Chapter two

Albus woke up in a cold sweat. He'd been having that dream again about his first day of Hogwarts; it always seemed to come up in the beginning of a new school year. Albus looked around the rest of the dormitory, finding that all of of his roommates were still asleep. He wasn't sure what time it was since the Slytherin dormitory had no windows.

Albus got up and walked across the room to the small clock next to the water jug. It was half past six and Albus decided he'd stay up. He still needed to finish his potions homework Professor Slughorn gave them on their first day of classes.

Albus picked up his Advanced Potion Making Grade Three book and walked through the halls to the Slytherin common room. He was still thinking about the dream he had and how scary that event was in person. Without wanting to he relived the shock on everybody's faces when Albus Potter, son of the famous Harry Potter, was put into Slytherin, which was well-known to have churned out more dark wizards then all the other houses combined.

The common room was draped with Slytherin banners and decorated in Slytherin green and silver. Even the fireplace danced with green and silver flames, but the room had a nice, homey feeling to it even if it was cold as ice. He found some parchment and a quill and tired to write but he found himself distracted by his dream.

Albus remembered the yells at the Gryffindor table. James most of all when he stood up and shouted, "Slytherin! What the hell?"

The look of shock of the teacher's faces, many of them whispering to each other, and Neville, or… Professor Longbottom's look of disappointment, which he quickly tried to hide.

But, what Albus remembered the most was the look on the Slytherin's faces, each of them appeared to have just been slapped, that's how horrified they seemed over having Albus in their house. None of them clapped except a very snobbish part veela girl named Bella, who Albus knew to be his aunt Fleur's niece by her sister Gabriella.

Albus shook himself out of his morose thoughts, knowing he needed to finish his report. Potions came easily to him and he found the report a nice distraction. After about a half hour other students started to wake up, shuffling out of their dormitories, quietly talking and working on reports of their own. It wasn't until he saw his friend Scorpius that Albus decided the report was good enough. He wrapped it up and put it in his bag while Scorpius sat across him at the table.

"Morning," said Scorpius with a yawn. He looked at Albus' again. "How long have you been up?"

Albus shrugged. "Hour, I think . . . couldn't sleep."

"Hmm." Scorpius eyed him knowingly. "Bad dreams, I'm guessing."

Albus gave a nervous smile. "Yeah, maybe."

They decided to eat an early breakfast in the hopes (or Albus' hopes anyway) that he would run into his little sister Lily. He hadn't seen her since before they left for Hogwarts, and since she was sorted into Gryffindor that left breakfast as his only hope of catching a moment with her.

They left the common room, heading to the great hall, and Albus had noticed the poster for the Gobstones club on the school notice bored. He was thinking of joining. He'd always enjoyed playing. He made a mental note to ask Molly about it later since she was head of the committee.

They found their way to the Slytherin table, which was the farthest from the door and sat down. As usual the other Slytherin's slowly moved away from them, giving them nasty looks every so often as they piled their plates with food. Albus hoped it would stop this year but he could see he was wrong. In fact it seemed to be getting worse.

He ate slowly, enjoying the wonderful food Hogwarts had to offer, which thanks to his aunt Hermione was made by free house elves. After a while both Albus and Scorpius were so full they just sat at the table unable to move. To Albus' disappointment he still hadn't seen his little sister. Hoping Lily may show up he tried to slow there departure. Even still, he could only stall for so long before they had to leave for class.

As they were heading out of the Great Hall, Scorpius stopped walking and smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. "Damn, I forgot my potions report."

Albus brushed his hair out of his eyes. "So what, we'll just pick it up on the way to-"

"No, you don't understand. I forgot to write it."

Albus gaped at him. "Really? Then what were you up late writing last night?"

Scorpius blushed, his fair skin making his discomfort more than obvious. "Never you mind. It's… just don't worry about it. I got to try to get something done before class. I'm dead if I show up completely empty handed. I'll meet you there."

Albus watched Scorpius run off, feeling a little confused by his best friend's potions slip up because Scorpius was usually pretty diligent about his homework. He was just considering following after Scorpius and helping him come up with something for his forgotten report when he spotted Lily walking to the Gryffindor table.

"Hey, Lil, Lil!" yelled Albus, running up to the Gryffindor table and purposely ignoring the disapproving glares from the other Gryffindors.

"Al!" said Lily, turning to Albus with a huge smile on her face, appearing completely oblivious to her housemates' displeasure. She leaned in to hug him, her arms tight around his middle. "I've been looking for you everywhere! I completely missed you at all the meals yesterday.

"How's Hogwarts?" Albus asked anxiously, remembering his own horrendous first year. "Is everyone treating you okay?"

Lily smiled. "Oh yes, I'm actually having a great time. Everyone's been really friendly and helpful. Hugo and I have been going to classes together and everything."

"Hugo? Where is he, anyway?" Albus hadn't seen his cousin since the train either.

Lily shrugged. "I think he's hanging around with James. We don't have classes for a few hours, so they're probably goofing off."

Albus gave Lily a dark look. "Try not to let him get you two into trouble because you know he will. He always does."

Lily frowned. "Albus, you know… he's not that bad. I know you guys had a fight on the train back to school but he really does love you."

"Yeah! Okay, Lil, you keep telling yourself that," said Albus more forcefully then he meant to because he couldn't hide the bitterness James always churned up. After a long, awkward pause he swallowed hard and forced a smile. "Anyway, I want you to have a good day. Keep yourself out of trouble, study hard, all that stuff."

Lily was still frowning, before she whispered almost sadly, "You too, Al."

Albus nodded and turned to leave, but before he could get more than few steps Lily surged forward and held he arm tightly. She had a strange glare in her eyes and her voice was oddly monotone. "Albus, you will meet conflict today."

"What makes you say that?" Albus asked, frowning down at her.

She shrugged, blinking away the distant glassiness to her gaze. "I don't know, just a feeling. Anyway bye, Al." She gave him a wide, loving smile. "I want you to have a good day too."

"Okay," Albus said, pulling a face at her before he turned once again to leave. His sister always did weird things like that and he was pretty immune to it. "Later, Lil. I'll look for you at dinner."

Forgetting Lily's ominous warnings, Albus walked quickly through the halls of Hogwarts, now in danger of actually being late for potions. He was about to enter the dungeons when he saw Scorpius with a group of people, one of them being the person he least wanted to see… James.

"Al, what a treat to see you. We were just giving a little back to school welcome to our friend Scorpius here," said James with an evil grin.

Albus tried his best not to sound nervous. "Give him back his wand, James. Now!"

James laughed. "Why? We're just teaching him a few spells. I'm guessing he wanted us to magically glue his fingers together because he was giving us a shockingly rude hand gesture when we passed him, wasn't he, Fred?"

"Sure was, James," smirked Fred. "We're truly appalled. Bad manners like that insult our delicate sensibilities."

Albus took in the rest of the group as he walked closer. His cousin Fred with his dark hair, tanned skin and freckles over the bridge of his nose was walking strange due to his pockets that were noticeably stuffed and clunky. Albus guessed were full of dungbombs. Next to him he saw Louis, Albus' "better then you" part-veela cousin with his neatly styled hair and sparkling Gryffindor badge. Then Albus saw Hugo who was looking a little nervous, as if uncertain whether to join in the fun or help Scorpius. Finally he found little Frank Longbottom jumping up and down on his toes. He was jumping up and down, making it obvious that it was impossible for him to sit still as he looked up at James in admiration.

"Anyway," continued James simply, as if discussing the weather rather than tormenting his younger brother's best friend. "I think we were all surprised that Scorpius could be so rude. You'd think someone as high-class as him would have been raised with better manners.

Albus' saw Scorpius look of rage, "Give me back my wand, now!" said Scorpius very slowly in a highbrow, condescending manner that seemed to be some sort of birthright he used when cornered. "Or my father-"

"Your father!" yelled James, laughing incredulously. "You know what, Scorp, you tell your father. I'm so scared."

Albus was tried of this. He pulled out his wand and pointed it at James. Most of the group stopped smiling, except James whose smile grew broad and taunting.

"Are you going to hex me, Al? Give it your best shot." He raised his hands up in the air and smirked as if daring him to attack. "I dare you."

Albus was about to, finding the notion of hexing his brother more than a little appealing, when he heard a well-known voice shout,"Expelliarmus!"

James' wand went flying along with Scorpius' wand he'd been holding hostage. James, with his arms still raised, fell face first on the ground from the force of the spell and the rest of the group spun around, wands out. Everyone quickly lowed them when they saw the attacker was Rose, who looked none to pleased at the moment.

With the two other wands in her hand, she stomped over to them. "James, what do you think you are doing?"

James picked himself up, dusting at his robes as he gave Rose a smile. "Nothing, Rosie, just having a little fun."

Rose glared at James, and then turned to Hugo, hands on her hips as she glared at her younger brother. "Hugo, don't you have a class to get ready for?"

Hugo looked up at his sister, wincing. "But, Rosie."

"No buts! Today is your first charms class. Now get going."

Hugo rolled his eyes and turned to leave, obviously sensing his sister was in a mood. Once he was down the hall, she leveled her rage at the rest of the group, several of whom took a step back from Rose's furious glare as she snapped, "As for the rest of you, clear out."

Every one started to walk away without argument. The only resistance was from James who made sure to bump into Albus as he turned to walk away, whispering under his breath, "Can't believe little Rosie had to save your necks again."

He did a fake sigh and smiled at the look of anger on Albus' face.

Little Frank came up to Albus with a very excided smile, still hoping up and down from the level of his enthusiasm. Albus had long been of the opinion Frank Longbottom needed a daily dose of hyperactivity potion to help him with that hopping problem.

"Hey, Al, how's it going? Haven't seen you all summer. Where've you been? Wait! Don't tell me! At home, right? Am I right?" Frank said this all very fast and before Albus could answer Frank continued, "Anyway, we're going to set up some dungbombs on the third floor. That should be fun and-"

"Come on, Frank. Let's go!" called James.

"Coming, James. See you later, Al." Frank bounced away, his gait more a skip than a usual human walk.

"I think that chap needs some sort of potion for his nerves," Scorpius observed, the elitist, highbrow pitch still heavy in his voice like a lingering defense mechanism. "No normal wizard has that much energy this early in the morning and he only gets worse as the day progresses. There should be heavy sedation in his future."

"I can't argue with that. You'd think Professor Longbottom never heard of a hyperactivity potion." Albus turned to Scorpius, who was avoiding his gaze, choosing instead to dourly watch the group of Gryffindors walk loudly down the hallway and away from them.

Rose sniffed at the two of them, turning to narrow usually warm brown eyes at Scorpius. "Malfoy."

"Weasley," Scorpius countered, still avoiding both of their gazes.

That was the closest the two of them ever came to a greeting.

Rose turned to Albus again asked, "What the bloody hell was all that about?"

"It's nothing. Just James being a prat," Albus said with a snarl. "I guess that means all is right in the universe because you and I both know if James isn't stirring up trouble that means the world has tilted on it's axis."

"Hmm." Rose shook her head. "Don't worry about it so much, Al. You need to learn to just ignore him."

"Easy for you to say! You're little miss perfect," Scorpius said angrily. "No one messes with you. It's like you walk on rays of sunshine and no one would even think to back talk the Queen of Hogwarts."

"That's a little overstated. Are all Malfoys as prone to dramatics as you are?" Rose asked with a roll of her eyes. She looked at her watch when Scopious huffed and gasped, "Potions is about to start."

That was all it took for Scorpius to bite back whatever retort he had. The three of them made their way quickie to potions, with Scorpius suspiciously silent over what had happened. It wasn't until they were rounding the corner in the dungeons to the potions classroom that Albus finally turned to Rose. "Hey, Rose, can you look over my potions homework. I kind of rushed it."

"Your potions work is always brilliant," Rose said with a frown. "This is the only class I'm not getting top marks in because of you."

"Yeah," Albus agreed, giving her a smile. "But, my spelling's a bit dodgy sometimes."

"Lucky you even have yours done. I don't have anything. I'm completely empty handed. I never made it to the commonroom. I ran into… well…" sighed Scorpius.

"Why'd you have to egg them on like that?" asked Albus, even if they'd made a silent agreement not to talk about it. "Give them the two finger salute and you know they're gonna attack you like a pack of rabid chimeras."

"Because they were snarling at me. It's not like I attacked them or anything," said Scorpius defensively. "I'm not just going to roll over and take it from those Gryffindor bastards."

Rose now had Albus' report and was crossing things out, correcting words and muttering to herself in very Rose like fashion as they walked. It was amazing she didn't trip and fall, but she never did when she was working on the go. Scorpius once suggested they sell tickets and put Rose's amazing talents for walking and reading on display for profit because it was sort of awe-inspiring to watch.

Due to Rose's walking and correcting slowing them down, they arrived at the potion classroom a little late, but professor Slughorn didn't seem angry. In fact, he seemed as pleased as he usually did to see them walk into the classroom.

"Albus! My boy," Slughorn boomed. "I thought you had gotten lost. Take a seat right in the front." He pulled out a chair for Albus, gesturing for him to seat while ignoring Scorpius. "And miss Rose." He turned and smiled at Rose. "How's your mother? I haven't spoken to her in ages. One of the most talented witches I ever taught."

"She's fine…as usual," Rose said indulgently despite being asked that same question every week because she always liked Slughorn.

The rest of the class was looking angrily at Rose and Albus and Slughorn seemed to notice because he stepped up and returned to his desk. "Now today we will be doing something a bit different than usual since the potion we're going to be working on still hasn't been figured out yet. I told one of my old potions friends who works at the ministry that I would try to help him with the creation process. What a fun project for my third years to try their hands at. I will give you what we've worked out so far and all of you will use what you've learned and attempt to effectively build a potion."

Rose raised her hand. "What is the potion?"

"A cure for the common cold." Slughorn smiled, looking pleased with himself, but had to raise his voice when the class started chattering anxiously. "Now I'm going to give you each the details my partner and I have worked out thus far and you will have two hours to try to perfect it. Do your best and maybe you'll surprise yourself with your creative potion brewing sides. Some of the best potion makers aren't good at following other's direction, but are brilliant and devising potions of their own."

Slughorn gave Albus a parchment with notes and ingredients listed on it. Then with a knowing wink he walked to the other students. Albus had no idea what he was going to do, but he looked at the list of ingredients and the notes on the parchment before he started to work on finishing the recipe for the common cold potion. The first few things he tried had very little effect. He knew instinctively he was going about it wrong, but it was nothing to how the rest of the class was doing. Jason Flint of Slytherin had just thrown in some kind of root that made his potion purple. When he tried to stir it, it blew up, leaving him covered in purple mush

"It's all right, hospital ring is what you need. She'll be waiting for you," said Slughorn to a very panicked Jason. "I expected as much. Potion experimentation is tricky business, tricky business indeed!"

The Scamander twins of Ravenclaw burned there attempt at the potion. The charred concoction released such a horrible smell the entire class had to leave the room for five minutes so Slughorn could clean it up.

A few students managed to make something. When there seemed to be some measure of success Slughorn brought out a very scared looking sixth year that was in detention and also had the profound misfortune of suffering from a cold. Slughorn made the poor bloke try potions he deemed possible successes, forcing Albus to make a mental note to never get detention with Slughorn.

Rose' potion worked for a few minutes, but then seemed to make his cold even worse. Scorpius' potion made the sixth year's muscle freeze as if he was petrified and it took Slughorn several minutes to revive him. Now with only five minutes to go Albus had nothing and was siting there thinking hard on what could make the potion work until it hit him. His father once told him about something called a Bezoar and from what he remembered it could heal most deadly poisons. Although this wasn't a poison cure he had a feeling that when mixed with the other things he put in the potion it may work as a healing potion.

Albus ran up to the cabinet and managed to find the little brown stone. He threw it into the potion and started to stir it. When he was satisfied with the color and thickness of the brew he walked up and gave it to the sixth year. Considering the fiasco with Scorpius' potion, he was hesitant to take another potion but after some interesting threats from Slughorn the tall, miserable sixth year downed the potion. The entire class looked at him, waiting for something terrible to happen, but after a long, silent wait it seemed the only side affect from taking Albus' potion was that his cold was completely cured.

"Amazing!" yelled Slughorn. "You've got your father's and grandmother's brains boy. Just amazing. I didn't think anyone, even you, would actually come up with something workable. I was impressed with Miss Weasley's attempt, but this…Truly impressive," Slughorn continued talking about Albus until almost half the class was gone. Albus got up to leave, but Slughorn held him back and waited until everyone left before he asked, "I'm having a bit of a little party next week and I would be delighted if you could be there."

Albus was afraid of this. Slughorn was always trying to invite him to Slug Club meetings and Albus usually attempted to get out of it but rarely managed it.

"Umm, sure, I'll try." Albus gave a weak smile as Slughorn pated him on the back and sent him on his was.

Albus met up with Scorpius, who informed him Rose was a bit hacked off over Albus stealing her glory in potions and had left. Albus thought that seemed unfair of her considering she beat him in just about everything else. It wasn't like he had a whole lot of glory moments at Hogwarts.

The rest of the day was rather boring. They had Charms with Professor Chang who always seemed to dislike Albus. Something about his father, talk about unfair. Then they had Ancient Runes, which Albus chose for his third year class because he found the subject interesting. However it was hard to convince Scorpius to take it and thus far the only thing Scorpius had to say about the class was less than enthusiastic.

Finally, it was dinnertime and they were heading to the Great Hall. Albus was starving. The highlight of his day at Hogwarts was always the food.

Scorpius pointed to a staircase. "Hey, let's go through the second floor. It's faster."

Albus shook his head, thinking of the dungbombs Frank had told him about. "Bad idea. I think we'll find a very smelly surprise."

When they entered the Great Hall he saw the school notice board and took a look at the Gobstones poster again. There were a few new names, but none of any interest—good or bad. Albus also looked at the Quidditch sign ups. The Gryffindors were holding tryouts tomorrow and the Slytherin's a few days later. Albus turned to his best mate, seeing Scorpius staring at the Quidditch sign ups longingly. Albus knew Scorpius always wanted to be on the Slytherin team but Scoprius was about as good a flyer as Albus was, which meant he was pretty darn bad because Albus was a hazard to himself and others whenever he was forced to attempt flying.

They sat at the Slytherin table. As usual students moved away from them slowly and Albus mused that this level of social doom never got any easier. He saw James across the way talking animatedly to a group of girls who were looking at him dreamily and that didn't help his bad mood either.

When he saw Molly, who was now a fifth year prefect, walking to the Ravenclaw table Albus jumped up before he even knew he'd made the decision to do it.

"Hey, Molly!" Albus yelled.

Molly turned, looking to the Slytherin table before she smiled and walked over. "Hey, Al. What can I do for you?"

"Could you get me a spot on the Gobstones team?" Albus asked quickly. "I know you're head of the committee for Hogwarts.

Molly looked a little surprised. "You'll have to talk the Slytherin team Capitan, that'll be Alex. Did you put your name down?"

"Well… No, but I was hoping you could just put me on the team since you're in charge of the whole thing."

"We can't be breaking the rules, now can we? I will tell you a secret though." Molly leaned in, giving Albus a smile as she whispered conspiratorially, "If Alex won't take you on the Slytherin team, there's a bylaw that says you can challenge your house Team Capitan and if you win four out of five rounds you get on the team if he approves or not. If you're that good, Al, and he gives you any problems, I say you go for it."

Albus smiled, feeling a spark of hope burst inside of him. "Thanks, Molly."

Her smile became bemused as she studied him. "I didn't know you played."

Albus shrugged, leaving it unsaid that his parents and sibblings thought it was a pointless game when compared to glory of Quidditch. He never wanted them to know he enjoyed it as much as he did. "Yeah, I like it."

"You've never played with me," she said, looking a little hurt. "All those big family get-togethers when we were playing, you could have joined in."

After dinner Albus and Scorpius walked back to the common room, running into Peeves the Poltergeist who threw inkbottles at them, laughing manically as the bottles barley missed them and sent them sprinting the rest of the way to the dungeons.

Finally after what seemed like a never-ending day Albus curled into bed. He thought that perhaps this year may not be that bad, but he had been wrong the two years before and was likely wrong again, with those fitful thoughts he drifted to sleep to fight his nightmares once again.