Chapter 6: The Keeper of the Fire and the Secrets of Hogwarts
The days passed quickly at Hogwarts.
After his warning, Professor Jamisona didn't try anything too funny with them. There was still an evil aura about him, though, and some feeling that Rose didn't like.
In the hall one day, Rose was walking with Albus (and Scorpius, who'd insisted he must tag along). "He just doesn't seem right, y'know? There's something off about him?"
"I know," Albus agreed, frowning slightly. "I just can't put my finger on it, though. His teaching methods are kind of... unorthodox but that can't be the only thing that's off about him."
Chuckling, Rose agreed. "There are too many things off about him. Guess we'll never quite figure him out."
"Good thing it's Saturday," Albus sighed. "Good thing I have a Quidditch game later today, too."
"Still can't believe you made Seeker your first year," Scorpius grumbled from beside him. "Taking after your dad, aren't you? Little Seeker- 'cept you're Slytherin, of course. Imagine that would make you different."
"Obviously," Albus chuckled. "I would suppose I am in that way, and of course, my looks. But my precious father was not a Slytherin. No way, no how- Harry Potter was the saviour of Hogwarts, the symbol of happiness. No way would he ever be caught dead in Slytherin."
"It's okay," Rose replied, giving him a huge, rosy smile. "At least you're not being disowned or anything like that. You're still old Albus, except you're now Slytherin old Albus. Which makes you that much cooler."
"The word Slytherin does sound cool, doesn't it?" Scorpius mused. "So does Salazar. Merlin, that's so much better than my name. Salazar Slytherin, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy."
"Well, at least you've got an original name," Albus argued. "Albus Severus- that's so second generation."
"Mine's not that great, either," Rose argued. "Rosalie Nymphadora, don't know what my parents were thinking-"
Frowning as if in deep thought, Scorpius cut her off. "Hey, what's that?"
Both Rose and Albus swivelled their heads to see what he was talking about. Sitting right in front of him was a large white door that they'd never seen before. Confused, they all approached it slowly. Rose tapped on the door twice, but nothing happened. Wide-eyed, she turned to the two boys. "Reckon we should open it?"
"Can't hurt, can it?" Albus asked, bottle green eyes wide as saucers.
Biting his lip, Scorpius stared at it, examining it. "Wonder what's inside. C'mon, Rose, open the door."
"Can't you?" She complained bitterly to him.
"I would," He shrugged. "But you're closer to it, and therefore I think it's only fair that you get the amazing privilege of opening the door. Well, go ahead, dear Rose, let's see it. Gryffindor bravery and all of that."
Scowling, Rose slowly twisted the handle open. The door fell open slowly, revealing something they had never seen the likes of before. A large, bronze pedestal sat in the middle of the room. On top of it blazed a bright orange fire, one that appeared to not let up in its fierceness. The rest of the room held nothing, but the walls were beautiful in their own intricate beauty- carved designs on the walls, large maroon curtains, gold designs and curtain racks. Red carpet was spread across the room, and as they stepped in, it was soft in a way Rose had never felt before. Glancing up, she noticed the gold chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The room was lighted entirely by the candles that the chandelier contained.
"Wow," Rose breathed.
"By the looks of it," Scorpius scowled, "I'd say that this room belonged to one Godric Gryffindor. Red and gold, the whole of it- where's the Slytherin room?"
Albus just laughed. Slowly, he approached the fire. "What do you reckon is in the fire?"
"I don't know," Rose replied, still glancing about. "And I'm not going to stay to find out. This room is obviously off limits."
"Oh, come on, Rose," Scorpius frowned. "We're just having a look, what harm can it do? It's not as if we're going to break anything. And who says it's off limits? If it's off limits, they shouldn't let first years be able to break in. Use that Gryffindor bravery of yours."
"Fine," Rose agreed hesitantly, following her cousin over to the large pedestal. There seemed to be something blazing within it, something that hadn't burned at all, but seemed to be on fire.
"Such an optical illusion," Albus blinked, eyes reflecting the bright fire. "Hey, I'm going to try to get the thing in the middle out."
"How? Are you honestly going to reach into the middle of that fire? You'll burn your hand off!" Rose admonished, swatting her cousin's hand back. "Don't you dare reach your hand in there! I'm not up for explaining to my aunt and uncle why my cousin came back from first semester with a burnt-off stub for a hand!"
"It's not real fire," Scorpius muttered absently, still staring into it. "Look, you can see- the flames don't bounce like a normal fire's flames do. And if it was real fire, how could that thing- whatever it is- stay within it and not be burned to ashes? Truthfully, I reckon that he could reach into it and have no harm done to him."
"Fine," Rose relented, giving into Scorpius for the third time that day. Why she gave into him so easily, she had no idea. Frowning, she backed up her statement. "But if Al's hand gets burned off, you're coming back with us and explaining to his parents why he has no hand. And I had nothing to do with this, just so you know."
Scorpius didn't see concerned in the least. Shrugging, he answered, "Whatever you want, Rose," and watched intently as Albus began to reach his hand into the fire.
Slowly, Albus moved his hand away from Rose's and closer to the fire. As he finally touched the fire, it seemed to do no harm to his hand. In fact, it seemed to be as if it were an illusion altogether. His fingers grasped the object within the fire. Eyes wide, he yelped, "It's a piece of paper!"
"Take it out!" Scorpius and Rose demanded in unison, glancing at each other. Quickly, Albus removed his hand from the fire, fingers still holding on to a single piece of paper.
"Are you okay?" Rose asked, always the worrier. Taking Albus' hand in her own, she examined it carefully. There was no sign of burn, no sign that he'd ever put his hand into the fire. Confused, she glanced up at the fire, which was still blazing away.
Scorpius was more interested in the piece of paper. "Oi! Albus, Rose, it's a letter! Come and see!"
Rose walked over and read over Scorpius' shoulder. The letter read:
To that buffoon Minerva McGonagall, 'prized' Headmaster of Hogwarts:
Well, Minerva, I'd suppose you're not the 'next Dumbledore', if you've let me come this far. Yes, Minerva, I was able to find your precious Room of Secrets. This means I have access to all of the Secrets of Hogwarts. All of those things you and your comrades have attempted to cover up, those things are now all in my hands. You've lost, Minerva. I know you've suspected all of those things about me- but you can't prove them. You'll never be able to prove them.
I've broken out of Azkaban, Minerva. I have done more than you'd ever hope to do in your worthless little Order of the Phoenix lives.
Anyways, this letter is a Portkey. You'll be transported to the Library of Secrets in about a minute, where you'll be able to see all the things that I have done to your precious little library.
The Keeper of the Fire
"The Keeper of the Fire?" Rose asked.
But her two friends' minds were on different matters. "A PORTKEY?" They yelped, but it was too late.
Suddenly, Rose felt a jerking sensation in her stomach. It was quite uncomfortable, but then she felt as if she was being pulled forward. Then, suddenly, her body was in the air, and she was being spiralled towards somewhere. So were Scorpius and Albus, apparently, her shoulder brushing Albus' and Scorpius'- they were all three spiralling towards somewhere, and then-
Smack. Rose fell face-forward into the dark green carpet. Or, rather, what was left of it. Dizzy, she pushed herself up.
"Wh- where are we?" Rose stuttered, glancing about the room. Charred books and paper littered what was left of the room. It was obviously Slytherin themed at one time, what with the green carpet and silver panelling, but it had been burnt down by someone. Probably this Keeper of the Fire Person.
"No clue," replied Scorpius, looking just as confused as Rose felt. "It looks like a library, doesn't it?"
"It does," Albus said in shock. Glancing down, he gasped. "Look, a letter!"
Crowding around, all three of them read the letter aloud.
Dear 'beloved' Headmaster, Minerva McGonagall,
Yes, this is what is left of your room that was filled with all of the secrets of Hogwarts. I've burnt it down, as to disguise any sign of who I am (you know who I am, don't you? You always did). But I have all of the secrets of Hogwarts.
Behind, I've left the file on one of your more prized students, Albus Severus Potter. He is quite the revolutionist, isn't he? Going into Slytherin like some common pure-blood. But I have the files on everyone else. Here's a riddle to help you find all of the files. I always loved riddles, didn't I?
The more you have of it, the less you see
At this time come and play with me
If you drop me, I'll surely crack
But if you smile at me, I'll smile right back
See you there, Minerva. That is- if you can figure it out.
The Keeper of the Fire
Confused, Rose glanced up at the two boys. Scorpius was absentmindedly biting his lip again, probably trying to figure out the riddle. Albus was twirling a stray piece of hair around his finger.
"Got anything?" Rose muttered, frowning.
"No," Scorpius said, still staring at the paper as if it would reveal something else if they stared at it for too long. "But I think they're two separate riddles... you know, The more you have it, the less you see/ If you drop me, I'll surely crack, but if you smile at me, I'll smile right back."
"What about At this time come and play with me?" Albus wondered.
"It's probably modifying the more you have of it, the less you see," Rose explained, catching on. "Which means that this is describing some sort of time, perhaps a time of day."
Stuffing the letter in his pocket, Albus declared, "We'll figure it out later. But right now I want to see this file on me."
Picking up the second piece of paper, Albus smoothed it out. All of them leaned over it.
Albus Severus Potter
Son of Ginevra Molly Weasley Potter and Harry James Potter
First Year, Slytherin
After arriving at Hogwarts, this boy has caused quite a stir. First, he was sorted into Slytherin, a feat unachieved by any past Potter or Weasley. This in itself sets him apart from all other students. He's also been said to be a star Quidditch player, becoming Seeker of the Slytherin team in his first year.
But is everything what it seems?
Sources say that Albus Potter has been seen as a rebel of sorts. Since his namesake and his father were both exceptional wizards, this eleven-year-old has big shoes to fill. Some say that this is why he's been trying, from the very beginning, to change his image.
"He seemed happy when he was sorted into Slytherin," one fellow Slytherin said. "You would expect a Potter-Weasley to be more concerned or worried, but after the initial shock, he was fine with it. No requested changes, nothing of the sort."
Over the course of the last few weeks, Albus Severus has had 3 detentions. Two were for back-talking Professor Jamisona; one was for being in the corridors after hours. Albus' fellow male Slytherins (in his year) include a close friend, Scorpius Malfoy (a close friend of Albus', perhaps a threat to his innocence?), Dawson Nott, Augustus Flint, and Allan Rosier.
Some sources believe that, because of his sorting, Albus Potter may not follow in his father's footsteps. Instead, he will become the next major Dark Wizard. Close surveillance is being kept on him at Hogwarts because of these suspicions. Also, main information regarding the past Wizarding War is being kept from him, so that he will not follow in Voldemort's footsteps instead.
Is Albus Severus Potter a promise or a threat? Only time will tell.
At the bottom of the page, a large photo of Albus, blinking and smiling, filled the place. Enraged, Albus tossed down the sheet of paper. "THEY EXPECT ME TO BECOME THE NEXT DARK LORD? ARE THEY MENTALLY STABLE? RUBBISH, ALL OF IT!"
Terrified, Rose and Scorpius exchanged worried looks. Reaching out, Rose placed a hand on her cousin's shoulder. "Al, calm down. They don't know what they're talking about, obviously."
"Agreed, mate," Scorpius agreed. "Just because you're a Slytherin doesn't mean you're planning to take over the world. I suppose I've proved that."
"You have, have you?" Albus raised one stormy black eyebrow. "How so?"
"My father's Draco Malfoy, Death Eater," Scorpius reminded him. "But you don't see me wanting to take over the world.
Wordlessly, Rose placed a hand on his back, and kept her other hand on Albus' shoulder. Albus wiped a tear from the corner of his eye and picked up his file, which had Portkey scrawled on the back. All three of them held onto it. The gripping sensation seized them again, and in a flurry of colour they were transported back to the castle.
Exiting the room quietly, they, still holding the letters and file, walked down the corridors when they ran into Louis, Natalie, Molly, Dominique, Lysander, Aquarius, and Lorcan.
"Great, Ravenclaws," Rose forced a smile. "I need to speak to you. Oh, and the rest of you too, I guess."
Nodding, Natalie replied, "Of course we'll help. Just... what is it?"
"We can't talk out here," Rose replied, eyeing the 'carefully surveyed' hallways. She grabbed the girl's arm. "Come on, let's duck into this room."
It turned out to just be a deserted classroom, and all of them filed in behind her. Conveniently, a table sat there just for them, filled with chairs. Smiling, Rose voiced her opinion. "Excellent."
Eyes wide, Lysander muttered, "The Room of Requirement! We've found it!"
"The Room of Requirement?" Molly asked, eyeing it.
"What, your father never mentioned it?" Lysander replied. "It's only the most amazing room in all of Hogwarts! It will transform itself to meet your needs. So, if you walk by and say, 'I need a bathroom', it will transform into a bathroom."
"Really?" Rose looked amazed. "Come on, let's sit down." In front of her, a whiteboard, perfect for what she needed it for, appeared in front of her.
Down the table, Rose counted them off in her head. Louis, Natalie, Molly, Lysander, Dominique, Albus, Aquarius, Scorpius, Lorcan. Perfect, almost all of them (except Louis) were in McGonagall's Army.
"Does anyone know what this riddle could mean?" Rose scrawled it on the board in her impeccable handwriting. The more you have it, the less you see.
All of them, especially the Ravenclaws, seemed to be examining it carefully. After a few minutes, Natalie spoke. "It's easy. The answer is darkness."
"Darkness!" Rose exclaimed. "Great job, Natalie! That fits it perfectly." We're supposed to go when it's dark outside, Rose thought. Scorpius and Albus nodded in agreement, and Louis whispered, "Good job for a Ravenclaw." Natalie hit him in the back of the head, and rubbing his neck, he high-fived her.
"What about this one?" Rose asked, pumped by Natalie's recent success. Underneath she scrawled, If you drop me, I'll surely crack, but if you smile at me, I'll smile right back.
Again, the wizards and witches examined the riddle. However, they seemed to be working for much longer this time. Finally, Lorcan spoke. "No idea."
"Me neither," All of them agreed in unison.
Glancing up at the clock, Albus announced, "I have Quidditch practice, so I should probably be going now. I'll see you later, Rose."
"Bye, Albus!" She called.
All of the others slumped back in their seats, probably sad that they weren't also able to make the team in their first years. Rose just sighed. "You can all go if you want to."
As the others left, Molly grabbed Rose's shoulder. "What is this all about?"
A/N: Hey, guys! Thanks to all of my lovely, lovely, lovely reviewers: mirage888, coketree20, yoyo, CandyforniaGurl851, sherbertgirl, and That Crazy Seddie Girl. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get back to you this time! But next time I definitely will because… *drumroll*
I'm offering an incentive to review! Here it is: If you review, I will PM or DocX or something you one freeverse of your choice, either ScorpiusMollyLysander or RoseScorpius. Either one I will send you, but if and only if you review! So leave a review with your choice in it, and I will PM you either Fire and Ice or Hot and Cold.
So, hurry up and review! And you can guess who the Keeper of the Fire is, but I won't tell you. :D