"I can't even believe it," Victoire kept saying, slumped in her armchair after the N.E.W.T. tests, which were apparently nastily exhausting as expected. "I can't believe there's going to be a global revelation. I didn't think it was even possible, before Easter."
"How are they going to do it, again?" asked Albus, having just finished packing up his trunk; the Hogwarts Express left for home tomorrow morning, and he just wanted to hit his bed directly after tonight's feast without worrying about getting his stuff together.
"How are they going to do the Global Revelation, you mean?"
"Simultaneous press conferences," said Victoire. "With a lot of people in attendance. They're going to make the announcement at the same time all over the world, and then prove that they're serious by performing magic for the audience. I believe Helio Wilcox himself is going to make the announcement for the Prime Minister… I hope he stays safe."
"I'm sure he will," said Albus, a pit forming in his stomach despite his reassurances, which were more to himself than to Victoire.
A loud thud sounded throughout the common room; Victoire and Albus both leapt to their feet and looked around until they saw Lucy with a Knee-Knocker stuck to the back of her legs.
As expected, James's head appeared out of thin air and shouted "UNENDING VENGEANCE!" before charging out of the portrait hole, Lucy right behind him, brandishing her wand and screaming like a madwoman.
Albus had to hand it to James; his brother had a talent for diffusing the tension. He laughed, hard, because he needed something to laugh about.
"I think it's time for the end-of-term feast," said Louis, walking up to his sister and cousin. "Come on, Victoire, I know the N.E.W.T.s knocked a lot out of you, but this is the last feast you'll ever get to go to at Hogwarts, you have to come!"
Exo was following shortly behind Louis, but kept going when Louis stopped. Albus recalled that Louis was Exo's mentor—how had he not thought to ask Louis if he knew Exo's condition?
But Louis was a great guy… Albus had never known him to be mean or mistrustful. Louis probably wouldn't tell, even if he knew. Was it still worth a try—would Louis be disappointed with Albus if he asked?
As he was debating this, Louis watched Exo leave through the portrait hole, and then he leaned down to Albus and whispered in his ear.
"Hey… You're friends with Exo, right? I know this may be a prying question, but… do you know what his illness is?"
Albus tried not to laugh.
"I was actually about to ask you that."
Louis smiled. "Ah, so that's a no?"
"I was wondering, actually," said Albus, shrugging, "if he was part-werewolf? Like your dad?"
Louis shook his head. "Definitely not. Dad gets a little rough around the edges on a full moon. Exo looks his healthiest when there's a full moon, for some reason."
"You don't think he's any part werewolf, then?"
"It could be some weird variation of the Transfection," pondered Louis. "But I tend to doubt it. I wonder if we'll ever know; his dad seems rather secretive about it. He asked me not to be nosy about it, said it was a sensitive topic for Exo."
"I know. He gets really defensive about it sometimes."
"I feel like all this secrecy, and reluctance to trust, is what's making it such a sensitive topic for him," Louis remarked. "But that's just my opinion, I don't claim to know better than his father." He raised his voice after this and looked around. "Shall we head down to the feast?"
Victoire made an indistinguishable guttural sound.
"Shall I drag you down to the feast?" said Louis, rolling his eyes and taking Victoire's hand, pulling her out of the armchair as she continued to make throaty noises and try to fall backwards onto the chair.
With one hand still holding Victoire, Louis waved his wand at the chair in which she was sitting; spikes like a porcupine sprung up all over it. "Now will you stop trying to sit down?" he laughed; she finally groaned and stood all the way up.
"Are they really that exhausting?" asked Albus as he trotted alongside her; Victoire was very tall and it was hard to keep up with her long strides.
"They're nastily exhausting," she replied. "You don't really know until you've done spells for hours at a time… It is incredibly draining. The hardest spells are what they test you on, and those are the spells with the most Kinesis—have you learned Gaimond's Law yet?"
Albus nodded. "In Transfiguration."
"Wow, Desulgon moves fast through the material… The more Kinesis, the more powerful your spells become, but it drains you at a rate proportional to both your base Kinetic level and the channel resistance of the artifact being used—okay, I know I'm probably not making much sense to you, but I'm angry at having to study all this material just to pass one test, so I'm using my knowledge wherever else possible. Anyway, the point is that when you do advanced spellwork—when you do a lot of it—it is actually extremely physically exhausting, and the results get poorer as you go. That's why Apparition should only be attempted across certain distances, and never more than a few times consecutively; you're likely to leave a large percentage of your body behind if your reduced Kinetic level is too low. You can raise your level, make an augmented Kinetic level, with certain potions that are extremely laborious to make, like MOTHER EFFING ACROPOTENTIA!"
Victoire screamed this last phrase louder than Albus had ever heard her. "WHY THE HELL CAN I REMEMBER THE NAME NOW AND NOT WHILE I'M TAKING THE TEST?" she roared.
They thankfully reached the dining hall before she could physically injure herself or those around her. Albus joined the first year Gryffindor group and waited for Professor Wilcox to address them.
The chattering died down slowly as Wilcox stood up and raised his arms. He tugged on the front of his robes and clasped his hands behind his back, and began.
"First off… What a successful year, for all of us! I hope we all continue to have these successes, whether we are doing so in a subsequent year of our education, or if we are headed into the world to take up exciting careers. Whatever the case, if you have worked hard, success will follow you. If you haven't worked hard, my sincerest hope is that you will learn to do so as soon as possible."
Riley made a sad face and traced a fake teardrop down his cheek. Scott sniggered.
"Speaking of hard workers, I believe our fair Hufflepuff House has achieved something exciting!" said Wilcox. "Here are the point totals for the House Cup!
"Ravenclaw was in fourth with three hundred and ninety four points. Slytherin was in third, with four hundred and thirty three points. Gryffindor took second, with four hundred and fifty seven points… and Hufflepuff is our winning House, with five hundred and eighteen points! Congratulations to Hufflepuff! This is a new record; Hufflepuff has never taken either the House Cup or the Quidditch Cup for six years in a row. This year, they've taken both! I think a round of applause is in order, everyone!"
The Gryffindors and Ravenclaws clapped half-heartedly; the Slytherins barely clapped. But the Hufflepuffs were going ballistic. Euan Yodelhop's friends were all reaching over and shaking him violently as he laughed. Albus glanced up at the staff table. Professor Plinky and Professor Westerling were both crying with happiness; they were both Hufflepuff teachers, Professor Westerling being head of Hufflepuff House. Professor Westerling actually left the staff table to shake Euan's hand and hug him.
"I'm shocked," said Nearly Headless Nick, floating by the first years.
"Why?" said Eben, confused. "Everybody knew Hufflepuff was going to win again this year."
"No, I'm shocked that Gryffindor took second," explained Nick.
"Why would you be surprised at that?" asked Toby. "You're supposed to be rooting for us, aren't you?"
"Nine boys to five girls in Gryffindor came in this year," Nick said. "Nothing against males in general, but preteen boys…" He shook his head. "I'm shocked we made better than last place!"
He sailed away as the rest of the boys began to badmouth him, holding his hands up, clearly intending them to understand, "it's true, don't kill the messenger."
"Now, we must reluctantly feast," said Wilcox. "I will see most of you again next year. Third years who have signed up to be mentors to the incoming first years, we again sincerely thank you. Those moving into your fifth year, remember to balance your N.E.W.T. work with helping your mentee select classes and deal with the harder coursework; this is a four-year commitment! And with that, I conclude my announcements. Have a wonderful summer, everyone! It'll be a historic one!"
The train rumbled into King's Cross slowly, and the friends said their final farewells.
"Next time we see each other, Muggles will know about magic," said Aidan, shaking his head in disbelief. "It's… crazy."
"I still don't think it's a good idea," said Eftan. "But at this point… it's like it's a choice between two bad ideas. I mean, Muggles deserve the truth as to why so many of them were just massacred."
"Where's Mia?" asked Alec, looking around, completely oblivious (as usual) to the mood of the current conversation.
Albus shook all of his friends' hands, and then they walked out into the aisle.
In front of them was James. He tousled Albus's hair and grinned in his direction. But as he was turned in their direction, Lucy pushed her way through the aisle and got up close; when James turned back around, she stuck something in his mouth.
James's hair snapped out behind his head as if in a breeze, and then his hairs changed color and length, one by one, until he had Lucy's head of flowing red hair. He pulled the Toupeepop out of his mouth and gawked.
"Unending vengeance!" called Lucy, with short and messy brown hair, laughing her head off with her friends at James's new hairstyle.
James nodded in appreciation of the prank, but narrowed his eyes and pointed a finger at her face.
As they were exiting the train, about to look for their parents, Albus heard his name called. He turned around to see Holly waving at him; she bounded over with a spring in her step and skidded to a stop next to him.
"Er," she said nervously. "Have—Have a nice summer!"
"You too," said Albus, smiling congenially, very glad that she had thought of him.
"Just wanted to… say goodbye," she said, and she leaned forward and pecked him on the cheek.
Albus heated up so badly that he started to sweat as Holly scampered away.
"G—Goodbye," he said, about five seconds after she had left.
Alec laughed. "Nice."
A loud squeal came from behind Albus, and he turned around to see Rose run at him and embrace him in a hug. She nearly crushed his lungs with the force.
"I knew it! I knew Holly liked you!" she yelled delightedly, and then Albus knew why she was so happy when he had told her that he and Holly were just friends: She'd known he was lying.
When she extricated herself from his neck, his father was standing over them, smiling curiously. Thankfully, he didn't ask about the exchange; he just took his turn with the hugs. When he turned to hug James, he gave a start, and then he actually looked angry.
"What on EARTH—"
"Lucy's fault," mumbled James, tossing his long locks out of his face.
"We can't bring you around the Muggle world looking like this!" shouted Harry, as Ginny walked up to them with Lily and stifled a laugh in her coat sleeve.
"Lucy's re-vengeance," explained James.
"Toupeepops," said Albus.
"Well, they work, so props to George," said Ginny, sighing.
"What are we going to do about this?" asked Harry. "A hat?"
He waved his wand, and James's hair whipped straight up on his head; Harry conjured a hat out of the air, and crammed it down over all of the hair. It still looked like a girl's hair, but at least it wasn't extremely out of the ordinary now. Ginny produced a hooded jacket which James could use to hide where the hair stuck out the back.
"What have we learned today about antagonizing our cousins?" scolded Ginny.
"Girls suck," muttered James under his breath.
"Was it his fault?" asked Harry, leaning over to Albus.
"You and your unending vengeance," said Albus as they passed through the barrier again. "Just telling the truth."
"She brought on my unending vengeance!"
"Do you even remember what you were mad at her about?"
"That's not the point."
Lily pushed herself between them. "Did you ask Professor Wilcox if I could come early?" she asked, batting her eyelashes.
"You never asked us to—"
The distinctive sound of Apparition echoed across the station. Muggles screamed and pointed, and Harry turned and gasped at the place where a thin and lanky woman dressed in full wizarding robes had just appeared out of the air. Albus watched his father's face drain of color, and he knew the same fear—what was this woman doing? Didn't she know that the global revelation hadn't happened yet?
Two boys with pointed noses and sharp, severe eyebrows walked towards the woman; Albus recognized them from the Defense Association as Red and Asher Pierce, a second year Slytherin and a fourth year Slytherin. A second crack heralded the appearance of a man who looked similar to the boys: but the first Apparition had drawn the attention of the Muggle crowd, and almost every single eye in the area was upon him.
"WORSHIPPERS OF SATAN!"
A shaky-looking man with a long beard was pointing a gnarled finger at the family, his eyes wide with shock as the crowd screamed and ran from the wizard. He pulled out a shining metal object from his coat, and Albus had seen it before—in the movie that Eftan had on his phone, The Dark Knight—Eftan's voice described the device again in his mind—They're Muggle substitutes for wands, except all they do is kill—
It was a louder sound than any spell that Albus had ever heard cast; it echoed violently across the walls, and a red spray painted the walls as the father spun on the spot and dropped to the floor limply, a pool of blood spilling from his skull. The crowd screamed again as he directed the gun next towards the mother, but she had whipped out a wand, and a whip of energy flew across the room, striking the gun from the deranged murderer's hands. Rage was aflame in her face, and with complete disregard to the crowd, she jabbed her wand at the man who killed her husband, and a whirling torrent of darkness cascaded upon him and tore most of the flesh off of his face. Another wave upended his body, and a final slash sent his head careening off his shoulders into the wall.
She grabbed her sons and her husband's body, and Disapparated while the remaining Muggles watched, dumbstruck. Harry grabbed his wife by the hand and his children by the collars and they turned on the spot, sliding through a crushing tube of darkness, a sensation unlike any that Albus had ever experienced, before they tumbled onto soft grass in a field near their house.
Lily stood up on shaky legs and vomited, as James clutched his heaving chest and gasped, "Was—Was that Apparition?"
"Side-Along," said Harry, looking as though he'd never be calm again. "We needed to get out of there, as fast as possible. I didn't care who saw us, they'd seen enough."
"That was Greta Pierce," said Ginny, a hand to her mouth. "I don't understand. They knew it was forbidden to use magic before the global revelation. And that—that was Dark Magic she used on that man."
"We need to get to the house," said Harry, and without another word, they set off on a fast walk, arriving at their house within five minutes; their house, as Albus knew, was protected, making it impossible for anyone to Apparate near it, which was why they had to Apparate so far.
Mr. Dempsey was watering the lawn, and he glanced over at the Potters as they passed by, yelling a question about why they didn't bring the car back. Neither Harry nor Ginny answered him; they hadn't spoken a word in the entire walk, and they didn't spare many words after they'd arrived, either. Harry only said one thing for the rest of the day.
"A global revelation," he said to himself, shaking his head, which was buried in the safety of his hands.
Albus had to wonder if anything was ever going to be the same again.
Well! That's it for Albus Potter and the Global Revelation. The first chapter of Albus Potter and the Lunar Eclipse has been uploaded if you're reading this. Hope you all liked it and hope you all like the next one!