Minions of Mercury: A wee one-shot to tide us all over until my poor brain gets it together to write more on Albus and Angelica. This is a sixth-year ficlet, so you'll notice a bit of a difference in Albus's disposition here.

Mercurial Prerequisites: None per se, although if you're a first-timer to the Mercury Chronicles, it never hurts to read through "Misspent Youth" and/or "Beginnings," both of which set the table for the rest of the stories.

The Mercury Chronicles: Quidditch, Again.

CRASH!

"Potter, that's it! Seventy-five points from Slytherin, not that you care. But I will not have you disrupt my classroom again." Neville sighed, defeated. "Mr Potter, please stay behind. As for the rest of you, as Mr Potter has single-handedly made it impossible for us to get any work accomplished today, you are excused. Enjoy this glorious Spring day, but mind your progress on the end-of term project."

Finally. I knew Neville had a marvellously sweet disposition, but he was a professor, after all. I had no idea it would be this bloody difficult to get a punishment out of the man. I shot a quick thumbs-up at Scorpius and Rose as they swept out of the Greenhouse, and began fixing what I had broken. After the bits of Venomous Tentacula were quickly reassembled with a Reparo spell, I walked over to Neville's desk in Greenhouse Two to accept my detention. His mood, however, had softened noticeably, and I had the sneaking suspicion I was about to get the free lecture with purchase.

"One of my finest students. You and your friends are so well behaved; I think these are the first points I've ever taken from any of you, in fact. What's going on, Albus? Is it Firewhiskey? You young people have so many pressures on you today, I know it must seem tempting to experiment with –" I snickered a bit, which was probably not a kind thing to do to a man who had changed my nappies a time or two.

"No, Uncle Neville. And certainly not at school." Or at least not on a Tuesday at school. And we certainly wouldn't get caught – that's what Gryffindors are for: to hide our bottles with.

"You're of age now, lad, no need to call an old family friend 'Uncle.' Not the firewhiskey, eh? Yes, yes, quite right, of course. Slytherin and all – those were my Gryffindors, weren't they?" Neville was bound and determined to solve this riddle and save my poor soul. Gryffs are so painfully predictable like that. "Is it a girl then? Or, well, I mean, is it a… Not that, of course th – "

"Neville?" I rescued him.

"Come lad, what is it? I've known you long enough; I reckon we can drop the charade here, can't we?" Well, no. But it was time to let him know what this was all about.

I sighed heavily, pulling a rolled scrap of paper from my robes pocket, and handed it to him. He read it solemnly, and then began to chuckle, after which he donned a dramatically severe attitude.

"Very well. Mr Potter, you will serve your detention with me, here in the Greenhouses, beginning precisely at half-past one in the afternoon this coming Saturday. Don't be late. And do say hello to your parents for me when you write them next." Neville flashed me his trademark cheeky wink as I headed out towards the castle. I walked down to my common room, and then into my dormitory where Gene Fawcett greeted me warmly.

"Everything work out alright then, Albus?"

"Perfectly, Gene. Good on you to dissuade me from the Mimbulus mimbletonia, he might have done his nut. But it's done; I sit my first detention on Saturday afternoon."

"Well done then, Albus," congratulates Gene on his way out of the room. "Well done indeed." I began to compose my response to my parents' owl from earlier.

Dear Mum and Dad:

While I am very much looking forward to your upcoming visit this Saturday, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend James's tribute Quidditch match that day, as I must serve a detention with Professor Longbottom. Truly words cannot describe how proud I am of James's unprecedented accomplishments on the Quidditch pitch, and I have all the confidence that he will be a standout Chaser for Puddlemere next season. Hopefully you will not think too ill of me, as this is my first detention in nearly six years at Hogwarts. Do root James on heartily to many Quaffles in my absence, and I look forward to catching up with you after my detention is served.

With love from your son,

Albus.