going to kill me?" Albus asked, the disbelief from before disappearing more and more. "You can do whatever you want to me, but I still won't be a part of your group, Winters."

"Such a little hero, Potter. Just like Daddy huh? Well, I'm sure you know that there are worse things in life than death." The way Jackson said it made Albus' heart stop momentarily and his breath caught in his throat. What sort of crazy psycho was Jackson Winters?

"As it is, you're not leaving this room without a little interrogation anyway. What were your family doing here?" Jackson asked, taking another drink shortly after.

Albus was unsure if he should answer. If he tried to right now, he could probably hex a few of them and get away. Only, they would most likely catch him before he got too far. His only option was to lie.

"To check up on the magical creatures here at Hogwarts. Headmistress McGonagall already addressed that." He lied, hoping they would go along with it.

"Don't feed me that bull, Potter! We both know Mummy and Daddy took Care of Magical Creatures with the same oaf we have now. They know darn well that the animals are taken care of. I'll give you one more chance."

"Or what?" You'll use veritaserum against me?" Albus asked, pushing his goblet away for extra measure.

"Just know that you asked for it," replied Jackson, and before Albus could react or figure out what was going on, the older boy had his wand out and pointed straight at him. "Crucio!" he shouted, and in seconds Albus was thrown out of his chair and his body was on the floor. Every part of him was writhing in pain. It felt as though someone was taking each of his limbs and tangling them behind his head while setting his insides on fire at the same time. He didn't even have time to wonder how Jackson was so powerful.

"Jackson, stop it!" the velvety voice of Chloe rang in Albus' ears. was she going to be his savior? "Jackson, there are better ways to do this! Stop it!"

The pain stopped but his body ached. He didn't get immediately up off the floor so Chloe walked to his side and extended a hand.

"Get up, Potter," she demanded.

Definitely not my savior, he thought once he saw the irritation in her face. She was going to do something else to him. He pushed her hand aside and sat in his seat.

"I'll ask the questions now. Drink this. It will subdue the pain," she added when he hesitated to drink from his goblet. Then again, he would much rather drink veritaserum than go through that again. At least he could say they tricked him and it wasn't his fault. He took a sip of his wine and realised the pain subsided a little so he took an even bigger gulp.

"Good," Chloe said, already back in her seat. "Now, tell me, Potter: What were the Ministry doing here?"

Her voice was soothing and he found that the more she talked that way, the more he felt drowsy. Most importantly though, he didn't feel compelled to tell her the truth so it wasn't veritaserum. However, he didn't want to go through that pain again so he decided to tell the truth anyway.

"You guys aren't being very careful apparently. There are rumors going around that you're trying to raise someone to power. Like a- like another Voldemort." Albus was growing tired and his words were slurring a bit. Perhaps he shouldn't have drank so much wine? "Whatever you're doing, the Ministry already knows about it and they'll make sure nothing of the sort happens."

Some of the other kids looked at Jackson with worried glances, but Chloe kept her gaze right on Albus.

"How will they do that when they don't believe anything is going on?"

"I'll tell them." Albus said and his head lulled a little.

"No you won't." Something in Chloe's words seemed so definite. She was right. He wouldn't tell his parents about this. After all, what sort of threat were they outside of this room? He could take on all of them legally elsewhere and they'd be so scared that they would have to change their minds. It was nothing to worry his family about. Now telling McGonagall about the room on the other hand...

"You need to make sure nothing else is passed along to the Ministry. Do you understand me?" Chloe asked in her silky tone that was so easy to listen to. "Instead, you need to tell us things about the Ministry. For example, when is the next time they are coming back?" she asked.

"Dunno," Albus replied honestly, eyes drooping shut. Am I drunk? He pushed the goblet away but Chloe pushed it back. "I suppose they won't be back as long as nothing suspicious happens here at Hogwarts." He took another swig of his wine.

"We need to lie low for a while," Chloe said, but she was instructing it to Jackson. "I knew your invasion over the summer would lead to this. This sets our plans back!"

Invasion? What invasion? The only invasion I heard about this summer was... Oh no! Now Albus knew why he didn't want to mess with Jackson.

"It will be alright, Chloe. We are right on track now that we've got Potter with us." Jackson said, but the words didn't sit right with Albus at all. He wanted to attack Jackson, but he knew that wouldn't work.

"Scorpios, mate, you can stop with Scamander now," he instructed and Scorpios un-petrified the poor kid. Lorcan unfroze but didn't move. He was sobbing though, uncontrollably. "Why don't you and Chloe lead Albus back to the common room. I'll take care of our little rule-breaker."

Chloe and Scorpios made their way to Albus but he was too drunk to fight them off of him.

"I trust we have you on our side now, Potter?" Jackson asked as Albus was shifted on to Scorpios' shoulder.

"Yes," Chloe answered for him. He couldn't argue with her. She was right. He would continue to come and see what they were up to so he could warn the others. The only problem would be not getting anyone hurt in the process.

Jackson didn't say anything else so everyone else dismissed themselves. Albus lulled about at the side of Scorpios on the way back to the dormitories while Chloe walked ahead of them. At that moment, Albus didn't know who to be scared of the most, Jackson or Chloe.

~~~

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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:28 am

OK, this is the lat chapter from two days ago that I updated. I'm almost done with chapter twelve, and then I should be taking a little rest after that. I hope you guys get the chance to catch up and enjoy what I have written for you! The plot has thickened, and I have many chapters ahead already planned. Please let me know what you think if you haven't by this point yet and tell me what's going on in your head. I know in these last couple of chapters I missed out on a few things, but my keyboard his been sticking lately and I didn't catch everything just yet. I plan to go back on them when I'm not so tired! Smile Anyway, here's the chapter. Chapter twelve should be up sometime tomorrow or late today.

~~~

Chapter Eleven

It was the middle of October and a month had officially passed since Molly and Owen were paired together to make Amortentia. It was a good thing too, because Molly didn't think all of the patience in the world could save her from strangling Owen if she had to work with him for one more day. In the beginning, he was annoying, in the middle he was actually proving to be alright, and then in the end he would not give up on the fact that her best friend Luke had a gigantic crush on her. She would tell him about how Avery had a huge crush on Luke, but she was sure that wouldn't matter as much to him as it did her. Fortunately for Owen, however, they passed their assignment and she wasn't as ticked off with him as she normally was.

"So I see you managed to last for a whole month without passing out or anything. You even helped a little with the assignment," Owen teased, looking down at the essay Professor Wilkes had given back to them with their 'O' marking at the top. Ignoring her partner, she turned to her two friends to see their score.

"How did you two do?" she asked Avery who didn't seem too happy.

"We got a T," she said gloomily. "Professor Wilkes said it most likely wouldn't even work on a pair of mice."

"I want to know how she tests them in the first place," Luke scoffed. He had his head on his arms as they folded across the table. He wasn't very good at potions and the failing grade was more than likely due to him messing something up, but Avery was willing to look at the better side of things for him.

"I don't think I put in enough tabor roots, so it isn't your fault, Luke." She said, a vivid blush spreading across her face as soon as she said his name.

"Perhaps you're right," Luke said and he perked up a little bit. Molly noticed as her little friend sank in her seat and remained quiet for the rest of the class period.

Class was dismissed and the four of them began packing their books and Molly was just about to vanish their potion when Professor Wilkes caught her and made an announcement to the rest of the class.

"Please leave your potions where they are! They are perfect examples for the younger students so they can see the different variations of the working, and the nonworking potions!" she said with a toothy grin, but she shot a disapproving glance toward Avery and Luke. No one questioned her, however, even though Molly really thought she should. No one under fifth year should be exposed to the potions. There was no need to even know what they were. Considering the potion was illegal, its entire existence in the class for the most part was useless.

They exited the classroom and for once Molly was unsure of what to do after class. Before the project, she would just leave with her two friends to do homework before dinner (before she was an emotionless robot that is), but over the last month she was so used to heading out to get ingredients and making the potion with Owen. She stopped and looked at her new annoying friend and contemplated on inviting him to join them. They were, after all, in the same House. The other two stopped as well and Luke elbowed her in the side.

"What are you doing, Molly? Lets go!" he said while gritting his teeth. Owen noticed this and smirked.

"How would you like to join me for a picnic by the lake, Molly?" Owen asked with more confidence than she would like.

"Oh come off it, you!" Luke scolded without shame this time. "You have had all month with her! Give us our friend back!" Avery remained quiet but Molly did feel slightly guilty for leaving her small companion behind.

"It is a congratulatory picnic for a passing grade. I'd invite you, but, as you know, you didn't pass." He was sarcastic in every way and yet Molly couldn't help but let a small laugh escape.

"OK, but just this one time, then it will just me and my two friends for the rest of our time at Hogwarts. Is that understood?" she poked back with a smile. Luke scoffed but Owen accepted it and offered to take her things.

"You don't think I've gotten strong enough over the month to hold my own things?" she asked, surprised by the fact she could tease about herself so openly. Only a week ago she would have hexed anyone who made a joke anything like the one she just made.

"It was a test," Owen smiled, taking his hand back. "I wouldn't have taken your stuff anyway. I say you get an Outstanding grade and we should go celebrate." She handed her stuff off to Luke, something that wasn't necessarily new to either of them, and then thanked him with a quick kiss on the cheek.

"We won't be gone long," she assured her two friends before turning around and joining Owen to the lake.

"Molly!" Luke called out as they started walking away but she heard Avery say something quietly that must have made him shut up because he didn't try to interfere again. Molly let out a nervous chuckle but Owen put a reassuring arm around her shoulders and gave her a small squeeze.

It was a nice day outside considering it was the middle of October and Fall was all around them. The leaves weren't necessarily gone yet, so the beautiful colours added to a nice scenery. It wasn't until they reached the lake and she saw the picnic was already set and ready for two did she think there was something more behind this than a passing grade in Potions class.

"Owen," she started and she pushed away from the grasp she didn't realise he still had on her, "what is this really about?"

"You caught me," he smiled. "I mean, don't get me wrong. I knew we would pass that project with flying colours with you and I working on it. But, this is because of what you've been able to surpass this last month. You're a completely different person, Molly Weasely, and I'm not just talking about from the person you were all last month, but from the person you were before."

"I suppose you think you have some credit in making that happen?" she asked, not at all as upset as she thought she would be. He was right, she was a completely different person. Now that she thought about it, she didn't even think Owen really annoyed her. She just wanted to be in his presence all the time, and when he wasn't there, she was missing him.

"Well, you know. Maybe a little," he joked, sitting her down on the blanket he laid out. There was a lot of food. Most of it she suspected he stole from the kitchens, but she recognised some of the treats and goodies as things from Hogsmeade. He started dishing out plates for the two of them and even had two goblets to pour some pumpkin juice into.

She had changed a lot in the last month. She didn't really think of Noah that much, not when she was with Owen at least. She laughed more than she ever had in her life, and she felt the relief of having to constantly watch over Luke and Avery all the time. She regretted thinking that, but the two of them were honestly like lost puppies when it came to having to be without her. However, she wasn't exactly sure how she felt about all of it. What was it that caused all of those changes? Was it simply her friendship with Owen, even though she had always thought of him as that annoying boy in her House? Or was it because she was actually starting to take a fancy toward this boy who made her forget about her relationship of the last three years?

Of course the feelings couldn't be that deep yet. It had only been a month, but yet she felt as close to Owen as she did to Noah in the last part of their relationship. Was something like that even possible? Especially so quickly after? She had only been away from Noah for two months at the most, and during one of those months she spent the whole time pining over her Potions partner.

"Here is a toast to you, Molly Weasley," Owen said, raising his goblet and waiting for her to do the same thing. She gave a wry smile and copied the movement before drinking the contents of her drink. She worried about her feelings toward him. Out of all the things he could have done for her, a celebratory picnic was how he praised her? It was all a bit too much. What if the whole intent of the early dinner was so he could ask her out in some sweet and adorable way? What would she say?

I would say no of course! she thought, but then she immediately took it back. Of course I wouldn't! I mean, look at him! He is really cute and was able to handle my moodiness all month. He deserves a medal for all he has been put through! As she went back and forth in her head on rather she would date Owen or not, he watched her with amusement in his eyes and he spoke up.

"What are you thinking about, Mols?"

Oh Godric! He called me Mols! He called me Mols!

"Nothing," she said too quickly and rather squeakily as well. The sound was enough to make him laugh in the middle of taking a drink of pumpkin juice and it dribbled down his chin. She fought the urge to clean it up for him.

"Really now? How about we try being honest now?"

"Does he know what I'm thinking?" she wondered aloud without even realising it until it was too late. "Oh no!" she said, putting a hand up to her mouth as if to stop anything else that might leak out.

"Well, I don't know what you're thinking, but I'd like to know now," he said with an all too amused look upon his face. She wanted to smack it right off of him. How dare he find enjoyment out of her embarrassment!

"Owen, I just want you to know right now before things get too far that-" but before she could finish her thought he interrupted her, knowing exactly where she was going with this.

"Molly, I'm proud of you. That's it. I'm glad that we have finally become friends now after all these years. Yes, you're one beautiful sixteen year old girl that I would have no objections to dating, but you're not over Noah yet, and honestly, it's just not what I'm looking for right now. I just want us to enjoy this time together and for you to have a nice time that doesn't involve doing work together."

"You planned that speech, didn't you?" she asked, more than a little embarrassed.

"No," he said honestly, "but I mean it honestly. I don't think even you know what you want just yet."

"And how would you know what I do and do not want, huh?" she asked defensively.

"I've been standing in the background for a while. Long enough to even be able to tell that Luke really likes you, too and me stepping in the way of that would just cause more problems in your life."

She couldn't recall any time of Owen standing in the background of her life. They never even really talked before this year. What was it he was going on about? She didn't really know, but she knew that his comment about Luke irritated her a little bit. She was tired of hearing about it.

"Luke does not like me you you think he does!" she growled. "Why are you so insistent on thinking he does?"

"Fine, if you don't believe me I give it one week before he cracks and tells you all about his undying feelings for you," he teased, crossing his legs and taking a bit of a roast sandwich.

"What makes you think that after all these years he'll just come out with his feelings the week you say he will?" she asked, somewhat amused by his efforts.

"Easy," said Owen, "before, there was a man in your life. Now that you're free, he figures he'll give you a little time before jumping on you. However, now that I'm in the picture, and you spending time with me right now alone is making him worried sick that I'm asking you out, he's about to crack. A full week is the maximum amount I give him, by the way."

"I guess we'll see," said Molly, still disbelieving what Owen had to say though she couldn't admit to not being the least bit curious now.

It wasn't until the very end of their early dinner did she realise it was typically dinner time now for everyone else. The time flew by after Molly stopped worrying about rather or not Owen was going to ask her out and they stopped talking about Luke. They finished their meal and packed things up before heading to the castle in the same fashion they left it in earlier. She was going to mention that Owen had her arm around her again, but she decided if she pretended it didn't make a difference in how happy it made her, he wouldn't realise he was doing it.

"Maybe we should stop by the Great Hall while everyone is finishing off dinner," she suggested.

"Hmm?" asked Owen dreamily as they separated inside the castle. "Why?"

"So I have a chance to be with my friends for a little bit before going to bed tonight. You can come join us if you'd like."

He silently agreed with her and they headed into the Great Hall together. When they spotted Avery and Luke they were able to convince some of their other House mates to scoot down so they could sit next to her friends.

"I thought you ate at a picnic?" Luke asked scathingly.

"I did," Molly answered with a particularly chirpy voice specifically to annoy her best friend. "I just wanted to stop by and hang out with you two since it has practically been a whole month."

"You weren't really with us the first month of term either," Luke mumbled under his breath.

"I'm glad you came!" Avery said quietly and a thin smile spread across her face. She pulled a strand of straight, floppy hair out from in front of her face and tucked it behind her ear. "Luke hasn't shut up about Owen since you two left."

Molly nudged Owen in the arm so he wouldn't say anything about it. Perhaps she really should look further into her friendship with Luke.

"Well, at least I came, right, Luke?" she asked, throwing a roll at his direction. He cheered up a bit and decided sulking wasn't going to be the best course of action around her. She noticed that the goblet before her filled with pumpkin juice for her and she decided to drink it while she was there if she wasn't going to eat.

The Great Hall was pretty full for it being relatively early for dinner and there was a lot of talking going on all around them. Molly found herself talking to Owen, despite having come to spend time with her friends, about how Professor Wilkes looked like a giant Autumn leaf today with her orange dress on when she hear Avery let out an abnormally loud gasp.

"Luke, what are you doing!" she cried, smacking his hand away from Molly's goblet and spilling the contents all over the table and some in her drink.

"I'm so sorry!" both Avery and Luke said at the same time, but all of the sudden Avery's face turned extremely red as she burst into tears and ran from the table. Owen's attention was now on Luke and Molly, as was the rest of the Ravenclaw students surrounding them.

"I smell fresh daisies, the fresh smell of rain, and a bit of honey. That's Amortentia!" Owen pointed out after sniffing the air for a few seconds. He had to hold in a laugh before pointing at Luke and shouting uncontrollably, "You tried to put Amortentia in Molly's drink while she wasn't looking! HA! Not even a day!" He emphasised 'day' because of the bet he had with Molly.

Molly was completely ashamed with what Luke had done and her face was red as well. However, she couldn't tell if she was embarrassed or all together enraged. Before she could say anything, however, like how stupid he was for trying to do something in front of the whole school that was completely illegal, Luke stood up and bowed his head.

"I'm so sorry, Molly! I'm sorry!" and then he too ran out of the Great Hall before anyone else could really register what was going on and before any teachers could make their way down to ask him what had happened.

It wouldn't have been as bad if Owen hadn't leaned over and whispered, "I told you so."

~~~

Ever since Addie let Noah off of getting that detention, the two had been hanging out more often. She had hoped that with her absence, James would notice and hang out with her more. She was completely and utterly wrong about that. All he managed to do in the last month was manage to meet and talk to Angel more. Now they were sitting in the Gryffindor common room talking about her mother's upcoming wedding.

"Do you think your mum would allow me to bring a date?" James asked her while she was painting her nails at the end of the couch. Will looked up hopefully at this question too and she briefly wondered who it was he was planning on inviting.

"I don't see why she would. She opened the two slots so, well, so you two could pretty much be my dates to the wedding." Addie said bluntly, afraid that he was thinking of bringing someone else. That someone else being fourth year Hufflepuff Angel Robins. "Why do you ask?"

"I was just wanting to ask to see if Angel wanted to be my date, seeing as how we've been talking lately and it would be a good stepping stone to the beginning of a relationship." James said without even noticing how curt Addie had been with the whole situation. She slipped up on one of her fingers and the blue polish got on the couch as well. She cursed under her breath and cleaned the mess up with her wand.

"What about you, Will? Do you want to take a date?" she asked a little more forcefully than she should have.

"I don't have anyone in mind, but I thought it would be nice to consider," he answered quickly. Now that she thought of it, she didn't even know who Will had a crush on either. What kind of friends were they if they didn't tell her the important details like that?

"Do you think you could at least ask your mum about it? Please, Addie?" James turned on her all of the sudden and before she knew it he was practically right on top of her, his face in front of hers and doing the puppy-dog pout. He even took his glasses off for extra measure. Her breath caught and she didn't even realise her nail polish vial was tipped over and spilling all over the carpet beneath them.

"I-I'll write her tonight and ask," she said lightly, feeling light-headed all of the sudden. He kissed her forehead before pouncing back to his original position. She cursed herself on the inside for agreeing to let him take Angel as a date to her mother's wedding. She knew her mother wouldn't mind, she just wanted to come up with an excuse so he wouldn't be able to.

"That reminds me," James said, reaching into his sack. "Mum sent me some of her brownies again. Care to join me?" he asked with a cocky grin like he knew the effect he had over her. It was like he didn't even care at all. She was about to say yes, because she was that weak on the inside toward him, but luckily for her Noah Clark was descending down the boys' dormitory.

"I've got to go!" Addie exclaimed and leapt up from her seat, making her way toward the older Australian. James was baffled by her sudden departure and turned to watch her make her way to Noah. Unfortunately, she didn't see as he smiled and turned toward Will to indicate he thought the two were an item.

"Hi, Noah!" she beamed.

"Oh! Hey, Ads," he replied, genuinely surprised to see her. He smiled and made a gesture for her to walk next to him. "Sorry, I'm just about to go for a run. You can come join me if you'd like."

"No thanks," she denied politely. As much as she wouldn't mind seeing him run from behind, running just wasn't something Addie liked to do very much. "I just had a quick question if you don't mind talking for a minute."

Noah smiled and stopped without making her wait for an answer. He seemed happier these days. She knew he was having a hard time getting over Molly, but with Addie and his hanging out recently, she felt that he didn't think about the past as much. "Shoot," he said, waiting patiently for her to begin.

"Right," she started. "So, as you know, my mum is getting remarried over the Christmas holidays. Well, I was wanting to know if you wanted to go as my, well, as my date?" She finished quickly. She never had to ask out a boy before and it was nerve-wracking. Now that she had done it however, she couldn't help but feel slightly more accomplished.

Why is it so hard to do that with James? she wondered.

"Oh, Addie," Noah said suddenly really surprised. Her high from moments ago started to shrivel away as she heard the let down in his voice. "I would love to, I really would, but I have to-"

"No!" Addie intervened. "That's OK, you don't need to explain. I understand," she was rambling now and she could feel a slight lump in her throat. Now neither James nor Noah wanted to go to her mother's wedding with her. Noah caught on to this and he reached out for her, but she shrugged him away and smiled.

"No, really, Noah. I'm OK." Addie cleared her throat, took a deep breath, blinked her eyes a couple of times, and then smiled once more in full composure to show him she really meant it. "See? Sorry, it was just a bit of a let down is all." She said honestly.

"What about James?" Noah suggested, obviously unaware about the whole situation behind the scenes of Addie Sanders.

"He has a date already," she answered somewhat honestly. It was true, considering he was going to ask out Angel Robins as soon as she told him he could. Noah's face fell and he extended his offer for a run once more, but she declined the offer and said her goodbye before returning to the two boys she called her friends.

"What was that all about?" James asked with a cheeky grin.

"Just saying hi," she lied. "By the way, you can take Angel with you. I reread mum's letter and noticed she already mentioned we could all bring dates."

"I didn't see you go upstairs," Will pointed out.

"The letter's in my pocket, you git," she snapped, but neither boy noticed. "Anyway, Will, you have to be my date if you want to go." She tried to recompose her normal, spunky self.

"Why do I have to be your date?" he whined.

"Because I said so! Don't argue or you're not going."

"Fine," he groaned and then sprawled across the couch as if no one else was going to sit there for the remainder of the night.

"Hey! Where do you think you're going?" Addie asked just as James started to get up and head for the portrait exit.

"To the Great Hall! I've got to ask Angel out on a date!" he replied before skipping out of the common room.

~~~


Jackson Winters may have deemed himself the leader of the Dark Angles, but Chloe knew exactly where the loyalties of most of the group were and she knew she had a reputation to withhold. She was the brains of the group, even if she was only eleven years old. In fact, if it weren't for her, they wouldn't have Albus as close to them as they did now. It was her idea to suggest to their Master that she use Amortentia to lure the Potter boy in. Professor Wilkes was having her students make large abundances of the potion, so she may as well make good use of her resources.

Ever since the first meeting Chloe had slowly been mixing the potions in the things he ate and drank. It was useful that most of the time he spent consuming it, the potion was in a wine so he was most likely confusing the effects with being drunk. Sure she was a bit young for the thirteen year old to fall in love with, but if it were anyone else they would screw up the entire plan. No one had the brains she did. She was starting out with a lot of the weaker potions. Just enough for Albus to want to, no, have to listen to what she said because he would do anything for her. He didn't know he would yet, but he would. The plan was really working, considering there had been no surprise visits from the Ministry and he hadn't told anyone outside of the Dark Angels about the group.

Of course, Chloe couldn't just abuse her powers of him listening to everything she said. The potions were just weak enough that he still had some free will, but not a lot. However, she was running out of the last batch she stole so it was now time for a new one. Professor Wilkes had a terrible habit of leaving the door unlocked when she was in her office. If Chloe was quiet enough, which she always was, the woman wouldn't hear her sneaking around and stealing a couple vials worth of Amortentia. It was dinner time now and getting the potion wouldn't be that hard with the professor out.

"I knew you would be in here!" Hayden Winters said loudly, coming in from the door behind Chloe. It made the raven haired girl jump and she nearly dropped the vial in the potion.

"What are you doing here?" Chloe asked in hushed tones. She was used to Professor Wilkes being in the other room after all.

"I just came to make sure you get a strong dosage this time is all," Hayden said merrily. Chloe looked at her quizzically and drew her vial back. She was about to fill it with an extremely weak dosage, one that would possibly give Potter a little more free will and make things seem a little less suspicious.

"Why would I do that?" Chloe asked, screwing the top back on the vial.

"The Master said so. He said it is high time we start getting Potter on our side. Either that, or we get to kill him!"

Hayden was far too excited about the whole ordeal than she should have been. Chloe knew that the demands were drastic, but there was no point in arguing with the other girl because she would just run to her brother and he would have Chloe writing in pain in the matter of seconds at their next meeting. She was a talented witch, but she couldn't control magic like the Cruciatus Curse just yet.

"Don't you think the changes will be more obvious?" Chloe pointed out.

"Who cares?" Hayden said. She was a prime example as to how smart Chloe truly was. "The bottom line is, you'll do it or else." She showed no signs of leaving either, so Chloe knew she would have to get one of the better potions.

She dipped the vial in one of the prettier potions that swirled with a pearly complexion. She smiled as she smelled new parchment, ink, and that new book smell. At the age of eleven, there really isn't much more to love than homework and books after all. She screwed the top on once more and then pocketed the tiny vial before leaving the classroom with Hayden following quickly behind. There was a meeting tonight, and Chloe knew that meant tonight was the night Albus Potter would lose all free will.

~~~


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Maelody
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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:10 pm

~~~

Chapter Twelve


Halloween would be on a Sunday this year, and that meant it would be the first Quidditch match of the season. James Potter would be playing against his little brother Albus. As for now, it was the day before the game and also the first Hogsmeade trip of the year.asking Angel to go to Addie's mother's wedding was such a success that James decided to ask her to come with him to Hogsmeade as well. Again the dark-skinned beauty agreed and they found themselves in The Three Broomsticks.

"Are you sure you want to come here, Angel?" James asked as he pulled a chair out for her. She smiled and nodded her head.

"Yeah, totally! I love this place. Madam Puddifoot's has always been a bit much for me." Angel's voice was melodic and smooth. She had full lips, braided black hair with a splash of random red braids, and an extremely friendly personality. James was definitely ecstatic when she said yes to an outing with him twice.

So far the date was going very well. Angel wasn't as girly as most girls and she had a sense of humor extremely similar to Addie's, making it all the easier to get along with her. The only thing about the date he wished he could change was how clingy Will was being. Since the three arrived at Hogsmeade Will accompanied them everywhere they went. James would have pushed him on Addie by now, but he honestly didn't know where she was. For the last week she had pretty much avoided him. He didn't know exactly why, but he supposed she just spent most of her time with Noah anyway.

"Can I get the three of us some butterbeers?" Will offered.

"That'd be great!" Angel responded and shortly after Will waddled toward the bar. She laughed and her attention was back on James. "I like your friend. He seems sweet."

"Sweet?" James scoffed but then cleared his throat when h noticed she was being completely serious. "I mean, yeah. Will is a great guy. He and Addie are my best mates in the whole world."

"That must be awesome," Angel said sweetly. "I have a couple of best friends, too, but we don't seem as close as you two."

James thought of the perks of having two awesome friends like Addie and Will and decided they were definitely living up to the reputation he gave them.

"I guess they're alright," he joked. "I'll keep them for now."

Angel laughed and Will came back with the drinks and demanded to know what he missed. Once James filled him in, Will rolled his eyes and looked around.

"Where is Addie anyway?" He wondered out loud.

"Believe me, I've been wondering the same thing all day," James sighed.

"I'd like to meet her. She sounds amazing." Angel was really buttering James up, and he liked it.

"Don't say that around her or she'll never let us hear the end of it," Will informed her.

"What?" asked Angel in true surprise. "Don't you tell your friend how awesome she is?"

"I told her once in second year," said James, "and she reminds me about it every year."

"Well that isn't so bad is it? Every year?" Angel seemed bewildered and didn't know if she should take the boys seriously or not.

"Well you see, Angel, now it is every year. In the beginning we had anniversaries. First off it started out with everyday of the first week. Then it turned weekly until it hit the first month. Then of course there was our six month and one year anniversary, which she threw two major parties for. Now she only reminds me once a year. If I'm lucky that is." He ended dramatically and Angel laughed. Suddenly he felt two small hands grasp his shoulders and a face right next to his.

"Hey, James, guess what?" Whispered an all too familiar voice.

"Don't say it!" he pleaded.

"I'm more awesome than you are!" Addie finished with a grin.

"NOOOO! No! Take that back! Take that back this instant!" James threw himself on his knees and pleaded before his spunky, short haired best friend. All eyes in The Three Broomsticks were now on the group and some were laughing while others were exasperated at such ridiculous behavior.

"Sorry," Addie said, scurrying past him and taking his seat, which she was shortly followed by Noah. "But what has been said cannot be undone. Happy three year anniversary by the way!" She smiled sweetly at him and then turned to Angel, which proceeded to make all traces of a smile disappear. James got up and sat next to Angel.

"So you must be..." Addie began, pretending to have a hard time remembering the other girl's name.

"Angel," his date said sweetly with a big smile. "Angel Robins."

"Ah, Miss Robins," Angel's smile disappeared, "I'm Addie. James' best friend."

"Hey!" Shot Will. James gave Addie a warning look but she didn't seem to notice.

"So you're the girl James is bringing to my mum's wedding?"

"Yeah, I'm the one." Angel replied uncomfortably.

"Did he tell you it is her fourth?"

"No, that didn't seem to come up I guess."

"Ah, I see. Well, nothing really exciting happens at fourth weddings. It's far past traditional if anything. Just ask Noah here."

"Addie, I think that's enough," Noah whispered to her but not quietly enough so James couldn't hear.

"Yeah, Addie, I think that's enough. Why don't you two get some butterbeers?"

"Are you two, like, on a date now?" Will asked Noah since Addie seemed to blow off his last remark. James glared at him for his inappropriate sense of timing. "If so, can I find a different date to your mum's wedding because I already had someone else in mind..." Suddenly it was now Addie's turn to shoot a death glare toward Will.

"Oh, so you asked Will to the wedding?" Noah asked, clearing his throat a little and looking down. "I didn't know you would need an answer so soon. I was looking into a change of plans for this break."

"Noah, I'm sorry! I didn't think you were coming with me so I just asked Will since he was there."

"Hey!"'

"Sorry, Will," she commented, noticing his complaint this time. "Listen, Noah, if you've changed your mind, I'd be happy to take you with me."

"I don't want to make Will feel left out, Addie," Noah sighed.

"That's OK! Leave me out! I don't want to go with her!" Will wailed.

"Do you want to go with me, Noah?" She invited, choosing to ignore Will once more.

"Please go with her, Noah!"

"Oh shut it, Will!" James whopped the other boy on the back of the head to silence him.

"Of course is like to go with you," Noah replied hesitantly, but that was good enough for James.

"Well that settles it then!" praised James. "Angel is coming with me. You're going with Noah, and Will will find someone last minute who is related to him. Now could you guys please get out of here? I'm on a date!"

Addie huffed and stormed off without another word. James was positive whatever silent treatment she was giving him before resumed. Noah looked at him apologetically and followed her pursuit.

"You too, Will!" James snapped once his other friend showed no signs of leaving.

"OK! OK! I'm gone!" And Will wandered off elsewhere.

"I'm so sorry, Angel," James apologised when the two were left alone at last.

"Don't be," she said, practically forcing the smile back on her face. "Your friends are... Interesting."

James let a hysterical sigh of relief and allowed himself to collapse into his arms on the table.

~~~

No amount of lotions and bathing creams could satisfy Rose. She was, after all, a red head and magic could only help her fair skin so much. Plus, she loved the scents the small shop provided and she wanted to buy all of them. Instead she settled for a complete set of peach smelling aromas and left the shop two sickles lighter.

She was enjoying roaming around Hogsmeade on her own for once and found an extra spring in her step now that she had been everywhere she wanted to go in a much more time efficient way. In all honesty she did start the trip with Ava and Abigail, but she managed to escape once the two were preoccupied. it was nothing against her friends, Rose just preferred to be alone when it came to Hogsmeade. She could get things that she needed to be done faster and still have plenty of time for herself.

All of the shopping was done, an it was a Saturday well spent. Most importantly, she hadn't run into Scorpios during the whole trip. She had to admit, she sort of hoped she would, but she found the more she didn't care about worrying for him, the better she felt. then again, there is always a time for thinking too soon. When she made her way down the path leading back to Hogwarts, the aforementioned blonde was walking in the opposite direction toward Hogsmeade. She bowed her head in hopes that he didn't see her. The terrible coverup worked, however, because Scorpios didn't recognize her and he continued to walk by. However, looking down at the ground, Rose did not see the look of conflict on his face as Scorpios passed by.

Deeming it safe to look up, Rose did just so. Her pace quickened and she could feel tears sting her eyes. Neither of them had talked with each other since she found out he had a Muggle girlfriend at home. That, and she was absolutely positive someone turned him against her.

But who in school would hate me so much to do so? she wondered. Why would Scorpios have a Mugg- "Ah!" she screamed as someone grabbed her shoulders from behind and turned her to face the unknown culprit.

It was Scorpios. Apparently he decided to turn around and talk to Rose after all. She didn't know what to say and she was incredibly shocked. So, instead of confronting him, she looked down and the tears continued to flow down her flushed cheeks.

"You're crying," he stated and she heard guilt in his voice. "Why are you crying?"

Rose ignored his question and decided to look up at him, smiling weakly. "What do you want, Scorpios?" she sniffed. The boy was surprised, but he didn't want to upset her further so he let it slide.

"Can we go talk somewhere? he asked impatiently, looking around to see if anyone overheard him. Rose looked behind him and then back to his face with a raised eyebrow. Normally she would inconvenience herself for the son of Draco any time he asked, but that could not happen anymore. It was up to her to stand her ground and demand better for herself. She is after all a Weasley.

"I'm heading back to Hogwarts," was her reply. It was weak, but it worked. Scorpios sighed and looked torn between two options. He must really need to get some shopping done, she thought sarcastically to herself.

"Rose, I know you're upset, but I have something to tell you and it's important."

"Then tell me!" she demanded, pushing his hands off of her shoulders and she took a step back. He didn't want to be seen with her and she could tell. "No one is around so tell me!" she said again once the blonde looked around once more. He gave her a stern look but she didn't falter. Sighing, Scorpios gave up on whatever internal battle he was having with himself and looked down into her eyes.

"Rose," he stared, and she melted on the inside at the sound of her name leaving his lips. She remembered feeling the same way at the Quidditch pitch, but this time she wouldn't show him how weak she was. "I'm in a spot of trouble."

Se knew it. She knew it from the start that he was involved with the people her parents warned her about. Of course she had hoped he would have something different to tell say. Anything at all would have been better, but she knew deep down he was involved in whatever group it was that already had the Ministry of Magic worried. I was the reason she had been avoiding him ever since he told her the lie about having a Muggle girlfriend. Even now Rose would prefer the infatuation of her life tell her he was seeing someone rather than he be in this much trouble.

"I know," she said, her emotions catching up with her voice. Those two words were all it took for a huge look of relief to spread across Scorpios' face. Rose couldn't help but fill up with anger when he seemed so at ease with the situation. The smile currently plastered on his face quickly disappeared though when they heard voices coming from behind.

"I'm going to kill them for what they've done to you!" one of the voices said. When the figures grew closer Rose recognisd them as Lorcan and Lysander Scamander. It must have been Lysander who spoke because Lorcan was black and blue from head to toe. His grey eyes had nasty purple bruises around them and the damage was similar to when she saw him a few weeks ago. Then he told everyone he had an unfortunate incident with he Whomping Willow, but she should have known better. When the fourth year twins came closer they stopped talking and stared at the pair on the side of the path watching as they strolled along. Lorcan was eyeing Scorpios dangerously and Lysander focussed his attention on her. Neither of them seemed remotely happy to see them, but they continued to walk by without words.

"Shoot," Scorpios said quietly, snapping Rose's attention back to him.

"Did you do that t him?" she asked without question. The look Lorcan had given him was one of pure hatred. Scorpios must have done something to him. Guilt crossed across the blonde's face and she felt sick.

"Rose I-"

"Don't talk to me!'' she spat, rage filling her mind as her cheeks flush. "You disgust me!" With that, she drew out her wand and screamed a definite, "Flipendo!" and did not bother to watch as the boy flew back a few meters before running at a full sprint toward the castle and wiping tears away with her sleeves. Scorpios Malfoy was her friend no more. She had to believe that, or else it would be one hundred times more difficult to explain he was a part of what was going on.

~~~

Once James was able to get rid of his friends, the rest of the date with Angel went very smoothly. They went for ice cream after their butterbeers, bought some sweaters for the changing weather at a shop James had never heard of before, and Angel even bought some Gryffindor paraphernalia to support him in today's game.

Now that it was Halloween and just a mere couple of hours before his first Quidditch game of the season, James was in a complete sports mode. At breakfast he hardly heard Addie apologise for her behavior when he was on his date and she promised to make it up to him by throwing him a celebratory party in the common room when they won.

Will was going on about how he asked some girl to Addie's mum's wedding but she said no. Addie snorted and then elbowed James in the side.

"Ow! What was that for!" James asked, snapping out of the fantasy he was having of holding the Quidditch cup. Even though he would be playing against his younger brother today, there would be no mercy.

"You were off daydreaming again! You need to keep your mind focused and think of the game!" Addie scolded. He just smirked and decided not to bother correcting her.

"So are you two going to the match today?" he asked, already expecting both friends to say yes. They did and he decided to load his plate with the festive foods. It would be a good day to be a Gryffindor indeed. Once his team won they would come back to a Halloween feast and Addie's party in the common room would top everything off.

"Good luck today, James!" Lily squeaked with Hugo in tow. "We'll see you there!" She ran off to the Slytherin table to wish their brother the same courtesy before he had the chance to reply thankfully. Once he finished his breakfast (which took considerably longer with students coming to wish him luck every ten seconds) he decided it was time to meet the rest of the team in the tents before the game. Addie and Will accompanied him on the walk down as they constantly talked about how good their team was. Addie was going on a thousand miles a minute and barely let either boy speak.

"Do you think Styles will be able to get enough shots before Johnson catches the Snitch? I mean, lets face it, you're an awesome chaser, but Al is a legendary Seeker. You'll really have to rack up those points before he even catches a glimpse of that Snitch or you may as well have lost. How do your parents support you guys with you being on different teams? They were Quidditch players back in their day, right? Do you think your sister will be on the team next year? It would be disappointing if she wasn't. Ooh! I hope you get to be Quidditch captain next year! Think of how awesome it would be to be Prefect and Gryffindor Quidditch Captain!" It was like the girl didn't need air to breathe and she was making up for her silence over the past week. "If we win or lose, I'm still throwing that party so you better come!" She added, silence following her at last. James looked at her carefully and decided it was his turn to speak.

"I promise to come to that party as if my life depended on it. Now, have more faith in our team, Addie. We took the cup last year!"

"Johnson wasn't your Seeker last year," Addie snorted. "Oh alright. Go Gryffindor!" she added when James gave her his pathetic puppy dog eyes.

"Good luck, mate," Will said before heading up the Gryffindor tower. "I'll save you a seat," he called back to Addie when he realised she didn't follow right away. Instead, James was taken by surprise when she threw her arms around his neck, kissed his cheek, and held on for a moment longer.

"Fly safe," she whispered in his ear before letting him go and running off after Will. "Gryffindor for the win!" He heard her say before he disappeared into the tent the rest of his team was in.

"Look who finally decided to join us," Sarah Styles said sourly when James walked in. She was a sweet girl, but the pressure she received from her mother when it came to Quidditch made her extra competitive on game days. Brent Johnson, who had no relation to Angelina Johnson, was standing next to her and sent James an apologetic look for his girlfriend's behavior. The three of them were the team's Chasers last year, but Brent was bumped to Seeker this year when a second year girl named Amanda Quick took his spot.

Shaylie Roberts was the Keeper and Gryffidnor Quidditch captain. She was a seventh year and James found it really hard to like her because she remained competitive at all times. She would make games out of everyday, normal activities just so she could win. Outside of the pitch Addie and him called her Crazy Shaylie, but inside the pitch he did no such thing. She was still crazy, but even more-so about Quidditch. He couldn't blame her though. Ever since she became the captain the year before, she worked them harder than ever and lead them to their first cup win in eight years.

Currently Crazy Shaylie was yelling at the team Beaters because they missed a practice two weeks ago and she still hadn't forgiven them for it.

"If you two miss a target once because you're so rusty that my one hundred year old grandmother could move faster than you, you'll be running laps around the grounds while I aim bludgers at you! And I can promise you I won't miss!"

Seth and Bridge Everbloom, and brother and sister who were two years apart, cringed before the captain and promised to play their best.

"so help you all if we lose!" Shaylie cried. "If we do, I'm finding a new team from scratch!"

Considering the rant was nothing new or out of the ordinary, James changed into his Quidditch uniform and grabbed his LightningStriker100 from the racks. Everyone else was ready and Shaylie was waiting for him to join the circle the team had formed.

"So everyone knows the play?" she asked a few minutes later.

"So do I pretend to go after the Snitch before or after our seventh goal?" Brent asked nervously.

"After," James replied calmly, seeing the deranged look in Shaylie's eyes.

"Thanks, mate" the Seeker mouthed and James nodded. Nothing could dampen his spirits today.

The seven team members lined up with their brooms and waited to hear Rosalie Emerson, a naturally loud Ravenclaw girl, over the rest of the crowd.

"AAAAAAAALRIGHT LADIES AND GENTS!" Rosalie started and the crowd cheered wildly.

"It's time," commanded Shayle as she mounted her broom and the rest followed.

"A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ONE AND ALL! I SEE MANY PEOPLE DECIDED TO DRESS UP AS THEIR FAVORITE GRYFFINDOR OR SLYTHERIN! WELL THEN, LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THIS YEAR'S GRYFFINDOR TEAM!"

Shaylie kicked off the ground and zoomed into the air. The other six followed pursuit and the crowd went wild. James looked around and spotted all of his friends in one cluster on the Gryffindor tower cheering him on. He waved and continued to fly around the pitch with the rest of the team as Rosalie introduced them.

"KEEPER ROBERTS! SEEKER JOHNSON, FOLLOWED BY GIRLFRIEND CHASER STYLES! CHASER QUICK AND CHASER POTTER! BEATERS EVERBLOOM AND EVERBLOOM HAVE TAKEN THE FIELD. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LAST YEAR'S QUIDDITCH CHAMPIONS AND THIS YEAR'S TEAM!" Rosalie boomed. She had a certain appeal to her voice that made everything she said sound like an extremely good thing. James had heard she was a Muggle-born witch whose father sold suitcases for a living. He was very successful and taught Rosalie how to speak in an agreeable way to get everyone to like her.

"NOW FOR THE SLYTHERIN TEAM!" she said, and the same thing happened once moer. The Slytherin team flew out, lead by Scorpios Malfoy, and the crowd went wild once more. The crowd was easily split half Gryffindor supporters and half Slytherin supporters.

"KEEPER MALFOY! SEEKER KLYSER! CHASERS GRANT, BRUSH, AND PRICE. FOLLOWED BY BEATERS JACOBS AND REED! LETS HEAR IT FOR THIS YEAR'S SLYTHERIN TEAM!" Again the crowd cheered uproariously, but James didn't really hear them. He was too focused on looking for his brother. Albus was on the team, that much James knew. He was on it last year and this year. So why was Carl Reed taking his place? Was he sick?

"BOTH CAPTAINS MALFOY AND ROBERTS HAVE SHAKEN HANDS AND ARE NOW ON THEIR WAY TO TAKE POST. HOOCH TOSSES THE QUAFFLE AAAAAAAAND GRYFFINDOR IS IN FAVOR! QUICK HAS THE QUAFFLE AND SHE- OH! REED AIMED A BLUDGER RIGHT AT HER AND SHE DODGED! WAY TO GO LITTLE CHASER! QUICK TOSSES THE QUAFFLE TO STYLES WHO QUICKLY PASSES IT TO POTTER- OH! AND POTTER MISSES DUE TO NOT PAYING ATTENTION! GRANT NOW HAS THE QUAFFLE! KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME, POTTER!"

"Potter!" Shaylie yelled across from the hoops. "Start playing in this game or I'll personally take one of Everbloom's bats and knock your head off with it! GET IN THERE!"

James, who was still looking for his brother, snapped out of it and flew off to where the play was going on. The Slytherins were passing the ball repeatedly back and forth as if trying to confuse Amanda and Sarah. He, on the other hand, noticed their pattern and jumped in the middle of one of their passes.

"THAT-A-BOY, POTTER! WAY TO GET IN THE GAME! JAMES POTTER NOW HAS THE QUAFFLE AND HE IS SPEEDING TOWARD MALFOY! HE SHOOTS AND- SCORE FOR GRYFFINDOR! TEN, ZERO!"

James smirked as the ball passed right by Scorpios' head. All he had to think about was the day he found Rose crying in the library and he was able to make the goal. Of course, he was aiming for his head...

"SLYTHERIN BRUSH SCORES! TEN, TEN! OH NO! QUICK GRABBED THE QUAFFLE BUT IT LOOKS LIKE REED HAS TRID FOR A SECOND CHANCE BECAUSE- OOH THAT'S GOTTA HURT! POOR THING. SHE'S SO SMALL! SLYTHERIN HAS THE BALL AGAIN. PRICE SHOOTS- SCORE! TEN, TWENTY! WHERE ARE THE GRYFFINDOR BEATERS WHEN YOU NEED THEM?"

James flew to the bottom half of the pitch, knowing that's where everyone was headed, and waited for Amanda, who was seemingly OK after the Bludger attack, to pass the Quaffle. Once she did he flew straight up for Malfoy and tried for the same thing as before. This time when he threw it, Scorpios deflected it with his broom, sending the ball right back into James' hands. He threw it again before the Keeper realised.

"GRYFFINDOR SCORES! TWENTY, TWENTY! WHAT A GAME! WAIT! WHAT'S THAT? IT SEEMS AS THOUGH KLYSER HAS SPOTTED THE SNITCH! WATCH HIM GO!"

What? James thought. Shaylie would have all of their heads if the other team caught the Snitch so soon. Brent went zooming after Dylan and James flew straight for Seth.

"Aim for Dylan!" James shouted to the other boy.

Seth nodded and said, "Duck!" James managed to do so just in time for the Bludger behind him to miss his head.

"OH, POTTER BARELY MISSED THAT ONE!"

Seth hit it and sent the Bludger straight for Dylan. He missed the Seeker, but he got the tail end of his broom and it was enough to make Dylan lose track of the Snitch and both Seekers flew back to the top to observe.

The rest of the game followed in a similar fashion. Shalie was blocking like a pro, allowing a fifty point lead, and Brent succeeded in pretending to see the Snitch and getting Dylan to follow. Unfortunately, Shaylie was so proud of his success that she missed a block. The score was now seventy, thirty. Then something bizarre happened. The Snitch fluttered around James' head and with pure instinct, and without meaning to, he reached out and caught it. No one noticed. The game was at full go above him and everyone thought Brent was after the Snitch already.

At first James didn't know what to do. He had the Snitch now, but both Seekers were zooming around looking for it. Perhaps if he could get Brent's attention he could release the Snitch right in front of him and they'd win for sure. As long as the Seeker ended up catching it in the long run, James didn't see a problem with his plan.

"PRICE SCORES! SEVENTY, FORTY!"

He had to do it now before anyone realised there wasn't a Snitch to chase and the Slytherins continued to get more poitns.

James waited just long enough for Brent to fly back up in his direction.

"Brent!" he yelled. The older boy turned to fly straight towards him. James released the Snitch and, bewildered, Brent reached for it and caught it.

"THAT'S IT! GRYFFINDOR HAS DONE IT! JOHNSON CAUGHT THE SNITCH! GRYFFINDOR WIIIIIIIIINS! TWO-HUNDRED AND TWENTY TO FORTY! YEAH!"

As half the crowd cheered and half the crowd booed, both teams flew towards the pitch's ground. James and his team cheered while the Slytherin team waited impatiently so they could shake hands and get off the field.

"We did it! Great gob team!" Shaylie cheered, pulling everyone she could into a bone crushing hug.

When they went to shake the Slytherin team's hands to show good sportsmanship, James shook Scorpios' hand longer than necessary and said, "You deserved it after what you did to Rose." The other boy didn't answer but he pulled his hand away with a quick jerk.

Once in the tents and changed, the tam promised to meet at the party Addie was throwing after the feast. However, when James stepped out of the tent, he wasn't expecting five people to be waiting on him.

Addie, who had a sour look on her face, Will, Lily, Hugo, and Angel were all waiting for him. Once Addie caught sight of him she ran for him and threw herself on him. The others followed, except for Angel, who stayed back and patiently waited her turn.

"Oh congratulations, James!"

"You were amazing!"

"Did you catch that Snitch?"

"You barely missed Malfoy's head!"

They all praised him, barely giving him room to speak.

"Thanks! I know! Maybe. I won't deny it if you saw it. I know right! I was so close!" He answered all of them. He heard Angel's laugh behind the group and motioned for her to come over. He missed the face Addie made. "And what are you here for, My Lady," he asked with a goofy grin.

She returned the gesture and said, "I was only wondering if the greatest Quidditch player Hogwarts has ever seen would care to escort me to dinner." Before he had a chance to answer, Addie turned on him and glared.

"I'm throwing a party!" she cried. "You promised you would come!"

"I will," James reassured her, eyes still on the girl who currently had his heart thumping at a thousand beats per minute. "I'll meet you guys there after the feast," he finished, now at Angel's side.

"Alright, mate. See you later!" Will said, dragging Addie with him and preventing her from saying whatever it was she was about to say. She glared at the other boy as she walked off but decided it wasn't worth the arguing. James was good on his word and would make it to the party. At least that's what he thought before he spent several hours with Angel and forgot completely about Addie's party. Maybe if Angel hadn't said yes when he asked her to be his girlfriend he would not have been too smitten to forget. But that was what happened and he never showed up until the party was well past over and Addie was in her bed crying. He never once thought about how disappointed she or Will or any of his team members were because their seventh member didn't show up to show his appreciation. He forgot, and that's all there was to it.

~~~
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Maelody
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Join date : 2013-03-29
Age : 24
Location : My World of Denial

PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:29 pm

Before I kick this chapter off: My godson was born on the third!! Very Happy A whopping 7 lbs 2 oz. 20.5" boy! He's the cutest thing I've ever seen! That's all I wanted to say really, so have fun with the chapter! Smile

~~~

Chapter Thirteen

To truly understand Addie Sanders one must know that she and sleep are best friends. Even more so, at times, than James was. If she so much as stifled a yawn, she was ready to either take a nap, or go to bed. Even if she was in the middle of class, if she was tired, she went to sleep. Her grades suffered from it a little, but she was able to manage. If she was asleep, everyone was advised that it was best to just leave her alone, no matter how late she was running for class. If someone tried to wake her up she would have her want out in a second, and more than likely use an Unforgivable Curse or two without second thought. The point being? Addie valued sleep too much to stay up all night worrying about her problems. If she failed a test, got in a fight, or even thought of James once she realised she had more than friends feelings for him, she would not stay up all night thinking of those things because she thought about them all day. Why waste precious time to sleep?

Last night, however, Addie did stay up all night. She didn’t get a lick of sleep, and it was because of James. He promised her that he would go to the party she threw for him. Of course, it was for the rest of the Gryffindor team as well, but James was her main concern. She spent all week working on it, too. There were very realistic spiders and webs hanging around the room, various cauldrons full of potions that the guests could try if they dared, a few skeletons she found in old abandoned classrooms, and a few of the guests even dressed up. Needless to say, the party was a success. Everyone told her so right before they headed to bed. Will tried asking a girl named Abigail Rodgers to the wedding, but she turned him down, and she had seen Noah smile more than she had during the whole year.

The problem was the fact James never showed up. Not even once. Instead, he chose to spend three or more hours (the duration of the party until everyone grew tired and went to bed, which even then Addie stayed up until the House Elves came and cleared away her decorations) with a girl Addie didn’t even like! Not that she knew her well enough to dislike her, and she could admit to her feelings being pure jealousy, but James was supposed to be Addie’s friend. He completely abandoned any and every thought of coming to take in her hard work.

So, last night was the first night Addie stayed up the entire night. She still hadn't slept and her eyes were swollen from all of the crying she had done right up to the point until she used a charm to reduce the swelling. She was trying to get ready for classes, even though she was past the point of pure exhaustion now. Still, she had never skipped a whole day of classes before and she didn't want anyone to wonder.

Addie reached into her trunk and grabbed her school clothes, books, and other supplies she would need for the day when she noticed a letter her mum wrote to her a couple days ago was still unopened. Classes aside, she took the letter and sat on her bed to read it.

Dearest Addie,

Harold says hi.


Addie rolled her eyes.

I know you two don't really know each other very well, but he really is a great man, sweetheart. I wouldn't be marrying him if I didn't love him. I know you think I marry too easily, especially since I remarried shortly after your father died, but you knew your father. He was such a free spirit. He wouldn't want me to be unhappy just because he is gone. He even told me himself. I also want you to know I miss him more and more every day, and never once have I stopped thinking about your father or you.

Harold is a wonderful man, and even though he is the third man I'm going to marry since your father's death doesn't mean I love him any less. The others didn't work out because they couldn't understand that I could love them and your father, too. Harold understands that, and he would really like to get to know you better as well. I just hope you can give him the chance and that you could possibly talk to him at the wedding. I just want to be happy, Addie. I want for the both of us to be happy. That's all a mother could ever wish for.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Love,
Mum

P.S How is everything at school? Are you getting good marks?


Addie scoffed and threw the letter to the side.

Seriously, she thought, how many idiots think I fall for this load of bull? The handwriting looked nothing like her mothers, and even though she didn't know what Harold's writing looked like, she was pretty sure he wrote the letter. She had to hand it to him, though. He tried harder than the other two.

"The others didn't work out because they couldn't understand that I could love them and your father, too." She read aloud mockingly. "Garbage!" Both her and her mother knew the marriages didn't work out because her mum kept their secret about being witches with her second husband, which she obviously did tell Harold. Her third marriage, however, she must not have told him about or else he would never have said that. Her mum's third marriage was with a man who creeped Addie out to this day. Whenever she would come home for holidays he would try to get her alone and take her out for outings between the two of them. She still wasn't sure if her mum broke that marriage off because it was the right thing or if it was because she was just jealous.

It wasn't that Addie didn't love her mother, she just couldn't tolerate her anymore. There relationship definitely started failing once her father died, but it wasn't like she wasn't like this since day one. In fact, Addie admired her father for staying with them for as long as he did. When she was very little Addie remembered her mother being pregnant. Of course, at her age she thought her mother was just very fat. It took years for her to figure out the truth. She never saw another baby, and her parents never told her. She remembered hearing something her father yelled at her mother about once, though. He was angry because she had talked to another man. Again, many years later, Addie figured out what that meant as well. Of course, neither parent ever knew she did.

Reading the letter infuriated her more so she decided today would be the first day she would skip all classes. She wouldn't even bother telling James about it either just to give him a taste of his own medicine. Before going straight to sleep, however, she decided she would reply to her "mother". She pulled out two pieces of parchment, an ink canister, a quill, and then flopped down belly first on her bed.

Each parchment was designated to a letter. One was to her "mother", and the other was for her dad. Even though he was gone, she still found it easier to relate to him on certain issues. She could tell him how school was and ask about boy advice and other things mothers and daughters did, but he was there for her to talk to. She had a whole pile of letters at the bottom of her trunk full of these sorts of letters from the last five years. No one knew about them, and she found it helped her more than a diary ever could.

Mum,

School is great. My marks are OK. James and Will are coming to the wedding. James has a date but I'm not sure Will will have one in time. I'm bringing my friend Noah.

Hi, Harold.

Addie


When she finished the letter she sealed it and tossed it to the side, ready to start the next one.

Dad,

How does mum do it? How does she fall in love so easily when it hurts so much to get over it in the end? I've told you about James Potter before haven't I? Mum never listens to me when I talk about him, but I know you know. I've written about him and Will many times. They're my best mates. Only, I'm starting to realise I have more than just friendly feelings toward James. It wasn't a problem last year. Last year he was just another boy who made me laugh and I went on adventures on with. Something about this year changed him though. It's not the sudden act of maturity with being a Prefect, I know that's not it. I could care less about how mature he is. I think it has just finally hit me how much I've always liked him because we are so alike. Of course, his mum and dad are still together and they love each other very much.

Mum is getting married again. This makes husband number four altogether. Harold. That's his name. He seems nice enough in his letters and he wasn't that bad over Summer, but I'm tired of all of these new men in my life. Of course, mum doesn't really care about what I think of the whole ordeal. She only cares about what makes her happy. When I told her how I felt about her getting married and dating all of these different men and how I didn't like it, she called me selfish. Me? Selfish?

Don't get me wrong, I love her, but only because society tells me to. She has her quirks and we've had some good memories, but I wish she would love me like she loves all of the men in her life. With you I never felt second best. You loved me and I knew it. Sometimes I wish you and mum would have just gotten in a divorce so I could come live with you instead. You never would have gotten in that car accident, you guys never would have had to lied to me and pretend everything was going great in your relationship, and mum wouldn't have to pretend she loves me anymore. Who knows, maybe mum already met her Mister Right since you died and he left her because he doesn't like kids. I bet that really put a burden on her. Oh well.

Well, I'm skipping classes today and the only way I can feel less guilty about doing so is by sleeping, so I'm going to go now. I'll write to you soon though! I promise.

Love,
Addie-Bear

P.S I love you.


She sealed this letter as well and then picked the other letter up. Deciding to send her letter to her mum now before falling asleep, she pitched a letter into her trunk and then headed straight for the owlery.

Never again am I fighting sleep, she thought while grumpily stomping down the stairs of the grand staircase. Now that she wrote a letter to her father, something she should have done in the beginning, she felt more at ease with sleep and wanted to more than ever. Only, she was a day late on replying to Harold and she would really rather not have him try to impersonate her mother again.

When she got to the owlery, she wasn't expecting to see a tall, hulking Australian talking to his owl. Noah was stroking the feathers of an all black owl with large, yellow eyes. Not wanting to attract attention to herself, Addie decided to move quietly along. The sooner she was out of there, the sooner she could sleep. An owl above her didn't have the same idea as her however. The said creature swooped down, barely missing her head as she ducked and screamed out of pure surprise, before heading out the window right next to Noah. He looked around for the one who screamed and saw Addie standing hunched over and with her arms above her head. He smiled and then sent his owl on its way before coming to see her.

"Shouldn't you be in classes?" he asked, reaching out to pluck the feathers fallen from the blasted owl who blew her cover out of her robes.

"I could ask you the same thing," she said, giving up on her plans.

"I have a free period," he replied with a quizzical raised eyebrow. "But that was a lovely way to avoid my question."

Addie sighed, feeling it was useless to lie to him since he most likely didn't care. "I'm skipping for the day, but don't tell James. I just wanted to send this letter off since I missed morning post and then go back to sleep," she said honestly.

Noah nodded in understanding and began walking with her once she started walking up the stairs until she found her own owl.

"Everyone is entitled to a skip day or two. As long as you know you'll get at least one or two detentions and you don't make a habit out of it." Noah was being more understanding about it than she thought he would be.

"Of course," she lied. It wasn't a habit, but she never thought about the detentions. Oh well, she thought, it's still not worth staying awake for.

Addie found her owl, a grey and black one which she called Pepper, and stroked him gently between his ears.

"Here you go, boy. Deliver this to mum for me, and make sure you don't leave her alone until she gives you a nice dead mouse as a treat." She attached the letter to his foot and then he was off. She smiled at the thought of her mother receiving the letter and then not being able to get rid of the owl. Addie made him accept different varieties of payment from her mother so the woman couldn't get away from him as easily.

"Nice owl," Noah commented when she hadn't said anything else. In all honesty, she already forgot he was there. Man I'm tired.

"Thanks," she answered. "His name is Pepper. He was my dad's, but I was allowed to name him. What's yours named?" she asked, half expecting the name Midnight.

"Toothless." Noah smiled and then chuckled at her confused look. "I got it off of some old film I watched with my sister over the summer. It's quite charming actually..."

"I'll take your word for it," Addie yawned. They were already leaving the owlery and he was still walking next to her. She decided she would allow the company until he ventured off on his own path. Or until she reached the girl's dormitory. Whichever came first.

"So you wrote to your mum, too?"

Addie looked lost for a moment and then remembered he sent a letter off as well. She nodded her head and continued to walk silently.

"Yeah, my mum always worries about me. We don't talk much at home anymore, she feels guilty about her most recent marriage, I know she does. I still write to her though. It seems less awkward when we talk with ink and parchment. What about you? How does your mum feel about this wedding?"

Addie shrugged, honestly not knowing how her mother felt. She knew what Harold thought her mother felt, but she really preferred not to get into that.

"I don't know," she said with an obvious "I don't care either" attitude. Noah looked at her curiously but she ignored it. "I was just updating her on who was coming to the wedding. I told her you were coming, too." She added quickly when she noticed he was about to ask anyway. He smirked and opened the door for her.

Addie smiled at the gesture and walked ahead of him. The halls were still empty, and she only ran into a few people on the grand staircase, but no one she knew well enough to worry about them figuring out if she was supposed to be in class or not. Noah, on the other hand, knew most of them and waved at a few of the passerby. They waved, nodded, or said "Hello" quickly before continuing on their merry way.

Noah looked at her with an amused expression and put an arm around her shoulders, giving her a small squeeze.

"Ease up, Ads. No one is going to tell on you. Besides, I'm sure your professors will figure out you're missing on their own." She rolled her eyes and groaned. "Why are you skipping anyway? Besides looking a little peckish, you seem alright to me."

"I didn't sleep a wink last night," she admitted. She was surprised she didn't look worse than "a little peckish", but she would take that over hideously deprived of sleep any day. "James never even showed to that party last night, and unless he came in after hours, I still don't really know where he is." She answered before he was able to ask. She decided to skip out on the whole crying and jealousy thing seeing as how Noah was going to be her date to her mother's wedding.

"Hmmm," he responded curiously. "I hope he's alright then. That other friend of yours that you two always hang out with, Will," he said as if she didn't know her other best friend's name, "wasn't with him this morning either. I didn't ask about it, but I figured he was headed to a class the three of you didn't share."

"That git!" Addie yelled, making Noah jump slightly.

"Will...?" he trailed, waiting for her to specify.

"No, not Will!" she snapped. "James! He didn't honestly stay all night with that trollop did he? Angel Robins." She spat quickly before Noah could ask who she was talking about again. "He was with her all night, and now all day, too? Uhg!"

"Angel Robins?" he asked, all too amused at this situation for Addie's liking. "Isn't she a Hufflepuff?"

"Yeah. So?" she huffed.

"How could he have spent all night with her if neither of them can even enter the other's common room?"

"I don't know!" She loathed his logic. "Perhaps they spent the night on the grounds or some classroom. He has a lot of explaining to do!"

"I seriously doubt that, Addie." She shot him a venomous look. "Hear me out, OK? There would be talk about it if they stayed on the grounds all night, so we would know. If they stayed in a classroom, I can almost guarantee you Peeves would have something to say and do about it. Perhaps they just had an extremely late night?"

"Because that makes things so much better," she grumbled.

"I think I know what this is." He said matter-of-factly. Her stomach dropped for a moment when she thought about just how obvious she had been these last several minutes. "You're jealous."

"Noah I-" but he cut her off with the wave of his hand.

"Hold on a minute and listen. You're jealous. It has been you, James, and Will for so long now, and you're not used to either of them hanging out with anyone out of your group. He's your friend and no one else's. Well, don't you think that's how he has been feeling with our friendship? Maybe he's jealous, too, and this is his way of acting out."

Addie's jaw dropped and she wasn't sure if she should even try to correct him. In a way, he was somewhat right. She was jealous, but not because she feared losing her friend as a friend. She also seriously doubted James was interested in Angel only because Addie had been talking to Noah. After all, James was the one who started seeing the Hufflepuff first. So she replied with a laugh instead. The laugh surprised her at just how thunderous it sounded, but Noah joined in after a few curious chuckles. He thought he was right and she had come to realise this. He was a character indeed.

"Maybe," she said after another minute or two had passed by and they reached the Fat Lady. He smirked, which she knew all too well to know it meant "You know I'm right".

"Felix Felicis!" Noah directed toward the woman in the painting and she opened wide, allowing them passage. He helped her up so she could reach easier, and then climbed in shortly after. She had a feeling he wanted to spend the rest of his free period with her. She worried that he also might just skip his classes altogether and spend the rest of the afternoon with her, but Addie had other plans and they were calling to her from her bed upstairs.

"Well, this is where I leave you," he said to her surprise. "Of course, I'll be right back, but I have class in twenty minutes. Potions," he explained.

"What are you doing?" she asked once he started heading to the boy's dormitories.

"Just wait there," he said. Five long, sleepless minutes later he came back down to see her nearly asleep on the couch. "I envy you," he teased. She looked up at him sleepily and just smiled. Most people did envy her sleeping patterns. Right now, even she envied her own sleeping patterns. Sleep... she thought.

"What were you doing?" she asked after he helped her off the couch and placed a hand on her hip to help guide her towards the girl's dormitory stairs.

"I went and checked the fifth year's dormitory. You'll be glad to know James is still in there, sleeping like a log." Noah reported proudly. This information, however, made her frown and she leaned her head against his shoulder.

He skipped all day, too? she thought. He won't even realise I was gone all day either. She just sulked on Noah's shoulder until they reached her stairs. He couldn't walk her up, seeing as how there was a charm on the girl's staircase, but he gently let her go and told her goodnight. She din't even thank him, but she didn't feel like it either.

"Goodnight," he called from behind her.

"G'night," she mumbled groggily, her bed calling to her. Of course, he didn't see the tears that started to form in her eyes either.

What is going on with me? she wondered. Why does he have this effect on me? She threw herself on her bed and decided those were thoughts for another time.

~~~

Lily, Hugo, and Jospeh were sitting in the Gryffindor common room shortly after classes were over and decided to get a few of their essays out of the way. She was regretting waiting so long on getting them done when her brother came up just then.

"Hey, Lily. Have you seen Addie anywhere around?" James asked with William Troy following shortly after him. She looked up from her Transfiguration book, thankful to have some sort of distraction from researching anymore on the basics of Transfiguration.

"No, not today," she replied, abandoning the book altogether. Hugo stopped, too and watched the siblings before him. Joseph looked up from his Potions book (he was a year ahead of her and had different essays than she did) and noticed the pair before them but then continued scrawling something on one of his essays with intense speed. "Didn't you just have class with her?"

James looked guilty about something and Will grinned devilishly behind him.

"James Sirius Potter, you skipped class!" She said suddenly, raising her voice as each word left her mouth.

"Shhh! Lily, please!" he pleaded, eyes wide and scanning the room. Luckily for him, no one seemed to care. "Addie skipped, too!" he added as if that justified what he did.

"You're a Prefect! This is your O.W.L year! What do you think mum and dad will say?" she hissed.

"Nothing, because you're not going to tell them!" he snapped back. He was right, but she wasn't going to let him know that. "Could you please just go and check to see if she's in her dormitory?"

Lily would have loved to have the distraction, but she also knew that if Addie was avoiding her brother, she had reason to. He never showed up once to the party she threw for him and the other Gryffindors on the Quidditch team. She didn't know what he was doing instead, but she was sure it wasn't a valid enough excuse to break a promise to Addie.

"No," she said simply, pulling her Transfiguration book back in her direction.

"Oh come on! What good is it having a sister when she won't go to the girls' dormitory for me?"

She smirked but decided not to reply.

"I promise your little boyfriend will be here when you get back. It'll just take a minute!"

"Now listen here, James!" she snapped, a blush crossing her cheeks when she noticed Joseph glance at her when her brother said this. "I'm extremely busy writing these essays and I need to get all of them done within the next two days. I do not have time to go around finding your friends, especially when they're obviously trying to stay away from you! Now leave me alone or I'll tell mum you skipped." She thought about it and decided which parent would realistically be mad at James the most. He scowled and motioned for Will to follow him in search of someone else to retrieve Addie.

"Boyfriend, huh?" Joseph said, plucking up the courage to speak now that her brother was gone.

"That's disgusting!" Hugo said.

"In your dreams." Lily said at the same time.

Joseph rolled his eyes and the three began working on their essays once more.

~~~

"Molly, just please hear me out!" he begged.

"Go away, Luke!" Molly spat, trying to rush past him but he only followed her.

"Give me a chance to explain!"

"I don't want to talk to you right now!"

"But I-"

"One more word and I'll hex you to oblivion!"

He stopped in his tracks and she continued to head out of the Ravenclaw Common Room. Owen, on the other hand, saw what happened and shot past her pathetic friend to follow her.

"Molly, wait up!" he called from behind. She didn't stop, but she didn't tell him to go away either. When he caught up with her, he still had to practically jog to keep up with her. "How did it go with Avery?" She shot him an evil glare and then looked ahead of her again. She honestly didn't know where she was going, but she couldn't stay in her common room any longer. Avery was royally peeved at her so she couldn't be in her dormitory, and Luke would bother her all night in the common room until she answered him. She knew this because both of them had been doing it for the last several days since the incident. Owen wouldn't be such bad company if she wasn't worried about him saying the well deserved "I told you so" again sometime soon.

"She's being irrational!" Molly barked, her fists clenched. She was finally fed up with trying. It was true. When she went up to talk to the normally quiet, caring girl she called her best friend, Avery cried and screamed at her. She accused Molly and Luke of walking all over her and she was tired of it. She even said Molly couldn't be a real friend because she knew Avery liked Luke. Even after she tried to assure her she had no idea, Avery's response was: "Bull! You've had Luke and Noah tied around your finger for years! Now you have Owen, too! Can't you stop playing with these boys for once and notice what is going on around you?" Of course, Molly wasn't going to tell Owen about the part Avery said about him, but let out a loud cry at the thought of it. "She's being downright selfish!" she blurted after a minute or two of silence.

Owen placed a hand on her shoulder and stopped her. She jerked a little, but she came to a stop and rolled her eyes.

"She just needs time, Molly. She's upset." He said, looking into her eyes. Molly scoffed and her eyes began to water.

"When did you start becoming such a girl?" she insulted, trying to keep the tears from falling.

"Just because I care makes me a girl?" Owen teased, pulling her into a hug. "Now, where are you going?" he asked once she got her to calm down a bit.

"I don't know!" she cried once she had calmed down. "I just needed to get away from those two. Avery is blaming me for everything, and Luke won't leave me alone."

"Well," Owen started, "have you talked to him about it?"

"Of course not!" she said, surprised he'd suggest such a thing. "I don't want to talk to him! Doesn't anyone understand that?"

"Molly, he's your friend."

"Friends don't do that to other friends!" she exclaimed. "I mean, he may as well have tried to poison me! He was being selfish, inconsiderate, and idiotic! Not a friend!"

"OK, so talk to me about it," he offered. She eyed him suspiciously and shook her head. "Why not?" he pouted.

"Because you're just waiting for the appropriate time to say "I told you so!" about all of this!" she told him.

"Fine. I told you so."

Molly looked up at him with horror.

"This is not an appropriate time for-"

"I know," he interrupted. "I'm not trying to please you here, I'm just being honest. Now you don't have anything to worry about, so just talk to me." Tears streamed down her cheeks and she punched him as hard as she could in the arm. Admittedly it was a very hard punch, but he didn't let her see it phase him. She didn't like that, so she did it again. "Ow! OK! I get it, I'm sorry! I deserved it!" he said, laughing a little as he did so. She was half tempted to stomp on his foot, but his smile was contagious and soon after she was laughing her own pitiful, watery laugh.

"I hate you," she said reassuringly.

"I know," he said, finding a bench for the two of them to sit on. "Now, tell me what's going on with you."

"You were there!" she started, eyeing him suspiciously.

"I mean inside your head, stupid!" he said as if it should have been obvious. She rolled her eyes and then leaned into his shoulder. The sight of the two of them sitting together in such a way would surprise anyone who knew either of them, considering they practically hated each other the year before. She didn't let that thought stop her, though. She sighed and just closed her eyes for a moment before admitting what really bothered her about the whole thing.

"I miss Noah," she blurted. "I miss talking to him and having him around. If he and I never would have broken up, none of this ever would have happened. Avery may have been able to confront Luke about her crush on him, Luke never would have tried poisoning me, and the four of us would still be friends..."

"Three," Owen corrected.

"Excuse me?" she asked, lifting hear head to look at him. He was looking down at her and giving her a sad smile.

"The three of you would still be friends. We weren't friends before you and Noah broke up, remember?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't have become friends while partnering together this year," she reassured him.

"Yes it does."

She gave him a puzzled expression.

He sighed. "What do you think kept us from being friends all these years?" She thought for a moment and then looked at him absolutely appalled.

"We weren't friends because of Noah?" she asked, scooting away from the boy she had been sitting so close to for the last several minutes. He replied with a weak nod. "How is that even fair?"

"I was jealous," Owen admitted. "Just like Luke was. Admittedly, I would never try and slip Amortentia into your pumpkin juice, but I didn't want to be around the two of you when you were dating. When he broke up with you, I decided it was my chance to finally get to know you." She decided not to correct him. "Of course, I didn't like you then anymore because you had completely changed as a person, but you eventually came back around to your old self."

She didn't know what to say. That seemed to be OK, however, because Owen just pushed on.

"I don't mean to be saying this to add to the complications of your life. I'm just an honest guy, Mols." Her stomach released the butterflies when he said her name like that again.

"Honest?" she asked hesitantly. "Owen, just a few days ago you were telling me about how you were just being a friend. You said you understood that even I didn't know I wasn't over Noah yet!" He blushed and looked down at their entwined hands, an action not even she noticed had happened.

"Well, you sort of ruined the surprise at the picnic, so I just made something up. I didn't honestly think you still had feelings for Noah..."

"Well I do!" she snapped semi uncontrollably. She felt bad, however, and calmed down quickly. "If you never would have mentioned it, I wouldn't have left myself to think about it these last few days," she admitted.

"So there's still a chance?" he asked, and she could hear the hope in his voice.

"A chance for what?"

"For you to like me?"

Molly couldn't help but snort.

"Of course I bloody like you! I was actually hurt when you didn't ask me out at that picnic. I mean, you did help me realise I'm still missing Noah, and I might not be over that part of my life for a while, but you're the one who woke me up. I'm not the same person I was when I dated Noah. You told me that."

For the first time since their conversation started Owen smiled confidentially, and he placed a hand on her face to wipe away what was left of the tears that didn't completely roll off of her face. She was slightly uncomfortable, but she accepted it. He looked into her eyes and was just absolutely beaming.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked, a smile crossing her lips.

"I'm wondering if I could get you to promise me something," he admitted, not removing his hand.

"What?" she whispered, looking into his green eyes as they pierced her blue ones.

"I was wondering if I could get you to think about this," he said, pressing his lips against hers. It was the first time she had been kissed since she and Noah broke up, and the first time she had been kissed from anyone other than Noah. It was strange and foreign to her, but as it went on it was nice and gentle. She couldn't tell if she liked it or not. She also noticed she didn't close her eyes, making it that much more awkward to see Owen pressed against her face, eyes closed, and trying to deepen a kiss she was still too shocked about to return. He pulled back, opened his eyes and said, "Sorry," before getting up and heading back in the direction of the common room.

Quickly, Molly thought about how she felt over the whole ordeal. Of course she still thought of Noah, but things were over between them now. He was in Gryffindor, so it wasn't like they saw each other everyday anyway, which made things much easier on her. Plus, she really did like Owen in a way. Maybe giving him a chance wouldn't be that bad, and it would help her move on.

Owen continued to get further and further away, but Molly looked up and noticed her eyes widened.

"Owen! Wait up!" she called, chasing after him shortly after. He stopped and turned to wait on her, a questioning look planted right on his adorable face. What was she going to do? The answer didn't take long. When Molly reached him she laced her fingers between his and then leaned up to give him her own, short but sweet, kiss. His other hand reached up to his lips and she smiled shyly. "I'll think about it," she said playfully, and the two of them went back to the common room together. Luckily, the sight of them cuddling on the couch kept Luke away for the remainder of the night.

~~~

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PostSubject: Re: Seven Years and Counting   Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:40 am

It may not be the longest, but I'm proud of this chapter (in my sleep deprived way as of now) and it took me forever to write. Well, all day.. But still! Anyway, I don't have much in the announcement section up here for now, so I'll let you guys get straight to the chapter. Smile

~~~

Chapter Fourteen

James couldn't help but stare directly at the Slytherin table at breakfast today. His stare was so intense, in fact, that he didn't notice Will gag comically when Noah sat next to Addie and fed her some of his bacon. He didn't see his cousin at the Ravenclaw table who only weeks before seemed emotionally comatose and was now wrapped under the arm of one rather annoying Owen Moore. Never mind the fact that none of the usual three in her group were sitting as far apart from each other as possible. No, James was so focused on the Slytherin table that he didn't even bother to comment on Joseph's sitting right in between Hugo and his darling little sister.

What James did notice however, was his brother Albus sitting nearly right on top of Chloe Arndale. If that wasn't bad enough, Albus looked considerably pale and had dark circles under his eyes. It was the first time James had seen him since before he missed the Quidditch match on Halloween, and that was a little over a week ago now. James felt a tinge of guilt when he realised he still never went to check on his brother even though he hadn't heard from him. He was just so busy dealing with his new girlfriend and trying to figure out why Addie had been acting so strange around him lately.

Suddenly, as if things weren't strange enough, Jackson walked right up to the two Slytherins and seemed to be trying to stay very quiet. James noticed Albus wrap an arm around the first year and pull her even closer.

What are you getting yourself into, Al?

The older boy had no doubt his brother knew who exactly he was dealing with, but what James wanted to know was why.

Chloe looked at Albus for a moment and explained something to him. Before she left she handed him his goblet and she walked off with Jackson. He watched as his brother started to get anxious and had to force himself to look away from the direction she was leaving. His arms were visibly shaking and he tugged at his hair. He then looked up at the staff table for a full minute before James followed the direction he was looking and saw Professor Wilkes going on a hundred miles a minute to Professor Binns about something that couldn't be any less interesting unless Binns said it himself.

Then it clicked. The fifth years had been learning bits of information here and there on the love potions Professor Wilkes had her sixth years make. It wasn't part of their O.W.L's, but the potion was in the room. He remembered she was going on about it one day and the only reason he caught what she said was because Will smacked him upside the head for practically falling asleep. She was saying something about the effects of the love potion and everything Albus was doing only confirmed James' theories.

Before his brother keeled over from separation anxiety, James decided to go over and talk to him. Doing so, however, seemed to be everyone's business.

"Where are you going?" everyone asked at once. By everyone, of course, meant Lily, Noah, Hugo, and Will. Addie shot Will an appointed look and he cleared his throat.

"Addie-uh-Addie would like to know where you are going." Will looked down at his plate, a bit tired of the foolish game his friend was playing but she wouldn't communicate in any other way. James was growing tired of Addie's behavior, too. He apologised to her what seemed like a million times, but she refused to even look at him. She sat with him at appointed meal times and sat next to him classes still, but otherwise she didn't acknowledge his existence. He rolled his eyes and watched as she seemed to be having a perfectly normal conversation with Noah, who admittedly looked very uncomfortable.

"I'm going to talk with my brother," he hissed, though nobody seemed to be paying him any attention anymore. Except, of course, Addie. Once he answered she looked at Will expectantly and James groaned, deciding now would be a good time to leave.

"Oh come on! You heard him yourself!" he heard Will cry from behind. "Arg! He's going to see his brother!"

No time could have been better to leave. Just as James was nearly at the Slytherin table, Albus decided he had to find out where Chloe was and left the table. James followed shortly behind and then stopped him when they were just outside of the Great Hall. It was breakfast time on a Saturday, he wasn't necessarily worried about people coming to eavesdrop.

"Al," he asked, turning his brother to face him. The tired, pale, sickly look was even worse than it was from afar. James physically shuttered at his brother's appearance but decided to ignore it. "Are you OK?" he asked, pretending to be dumb. I need to know for sure...

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just need to find Chloe..." Albus said, completely dazed. He was so zombie-like that James was sure he was either going to have to get him to the Hospital Wing now, or hand him over to Chloe for a fix. He had heard the stories about Uncle Ron.

"Are you sure? I didn't see you at the match the other day." James asked, trying to be one hundred percent positive before doing anything else.

"I don't play anymore. She doesn't like it..." was his brother's reply. James felt he knew exactly who she was. His theory must be correct. Chloe was giving him love potions, but he didn't know exactly why.

"Here, come on, Al. Lets get you to-" He started, but he heard a female voice from around the corner.

"We best get back to Albus. You know how he can get."

"Chloe?" Albus mumbled?

"Shhhh!" James pleaded in a hushed tone. "Quiet, Al. Lets go to the Hospital Wing, you don't look very well."

"Chloe!" Albus called for, what he thought, the love of his life. If James didn't have a hold for him, he would have ran right for her. Not wanting to be caught, in case it would put his brother in danger at the moment, he tried for the younger Potter's attention once more.

"OK, Al. I'll let you go to Chloe, but you can't let her know you saw me. OK?"

Albus looked at him for a moment and James took that as the only form of agreement he could give because the shadows of Jackson and Chloe were rounding the corner now. He made a run for it back in the Great Hall and sat himself in his previous seat.

"How's Al?" Lily yawned.

"Fine. Has the post come yet?" he asked hopefully.

"No, but it shouldn't be too long," Lily answered. James perked up. He'd be able to write to his parents soon.

"Does anyone have some parchment and a quill with ink?" he asked, looking around. No one did, but Will and Noah both gave Addie a suspicious look. "Addie," James started restlessly, "I know you carry your sack with you everywhere. May I please have some parchment and something to write with? It's urgent."

"William, did you hear something? I may have to start believing in The Quibbler more often, because I feel like Nargles may be about." Addie smiled, waving her hand around her head as if to shew the said creatures away.

"For Merlin's sake, Addie! Get over it! I apologised a million times! Now, this is important and I need to write to my parents. I wasn't going to alert anyone, but seeing as how you seem so insistent on acting like a child..." He snapped, slamming a hand on the table. She seemed surprised at first, but then glared at him without saying a word. "Fine, be difficult!" James was just about to get up when she threw her bag down before him.

"Here!" she huffed and then turned toward Noah so she wouldn't have to look at him. He was sure he just earned himself another week's worth of the silent treatment, but at this moment he didn't care. He needed to get a hold of his parents.

Dear Mum or Dad,

I'm sorry, but this letter is extremely urgent. I have strong suspicion someone is giving Al love potions. I think it is the girl Dad told me about when you were here. Professor Wilkes had the sixth years make batches of the love potion a while ago so I think that's where she's getting it from. I don't know why she would do this, but I'm taking Al to the Hospital Wing as soon as I can.

Love,
James


Just as he finished, the usual group of Saturday owls flew in overhead. James spotted Crisco as soon as she flew in and the owl landed gently on top of Addie's bag. James patted her, took the copy of The Daily Prophet and The Quibbler from her, and then tied the letter quickly around her leg.

"There you go, girl. This letter here is urgent, OK? So make sure it gets to either Mum or Dad; whichever one seems less busy to read it. That's my girl." The owl gave a quick hoot and then flew off.

The rest of the group looked at him with expecting eyes, but he decided to leave this one for his parents to explain. For now, he was going to take Albus to the Hospital Wing. The other two Slytherins were still hovered around him, but they would surely let him take his brother for a while wouldn't they? They couldn't let anything seem too obviously strange. He just wouldn't tell them where they were going.

"Winters. Arndale. Mind if I kidnap my brother for a moment? Bit of a family matter if you don't mind. Skipping Quidditch, you know?" He said probably too quickly. He was afraid Albus may have said something before when he met up with the two after James left because they shared an odd look before Chloe squinted her eyes and allowed him to take him. James was right about them not wanting to look too suspicious.

He took Albus and they walked out of the Great Hall together once more. With his recent fix, Albus seemed more alive than before. He probably didn't have long until they reached the Hospital Wing. Unless...

"Come on, Al. Chloe said she'll meet up with us at the Hospital Wing. She said she had a surprise for you there." James lied, but he didn't feel bad about it this time. After that, it didn't take long for Madam Pomfrey to run over and have his brother placed in a bed. She didn't even have to ask, because once Albus said, "Hey! Chloe is not in here!" once they walked in, she just knew. Not long after that did she have him strapped to the bed and his wand out of his hand.

"Chloe will be here any minute now," James lied, but as if on cue, the door to the wing opened once more. Half afraid it was Jackson and Chloe having figured out he lied, James hovered his hand just over his wand. Fortunately, it wasn't them. Unfortunately, Harry Potter was storming through the wing.

~~~

It definitely wasn't immediate, but Albus was feeling much better nearly thirty-six whole hours later. Before, when his father and brother were there, he continuously called for Chloe to come and rescue him. At least, that's what they told him after he passed out and woke up again still strapped to the bed a whole day later. He had no recollection of the event, and what scared him even more, was he had no recollection of the last few weeks either. So naturally when his father was standing over him in the Hospital Wing, he was more than a little worried.

Harry filled him in on a few of the events he knew about but promised he and James would explain more in the morning after Albus had some more time to rest. He was, after all, under the impression that he was in love with Chloe Arndale for the last few weeks. More than likely his father was worried Chloe would try to come in the middle of the night to give him his next dose, so Harry stayed by his side since he arrived. There was nothing different about this night either. Though the bindings would not come off until the morning when he woke up.

Asleep, Albus dreamed of Chloe. He guessed the Amortentia hadn't fully worn off after-all. In his dream she was sitting in the Slytherin common room and reading a book. She smiled up at him and Albus' heart in real life started to speed up. This young girl was absolutely breathtaking. She stood and was just about to kiss him when...

"Albus Severus Potter! You wake up right now and tell me what you were thinking hanging out with that sort of crowd!" Ginny Potter cried, hitting at her son's legs with each word she spoke.

Albus' eyes shot open immediately and he saw not only the morning light bursting in through the Hospital Wing windows, but his dad half smiling and shrugging.

As if there is nothing he can do to stop her, was Albus' first groggy thought of the day, his dream already fading from his memory.

"Nice to see you too, Mum," he replied dryly, but she didn't find it quite so humorous.

"How could you worry me like that? Why aren't you more careful?" his mother, now near tears, embraced her son. Surprised, he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her back.

At least the straps are off.

"That was a pretty powerful love potion used on you, Mr. Potter. More powerful than anything sold at some joke shop. Any ideas of where Miss Arndale was able to get a hold of Amortentia?" Madam Pomfrey asked shortly before shoving a small flask into his hands. She nodded in encouragement for him to drink it.

Hmm, it smells like peppermint...

"Son?" Harry asked once Albus still hadn't answered the older woman.

"She made it?" he suggested lamely, not really knowing how Chloe could have gotten her hands on the strongest love potion in the world.

"Ha!" scoffed Madam Pomfrey. "An eleven year old making a semi-perfect Amortentia? I can assure you a student did in fact make it, seeing as how it wore off so quickly, but not Miss Arndale."

Quickly? He wondered what her definition of "quick" was compared to his.

"Excuse me," Harry interrupted politely. "But James has informed me Professor Wilkes was teaching a class of sixth years how to make it. Perhaps Miss Arndale stole it from the classroom?"

Madam Pomfrey looked thoughtful for a moment before directing her gaze behind Harry. "Did you know about this, Minerva?"

Professor McGonagall was sitting in a chair hidden from Albus' view. She stood slowly and made to join the rest of the group.

"I was aware she was touching up on the potion with the class, yes. Most of our more advanced Potions classes always have, but never have we had the students make their own. While I have no doubt Miss Arndale did in deed get the potion by other means, I'm afraid I'll have to speak directly with Tessa. If I had known she would be so careless with her lessons, Harry..."

Harry raised a kind hand and the old Headmistress stopped.

"Minerva, you've done no wrong toward my son. I would, however, like to have a talk with Tessa and Chloe myself if that would be at all possible." Harry shared a look with first his son and then his wife.

"She will be expelled won't she?" Ginny asked quickly. "I mean, that little girl poisoned my son! Amortentia is illegal. Honestly, Minerva, I don't understand why you still allow it to be taught after all these years!" The words came out before she thought about them. A traditional, old GInny Weasley habit. McGonagall, thankfully, understood.

"I understand your concerns, Ginny. I do. But I am afraid there will be no expulsions until we are able to ask further questions. Tessa's job on the other hand, I can do something about. Having children make Amortentia? I'm curious as to what use there is with that quantity!

"Aren't we forgetting one thing?" Madam Pomfrey interrupted, sneaking a look at Albus and then back to the adults. "What would an eleven year old want to hand out any sort of love potion for?"

"Poppy is right, Harry!" Ginny's eyes widened as she turned to her husband. "Benjamin Arndale's daughter is the one who used that- that stuff on my son! Who knows what she made him do! Hell, I bet she's not alone. You know that letter Rose wrote to Ron and Hermione last weekend can't be a total coincidence with this."

"Letter?" Albus squeaked, finally deciding to become a part of the conversation again. "What letter?"

Harry looked sternly at his wife and then his son.

"Rose has some reason to believe the Malfoy boy is helping to bring along this new dark and powerful wizard. Has he been acting strangely or in anyway different at all, son?"

Albus paled. Well, as pale as he could get from having just been an Amortentia victim. Whatever he did, he couldn't tell them anything. Not at least until he learned whoever it was that the Dark Angels were following.

"I think Rose and Scor were, like, secretly dating last year and he broke up with her at the beginning of term or something. She might just be trying to find an excuse as to why he would do that." Albus only had to lie a little, but he felt bad for turning on his cousin. "Otherwise, no. Scor hasn't changed much really."

Harry eyed his son suspiciously before speaking directly to McGonagall.

"Have you seen anything, Minerva?"

The Headmistress shook her head apologetically.

"What exactly is everyone talking about here?" Poppy asked when no one said anything else, and Albus could see the fear in her eyes.

Throughout the rest of the day friends and family came to see Albus in the Hospital Wing. Thankfully none of the Dark Angels, not even Jane or Scorpios, came to "make sure he was alright". He did, however, feel a little awkward when Rose came in. They were all advised by his father to keep a close eye on him. Albus wanted to protest, but his mother slapped him on the arm and glared at him sternly.

He would be, unwillingly, staying in the wing for two more nights.

"So you can rest up and be sure all that potion has left your system!" Madam Pomfrey would remind him.

Ginny regrettably went back home, but not before making him promise to: "Never hang around that girl again!"

He hated lying to his mother.

Harry, on the other hand, stayed in order to bare witness to McGonagall's questioning over her staff and student. Madam Pomfrey was able to second for him when he said he couldn't remember taking the Amortentia the first time or the whole time while he was "under the influence". Amortentia was meant to make the drinker fill completely and utterly attracted to the person who gave it to them. He was most definitely not himself.

While Albus' father was in McGonagall's office, deeming it safe for him to be left alone with only Madam Pomfrey, something gnawed away at him. Something his mother and Madam Pomfrey said clicked in his head. Chloe Arndale was an eleven year old girl who's father was Benjamin Arndale.Said man, which Professor Reubnon informed him of, was caught shortly after the Final Battle of Hogwarts about twenty years ago. Giving him a few years before Azkaban, it still didn't match up. How was Chloe the daughter of Benjamin Arndale if he never had the chance to leave Azkaban before dying?

"You're supposed to be sleeping, young man," Harry said wearily, coming from the shadows of the wing.

Albus sat up immediately and made room at the end of his bed for his father to sit.

"Couldn't sleep," he said quickly. "How did it go?"

"You'll need a new Potions Professor, I can tell you that," Harry smiled wryly. "You'll know the rest in the morning as the rest is official Ministry business. I'd love to stay with you for the remainder of your stay, but I have to bring Tessa in tonight for further questioning." He took his glasses off and pinched the bridge of his nose. It was a habit he passed down to both sons.

"What about you? You look like there's a lot going on in your mind." Harry asked, replacing his glasses and looking into his son's eyes, which were identical to his own.

Albus thought about it and then decided it was safe enough to voice his thoughts about Chloe and her "father". He made sure to show the connections of his father's story and Madam Pomfrey and his mother's comments. His father sighed and patted his foot reassuringly.

"At least I can be proud of the world we live in for that matter," he commented. "For now that is."

The young doppelganger waited a moment for his father to gather his thoughts.

"Some people will do anything to keep a Pure-blood name. No, Benjamin Arndale is not Chloe's real father, but his name means everything to Charlise. His wife that is. Long after he died in Azkaban Charlise became pregnant with her first child. No one knew who the man she laid in bed with was, but knowing her thirst for purity, he was a Pure-blood as well. Most likely he just didn't have the name Arndale did. When Chloe was born, Charlise raised her on the Arndale ways and berated into her head that her father was, and is, Benjamin Arndale. While I'm sure she knows the truth, I think she just accepted all of it. As did everyone else."

Harry finished with a yawn. Albus felt bad for keeping him up, especially after asking for what seemed like general, unimportant knowledge. The only thing he could truly gain out of the story was that Charlise and Chloe were definitely crazy.

"Do you think it is possible Charlise could be the next one to rise to power? You know with her whole puritan thing?" Albus asked curiously, seriously doubting it though. That would be too easy.

"Charlise?" Harry snickered. "I went to school with her. She was a couple of years older than me, but several years younger than Benjamin when they married. She was a Slytherin who liked the pure ways of the other Slytherins, but she was deathly afraid of Voldemort. I think the only reason she married a Death Eater was because, not only for his name, but she figured that would keep her safe. Besides, Charlise would never lift her wand for anything. She was absolute rubbish in classes. Nothing more than a pretty face with a lot of money and a good name, that's what she is."

"What are you still doing up, Mr. Potter?" Madam Pomfrey came scurrying in, referring to both boys sitting on the bed. "A terrible influence you are, Harry! Keeping your son up when he needs rest? For shame!" She scolded. Both Potters grinned and Albus relaxed into his bed.

"I have to head back to work so it seems," Harry said, grabbing his coat and things from a chair. The Healer nodded sympathetically. Head of the Auror Department was no easy task after all.

"Off you go then!" she shooed, a trace of a playful smile on her old, kind face. Harry winked at his son and said a quick goodbye before being scurried off by Poppy.

~~~

Albus was very surprised when Biscuit, his owl, flew through the wing window the following morning with a copy of The Daily Prophet. Seeing as how James was the only one who insisted on ordering the paper, Albus took this as the sign his father meant from the night before.

"You'll know the rest in the morning..."

Unrolling it he immediately saw what he was looking for on the first page.

HOGWARTS PROFESSOR ADMITS TO SNEAKING AMORTENTIA
TO YOUNG STUDENTS
BY: Clara M. Herdit

The headline circled all the way around a picture of Professor Wilkes blinking sweetly into the camera and then batting tears away as if she were ashamed.

Tessa Wilkes, 58, admits to having slipped Amortentia, the world's most powerful love potion, to a young girl at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The student, aged eleven and not pictured for safety reasons, was then giving the potions to an unknown source, also protected, but presumably a male.

Wilkes was take in by, none other,
the Harry Potter (Head of Auror Department and the Boy Who Lived) last night for a Veritaserum Trial and she answered every question as follows:

See pg. 7 sec. A for more HOGWARTS PROFESSOR...

Albus fumbled through the pages to find it.

Harry Potter: Is it true that you had your sixth year Advanced Potions class make batches of Amortentia?

Tessa Wilkes: Why yes! I did! I had them divide into pairs [boy, girl] and each group made their own batch. Some were weaker than the others, but it was overall very effective.

H.P: Are you aware that the making and possession of Amortentia is illegal and by admitting so you are admitting to committing a crime punishable by a sentence to Azkaban?

T.W: Yes sir, I am.

H.P: Then why do it?

T.W: Do what, sir?

H.P: Have your class make illegal potions if you knew it would effect your career and life.

T.W: I guess I just wanted them to learn something I was teaching them, sir. (chuckles)

H.P: How did (name censored here) get the potions?

T.W: I left my door unlocked so she could get some.

H.P: You knew she was stealing Amortentia from your classroom?

T.W: (Laughs) Stealing? I'm the one who told her to take it! All she needed was a little boost for that crush she had.

H.P: So you told a first year student to use a powerful, illegal, love potion on another student so she would have an ego boost?

T.W: I guess so.

H.P: Thank you, Mrs. Wilkes, that's all we need from you today.

T.W: No problem, Harry Potter. I'm just glad I could help!

Wilkes is still awaiting a trial to see if she will indeed be seeing the insides of Azkaban. Her trial date is December 14th, 2019.

Remember, my dear readers, you Herdit from me!

Albus looked at the paper with complete shock. He didn't believe on thing the Professor said.

But how would she be able to keep lying through a Veritaserum Trial? He suspected either she was telling the truth and he should have watched out for his Professor this whole time, or there was some seriously strong magic in the making here.

What have I gotten myself into?

~~~
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