Author's note: This is one of my novel length stories. The story is finished on my computer and was previously published on HPANA. I want to use the repost to go over it again. Therefore, I will not post the whole thing in one go but little by little according to how much time I have at hand. Nevertheless, the wait between chapters shouldn't be very long. I like getting things done.
So, here is the story. Reviews are appreciated and usually make me work faster.
A. S. Potter and the Haunted Tower
As the train went around a bend, Al lost sight of his parents and little sister. He sighed. He wouldn´t see them again before Christmas. Never before had he been seperated from his family for so long. Of course his big brother, James, was going to Hogwarts, too. It was a bit of comfort to know he´d be nearby, although Al knew he wasn´t going to see too much of him. Al didn´t want to be known as his big brother´s sidekick. His uncles had warned him to find his own friends, his own place within the school and his uncles must know after all. They had been six. Al smiled when he thought about his uncles, whom he loved dearly, though he never had known one of them, Fred. Fred, who had been the bravest and funniest and best of them all, as he had been told.
With a sigh the boy stepped back from the window and went to find himself a seat not in his brother´s compartement. Of course he could sit with his cousin Rose, who was starting at Hogwarts, too, but sitting with girls wasn´t too tempting. Slowly he stepped along the corridor, peeking into compartements as he passed them. Were there no first year boys on this train? Seemingly not, at least none, who weren´t gathered in full compartements.
At last Al gave up and sat in an empty compartement. This was not how he had imagined things to go. He was supposed to find friends! And now he was going to spend the journey lonely in his compartement. He stiffled a sob. How very much in character for him to stay alone on a train full of children. He never had made friends as easily as his big brother. James was a very open-hearted boy, who made friends easily. He, Albus, was shy. Maybe this was because he was ill quite often when he was younger. He had spent some time alone in his room while other children socialized. Making contact with others came hard to him.
Al started when the compartment door slid open.
"Is this seat taken?" asked a small voice.
"No, do come in," Al replied happily and turned from the window to greet the newcomer. His smile froze when he recognized the blond boy his uncle Ron had called Scorpius.
The boy´s features hardened when Al´s smile disappeared. "I take it the seat is taken on second thought," the child sounded bitter. In fact, he sounded as sad as Al felt.
"No," Al hurried to say. "It is not. Do sit down."
The pale boy´s eyes went wide, but he sat.
"I´m Scorpius Malfoy," he said and offered his hand.
Al took it. "Albus Potter," he introduced himself with a shy smile.
"Potter?" Scorpius´ eyes went even wider, if it was possible. "Like HARRY Potter?"
Al was taken aback. "My dad´s called Harry."
"Woah!" Scorpius scrutinized him with newly found admiration. "You must be kidding! You´re HARRY POTTER´s son?"
Al nodded shyly, but said nothing.
For a while the two boys traveled in silence. It was Scorpius, who broke it at last.
"Was that your dad, on the platform?"
"Yes." Al was a bit irritated. What was all that talking about his father about? Strange. First people stared at them at the station and then this boy was asking funny questions.
"I´m sorry," said the blond boy after a while.
"For pestering you. You obviously don´t want to talk to me and I keep asking questions. I didn´t mean to bother you."
"You aren´t bothering me," Al replied softly. "It´s just . . . I don´t understand."
"Your talking about my dad. And you feeling like you´re bothering me."
It was Scorpius´ turn to look puzzled. "Don´t tell me you don´t know!"
"Don´t know what?"
"Your dad´s a war hero and," Scorpius lowered his eyes in shame, "mine fought on the wrong side. That´s why nobody wanted me in their compartement. I´ll go. You´ll not want me here either, now you know."
The blond boy got up and opened the door.
Al watched in horror as the one person, who´d talk to him, prepared to leave.
"Stay!" He nearly shouted it.
Scorpius turned slowly and a bright smile enlightened his face. "Really?"
The blond returned to his seat. Again they remained silent for a while, but this time they smiled at each other and the silence was companionable, not awkward.
"So what is this with my dad being a war hero?"
Al spent the next hours listening breathlessly to Scorpius telling him how their dads had fought in The War and Harry Potter had killed the Evil Wizard and become a hero, while Draco Malfoy had fought for the other side and had – despite the family´s wealth – ended up as kind of an outcast of wizarding society. The Malfoys were rich, but they were not trusted and lived rather withdrawn from the public at Malfoy Manor. With the Evil Wizard gone, money could buy neither respect nor fear.
Al wondered, why Scorpius told about his family´s past so openly and at last he dared ask the question.
"Dad says," the boy answered, "that people are even more angry when they find out later. Better tell them in the beginning, so they can choose whether they want anything to do with you. Will you?"
Al didn´t need to think about that. "Of course! You didn´t fight in The War, neither for one side, nor for the other. You aren´t responsible for what happened before you were born."
Scorpius grinned. "Are you sure you didn´t know about your dad? He keeps saying that in his speeches."
Al was taken aback. Speeches? His dad? His dad got nervous when he was supposed to make a speech at Gran Molly´s birthday party!
James had told his little brother about Hogwarts, how he had arrived at the station and travelled by boat over the lake to the castle with Hagrid. Nevertheless Al was lost for words when he first saw the castle.
He and Scorpius sat in Hagrid´s boat with Rose. The girl managed to look pleased and annoyed at the same time. Al understood. On one hand, being invited into the boat by Hagrid himself was quite cool, on the other hand, being separated from her newly found friends wasn't. He himself´d be very unhappy, if Hagrid hadn't helped Scorpius into the boat right after Al.
The lake was smooth like glass. The castle's many lights were reflected perfectly and so the children saw the school twice as they approached the shore. Al was glad the water was calm. He'd dreaded travelling a rough lake. He remembered when their parents had taken the family to France and his father had insisted on taking the ferry, because he thought that Lily was too small to apparate. Al had been seasick all the time.
When they finally arrived at the castle, Hagrid left them with Uncle Neville – Professor Longbottom, Al had to remember that. The professor welcomed them warmly and explained about the four Hogwarts houses. Then they were led into the Great Hall and towards the Head Table, where the headmistress greeted them with a smile.
Professor Longbottom brought a three legged stool and a very old wizard's hat, which burst into song shortly after it had been placed on the stool. The hat advised the listeners to stand united and never forget what happened at Hogwarts. Al wondered what it was that had happened at Hogwarts. Was the hat referring to dad killing the Evil Wizard? Al had hardly believed it, when Scorpius had told him about the Battle of Hogwarts, how Al´s dad had saved Scorpius´ dad´s life and how Scorpius´ gran had saved Al´s dad´s.
The boy started when Professor Longbottom started to read out names from a long scroll and one by one the first years stepped to the stool and put on the Sorting Hat.
Scorpius was sorted into Slytherin, which was no surprise. The blond boy had said on the train that all his family had been in Slytherin for centuries.
Al was a bit sad about that. His family had been in Gryffindor for ages and as much as he liked Scorpius, he wished with all his heart that the hat was going to put him into Gryffindor, too.
His brother had teased him all summer that he might end up in Slytherin, but dad had said that the hat would put him into Gryffindor if he wanted it badly enough. Well, if wanting it was the stipulation to get in, Al was as good as.
He hurried to the stool when Uncle, no, Professor Longbottom called his name and sat. The hat was too big for him and it slid down over his eyes. Al was thankful his ears stopped the hat from sliding down to his shoulders.
Somebody giggled. "In all those centuries," a tiny voice said, "nobody has ever pictured that. Thanks for giving me this image, it will entertain me during lonely evenings on my shelf. So, little one, where will I put you?"
"Gryffindor, please, please, Gryffindor!" Al thougth with all his might.
"Want Gryffindor, eh? They all want Gryffindor since the Potter boy got rid of the Heir."
"What Heir?" Al asked curiously.
"The Heir of Slytherin, of course."
"The Heir of Slytherin? I wasn´t aware there was an Heir of Slytherin."
"Want to find out more about the house? Then best be SLYTHERIN!"
Al´s stomach went cold. The hat had shouted the last word aloud and the whole hall was buzzing with whispers. Even the teachers joined in.
"Slytherin?" Al heard a man say, "my, my, Potter´s going to faint when he hears his boy went into Slytherin."
"Potter?" a woman answered, "wait till the Weasleys hear."
Al thought he was going to faint. Hands shaking, he put the hat back on the stool and with wobbling knees he set out for the Slytherin table. He was not going to make it. ´Wait till the Weasleys hear´. ´Potter´s going to faint´. He was a disgrace to the family. James had been right all summer. The boy set one foot in front of the other like he was in a trance. He was going to faint. What had looked like a few meters moments ago seemed like a far distance now.
Suddenly there was a hand at his elbow.
"Come," said Scorpius, "I´ll help you."
Thankful, Al allowed himself to be led to the Slytherin table and steered onto a bench beside Scorpius. He wasn´t aware that there were no greetings and handshakes like when other first years had joined a house table. The whole house was dumbfounded. Some stared at him in disbelief, others in open hostility.