I think this website might be acting a little screwy (a lot screwy). Hopefully that'll be cleared up before the next upload... Until then, if you're following the story, you can always just click the link to the chapter in the email the site sends when I upload a new chapter. If you're not following the story you can always Google it to see if I've uploaded. I think the search functions on the site might be down, so if they stay that way, those are your options I guess. Hope that gets solved soon, hope you enjoy the chapter!




"So," said Albus, as he and Lucas stepped into an empty classroom. "Rose and Aidan, huh?"

"Yeah," said Lucas, shrugging. "They've decided to have a relationship. Apparently, everyone except me saw that coming. Idunno, I guess I'm just not observant about those sorts of things."

"Really, though, how could you not?" laughed Albus.

"I'm not too observant," repeated Lucas. "I mean, Holly dated me for quite a while and I never had any idea that she was just using me to irritate you."

Albus grimaced.

"Mom and Dad always taught me everything I needed to know for school and jobs," said Lucas, "but literally nothing about the people I'd meet there."

"If they never gave you 'the talk,' believe me, you're not missing anything," said Albus, recalling his disastrous experience with his father trying to explain the birds and the bees to him. He wondered how that had gone if Harry had needed to have that talk with James at any point.

"I'm totally an idiot in most social situations," said Lucas. "My parents always said the best way to get people to like me was to impress them, but either they completely forgot to explain friendship or they literally had no friends growing up. Either way I wouldn't be too surprised."

"Well, you've got friends now," said Albus. "And you got them by being yourself—which makes sense."

"Yeah," said Lucas. "I mean, if you're changing yourself so that other people will like you… Then they don't really like you, they like whoever you're turning yourself into for them. You should make friends with the people who like you for who you are without changing. Right?"

"To put it in children's book terms, yeah," said Albus. "The point is, just do what you want to do. With some limitations, obviously—"

"Yeah, I was about to say, I bet Voldemort was just doing what he wanted," said Lucas.

"Anyway, thanks for taking the time to help me become an Animagus," said Albus. "But I have to ask…"

"No, you can't try it yet," sighed Lucas. "And no, you can't try it for a while. I mean, the risk is high enough for any first transformation, let alone one that's rushed, before you're ready. Imagine having to go down to the hospital wing because you're half-transformed? You'd probably be arrested if they found out you attempted it without registering and everything."

"That would suck," agreed Albus. "All right, so what practice do we have to do today?"

"Animal noises!" said Lucas, beaming.

"Wonderful, my favorite," grumbled Albus.

"Remember how to do this one?" asked Lucas. "This time, I want you to make the animal sounds when I tell you to 'Be' the animal, but not when I say 'Do' the animal. Okay?"

"Got it," said Albus.

"And remember, if you start to feel like one particular sound resonates more with you than others, let me know—it could be that you're starting to successfully connect with a certain kind of animal."

"I know," said Albus.

"Good. Be a cat!"

"Meow," said Albus.

"Be a sheep!"

"Baa," said Albus, trying to sound as much like a sheep as possible while simultaneously trying to roll his eyes as subtly as possible.

"Do a cow!"

Albus said nothing.

"Good," said Lucas. "Be a donkey!"

"Hee-haw," said Albus.

They continued on this pattern for some time; Albus always felt very stupid after completing this exercise, and he couldn't see how it would help him to become an Animagus. He trusted Lucas, though, and assumed that whatever techniques Lucas had used to become an Animagus by the age of thirteen would work for him.

"So, what's up with those Kinderaiths?" said Lucas, hoisting his bag on his shoulder as they prepared to walk down to lunch. "You said there were some of them here now, here at Hogwarts? Is that why Wilcox said at breakfast that we were forbidden from even going near the Forbidden Forest anymore without an adult companion?"

"Yeah," said Albus. "He told me he was going to explain in full at dinner, to tell everyone exactly what Kinderaiths are."

"Oh, good," said Lucas, shuddering. "Because they sound horrible but I have no idea what they really are. Which makes it even worse."

"I don't know much about them, either," said Albus. "But I'm carrying around a Fanged Frisbee now, just in case."

He reached into his robe and pulled out the Frisbee, waving it around in the air.

"Um, why?" asked Lucas, a brow rising.

"When one attacked us near Hextus Horra, Wilcox threw it a Frisbee," said Albus.

"And what—it chased it like a dog?"

"No," said Albus, "it thanked Wilcox and when he said he'd come back later to play with them, they believed him. Then they just left us alone."

"That doesn't sound very threatening," said Lucas. "What, you just give it a toy and it leaves?"

"But it has some sort of telepathic power that forces you to walk towards it," said Albus. "And if you can't resist their mental powers, you won't be able to give them an offering to leave you alone… they'll just catch you."

"And what do they do with you when they catch you?" asked Lucas nervously.

"I don't know," said Albus. "Maybe Wilcox will tell us at dinner… but I'm not entirely sure I want to know."

"Me neither," said Lucas. "Maybe there's a way to exterminate them."

"I'm glad they weren't here when Dismiusa was still around," said Albus, and they exited the classroom to head down to the Great Hall. "That would have made it a lot harder to get through the forest."

"Hey, speaking of her," said Lucas, "do you think any of the animals she introduced into the forest are still around?"

"Everything in the castle wilted and died after we killed her," said Albus. "I would assume everything in the forest died, too… we haven't seen anything since then, anyway."

"But maybe everything she introduced died," said Lucas, scratching his head. "She created all of those animals from scratch, right? But the mulunctapoli didn't die, and the Fokii spores are carried by the muls. You think there are any Fokii left in the Forbidden Forest?"

"That's a scary but interesting question," said Albus. "I certainly hope not…"

"I hope the Fokii and the Kinderaiths eat each other," said Lucas.

"That would be nice," agreed Albus.

"And what happened to your uncle?" asked Lucas. "The Minister? I heard he got attacked, and his blood was stolen, but… I'm just really confused as to why they didn't kill him. Not that I'm unhappy that he lived!"

"I get it, I was really confused, too," said Albus. "Uncle Percy said that something attacked him, but it wasn't a person. It was a little flying animal that paralyzed him with a sting. It slashed open his arm and stole a lot of his blood—it probably would have completely drained his body and left him dead if my dad hadn't been going to see him at that time and walked in on the process."

"A little flying animal?"

"Dad said it looked like a spider with bat wings," said Albus. "It filled itself up with the blood and went to fly back to whoever sent it, but Dad cursed it down and it exploded. He said the blood went all over Uncle Percy's office; it looked like he really had been murdered. Almost enough blood was taken to kill him—he barely survived."

"So they have little flying spider mercenaries that suck your blood," said Lucas. "Lovely. As if spiders weren't terrifying enough already."

Albus laughed; he recalled Harry confiding in him the story about when he'd explained to Uncle Ron what had happened; at the news of flying vampire spiders, Uncle Ron had nearly passed out. Disguised as foreign Auror Aanmar Vioulii, he'd have to keep his cool around the spiders. If the other Aurors noticed the intensity of his arachnophobia, they might guess who he really was.

"Again, not to sound disappointed that your uncle lived," said Lucas, "but why weren't the spiders equipped with deadly venom, rather than paralyzing venom?"

"I don't know," said Albus, shrugging. "Maybe the blood has to start being collected while the victim is still alive…"

"Again, lovely," said Lucas. "I don't know why I asked about that whole thing anyway. I should have known it would only make me feel worse."

"But you still need to know," noted Albus as they entered the Great Hall. "In order to defend yourself against what's coming."

Lucas nodded; Albus twisted his mouth around, knowing he really needed to take his own advice. No matter how frightened it made him to think about the Devs nowadays, he still needed to know about them, or he wouldn't know what was coming for him. He had to remind himself of this as often as possible.

"Hey, there you are," said Rose, beckoning Albus and Lucas over to some free seats near her at the Gryffindor table. "Professor Longbottom just told me something really interesting, you wanna hear it?"

"Yeah, what?" asked Lucas.

"We're the largest group of students in one year to be taking every possible N.E.W.T. class," said Rose. "There are seven of us taking all thirteen N.E.W.T. courses. That's more than any other year since Hogwarts was founded—even when there were only twelve courses!"

"Wow, seven of us?" asked Albus, surprised. "Who would that be? There's me, you, and Lucas… Aidan, obviously, and…"

"Holly, Gad, and Abby," finished Rose.

"Ah, right," said Lucas. "Well, we'll see if everyone holds on to all thirteen classes all the way through to the end."

"Yeah, I doubt all seven of us are going to get all thirteen N.E.W.T.s," said Rose, shuddering. "I know that I for one am going to fail all of them."

"Oh, for the love of Merlin, Rose—you'll do fine," said Lucas. "Not being confident is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. You'll get all thirteen N.E.W.T.s, easy. Just like Albus and I will. We all got thirteen Outstanding scores on our O.W.L.s—how hard can the N.E.W.T.s be?"

"Can you guys maybe not keep bragging about how smart you all are?" grumbled Exo.

Albus grimaced. Exo hadn't been in such a great mood ever since they had gotten back, very possibly due to Rose and Aidan's new relationship.

"Sorry," said Lucas. He turned to Albus. "Oh, and—how's Roxanne? I heard she had a bit of a panic attack after those Kinderaiths almost got you two…"

"She's fine," said Albus, staring him down. "Why?"

Lucas blushed. "Well—she and I dated once—I was just—concerned."

"Yeah, well, she's okay," said Albus.

He sighed. He didn't hate Lucas like he used to in their third year… but he still for some reason couldn't stomach the thought of Lucas going out with his cousin.

"And are you interested in anyone, Albus?" asked Rose.

"Not at the moment," said Albus, and he shrugged.

"Well, let me know if you are," said Rose, flashing a grin.

Albus rolled his eyes. He looked over at Exo, who was eating his stew and obviously stewing about something. Rose didn't ask Exo if he was interested in anyone… for which Albus was quite grateful. If he told the truth, it probably wasn't something that Rose or Aidan would like to hear.


"Human Transfiguration is more difficult than normal Transfiguration," said Professor Desulgon, pacing around the room as he spoke. "But after all that you've learned… these past five years… from me… I'd say you're ready. Now, no fooling around in here, okay? If I catch anyone fooling around with these spells, they're going to leave my classroom and not come back. Being in N.E.W.T.-level Transfiguration is a privilege, and it is one you will neither waste nor disrespect. This is the next level of your schooling, and you need to step your game up to the next level in response."

Professor Desulgon launched into an explanation of how to accomplish human Transfiguration, but it was less in-depth and a little more confusing than usual; he wasn't fully focused on the teaching. He was pacing distractedly; something other than the material was on his mind, and he wasn't communicating the textbook material nearly as effectively as he had in the past. Alec watched him carefully, twisting his mouth around.

"That didn't make any sense to me," said Alec as they began individual practice on the spell. "Usually I understand exactly what Professor Desulgon is trying to say, but it's like he's not even putting any effort into his explanations anymore."

Albus looked over to Professor Desulgon, who was huddled at his desk, scribbling away at a piece of parchment, not really focused at all on how his students were doing with the spell.

"It's like being in another class with Binns," groaned Alec, staring at his textbook chapter on human Transfiguration and shaking his head. "And I dropped out of the actual History of Magic this morning because I couldn't stand it anymore."

"That explains why we didn't see you in History of Magic this morning," said Exo.

"Wait, doesn't that give you only six classes?" asked Rose. "I thought you were only taking History of Magic because at least seven classes are required for certified Hogwarts attendance."

"It did, but I jumped back into Divination," said Alec. "That class is like nails on a chalkboard too, but at least it's easier to bullshit my way through. The only reason I initially took History of Magic over Divination this year was because Divination is first thing on Monday morning and that just seemed even worse. I don't need another class I hate in my schedule—what happened to the old Professor Desulgon?"

"I don't know," called Parker Pullman, their blind Gryffindor classmate, edging towards them. "But he's definitely different from last year. In fact, he's so different that even his aura has changed."

"His aura changed?" asked Albus, surprised.

"Yeah, I didn't even recognize him," said Parker. "That's been known to happen, though. It's almost like a Patronus, which I've heard can change forms. Your aura can change, too. And Professor Desulgon's changed between last year and this year… I'm sure of it."

"Fascinating," said Rose. "I wish I could read auras…"

"I do, too," said Albus, his brain igniting.

"I hear it's really hard," said Rose, "but easier for blind individuals—like it takes the place of sight somehow."

"It's not an easy thing to pick up for anyone," said Parker. "And it gets harder to pick up as you get older, like learning another language."

"How would you describe it?" asked Rose curiously.

"Like learning another language," repeated Parker.

Rose deflated. "I meant how would you describe reading auras in general? Like a sixth sense, or something else?"

"Another sense," said Parker. "Not a sixth sense, seeing as I didn't have all five to begin with. But it's also like feeling someone else's emotions. Which is why I can tell that Professor Desulgon seems to be… not himself this year."

"Odd," said Rose. "I mean… Right from the first class of the year, I could tell that he was off his game, that he didn't seem to be one hundred percent with us anymore. Sometimes a person can just pick up on that. Is reading auras just an extension of that natural ability people have to tell when someone's feeling a certain way?"

"Not really," said Parker. "I mean, reading a new aura feels a little bit like how I feel when I hear a difference in the tone of someone's voice, but you had to see or hear him to pick up on that… I picked up on it before I even walked into the room on our first day back."

They chatted the entire class, not really sure how to do the human Transfiguration tasks which Professor Desulgon had asked of them and not wanting to risk doing it incorrectly and ending up in the hospital wing. Oddly enough, Professor Desulgon, who was always on the ball when students were off-task, was too distracted by whatever he was writing to even notice the distracted students, and he never tried to push them back on task. Something else was clearly on his mind so much that he seemed to barely acknowledge, or even notice, that he was teaching a class.


Albus couldn't really judge Professor Desulgon, though—he hardly even noticed taking thirteen classes, because the year was just flying by. Thankfully, most of what he had missed in all of his classes had been a recap of what had been done the previous years; they were only just getting into new material when Albus joined them. But the new material was somehow not nearly as engaging as it used to be. Maybe it was the form of the massive workload that he was receiving. He was used to a lot of work, but not quite this much busy work.

The A.R.M. classes, the thirteenth course on his schedule, were getting more and more fascinating; he was always completely alert for those. But the others were sometimes lost in routine—essays and theory tests began to outweigh the practical performance by a good margin, because the N.E.W.T.s had two written components and only one practical component. The A.R.M. classes were much more engaging, and since their year would be the first to take N.E.W.T. examinations on this topic, they had no idea what to expect. It was both frightening and stimulating.

In Diwandology, they were now studying Metronoming, Telescoping, and Concurrence at the Complex level, which was fascinating. Combination attacks which had until recently been accomplished only by teams of multiple wizards could now be performed by a single one.

"Metronoming is simple," said Professor Evranote during one of their classes. "The suffix Augero is added to the end of any spell, and then that spell would increase in power with every subsequent consecutive usage of the same spell. But at the complex level, it doesn't always have to be consecutive, if you play your cards right and keep extreme focus. I'll teach you a few brain exercises to help you in these endeavors. You can also Metronome back and forth with two different spells with either wand—that's difficult, but even more powerful than regular Metronoming. And you could also Metronome between two different people. That's one of the more stunning displays of power you can accomplish.

"Telescoping, as you know, is firing one spell into another, which makes them both entangle and increase in power," she continued. "The jets of any number of spells will grow and intensify when they entwine, but you will lose a bit of control. Complex Telescoping involves both gaining more control and also the ability to have the spells untangle in midair and fly towards different targets. It's something your enemy will be hard-pressed to predict or defend. Some other high-level Telescoping techniques will be discussed… they are extremely cool.

"And Concurrence," she concluded, "is holding multiple wands in the same hand to cast the same spell—simple, but hard to do without exhausting yourself. On the other hand, Complex Concurrence creates the same effect but without the exponential factor to the required energy—meaning, for those of you not taking Arithmancy, that you won't tire as fast. You can also use Complex Concurrence to prevent Telescoping from occurring, if you want your aim to be more precise and pack a bigger punch. I think that by the end of this year, you all could master every single one of these tricks, if you work hard enough."

Professor Skower of Wandless Magic had some harsher, more pessimistic words to say about what they would be attempting this year. He did, of course, teach one of the most difficult subjects to master, so this pessimism was not unfounded.

"You may be able to attempt Minor Spellwork by the end of this year, if you master everything else fast enough," said Professor Skower. "If there's anyone here who can pass my Control and Distance test before the end of the year, I'll give you a few more readings on Minor Spellwork and you can start trying. Wandless magic can be very easy sometimes—casting an actual spell wandlessly is extremely difficult, always. But it can be very useful if you lose your wand in battle. Wandlessly, you may wish to try to Disarm an opponent as a last-ditch effort if you fu— …er, screwed up—or you may simply want to summon a cup of tea from across the room if you don't have your wand at the ready and you're too lazy to get up. But this is a very imprecise art. You will most likely accidentally end up tickling the person you're trying to Disarm, or smashing the tea cup into your temple. Don't worry if you can't get to Minor Spellwork by the end of this year, because you're actually scheduled to do Minor Spellwork in your seventh year. I'm just letting you start early. But you won't get to Major Spellwork in your seventh year. You wouldn't get to Major Spellwork without at least three years of graduate work dedicated solely to Wandless Magic. As I said, it's a very imprecise art, and it's extremely difficult. Why the hell did any of you want to take this class, let alone keep taking it?"

Professor Pratley was more optimistic about their Alternative Artifact Magic course, and showed it with a bombastic classroom demonstration.

"You'll be learning Imbuance, Exstruction, Suasion and Subjugation this year," she said cheerily. "This is one of the most fun things you'll ever learn in your schooling. Basically, you're making your own temporary wands!"

She lifted from her desk in turn a rose; a few feathers from the tail of an Aptad, which had taken the form of a bird; a long, thin mushroom; and a thin strip metal, which she called Cordite.

"This is an Exstructable set," she explained. "The rose is great for Charms. The Aptad tail is excellent for Transfiguration. The mushroom is great for curses, jinxes, and hexes. And the Cordite is great for channeling magic. Not to be confused with Muggle Cordite, which is also used in their weapons. Now, watch."

She raised her hand, and said, "Up."

The metal sprang off the desk and into her hand.

"Broomstick manufacturers put a little chip of Cordite into the handle of most broomsticks to make them do that," she explained. "But also to prove theft when someone steals a broom, because every piece of Cordite has a strange property that's like a fingerprint, and no two pieces of Cordite are the same. Isn't that fascinating?"

She then twirled the thin piece of Cordite in her hand until it was spinning rapidly, and let go; it stayed hovering in the air. She grabbed the rose and peeled off the thorns one by one, dropping them onto the spinning stick of Cordite, which absorbed them; she sprinkled the mushroom's spores onto it next, and then dropped a few feathers on the Cordite, which consumed them instantly.

"Obviously, this works much better if you have access to any Cordite," said Professor Pratley. "But you can do it with a few other materials, and really any kind of metal will work if you give it enough magic—that's called Imbuance. And Exstruction is the actual creation of the wand, which is what I just did."

She snatched the Cordite out of the air, and then aimed it at a vase floating in the back of the room.

"Diffindo!" she yelled, using the Cordite as a wand.

The spell sliced the hard stone vase right in half and plummeted to the ground.

Nonverbally, she shot two more spells, which transformed each half of the falling vase into a bird, which then began fluttering around the room and chirping.

"Impedimenta Itero!" she said, and the Impediment Jinxes stopped both of the birds in midair.

"And this will actually work nearly as well as any wand, for a good amount of time," said Professor Pratley. "Because you created it, the wand has an incredible connection with you. But you first have to prove it, and that's something that I can't easily demonstrate. That's called 'Suasion and Subjugation,' and it's the hardest part—showing this brand-new wand that you're capable of wielding it to its full potential. Otherwise it'll leave you and wait for someone else who can use it better—literally, it will jump out of your hand and sit on the ground glowing until someone else finds it. First you have to persuade it to allow you to try. Then you have to exert dominance over it and subjugate it." She grinned widely. "And I think all of you can do that!"

Their final A.R.M. class, Modern Magical Instruments with Professor Norton, was very straightforward and to the point.

"You're studying HRC manufacture this first term of your sixth year," she explained. "Also called Wand Substitute Manufacture. This is like IESS in your Alternative Artifact Magic class—Imbuance, Exstruction, Suasion and Subjugation—except that this is what you do when you have a little more time on your hands and need a more permanent wand substitute, and it takes quite a bit longer to master as well. HRC stands for Human-Rendered Copacetial Manufacture. Anyone remember what Copacetials are? Quinn?"

"Viable substitutes for wands which can be found in nature," said Abby.

"Right, so Human-Rendered Copacetials, or HRCs—or Harks, as some people like to call them—are substitutes for wands that people make, or improve upon what is found in nature. Copacetials can be anything from a rose to an animal horn to a branch from an actual wand-wood quality tree to a pebble, but not all of them are obviously going to be good Copacetials. But the point of HRCs is to make them good… And once you've learned how to make a good HRC, we're going to take the next natural step and you're going to learn wandlore and how to actually make a real wand. Your final project in this class—which you're in fact going to start at the beginning of next term, right after Christmas—is going to be making your very own wand, and it will be plenty good enough to use. You may even prefer it to one of the wands you have now, especially if you've learned how to properly Suade and Subjugate it in Alternative Artifact Magic, with which this class often overlaps. These N.E.W.T. years are no exception."

"Doesn't it take years and years of training to become a wandmaker?" asked Gad.

"It does," said Professor Norton. "But wandmakers can fashion dozens of wands in a day. You will spend the next two years learning how to make one wand, and there's no reason you won't be able to do it, given that much time. Wandmakers also have the unfortunate responsibility of making wands that other people can use, that a stranger will pick up and enjoy, whereas making a wand for yourself—or someone you know—is much easier. Yes, it takes decades to become a good wandmaker—but you don't have to be a good wandmaker. You just have to make one, for yourself. And you'll do it right if you do everything I tell you. Any questions?"

There were no questions, and they immediately began work on creating a wand substitute. When the next Friday rolled around, and the A.R.M. double period was assigned to Modern Magical Instruments for that week, they began creating wands from scratch—and much to everyone's surprise, they really worked. Albus imagined this would come very much in handy if he was ever stranded somewhere without a wand.

"I don't suggest you try this at home," said Professor Norton when they were dismissed. "First of all, it's really quite dangerous if you're unsupervised. Secondly, something can happen that's similar to why only an idiot purchases a bunch of wands to keep around.

"This happens all the time in history. Whenever there's a conflict, wand sales go up. People buy multiple wands. They're thinking, 'Hey, if I have a couple of wands in my pocket, then even if I get Disarmed, I can just pull out another one and keep on dueling!' But no. That's inane. When you own multiple wands, you're sharing the limited bond that you have with a wand, and that means each wand gets less of a share of your bond. That in turn makes casting spells much more difficult, because the bond is what decreases Resistance in your spellwork. So by purchasing ten wands, people make it immensely more difficult for them to cast spells even when using one at a time. That's why we're going to recommend you destroy one of your wands after you make a third—otherwise, casting spells is going to be harder once you've made another one."

Albus frowned; if wands were semi-sentient, wasn't that like murder?

"But we'll leave that up to you," said Professor Norton. "Three isn't so bad. More than three is generally where you get problems. Class dismissed. No homework—you have enough of that at the N.E.W.T. level, I expect."


"Shape up, Albus!" cried Roxanne as a practice Bludger nearly smacked into him during their Quidditch training. "What's the matter with you? Our first match isn't so far away, but you seem like you're in another world right now!"

"Sorry," mumbled Albus. He scanned the field quickly for the Snitch, hoping to make up for his absentmindedness, but he couldn't find it immediately and felt like giving up.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Roxanne, flying up next to him, waving her bat threateningly. "You're starting Seeker now! You're at the next level of play. You're up in the air with us now but you still look like you're mentally on the bench!"

"Sorry," repeated Albus. "I'm just… distracted…"

"Then focus!" said Roxanne, looking frazzled. "Your brother was a year older than me, thus ensuring that this was the only year I get to be Captain. And we are going to win the Cup this year, as we've only done once since I've been here! Last year's final match against Ravenclaw was just embarrassing."

"I don't even remember it," said Albus honestly, surprised with himself; the entire end of last year had been one giant blur.

"Long story short, we couldn't get the Snitch in time, Brightstar got hurt, and without our star Keeper, Ravenclaw beat us by a hundred and eighty even after your brother caught the Snitch," said Roxanne. "I remember it all too cleanly. That's not going to happen this year. I'm going to remember a victory. And if you can't step up your game, then your boyfriend Abbott is going to be taking your place up there against Slytherin! Got it?"

"Got it," mumbled Albus, not bothering to correct Roxanne that Abbott was very much not his boyfriend.

"Then get to it!" said Roxanne, turning around and flying off towards the nearest Bludger.

Albus sighed. His schoolwork was exhausting him already. Maybe it was just the large pile of make-up work that he had only just gotten through… but he had a feeling that now that he was past that, something else would come up to exhaust him completely again. In fact, Quidditch was probably that something.

He heaved a long sigh and began looking for the Snitch again. Did he really need to practice this?

Obviously yes, as he hadn't caught it yet. He flew up high in the air, scanning the stadium. As he turned his head to the forest he saw, faintly in the distance, a little girl poking her head around a tree by the edge of the Forbidden Forest.

It wasn't close enough to invade his mind, but it still affected his thoughts; namely, making him feel very uncomfortable and unsafe at Hogwarts. So much had happened to him, and yet he had a feeling none of it was over in the slightest sense.

How could anyone expect him to concentrate on schoolwork anymore?

My apologies for being unable to make last week's update. Something really spectacular has just happened in my life; I lost my whole weekend as a result, but it was more than worth it. On the other hand, I'm in a great mood now, so writing has been really easy. Hope you enjoyed! Some serious stuff is ready to go down pretty soon.

Hangman! The letter "S" won, and there are two of them. Now that more than half of the letters in the first word are there, remember: I won't tell you if you guess one of the words. You have to guess both of them together in order for me to tell you if you're right. And I WON'T acknowledge in the story or on my profile whether a guess is right or wrong-but if you have an account, I'll message you if you're right!

ALBUS POTTER AND THE A._._.S.S.A._ _._._._.E._

Again, guess a letter at the end of your review... If you think you know the first word, guess one of its letters and we'll see if you're right!