Albus woke up without realizing he'd fallen asleep.
At first he groaned and was about to ask his mum to try and wake him again in five minutes, when he realized that his mum was not there, but was, in fact, probably dozens of miles from that spot.
He was clearly the first person awake. The sun was barely peeking over the mountain he could see from the nearest window, and Gavin was snoring loudly next to him. Al had to wonder how such a huge sound could come from such a small boy.
He lay back down and stared at the ceiling, much too wide awake to have any chance of falling back into dreamland before breakfast. He got up and rummaged around his trunk for his copy of Hogwarts, a History and started to read.
He was utterly engrossed in the background of the four founders of Hogwarts when he felt someone breathing on his shoulder. He squeaked and slammed his book shut, launching himself forward and turning around so that he was facing a grinning boy who had sleek, elfish eyes that were very dark in contrast to his wild blonde hair.
"Cedric Corner's the name, but you can call me Ced, everyone else does," he held a hand out to help Albus up.
"Oh, hello, I'm—"
"Albus Potter, right? I saw you being sorted. My mum's told me loads of stories about your dad, he was really great, eh? I was worried at first because both my parents were in Ravenclaw so I couldn't figure out why I'd be in Gryffindor, because it's supposed to run in families and everything, but I suppose some people are just different, you know?"
"Oh," he blinked, raising an eyebrow quizzically. "Er, right."
"Oh, well, it looks like Gavin's finally awake. I think. Gavin? GAVIN? Oh. Well he is now, anyway. Nigel Jordan over there is saying we should go down for breakfast. What do you think they have for breakfast? Oh, drat, there he goes…"
Albus let out a sigh of relief as Cedric scurried off. Al had never been much of a talker unless it was to those he knew very well, which mostly consisted of his family or those like Teddy Lupin who might as well have been.
"Git," Gavin muttered bluntly, stretching. "No offense, of course." He shook his messy white blonde mop around, which was evidently his idea of getting ready in the morning. He belched and stood up, starting to change into his robes. "Well?" he cocked an eyebrow at Albus. "And what are you staring at?"
"Nothing," Al said quickly, standing up and mimicking him. Soon enough he was dressed and entering the common room, where Rose was chatting with Daphne and a girl with long, black hair and thick eyebrows that made her eyes look even bigger than they were originally (which was really saying something), and her face slightly rounder.
"Morning, Albus," Rose beamed. "You've already met Daphne and this is Holly Longbottom."
"Oh!" Albus' eyes widened. "You must be Professor Longbottom's daughter! It's great to meet you!" She nodded and stood there awkwardly for a few seconds before scurrrying off when she saw someone else exiting through the portrait.
"A bit shy, isn't she?" Daphne said, although not unkindly.
"Probably just nerves," Rose shrugged.
The three of them headed down to breakfast, Daphne talking the entire time. However, unlike with Cedric, either everything she said was fascinating, or the way she said it made it seem that way. "My mum's the new editor for the Quibbler; Grandpa's finally decided to take a well deserved retirement. We've been all over Europe and loads of Asia and even a bit of the Americas trying to find stories with a bit more evidence."
"How's that been going?" Albus found himself asking.
"Yeah," Rose chortled. "I've heard lots about the Quibbler's ….er, interesting choice of stories from my mum. Didn't think there was much… er, easy-access proof."
"Oh, well that's before Dad finally convinced her to make the front headlines a bit more mainstream," she shrugged as they all sat down at the long table. They could hear James laughing loudly from almost a dozen seats down. "The last story we did before school started was Vampires," Daphne finished, a smug grin at their obvious awe.
Albus' mouth was watering as the scent of sizzling bacon and eggs cooked at least nine different ways filled his nostrils. He piled them all on his plate, a look from Rose that was torn between amused and absolutely disgusted.
He ignored her and crammed as much as he could into his mouth until Gavin plopped down across from him and next to Daphne, raising an eyebrow at him. "Is willy goo," Al assured him, going for reconciliation. He wasn't sure why the boy didn't seem to like him, but he certainly wanted to change that.
"Oh, look," Daphne said over-enthusiastically, giving Gavin what she thought was a well-concealed look. "It's Professor Verandering. He's passing out the schedules, I assume. I do hope we do something interesting today."
Albus' eyes widened as the man approached. His stiff, broad shoulders made him look a lot more tall and imposing than he actually was. The lower half of his face was covered in scruff, which would have made him look incredibly messy even if his hair hadn't been sticking up in multiple places. There was a white line etched from the corner of his left eye all the way down his neck, continuing past where his collar started, contrasting exaggeratedly with his skin that was so tan it had started to wrinkle early.
"Ahlo," he said surprisingly warmly, his almost invisibly thin lips curling into a smile. "I 'ave your schedules, 'ere, let me guess—" he turned to Rose. "Ah, a Weasley if I er' saw one. Yer Uncle Bill and I go way back, we do," he winked, handing her the piece of paper, leaving her staring with her mouth open.
"And Daphne, Gavin! Spectacular to see the two of yeh again—tell Miss Luna 'ahlo' for me, if yeh get the chance," he nodded, and finally turned to Albus. "And you!" he smirked. "I met your Da' once, fabulous Auror, he is. Got me out of a pretty tight scrape once. I will be honored to have yeh in my class today."
He nodded and took his schedule, not able to think straight until the man was out of earshot.
"Oh," he said, reading over his schedule. "I guess we'll see him pretty early. We've got Defense Against the Dark Arts first. Should be exciting, eh?"
Daphne giggled and rolled her eyes, much to Al's surprise. "Silly," she said. "He's not the Defense teacher, he's Transfiguration. Professor Jekyll is Defense. But I daresay anything with Mr. Verandering will be exciting."
"So you two have met him, then?" Rose directed this at Gavin, whom she noticed hadn't said anything as of yet.
"Oh yes, we've met loads of people," Gavin said smugly. "We might as well be out there ourselves, we've learned so much in our travels."
"Oh shut up, Gavin," Daphne sighed. "You aren't impressing anyone. Anyway, I bet Albus has met tons of people himself, being the kid of Harry Potter, haven't you, Al?"
"Er…" he said, somewhat implying that he had, but was trying to be modest. He had met people he knew to be very important or famous… but he had never spoken to any of them but briefly, and in effect, he had not met any of them at all.
Gavin frowned at him but talked animatedly throughout the entire breakfast, just never to him. Al, however, decided to ignore it and figured they would warm up to each other after a while. And even if they didn't, he always had Rose.
"I'll race you to Defense class," she grinned.
Quite unfortunately, Albus agreed to race and tripped over his own rather large feet, although not until they actually reached the room in question. Rose sighed amusedly, tutting that he had almost made it that time, Daphne and Gavin hopping over him, giggling.
He looked up sheepishly to find that he had fallen at the feet of the man he'd seen Professor Longbottom talking to earlier, who was looking back at him, completely expressionless. Al stood up quickly, apologizing profusely, only to find that in all of his excitement, the man had finally smiled.
For the strangest reason, seeing him smile had the same effect as coming up for air after too long a time underwater. It was a sort of immense relief, as if his demeanor was constantly teetering, and a rare flash of a smile was more than most people could get out of him.
As Albus expected, it faded quickly, but the man reached his hand out to help him up, forcing the corner of his lips upward to indicate that it was all alright. "Hello there," he said steadily. His voice was much less stern than Al had been expecting, but he certainly didn't mind. "Well then, take a seat, I daresay we only have a few more students before the lesson will begin."
He nodded and scurried off and took a seat next to Gavin and behind Rose, who was scowling slightly at her. Al grinned dramatically, still trying to make amends for whatever it was that he'd done, but Gavin didn't seem to notice.
As the last few people bustled to their seats, the man whom Rose had informed them was Professor Jekyll sauntered to the front and center of the room, and put on a smile which Albus noticed did not seem to reach his eyes.
"Good morning everyone," he said pleasantly. "For those of you who are not yet aware—" perhaps it was just Al's imagination, but he seemed to give a meaningful look to Rose. "—I am Professor Jekyll. I will be your Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for the next seven years of your life, assuming that the somewhat unlucky streak has indeed ended for this spot."
Albus' dad had told him that each year he'd had a different Defense teacher, and after Voldemort was defeated there had only been two. A filler until they could find a more permanent one—which was evidently Professor Jekyll.
"You will find that I am not as strict as some, and have admiration for those who are… shall we say, creative with their work," he cleared his throat softly. "However, I admire even more those of you who recognize that you know next to nothing—" Gavin made a small noise of protest. "About magic, and do not stretch yourself farther than you will reach. I will teach you everything I know, and if I do my job properly, more than I know. But anyone who is not prepared to follow the rules by the book, down to every—last—detail… has my invitation to leave now, as you will find that you will do so… otherwise if you chose not to."
It was obvious that he had made his point. Every eye was on him, and he had the full attention of every student. He smiled for the briefest moment before retreating to his desk to pull out a cage with a small but extremely feisty creature inside, on which he was soon filling everyone in, Albus and the others staring at him the entire time in awe, for more reasons than one.
"I can't see how we'll have a better lesson than that," Albus squeaked as he, Rose, Daphne and Gavin headed towards Transfiguration. "That was cool."
However, he was sorely mistaken. Transfiguration had been just as interesting as Defense, starting with Professor Verandering changing into a shark momentarily on top of his desk ("Learnt that lil' opening from Headmistress McGonagall, I did. Bloody useful breathin' underwater, mind…")
In fact, Albus had been so excited all morning that had completely forgotten about being hungry until they entered the Great Hall, in which case he suddenly became completely ravenous, grabbing everything that looked remotely good and shoving it onto his plate and then onto his mouth.
Rose had looked disgusted the entire time, Daphne just giggled, and Gavin couldn't do anything because he was too busy shoveling food into his own mouth. By the time they were all done and full to their heart's content, they started heading off to History. However, just as they were about to exit into the halls, Al saw something gleaming from the Slytherin table.
He couldn't help himself. Usually Rose was the curious one, but for whatever reason, he just had to know. "Um, er," he started, Rose looking at him skeptically before he was even able to invent a story so he could go look at it alone. "I think I left something at the table, if you'll excuse me…"
"But—" Rose started.
"Well, go on, I don't mean to make you lot late, but I need all of my things, don't I?" he said rather sharply, surprising even himself. He was about to apologize when Rose huffed, "fine," and stormed off.
Oh well, he told himself. He'd just make it up to her later. But he could think about that after he found out what the shining thing was, because he couldn't seem to think of anything else at the moment. His peripheral vision seemed to have gone blind and he couldn't hear anything because all of the talking had gone from loud background noise to a small buzzing.
He got to the table and was confused at first, because all he saw was half eaten food. But then as he looked at the fruit, he saw that amongst what he suddenly realized were such dull bananas and grapes and oranges, there was an apple that seemed to catch the light a bit more skillfully than any of the other fruit, and he reached out his hand to grab it because it was the most delicious thing he had ever seen, though he wasn't sure he wanted to eat it. He just knew that he had to have it…
"I would advise," came a deep and authoritive yet not stern voice from behind him, causing him to jerk backwards, knocking into Professor Jekyll before he finally caught his balance. "That one shouldn't touch something if one doesn't know what it is."
"Oh, I…" he sputtered. "Sorry, I just saw this… I think I… Well I should go now, because I…"
"It's alright," he said warmly. "But that'll be lesson number one for any of my new Defense students," he chuckled slightly, winking (unless Albus was imagining things). "I always imagined it would be implied, but sometimes our instincts get the better of us, I suppose."
"R-right," Al stuttered, nodding furiously. "Thanks. I have to, well… Bye."
He scurried off, almost dropping his book sack, deciding that he would take Professor Jekyll's advice and follow his instincts to stay away from anything about which he didn't know at least a bit of background information. He knew well enough from his Uncle George that there were many things that were not as they seemed.
However, he wouldn't mind having loads of fun telling Rose all about it…
A/N: I'm thinking that this was a bit slow, but I didn't want to rush into things too quickly, because that would just be stupid. However, any feedback as to whether or not this was too slow?
And everyone should go to youtube and watch the "Accio Deathly Hallows" video. It's one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. I've downloaded the song, in fact, so I can listen to it anytime...
Thank you to everyone who reviewed or put this on their alert list, and thank you for the corrections. DO tell me if I've made any silly mistakes...