See the note/letter at the end of this chapter.
The next few days weren't Al's easiest. Rose's moods were worse than ever. Scorpiuse steadily grew more distant… and another of the things worrying Al was the fact that Scorpius was also looking less healthy. Between Scorpius and Rose, Al couldn't tell who appeared to be lacking more sleep, consuming less food. He and Lily would exchange news every so often. Lily would talk about Rose, Al would talk about Scorpius.
Theo and Tom were also making room for themselves on Al's list of worries. They'd been arguing more often. Recently, Tom had been cranky and critical with Theo, obviously hurt by Theo's secretiveness and vagueness about what happened the night of the Quidditch match. For some reason, Al's didn't feel much like blaming Theo. Something was just… wrong. He couldn't point out exactly what it was. He just… sort of felt it.
Just like he just sort of felt that Scorpius wasn't the only one absent from that match. Al suspected Dirk and that… group of theirs weren't at the match either.
But feeling that way was uncomfortable. Al would still rather think that Scorpiuus and Dirk had no malicious intentions. They were decent people, weren't they? And Scorpius was always determined to prove that he was not the same kind of person his family members were at his age.
"Mr. Potter, do pay more attention. Your potion has turned black."
"What?" Yanked away from his thoughts and thrown back into the present, conscious world, Al blinked, regaining awareness of his surroundings. Potions class. Right. What were they making? A quick glance at Theo's potion told Al that it was supposed to be pale blue. Far from… the… dark color his potion was. "Sorry, Professor. I-I'll get it right."
Shaking his head slowly, Professor Slughorn slowly, stiffly waddled away, muttering. "Not quite the potionsmaster his father was…"
Al should have been relieved after Potions ended, to leave Professor Slughorn's presence after that humiliation. But their schedule wasn't that merciful. Their next class was Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"Al, are you alright?" Asked a voice.
As the Slytherins walked, they briefly joined the Ravenclaws. "You're talking to me now?" A particle of guilt touched him as he realized how cold he sounded. But Al just wasn't in the mood. Scorpius had been so distant, Al didn't bother starting conversations with him anymore.
"I'm sorry I was busy!" Scorpius whined.
"It's fine." Al replied, though his tone didn't really agree with his words. Scorpius doesn't bother showing up at the Quidditch match, claims he was there, and becomes even more distant afterwards. What, did he expect a warm welcome every time he leaves and comes back?
"Al… what's going on? You don't usually mess up at Potions…" The concern was evident in Scorpius's voice. It surprised Al, really. Scorpius still cared to notice? Al wasn't sure how to react to that. Rose had been so trapped in her own world, the only thing she seemed to be putting any passion into was school. Social interactions… not so much. Al had gotten somewhat used to being left alone by his two friends, but that didn't stop a part of him from perking up if there may be hope for their friendship. Perhaps Scorpius wasn't too deep into… whatever it was he'd been doing with Kron and those others. Or at least not yet.
"I was distracted." Al decided to admit.
As they entered the classrooms, the crowd of students parted, Slytherin and Ravenclaw moving to their own side of the room.
Scorpius sat next to him. "Ohh… Er… Al, I won't join you after class later. I have t-"
Scorpius brightened up. "Thanks for understanding, mate! Jacqui… she's…. trickier."
Al knew that. Jacqui had ranted about it often enough. If he didn't know any better, Al would have sworn he was seeing and talking to Jacqui more than Scorpius was. Jacqui knew what Al felt about Rose and Scorpius, she also knew what Al still felt about Demelza. Al knew what Jacqui feared whenever Scorpius said he was busy, what Jacqui felt when Penny Parkinson would move ridiculously close to Scorpius during those times when Al would sit with Theo and Tom, and Scorpius would sit with Dirk, Flint and Parkinson.
Did Scorpius know any of that?
"Be silent!" Professor Smith snapped as he entered the classroom. The Ravenclaws quieted, the Slytherins stubbornly insisted on finishing the sentences they were saying before closing their mouths. "We have studied as many Dark Creatures as I believe your minds are capable of studying, and the other creatures… well, I'm sure you can read about them when you've grown older and your minds are more developed." Glancing at the Slytherin side of the room, he added. "But if your minds fail to develop… I have done all I can do."
"So vhat, may I ask, haff you planned vor class today, Provessur?"
"Dueling." Smith answered matter-of-factly. Al noticed that several heads tilted, several eyebrows rose. Generally, the students had the same thought. 'Huh?'
"You know how to deal with animals. Now practice dealing with wizards. With that insane group of wizards and witches out there attacking people, you have to be ever ready to defend yourselves."
"But Provessur, doesn't that group haff specivic targets? Vhat use vould this be against them iv ve are not who they are looking vor anyvay?" What was Dirk getting at? Al and his siblings had already worked out that the people out there… they were the ones who thought the Deathly Hallows symbol was a sign of evil. And those people were attacking whoever used the symbol, whoever believed or knew what the Deathly Hallows really were.
But what did Dirk know?
Al suddenly wished he was closer to Dirk. If Dirk knew more about the situation than they did… well…
"You're somewhat right, Mr. Kron. But nevertheless," Startling everyone, a new voice was heard, coming from the back of the room. The voice was familiar. Recognizeable. Anyone who didn't know the owner of the voice would have to be someone living under a rock. Walking to the front of the room, the speaker continued. "In the wise words of an Auror who faced more evils than you can count," Green eyes searched the room, making sure he had every student's attention. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE."
Al knew who that Auror was. Their father always had many stories to tell them about Mad-Eye Moody.
"You didn't tell me your dad was coming today!" Scorpius whispered to him.
"I didn't know!" Al retorted, a little annoyed that Scorpius would grumble about Al not saying much, when Scorpius barely even told him what was going on.
Dad then turned to Professor Smith. "You ought to be nicer to your students, you know."
"How many times do I have to ask you not to tell me how to talk to my students?" Smith snapped.
"Well, it's their respect that you lose." Shrugging, Dad returned his attention to the class. "Let's make some room so we can do this. Stand up, step away from your chairs." The moment they did as he said, Dad waved his wand and all the tables and chairs moved to the sides of the room. "We were required to do this to all the students, and not everyone has mastered all the spells, so don't worry if you don't think you're that good at the shield charms, or the jinxes or whatever just yet, alright?"
I'm starting to lose patience with Rose. If she wants to be like that and lose all her friends, FINE THEN. She can have it her way. Books will be her only family and friends.
But that's not what I wanted to tell you about today, Diary.
Remember what I said yesterday about having Defense Against the Dark Arts? Dad came over and supervised dueling sessions. Everyone's had it. (Yesterday, Al told me about Jaqui dueling that Parkinson girl. Jacqui just came out of the Hospital Wing today after badly losing the duel.)
I forgot to mention that yesterday, Drew Kirke beat a Hufflepuff in the duel. (The Hufflepuff's name was Owen Hopkins).
This morning, we saw Drew unconscious in the Great Hall, his face covered in boils and burns too. It was horrible!
He was taken to the Hospital Wing, where he was treated. But when we asked him what happened to him and who jinxed him, he kept saying he couldn't remember!
I don't know Drew that well, but I know he's not dumb. He's active in class. He has good memory, I think.
So it's curious that he can't remember ANYTHING about last night.
Actually… it's not curious. It's scary.
I hope I can sleep tonight.
Good night, Diary.
Excerpt from Al's Journal:
Things have been happening. Bad things. Scorpius has stopped talking to us completely. It's not on paper, but it's obvious who are part of Dirk Kron's group. I still don't really know what their name is, or exactly what they want or are up to, but I know that what they're doing is wrong.
A lot of nights, I struggled to convince myself that they had good intentions, that Scorpius would snap out of it and be our friend again… again.
But that never happened.
And unless that group disbands, it will never happen.
They're the reason behind the faulty memories of a lot of students nowadays. If someone gets on their nerves, it will be no surprise for that person to find themselves in pain the next day, with no memory of what caused the pain.
It's… a disappointment.
Marigold… despite being so sharp-tongued and hot-tempered, would have been a potential friend. She's family after all. Her brother even got to be our friend. (He's no Scorpius, but I quite enjoy his company). But she's Kron's ally. Devoted ally, it seems.
Theo's had a lot of nightmare's lately. Since Tom refuses to talk to him, he tells me about it. He sees monsters with long teeth and glowing eyes, bristling fur. He hears growls, barks and howls.
I have a feeling that what Theo saw that night of the Quidditch match may have been Marigold.
Which would be why he has no memory of what happened.
But there must have been something else… he must have seen something worse than Marigold… possibly Kron's group doing something…
Another excerpt from Al's diary, at the beginning of their fourth year:
I'm not going to let Imperium get away with it anymore. They manage to hide what they're doing from the teachers, but they practically boast about their power in front of fellow students.
I don't know a lot about their plans, but I suspect Kron plans to have them fight against the symbol-haters. Dad managed to catch some of them already. One of those captured turned out to be one of the murderers of Kron's parents.
Kron has his reasons, but I believe he is going about things the wrong way.
Instilling fear in other students, and possibly preparing to use violence against his parents' murders isn't the way to handle it.
I can understand him, yes. I can understand that he must feel a lot of pain and grief.
But I can't and won't understand the way Imperium threatens Hogwarts students.
Scorpius's friendship is as good as gone. But Rose is back to her old self (for the most part). Theo and Tom are here for me. Even Danny Dursely. Paula and Jaqui also have my trust. Raph… he's not really a friend of ours anymore… not really anyway. James and the others recently found out that Imperium has the cloak Dad and Uncle Ron have spoken fondly of in the stories they'd tell us.
Imperium has the Invisibility Cloak. Rose managed to figure out a spell that in a way returned to Theo the memory he lost. It turns out Imperium probably also has the Elder Wand.
As for the Resurrection Stone... we have yet to find out.
The friends and family I can trust, they agree with me.
We have to stand up to Imperium.
Years ago, Harry Potter, my Dad, founded Dumbledore's Army because they had to be ready to go against Voldemort. It would be conceited of me to think I can be just like Dad, and Imperium will be just like the Death Eaters.
And I wouldn't want it that way either… I'd like to think that in the here and now, the Potter and Weasley families and their trusted friends have to act against a growing threat.
We will act now.
Okay. Y'all might be thinking 'WTF?'
I just… can't continue or finish this anymore. When I first started writing my next gen fic (the first one), I barely had any plan in mind.
Actually… there was neither plan nor plot. There was just a need to pick up where Rowling left off, show what I imagined would happen to the kids of the trio and Malfoy.
I didn't plan much after I started writing. I didn't have a lot of notes (and lost most of those notes). I was lazy about characters.
This sequel was supposedly to practice character development and stuff.
But I think I failed at that because I didn't develop them at the right pace, the right way. And I sorta lost interest in them.
Admittedly, I still feel a little something for the characters in this story, the Scorpius, Al and Rose in my version of what happens after Rowling's epilogue. (And one day, possibly in the distant-ish future, I'll write a oneshot or two that would more or less fit into the series of events this story follows.) But… I don't feel for this as much as I used to. At first, I was inspired to write a chapter a day (or more) for the first story, and the first several chapters of this one. But then school came, I got busy, I got distracted. Christmas break and sem break came and went, and despite having time to write, I didn't… feel like it.
Then the later chapters, it started to feel more like I was writing because I didn't want to disappoint y'all, and less because I wanted to write.
I will kinda regret just letting go of all those little plots and subplots that randomly popped up throughout this sequel. But that's kind of the thing. It was too random. And the gaps in between updates… it's hard to get back into it when you keep forgetting what kind of personality was given to who, what who knows about what, what who feels for who. That stuff.
Do y'all get me?
So… this'll be the last chapter for this fic.
To the readers I disappointed, I'm sorry :(
To the readers that made me feel great about this story, and gave me the inspiration to get this far (how many chapters again? Haha…), THANK YOU. Thank you very much :D I really… really might not have gotten far without the reviews and the pageviews.