I HIGHLY suggest you read the first two books first. They can be found on my profile.

A longer plot summary, if you're interested:

By the time he reaches his third year, Albus is sick and tired of always being in danger. He resolves to keep his nose in his own business, but finds that his actions of the past two years cannot be taken back. He made someone very, very angry. He made someone desperately want him dead. And now, that someone has sent a dangerous assassin after him—an assassin that seems to be able to control the very ground. In addition to this, a mysterious, ruthless group that has been hiding in the shadows for one thousand years is planning to surface at long last. They want Albus to be their secret weapon—the ultimate killing machine. As he deals with school drama, such as fighting with his brother for the girl they both want, friendships falling apart, and a fierce competition between the students, he realizes that he is teetering on the thin boundary between good and evil, and that he may simply be a pawn in a deadly, dangerous game of chess.

A game where the pawn must be sacrificed.

And now, I present to you...


~Albus Potter and the Assassinator's Quest~

Book 3

Based on the ideas and places of JK Rowling.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter One

FROM THREE TO THIRTEEN

ooo

Chapter Two

IN THE NEWSPAPERS

ooo

Chapter Three

RENDEZVOUS POINT

ooo

Chapter Four

TERRAXES AND TUTTERSKOPE

ooo

Chapter Five

THE SERPENT WITHIN

ooo

Chapter Six

THE ASSASSINATOR'S SISTER

ooo

Chapter Seven

THE FIREBOLT'S LAST FLIGHT

ooo

Chapter Eight

THE COLORFUL COMPETITION

ooo

Chapter Nine

TEAM GOLDEN PRIDE

ooo

Chapter Ten

HORRORS OF HALLOWEEN

ooo

Chapter Eleven

THE MUD FIGHT

ooo

Chapter Twelve

THE CRIMSON REGIMENT

ooo

Chapter Thirteen

TROUBLE ON THE TRAIN TRACKS

ooo

Chapter Fourteen

WEASLEY WOES

ooo

Chapter Fifteen

THE VERY SECRET MAP

ooo

Chapter Sixteen

VALENTINE'S DAY

ooo

Chapter Seventeen

THE PRODITOR PREDATOR

ooo

Chapter Eighteen

THE SPY MISSION

ooo

Chapter Nineteen

A KILLER'S INSTINCT

ooo

Chapter Twenty

CAPTURE THE KISS

ooo

Chapter Twenty-One

THE BLACKOUT

ooo

Chapter Twenty-Two

THE EARTH KING

ooo

Chapter Twenty-Three

A PAWN TO SACRIFICE

ooo

Chapter Twenty-Four

THE INCOMPLETE QUEST


-Chapter One-

From Three to Thirteen

TEN YEARS AGO

It was a perfectly ordinary day in the village of Godric's Hollow. The sun shone brightly, and the wizard and muggle children played together, the latter unaware of their playmates' magic. Young couples walked around the park in which teenagers were kicking a soccer ball around, and everyone seemed to be happy—which was usual in Godric's Hollow.

A woman in a stifling cloak made her way across the park, waving at a few children on the way. She had a smile on her face, but it was only there to hide anxiety behind it. The woman was wearing the typical Healer uniform, and she was at the village of Godric's Hollow on Healer business.

But she wasn't really a Healer. It had been difficult trying to get the job of seeing the middle child of Harry Potter, and all the Healers had been fighting over it. So, the woman had Confunded them all and taken the job instead. It wasn't because she was selfish and wanted to meet the famous Potters. It was because she wanted to meet one Potter in particular—Albus Severus Potter. The three-year-old boy was an enigma, a real mystery.

And the woman knew that there was only one explanation for this: Albus Severus Potter was the new Paradox. She finally reached a fairly large but friendly-looking house on the outskirts of the town. Slightly nervous, she knocked on the door. It opened immediately, and the woman wondered if someone had been waiting behind it for the last hour. Ginny Potter stood behind the door, her hair ruffled slightly.

"Hello! You must be Linda Dawson!" said Ginny, wringing her fingers nervously. "Thank you for coming to see Al! Come in..." Ginny stepped aside to let the woman in.

Of course, the woman wasn't Linda Dawson. The identity was a fake, and she had only made it to meet Albus Potter, who she was so desperate to see. She needed to know if the boy was the new Paradox—the only person powerful enough to battle against an unimaginable evil and win.

"Harry's playing with James," Ginny said. "Perhaps you should meet the family... yes. Al is out in the backyard—I don't think he'll come in, sorry." Ginny led the woman into the parlor, which was very messy.

Magazines littered the coffee table (Most of them on Quidditch) and magical toys were scattered across the floor. A red-haired one-year-old girl was giggling and playing with miniscule versions of the Golden Trio and the Death Eaters. It was a very violent scene.

"Lily," Ginny muttered. "My youngest." Ginny looked around the sofa and pulled out a four-year-old throwing a very obvious tantrum while whacking around his toy broomstick.

"MUM! I WANNA GO TO UNCLE GEORGE'S!" screamed the boy. His jet black hair was infinitely messy, and his light brown eyes gazed at the woman curiously.

"Where's your father?" Ginny demanded. To the woman, she said, "This is James, my oldest."

The woman nodded and gave James a smile. James grinned back, the dimples on his cheeks showing, clearly not shy. He would be very good-looking and popular in a few years.

"I want ice-cream!" James whined, answering his mother's question in the most unhelpful way possible. Or perhaps, it wasn't an answer at all.

Ginny was saved by her husband. "Oh—the Healer came, then?" asked Harry Potter, poking his head out of the kitchen. His glasses were askew, and he was levitating a tub of ice-cream, clearly for James.

"Harry, put that back. James will make a mess, and we have a guest," Ginny snapped, ignoring her oldest son's screams of fury as Harry obediently went back into the kitchen.

A moment later, he came back out ice-cream free. "Hello, you must be Linda Dawson. Al is out in the backyard."

"Should we tell you a bit of background?" Ginny asked anxiously.

The woman nodded pleasantly, sitting down on the sofa. Lily looked up curiously and stopped moving the miniscule Hermione and the miniscule Bellatrix, both of which had been strangling each other a second before. (Hermione had been winning.) Ginny and Harry sat down as well, both looking worried.

"Al is a strange boy," began Ginny. "I'm sure you know about his birth?"

The woman nodded again.

"We'll understand if you don't manage to fix him," Harry interrupted.

Ginny sighed. "Well, I suppose I should tell you the problem if Harry's going to be so blunt. Al won't talk. He won't show emotion. He's just blank. We don't know what he's thinking."

"The only times he shows emotion is when he's attacking James or exploding something," Harry added. "And he looks happy then."

"It's not that he can't speak—according to St. Mungo's testing, his intelligence level is very, very high. But Al just doesn't want to speak. He won't do anything. He won't play with anyone or anything," Ginny continued.

"I can fix that," the woman said. Both Harry and Ginny looked extremely relieved.

"Thank you, Linda," Ginny said hurriedly. She hopped off the sofa and led the woman to the back door, which was open.

The woman smiled and walked out. The garden was huge and full of plants of all kinds. Flame-orange flowers opened and closed bizarrely in one corner, and pumpkins the size of carthorses thrived in another. To the woman's surprise, there was a bush abundant with strange radish-like fruit. The sign next to it said:

STAY AWAY FROM THE DIRIGIBLE PLUMS

Heeding the warning, the woman skirted around the bush and walked out into the middle of the yard. Finally, she saw the boy she had come for.

Albus Severus Potter was very skinny and pale, with a fair amount of freckles on his nose. Unlike his brother, he wasn't roguishly cute. (Or remotely cute at all, which was strange for young children.) Instead, there was a monotone look on his face. But his eyes told a different story; they were bright green and intelligent.

Albus looked up as the woman approached. He had been stroking a long serpent, but it slithered underneath the nearest bush as soon as it noticed her. The boy raised himself from his sleeping position on the ground and crossed his legs. He stared up at her blankly.

"So... you've been driving your parents mad," the woman said.

Albus said nothing.

The woman felt a twinge of annoyance. "You'll speak to snakes, but you can't speak to your parents?"

Albus still said nothing.

Deciding to try a different tactic, the woman sat down on the grass, not caring if her robes got dirty. She leaned down and looked into the three-year-old boy's eyes. "You're a powerful kid, aren't you? Nearly destroyed the whole of St. Mungo's while you were there. You wouldn't stop glowing bright green and shooting lightning out of your palms."

Albus almost smiled.

Triumphant that she had gotten some response—however small—from the boy, the woman continued. "And you hurt your brother. So, do you like him?"

Albus truly smiled—rather sinisterly. He shook his head.

The woman could not believe that she had gotten the boy to shed his blank look so quickly. "Your brother seemed very spoiled to me. He likes getting what he wants. Do you get what you want, Al?"

Albus shook his head again. The blank look was back on his face.

Annoyed, the woman snapped, "That's too bad. Most of us don't get what we want. If you're who I think you are, you certainly won't get what you want. It's the occupational hazard of being a hero."

Albus looked a bit puzzled now. He cocked his head to the side, staring up at the woman.

"A hero, you ask? Well, I don't know. You remind me a bit of a villain. Well, you're the new Paradox, so you're a dark essence. You're not exactly human."

Albus looked even more confused than before. He stood up and started to walk away, but the woman wouldn't let him. She stood up and walked in front of him, casting a dark shadow over him. He looked up, an expression of the utmost anger on his face.

"You'll stay here and listen to me," said the woman. "I'm not scared of you, even if you are one of the two most powerful wizards in the world."

Albus looked even angrier.

"You're nothing but a weak coward who can't tell his parents that he loves them. You don't mind causing them sleepless nights, do you? And I wonder how the fate of the entire world could rest on the shoulders of a boy so selfish."

"I can talk," Albus said softly, looking hurt. He clearly had a better knowledge of the English language than other three-year-olds. "I'm not selfish."

"If you're not, why don't you prove it?" snarled the woman. "I'm a member of a group that wishes to save the world from a terrible evil. And you're the only one who can help us. I came to see whether it really was you, and it certainly is. Then why don't you act the part of a hero?"

Albus narrowed his eyes in fury, but there was a look of a determination on his face as well. "I will!" With that, the three-year-old boy ran off in the direction of the house. The woman followed him, quite pleased with herself.

Albus ran into his surprised father's arms, whispering, "I love you, Dad." He turned to his mother and clutched her as well. "I love you, Mum."

"AL!" gasped Ginny, pulling her son into a bone-crushing hug. "Oh, Al..."

"I believe my work here is done," said the woman smugly.

"How can we ever repay you?" asked Harry.

"Oh, there's no need, thanks."

"We'll send a present to you," said Ginny quickly, ignoring the woman's protests. "Linda Dawson, right?"

The woman—who was not Linda Dawson at all—simply smiled. "It's been interesting to meet Albus. I expect he and I will see each other again. Maybe even at Hogwarts..." With that promise, the woman swept out of the house.

When Harry and Ginny would send a nice bouquet of flowers to St. Mungo's a few days later, they would find out that no Linda Dawson had ever worked there.


SIX YEARS AGO

A seven-year-old boy with dark hair and bright green eyes sat at the foot of his bed, a book propped open on his lap. He was reading again, so immersed in his book that he had forgotten what day it was. This particular book had been extremely hard to get, since it mentioned Dark Magic. He had spent days raiding his Aunt Hermione's library. Determined to read the only books that he hadn't read yet, he had stolen the key to her mini restricted section and taken as many as his scrawny arms could carry. He knew that he only had a few precious days until she realized their disappearance, and he was going to use them.

And so, it completely slipped his mind that it was his seventh birthday. Immersed in the secrets of Dark Magic, he couldn't think about anything else. He was so thirsty for information that he didn't even feel the slightest bit guilty. His parents didn't know, or suspect any foul play. He was the quiet child, the middle Potter who was always forgotten and ignored. Nobody paid attention to him; he was like a shadow, flitting in and out of their lives. Half the time, his head was in the clouds, thinking about a universe where he was special—not the least liked member of the family.

Albus checked the clock on his desk to see that it was six o'clock in the morning. Fair enough. He'd been reading since three o'clock in the morning, and had digested about four books already. This morning, he'd be able to return to his aunt's library and slip the books he had borrowed (without permission) to their places, and nobody would be any the wiser. He often operated in secrecy. Sometimes, he'd tell his cousin, Rose, who he felt was really his only friend. She'd even helped him in getting into her mother's library. Now, he felt a stab of guilt. He hadn't told her that he was going to take books that mentioned Dark Magic. He knew that his aunt never read them, but kept them away from prying eyes. Unfortunately for her, she hadn't realized that Albus—who was so innocent and quiet on the outside—would ever be interested in things as dark as what these books mentioned.

He continued reading, still feeling no guilt. Half an hour later, he had read the book cover to cover. It was the last book in his pile. Disappointed, as he had just run out of things to read, Albus ripped open a floorboard beneath his desk, and dumped all the books there. This was his temporary hiding place, but there was nothing in here—other than a few slips of paper filled with doodles. What was on portrayed on the doodles was far too embarrassing to admit—pictures of him saving the world, brandishing a sword, and leading an army.

Albus contemplated them for a moment, flipping through them. He wasn't the best artist, and his penmanship was quite shoddy. His green gaze rested on one of the pictures, which featured an unmistakable bespectacled boy in the front of a crowd of people. These people were his family, and they were all looking at him with admiration and pride.

Something that they had never before looked at him with.

He sighed, crumpling up the picture and the rest of the doodles. It wasn't going to happen. None of his deepest desires would come true. He was always going to be the loser, the one shunted aside.

After replacing the floorboard, he stood up and dusted off his pajamas. Albus had a very acute memory when his head wasn't buried in books or daydreams, and he immediately remembered that it was his birthday—his seventh one. He felt his heart sink slightly. His perfect older brother, James, had been taunting him for the last month. James seemed bent on the fact that Albus was a Squib, since Albus never showed off his magical talent like the rest of the children. James stole every opportunity to levitate things, while Lily's temper made her occasionally set things on fire. Albus, however, was very calm and hadn't shown off any magic in front of others.

Even so, he could remember events in his past where he had used magic to hurt people that he loved. His mother had been giving him a bath once, and had been shocked with a bolt of bright green lightning. His father had once scolded him for stealing one of James's stupid toys, and Albus's resulting tantrum had caused the fireplace to blow up and heavy debris to rain down on his father.

Terrified of seriously hurting someone, Albus had locked his power inside him by the age of three. James and Lily no longer remembered how dangerous his magic could really be, since they had been too young, but the damage was done. His parents knew. In fact, they had probably known before, just when he had been born. He had overheard conversations in which his parents and relatives discussed his birth. Apparently, he had nearly brought the whole hospital down and had put several Healers in the hospital, too.

Albus studied his hands. They were small, his fingers thin. He could almost imagine them right now: tendrils of emerald lightning, or flames of bright green fire, dancing between his fingertips, destroying whatever they touched...

No. He closed his hands into fists. Never again.

Trying to take his mind off his powers, he dressed into clothes that he thought were appropriate for the occasion. Meaning: he had dressed in whatever was within reach in his closet and didn't care at all what he wore. Unfortunately, he found his thoughts returning to his brother's words. Albus knew that he wasn't a Squib, but James and the rest of the Weasley children didn't. In fact, even the adults were beginning to suspect that he had somehow lost his immense magical power. Ever since he was three, he hadn't displayed the slightest bit of magic. He kept his temper in check, walked away from fights, and stayed in the shadows.

As such, James and the rest of the Weasley children assumed that he indeed was a Squib, since they certainly couldn't remember his past incidents. He let them think it. He knew that he wasn't a Squib, and that was enough for him.

He was far more powerful than any of them. Maybe even all of them put together.

Smirking slightly, he descended to the kitchen. He didn't expect anyone to be awake. He was possibly the only boy in the world who was up so early in the morning by his own will. To his surprise, however, his parents were both awake. The scent of perfectly buttered toast reached his nostrils, and he breathed in. His favorite breakfast.

"Happy birthday, Al! This is your day!" said his father, throwing an arm around him as he took a seat at the dining table.

"It's your day, too, Dad. Happy birthday," said Albus, grinning. He and his father shared the same birthday, even though they were born twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes apart. His father's birthday had been precisely at midnight, but Albus would only turn seven at 11:59 tonight.

"The rest of the family's coming over," said Ginny, running over to wrap her middle son in a hug. "It'll be like a traditional Weasley gathering!"

Albus smiled, but it was strained. He knew that most of the family was only coming over for Harry's birthday. Albus wasn't nearly as popular among them.

His parents noticed that his smile never reached his eyes. "Al, are you all right?" his father asked.

"Y-Yeah," Albus stammered. He took a bite of his toast, chewing slowly to savor it. It was delicious as always, but there was a sick feeling in his stomach. He knew how this was going to go. The Weasley children would try to be nice to him, get annoyed when he didn't respond to their efforts, and go off to play on their own.

Albus really and truly tried to bond with his cousins, but wasn't able to. He didn't see eye-to-eye with them. He felt that they were a completely different species. How were they so close to each other? How did they play their games? What were the secrets of their inside jokes? Why wouldn't they include him?

What was it about him that they didn't like? His shyness? His coldness? The glint in his eye that he got sometimes? His habit of driving them away without meaning to?

He felt lost. What was wrong with him? Why did nobody like him? Albus blinked tears from his eyes.

"Al, honey?" His mother's voice was hushed. "Al, is something wrong?"

"T-They'll play with me, right?" Albus blurted out. He immediately blanched. Why had he said that? He was going to get them in trouble. It wasn't their fault that he was an outcast who couldn't talk to people without pushing them away. They had tried to befriend him, tried to include him in the family, but it just hadn't worked out.

He wasn't like the rest of them. As long as he knew that and believed it, he couldn't belong.

"Of course they'll play with you," said Harry. "Just ask!"

"You're finally going to play with them?" His mother looked delighted. "Al, they'll love you. They just haven't seen the real you yet."

Albus went even paler. The real him. What was that? Was that the personality buried beneath this mask of shyness and stutters? The ambition, cunning, and ruthlessness that lay within?

They would hate that even more. No, he was better off keeping this mask on. He could already imagine it. He would go to Hogwarts, get Sorted into Gryffindor, keep his head down, go through all seven years without showing his true personality. The one, he felt, didn't belong in Gryffindor at all. He'd remain a shadow, an outcast, his name forgotten. The Forgotten Potter, he'd be. He felt sick.

But what if he didn't follow in everyone else's footsteps? What if he broke away from the path he was supposed to follow? What if he took the mask off and showed them what he really could do?

But they'd all hate him otherwise. He didn't want them to hate him. The mask was staying on. Forever.

"Thanks, Mum," said Albus quietly. His parents gave him worried looks, but dropped the subject.

The rest of the morning passed quickly. His five-year-old sister had wished him a happy birthday, but then had demanded their parents to give her presents, too, even though her birthday wasn't until September. James had come down last, knocked Albus's head playfully into the table, and wished happy birthday to both of him and his father.

James meant well—he really did. He always teased Albus—but that was all it was. Teasing. Sometimes, it hurt, but Albus didn't let it get to him. He knew that James was disappointed to have a brother that was so quiet and boring. James had probably wanted a mischievous little brother that would've been a friend to him. Unfortunately, they were polar opposites, and could never really be friends.

They didn't hate each other, and were civil to each other. James teased him, pranked him, and called him names. But it was all in good fun. James wasn't a cruel person. He was the favorite young Potter, the Golden Boy, the one who would become the hero. He was brave, reckless, had an admirable temper, and showed all the qualities of his father. He was one of the best Seekers in history, even beating their father. James was perfect, and he was never mean to anybody. Someone that perfect wasn't capable of being mean.

Albus's lip trembled. James wasn't a disappointment. Unlike Albus.

"Al, are you sure you're okay?" his father asked.

Albus nodded quickly and took his brother's present. "It's a broom cleaning kit," said James before his brother could unwrap it. "So you can trim my broom for me! You'll be my personal slave!"

Albus looked at the ground. "T-Thanks." He didn't mean it. James was perfect, the hero, the gifted one. Albus was barely fit to wipe his shoes. Everyone loved James, and everyone ignored Albus. Maybe if he did become his brother's slave, he'd be noticed. He could imagine the headlines now: ALBUS POTTER, THE FAMOUS JAMES SIRIUS POTTER'S UNPAID SERVANT. Scratch that—he wasn't even worthy of being his brother's slave. He was like an insignificant speck of dirt, or something icky that had gotten stuck to the bottom of someone's shoe, or even a parasite—a kind of leech or louse.

He tried to keep the tears away. Why was this turning out to be such a horrible birthday? It was only eight o'clock in the morning! He needed to keep his head. Now was not the time to beat himself down, even if he deserved it.

He would never be as good as the rest of them. They were good people, people that helped others. They were brave, they were heroic, they were legendary.

What was Albus's destiny? To really be his brother's slave? His father's shadow? His family's disappointment? He wasn't as good as them, as anyone else. There were no heroics in his destiny. They only existed in his stupid, childish dreams—those drawings that he'd never let anyone else see.

"James! What a terrible thing to say!" Ginny gasped. "Why would you get him that if he doesn't have a broomstick?"

James shrugged. "Like I said, he's going to help me with mine. He doesn't mind, right? It's not like he's good at anything else. Right, Al?" James fixed him with a playful glare.

'It's not like he's good at anything else.'

That was right. Albus was nothing. "Mum, Dad, it doesn't matter," he muttered. "I don't mind. I'll help him with his broomstick."

That was all Albus was good for. They all thought so, too.

Harry and Ginny didn't look pleased at this, but they let it go. James beamed. "Hey, we're playing a game today. Bet you anything I catch the Snitch again! I always do! Hey, Al, if you want, you can take a spin on my broom. You won't be as good as me. In fact, you'd totally suck."

"James, watch what you're saying," Ginny said automatically. "I'm sure Albus will be an excellent flyer."

Albus's lip was trembling again. He probably would suck. He had never been flying before. James was right, and much better at everything.

And then, something took control of him. He sat there, letting the feeling take control of his thoughts. He imagined himself flying around, catching the Snitch, being better than his brother, who was a Quidditch prodigy. Albus could win. He could be better. These wonderful feelings—determination, ambition, the feelings that he'd stomped on and locked away—came back in that exhilarating moment. His eyes glinted. He would be better than his brother, better than everybody else. He'd rise above them and show them what he could do.

But, as soon as it came, it went away. What a silly thought. Better than James? That wasn't even possible.

"Yeah, sure, James," Albus mumbled. "I'd like to take a ride. But you'd still be better." Better than me. Worth so much more than me. "I'll be cheering for you. You'll be great." But I won't ever be.

His parents looked uncertain at his willingness to submit to his brother's words. He knew they wanted to stand up for him, but how could they if he couldn't stand up for himself?

After that, the rest of the day passed as he had expected. His relatives came over, handed him presents, wished him and his father a happy birthday, and began the party. They were sent to play in the backyard while the adults set up, and the numerous Weasley-Potter children (plus Teddy) gathered in a corner. Albus sat a little farther away from them, half of his face cloaked in shadows.

Teddy grinned. He was fifteen, and the oldest. "Albie, it's your birthday. How about you decide what we should do?"

Albus felt his heart leap. They were going to include him? They were going to play with him? "Er—s-sure—" he stuttered. "I-I—m-maybe we should—er—" They were all looking at him, their faces expectant and friendly. What should he suggest they do? What did they like? Albus liked reading. He liked observing. He liked thinking, dreaming, and even scheming.

But they liked pranking, joking around, playing games. What could he choose? What would make them happy? What would make them accept him?

"Decide already!" James snapped.

Albus blanched. He was already making them angry! What should he do? James was glaring at him. He clearly didn't like that someone else was making the decisions.

"Let him take his time," said Rose calmly, stroking Albus's shoulder. "Al, you can choose anything you want. It's your birthday. It's your special day. What we do is up to you! You can boss us around!"

Albus shook his head. The pressure was too much. His brother was still glaring at him. Albus gulped and felt his heart sink to his feet. "W-We could p-play Quidditch?" His voice shook horribly.

Rose looked confused, and so did Teddy. "But you don't play," he spluttered.

"Who cares?" James shouted. "Al likes watching, doesn't he? That's why he picked it."

Albus sighed with relief. He had chosen. Even if he hadn't wanted to, he had chosen what they had all wanted. So what if it was his birthday? It wasn't about him. Nothing was about him.

The game was just as Albus had expected it. James caught the Snitch in record time, was congratulated, and stole the spotlight (not that it had ever been anyone else's).

And Albus was forgotten. As he always was.

At dinner, his whole family sat down at a table they'd assembled outside. It was like a picnic—a very large picnic. It would have been wonderful if Albus hadn't been so miserable. They all sang happy birthday to him and handed him presents. He and his father both blew out the candles.

Albus wished to be a hero. He watched the candles hopefully as they flickered and went out.

Nothing happened. Nothing at all.

After that, they all gulped down the cake. Albus wasn't hungry. Once they were done eating, they retreated into the house to swap old stories. Uncle Ron was recounting (for the tenth time) his many heroic tales, while Harry blushed every time someone complimented him. Albus sat on the sofa and stared out the window. Crickets were chirping somewhere, thriving in the warm summer environment.

"How was your birthday?" his mother asked, kissing him on the forehead.

"Great," he lied. It wasn't their fault. It wasn't their fault that he was so lonely all the time. They had all tried their best. There was something wrong with him, not them.

After his mother left, Rose sat next to him and chatted with him, bringing up the book she had bought for him. "You loved my present right?" She hugged him tightly. "Oh, when I saw it—I thought it was perfect—you're going to have so much fun reading it—did you have a nice party, Al?—you liked it, didn't you?" She blabbered on.

Albus grinned. Rose was the only person he could call a friend. Unfortunately, Rose was so tired that she fell asleep on his shoulder. He didn't move her. A few minutes later, Aunt Hermione picked her up, laid her out on the ground, and wrapped her tightly in blankets. Rose wasn't the only one who was tired, though. Many of the Weasley children were very young, their ages still in the single digits, and ten o'clock was far past their bedtime.

James, however, was still wide awake. He, Fred, and Louis were setting off fireworks inside the house, heartily encouraged by the most 'responsible' and 'serious' adult in the house, Uncle George. The fireworks were so loud and bright that they woke up both Hugo and Lily, who started crying. Irritated that his fun had been squashed, James sat down next his little brother.

"So, how was your birthday?" James asked, rubbing Albus's skull with his knuckles.

It hurt, but Albus kept his mouth closed.

"Tired, eh? You're such a baby," James snickered.

Albus still didn't say anything.

"So, you're seven now," said James, narrowing his eyes playfully. "And you haven't shown any magic at all! You're definitely a Squib."

"I-I've shown magic," said Albus automatically. "I'm not a Squib."

"Oh, really?" James chuckled. "How come we haven't seen it, then? I've got so much that it's almost overwhelming. I'm a really powerful wizard. But you—you've got nothing!"

"I-I've g-got magic." Albus's voice wavered, but he wasn't sure why. He was firm in the belief that he was a wizard. Perhaps Albus's voice was shaking with anger.

'But you—you've got nothing!' James had said. If only he knew how powerful Albus really was...

"See, look, I can show you right now!" James smirked in a self-satisfied manner. "I'm a magical prodigy! Everyone says so!" He focused on a flowerpot a few feet away. The flowers detached themselves from the vase and flew around, whirring like helicopter wings. In a magical family, this wasn't so strange, so no one batted an eyelash.

"That's great," said Albus blandly.

"Why don't you try?" James asked. "Bet you can't do it," he added smugly.

Albus bet that he could make the flowers do anything he wanted to—including shoving themselves up James's nose. But he had promised that he wouldn't show anyone his powers. He was getting angry now, though he wasn't sure why. James was just teasing. It was still infuriating, though. For some reason, Albus's fists were clenched. What was wrong with him? Why was he getting angry? It didn't happen anymore—so why was it back now?

"Even if you are a wizard, you'll probably just be a bad one. You'll probably fail all your classes at Hogwarts!" James laughed. "I bet you can't even levitate a feather! I can do it already." He pointed at his forehead. "I'm me."

Albus was feeling even angrier. Why? What were these feelings? Determination? Ambition? Why were they suddenly back? He had pushed them away, had stomped on them, had made sure that he'd be a wallflower his whole life. But suddenly, he found himself thinking bizarre thoughts. He thought about levitating the entire house—that'd show James. He thought about making all the lights turn off. He thought about making a storm, right there and then.

The house shook slightly. The lights flickered. The wind picked up and started to howl. No! What was happening? STOP!

The adults looked around in alarm and confusion. Albus struggled with himself as James gasped, "What was that? Why is the wind so loud? Is it raining?"

All the lights flickered off, one by one.

The floorboards started to creak. The house began to rock slightly.

It began to pour harder. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed.

Albus's fists were clenched so tightly that his knuckles were white and his nails were making indentations on his skin. He had to stop! Why was this happening?

It stopped. The rain disappeared as if it had never been, the house stopped rattling, and the lights quickly flickered on.

Harry went outside to investigate, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. Everyone was paused in fear. A few minutes later, however, everything settled down. Harry came back, though he was still on edge, and the party resumed.

"I'm going upstairs. Wanna come?" James asked Albus a few minutes later.

Albus shook his head. James was making him angry with all the teasing. Why, Albus wasn't quite sure. He had taken the teasing and pranks before without complaint. And, suddenly, he realized something. James wasn't teasing him. He was insulting him.

The nearest flowerpot shattered, and everybody looked around again, alarmed. Albus was furious, more furious than he had ever been before.

Calm down. Fix it.

The flowerpot reassembled itself perfectly, the flowers still intact.

"James, are you doing that?" asked his mother, watching the flowerpot.

Albus's scowl became more pronounced. Of course, they all assumed it was James.

"Yeah!" James jumped at the chance.

"Stop playing with it. You're scaring us," his mother chided.

James deflated. "Okay. But it was cool."

Albus was steaming at this point. It hadn't been James at all! It was me.

"Okay, if you're too much a baby to go up, I'll go. Fred! Louis! Let's go!" James called his two friends, and they went upstairs—most likely to go to their 'cool' hideout in the attic. They usually didn't let Albus in, which was fine with him. He remained on the sofa, smoldering in fury. His power was thudding through his veins as it always did, but this time, it was actually threatening to burst out. He clenched his fists tightly and tried to think of something else. He knew, deep inside, that he had the power to destroy the whole town without blinking an eye. He couldn't let that happen. He calmed himself down, and his heartbeat slowed.

But the peace didn't last. He heard stomping from upstairs and yells of shock. Albus wondered what James, Louis, and Fred were doing. Several people were thudding down the stairs, James at their head. He was struggling to hold a stack of thick books that Albus knew very well. His heart turned to ice. No. It couldn't be happening.

"Dad! You won't believe it!" James gasped. "You won't believe it!"

Harry stood up, looking confused. "What's going on? What are those books?"

Albus's face had gone completely white. Those books that were on Dark Magic. He had left them underneath the floorboards in his room. And now, they had been discovered. James had been snooping around in his room!

"He's reading books on Dark Magic, Dad! Al's reading about them!" James choked out. "I don't believe it!"

Harry stared at the books, unseeing. Aunt Hermione leaped up, looking horrified. "Those are—those books—I haven't seen them in years—how did he—"

Albus was trying to sink into the sofa. He wanted to be anywhere but here. His father turned to face him, expression cold. "What's the meaning of this, Al? Were you so desperate that you had to steal these terrible books from your aunt? You do realize that she locked them away for a reason, right?" His tone was sharp like knives, and it made Albus wince.

"D-Dad—" Albus wasn't sure what to say. Tears were forming behind his eyelids, threatening to leak out.

James was looking at him with open disgust. "I knew you were doing something strange. I knew you were different, but I didn't know that you were a freak!"

Albus stood, frozen. The word echoed around the room.

Freak. Freak. Freak.

The fury was back at full speed. The anger bubbled inside him and filled him up with rage. His eyes were nothing but little green slits, narrowed with loathing that he had never shown before. James was perfect, the better one, the one who was wanted. Albus was the loser, the outcast, the freak. A terrible, evil power awoke in him, stronger than anything he had felt before. He'd show them. He'd show all of them. His eyes glinted sinisterly, and his green irises seemed to glow unnaturally. A faint emerald light surrounded him, brightening with every second.

The resulting shockwave from the small boy caused the house to literally break. The walls splintered and caved out, the floor cracked, the picture frames fell to the ground and shattered, and wood began to rain down from the falling ceiling. Scraps of paper, ornaments, pillows, books, and everything that was loose got caught in the furious wind that was blowing around Albus, a wind so strong that it wouldn't let anyone come near him. His home—the home that he had lived in for seven years—was falling apart in the space of ten seconds. Everyone tried to run outside, desperate to escape the destroyed house and the raining debris. As if a tape of the gradual erosion of a building over hundreds of years had been speeded up greatly, the house disintegrated before their very eyes.

James, who was leaping over wreckage hurriedly in order to reach safety, was almost to the backyard with the rest of the family—but Albus wouldn't let him reach it. His irises glowed brighter, and locked onto his target. There was a flash of blinding green light, and James was blasted into the crumbling wall with a sickening crack. The smile on Albus's face was delighted, sadistic, cruel beyond belief.

"AL!"

His father's panicked shout jerked Albus out of his sinister trance. The green light died away, but the house remained ruined. Exhaustion settled on him like a suffocating blanket, and his head spun and his knees shook, barely able to support his weight. He noticed his brother's broken body lying at the foot of the stairs and the rest of his relatives standing outside, expressions of utter shock on their faces. They were holding their children protectively, who were all staring at him, horrified. His relatives' glares were hostile, hurt, and fearful. They could have been killed, or seriously injured like poor James.

And it was all Albus's fault.

"What have you done?"

Tears began streaming down his face. He ran, trying to put as much distance between him and them as he possibly could. He ran, sobbing as if his life depended on it. He ran, hating himself. He ran, knowing that they would all hate him, too. He ran, knowing that whatever connection he'd had with them had been severed. He ran, knowing that he had allowed the terrible monster that lay slumbering within him to awaken and take over him. He ran, knowing that he had become that very monster. He ran, knowing that he had always been that monster.

As he ran out, the house began to rebuild itself. The walls were straightening themselves, the stairs were assembling themselves step by step, the picture frames and ornaments were flying back to their respective spots, ripped pages from books were gluing themselves back in, broken tables and chairs were fixing themselves, the ceiling was putting itself together like a puzzle on the ground and rising up, planks of wood were plastering themselves together perfectly, and even the smallest splinters were coming together seamlessly. The house speedily righted itself up on Albus's orders, but he still did not look back.

It began to rain harder than ever, as if the very sky itself was crying like the little seven-year-old boy.


FIVE YEARS AGO

Sixteen-year-old Billy Loomer was not a boy that ever believed in supernatural, otherworldly things. Of course, this belief clashed with the strange things that always happened in Godric's Hollow. There were always little boys and girls from certain mysterious families that did odd things and blabbered on and on about how they would 'hex' Billy to death with their 'wand' when they got one. He had to deal with these freak children every now and then.

Billy had always had a hard life at home, and he rarely stayed at his house. When he went outside, he would look around for someone to hit. He often got angry like that. Soon, his reputation grew, and children quavered at his very name.

"He's that awful bully!"

"He beat up my little sister!"

"He's coming! RUN!"

Some other 'wannabes'—as he classified them—came to him and joined him in his efforts to let out his anger. Billy became that stereotypical bully who didn't care who he sent to the hospital and didn't get caught for it. He liked it. It made him feel better to make someone feel worse, and soon, it became his release. His gang was almost as terrifying as him. They were all big teenage boys with muscles and fists, but no brains. They went beyond beating little children up—they vandalized cars, smoked cigarettes in dark street corners, and experimented with drugs while ditching school. But beating up scrawny little kids was definitely Billy's favorite pastime. That was, until Billy was taught a lesson by his last victim.

When it had happened, Billy had not even remembered the sickly eight-year-old boy's name. Was it Alex? Adam? Albert? Perhaps it was something dumb like Albus. Billy didn't know, and he didn't care. What he did know was that he liked to verbally insult and physically injure that skinny eight-year-old with the dorky round glasses. That kid annoyed him to no end—he was always reading something too big for him. Massive books with odd titles like The Laws of Magic and The Encyclopedia of Dark Jinxes and A Potpourri of Potions. What eight-year-old read books that big—and with such stupid titles, too? The kid was a complete freak, and Billy didn't like it.

The first time, he had given—Albus, was it?—a black-eye and had broken his glasses. The second time, he had stomped on his book and had thrown it into the pond. The third time, he had hung him upside down until his face turned blue and he had cried. After that, 'Albus' didn't go outside much, evidently terrified of being seriously injured—until the day when it had happened.

Billy had been strolling through the park, looking for a new victim. It was evening time, and most of the children had left for home already. However, there was one boy still sitting on one of the swings, reading a book so thick that Billy wondered how the little weakling had managed to carry it. Billy recognized the messy black hair, the nerdy glasses that constantly had to be pushed up the boy's nose, and the bright green eyes. Delighted, Billy strolled towards the swings, his brutish face splitting into a leer.

"Your glasses are crooked—want me to fix them for you?" Billy chuckled, standing menacingly over the small boy, who slowly looked up. It was purely hilarious to see that look of dawning horror on his face. He scrambled off the swing at top speed and made a run for it, but Billy had been expecting it. He grabbed the boy's shirt and pulled him back, ripping his book out of his hands.

"Think you're so smart, don't you?" Billy snarled, seizing the boy by his collar and holding him up in the air. "What're you reading about? Freak things? If I take your glasses, you won't be able to read, will you?"

"D—d-don't!" gasped the boy, flailing wildly in the air. "L-L-Let me g-go!"

"You won't scream, will you?" cackled Billy, tightening his grip on the boy. "If you do, I'll have to squeeze your throat. That won't be good, will it?"

The boy made a strangled whimpering noise—the very noise that Billy loved.

"Answer me," Billy coaxed. When the boy said nothing, Billy shook him like a rag doll. "ANSWER ME, YOU WORM!"

"N-No!" sobbed the boy. "P-Please—please—"

"That's right," Billy sneered. "Snivel and cry. It makes you look less ugly." He dropped the boy on the ground, where he stirred weakly, tears streaming down his face.

Billy felt no pity. He kicked the boy in the face, roaring with laughter as he did so. The boy clutched his nose, moaning. "Did that hurt?" Billy asked, leaning closer. "Tell me... did it hurt?"

The boy burst into tears.

"DID IT HURT?" yelled Billy, kicking the boy again. "Did that hurt, then?" The boy hurriedly nodded, his eyes wet and wide with fear.

"How much did it hurt?" Billy asked. "A little? A lot?"

The boy didn't answer. There was now a spark of defiance in his bottle-green eyes.

"HOW MUCH DID IT HURT?" Billy roared. He grabbed onto a lock of the boy's wild black hair and pulled it back, forcing the boy's head back. "It hurt a lot, didn't it? Tell me it did!"

"NO!" The boy tried to break free, but Billy picked him up as if he were nothing but an empty pillowcase.

"It didn't hurt?" Billy whined, pretending to look insulted. He smirked. "Maybe this will." Holding the boy up with one hand, Billy took his other fist and raised it, ready to give that annoying greasy and slimy little git with the glasses the beating of his life.

As the fist neared the boy's face, something changed in his eyes. A green fire burst alive in them, and Billy's fist hit hard air. "W-W-What?" he gasped, stumbling backwards and dropping the boy like he was a hot potato.

The boy stood back up and fixed Billy with a glare filled with such hatred that it gave Billy shivers. "Don't do that."

The boy that Billy had been insulting and hitting earlier was suddenly frightening instead of pitiful. There was something about his presence that induced terror in Billy, a terror so bad that he was rendered incapable of speech. And then, Billy screamed. He could see terrible visions, visions of death and destruction, staring out from behind those emerald green eyes. The boy watched him, unrelenting and cruel, doing nothing but standing there and glaring, glaring so hard that he was boring holes into Billy's brain.

"STOP!" Billy sobbed, his legs suddenly wobbly and weak. Unable to support himself, he fell to the ground, gasping and shuddering.

The boy cackled loudly. "Did you stop hitting me? I don't think I'll stop this, then."

Billy let out another whimper. His limbs felt strangely out of his control. They started to twitch as if possessed. "What're you doing?" he screeched. "STOP!"

"No." The look in the boy's eyes was pure evil. "This is the last time."

Billy screamed again. "You—you're a—you're a monster! STOP!"

"No more than you."

Billy was suddenly staring at a boy that was glowing green. Billy let out a gasp as he was held up in the air, the boy lifting him with simply his gaze. He was blasted backwards into the ground so hard that that his teeth rattled. The swings began to swing of their own accord, the seesaw began to move up and down without anyone on it, and the pebbles on the ground began to rattle. Billy let out a girlish scream and backed away, but he was pulled back by the invisible force.

The air around the boy was whirling like a tornado, causing his untidy hair to whip around his face. Billy took one last look into the cruel green eyes before he lost it, and let out a blood-curdling scream that no one seemed to hear.

"Never, ever bother me again."

The eight-year-old boy picked up his book, pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, and walked away without looking back.

Billy Loomer was never quite right again. Three months later, he was admitted into a mental hospital and remained there for the rest of his life. He had not bullied another living soul ever since that day.


THREE YEARS AGO

Snow fell to the ground in mesmerizing snowflakes. A ten-year-old boy, going on eleven, sat on the steps to his house. Albus was much more mature now, but that didn't mean he still didn't have childish dreams anymore. It was these dreams that he thought of as he watched the snow fall, blurring his glasses with cold droplets.

The night sky was pitch black, and no stars shone. Perhaps this was because of the thick clouds and the heavy snowfall. He could hear voices coming from inside his house, most likely coming from the Wizarding Wireless. It was New Year's Eve, but he wasn't too optimistic about the coming year. He'd be going to Hogwarts the coming September, and he knew that it wouldn't change anything. He'd always be the loser.

He sighed and closed his eyes. If only he could be respected. If only he could be admired, looked up to. If only he could be a legend.

The trees in his backyard began to turn to ice. One by one, they turned into frozen water. They looked like they were made of glass, but were cold to the touch. They sparkled and shone as the snow fell around their icy branches. Albus opened his eyes, and they began to glow. He examined the product of his concentration. He had turned all the trees to ice. He hadn't covered them in ice—he had turned them into ice. There was no wood within them. They were made completely out of ice. They shimmered in the light from the windows, and Albus began to glow slightly. The wind blew around him, and the snowflakes were caught in the breeze. They circled around him, but he didn't feel cold. Then the snowflakes were released from his mental grip and fell, transforming the backyard into a wintery wonderland.

It was his escape—his escape from reality. This was where he felt like he could forget his problems, but as soon as those trees turned back into wood, those problems would fall back on him, never truly gone.

As soon as he thought this, the trees transformed back from ice into wood. The unique beauty of the scene disappeared, and a sick feeling settled in Albus's stomach. "Al? Aren't you cold out here? Come in! The countdown to the new year's about to begin!" said his father, poking his head out of the door.

"Dad..." Albus took a deep breath, summoning his courage to ask his father the question that had been gnawing at him for years and years. "Do you think I'll ever find a place where I truly belong?"


PRESENT TIME

A teenage boy lay in his bed, tossing and turning. His sheets were drenched in sweat, and he kept kicking them away. Something was burning inside of him like fire, but that wasn't the worst of it. Something was going on in his dreams, and it wasn't something good. He let out a gasp and clutched his head. He wasn't quite awake, but he wasn't quite asleep, either. He could sense something terrible occurring thousands of miles away from where he was.

There was a grand tower—a tower so tall that its top scraped the very stars. This terrible fortress stood on an island in the middle of an unforgiving sea, the waves of which were eroding the great rocks that surrounded the tower. Upon first glance, one would notice that there were monsters everywhere—nightmarish, ghastly creatures that prowled the island. Flares of fire burst randomly from within the twisted trees, whose branches rustled threateningly when approached. A serpent with three heads slithered around the perimeter, followed by several giant red-furred, bear-like creatures with five legs. A massive, wild plant—like a weed that had gotten far too out of control—was attached to the tower, its tentacle-like leaves squelching as they sucked their way up to the top, eager for prey. On top of it all, a great force field surrounded the island, rippling in the breeze.

All seemed peaceful. But, suddenly, everything changed. The roars stopped. The fires halted in their purge. The waves stopped moving. Even the very wind stopped blowing. The air lay still and unmoving, and there was not a single sound.

Time itself seemed to have frozen in place.

And then, a terrible vortex tore open the dark sky. It was blood-red, swirling, whirling, and sucking out the magic from the world. It spun so furiously fast that it was nothing but a giant maw in the sky, one that was growing larger at an alarming rate. The air seemed to crackle with sheer power as the crimson vortex grew larger and larger, expanding further throughout the sky.

Just then, out of nowhere, without any warning, the vortex began to recede and grow smaller again. It shrunk rapidly, leaving the sky black as the blood-red was drawn toward the center of the vortex. Everything returned to normal. The roars began up again. The fires continued to blaze. The waves moved, and the breeze blew. Time had started again.

But something was different. There was a sinister feeling to the air, signaling that everything was not right.

And then, just as the clock struck 11:59 PM on July 31st, the Azkaban Fortress' warning alarms went off.


Author's Note: Okay, okay, okay! I'm really late in posting this! Why? I realized that my patient for plastic surgery, otherwise known as Book 3, was just too ugly, and I refused to operate on it. Instead, I decided to CREATE a new person from SCRATCH.

Fine, I'll cut this nonsense out. I decided to REWRITE Book 3 because I couldn't stand it. So, here it is, completely revamped in plot and writing. Yay! Good News: It should be more enjoyable, and shouldn't make you want to throw your computer out the window (like the first version made me want to do). But there's more. With every bit of good news, bad news comes along with it, because that's how the world works. So, here's the VERY, VERY BAD NEWS: I'm an utterly-awfully-shockingly stupid-dumbo-idiot and didn't finish writing Book 3 yet. I got impatient to post this. Ninth grade and high school (Which sucks, by the way. Hate it. Take me back to middle school right now, please.) is taking up a lot of my writing time, so I wasn't able to finish it. So, it's unfinished and I'm ten chapters ahead of you guys.

As you can see, this is alarming. I need to have the book completely complete before I show it to anyone. But your reviews made me guilty. Really guilty. And I was hypnotized and brainwashed and had to post against my better judgment. UGH! WHY DO YOU ALL HAVE THIS EFFECT ON ME?

EDIT TO AUTHOR'S NOTE: Updates are every weekend now! Forget the three-week thing! There'll be a new chapter every Sunday (or Saturday/Friday if I'm not available on Sunday).

Thanks for reviewing! Please continue to do so - I love feedback!