Alright, this is the entirety of chapter 22. Sorry for the wait, but I haven't had any inspiration lately. I have updated this chapter, so if you want to read from part 2, its from the line about half way through.
Hope you enjoy it.
As much as he wanted to see his friends again, he was sort of dreading going back to Hogwarts this year. September first was looming, and in a couple of days, he was going to be on that red train on the way to the old castle in the secluded Scottish countryside. As much as he loved the old castle, his friends and the lessons they taught at the famous school, he did not want to leave his family or his old childhood friends. He wasn't particularly looking forward to going to school or Britain again either.
But here he was, at the centre of the country he currently did not want to be anywhere near. But he was with his dad and Abby, having left Tony to watch over the newbie they'd gotten a few weeks ago. Abby was bouncing around Diagon Alley, exclaiming over everything she saw in store front windows or on the stalls dotting the crowded street. His Dad walked next to him, straight-faced and unmoving, watching everything with a careful eye.
Jasper looked around the alley for the nth time since they had walked through the brick wall/archway. He had to admit that it was rather cool. All sorts of shops lined the street, some old and rickety, leaning into each other. Others looked slightly newer, with fresh paint and cheerful displays. Outside nearly every shop was a display - a stack of cauldrons outside a shop with the name 'Potage's cauldron shop', specially spelled cages of cats or owls or frogs outside of the Magical Menagerie.
They stopped at Florean Fortescue's Ice cream parlour, where they were set to meet Hermione and Ron. They were early, though, and so the three of them set to finding a table and ordering an ice cream each, after some persuasion to get Gibbs to agree.
The two second years showed up halfway through their treat, and Jasper looked up from his Chocolate ice cream with nuts and raspberry sauce ice cream to beam at his two friends. They both smiled back, and Hermione ran up to them to deliver a tight hug to her best friend, smiling politely at the two adults.
She recognised both of them from King Cross, when they both picked Jasper up at the beginning of summer. She knew that the man was his father, and could tell by the woman's appearance and Jaspers detailed descriptions of his family that this was Abby, an older sister figure to her best friend. She sat down next to Jasper, slightly nervous at the hard stare Mr Gibbs was levelling at her, as well as the unnerving smile being directed her way by the gothic scientist.
Ron sat down next to her, long lanky body folding itself to fit neatly into the almost ridiculously small chairs that they were all seated at. He had grown at least another three inches that summer, and was even more uncoordinated, and Hermione wondered if he'd ever stop growing or just keep getting taller and taller. She did, however, know that was ridiculous.
Shaking her head, she turned to Jasper.
"Have you got all your shopping done yet?" She asked, before continuing without giving him a break to answer. "I've got nearly everything, although I still need to be fitted for some new robes - I've grown an inch and a half since June, and need to buy a few new ones, as well as a new tie - I always forget that sometimes ties do get too short, and its also dirty, although I'm not sure how it got that unclean. I also need to buy the books, I haven't got those yet. Everything else we need I still have from last year, although I have just brought a new potions set." She stopped to take a breath. "Anyway, what do you need to buy?"
She looked around once she had stopped talking, and blushed heavily as all four gazes settled on her in astonishment. She always babbled when she was nervous, and as this was the first time meeting her best friends family, she thought her nervousness was justified.
"Anyway, I need to get my books as well. Lockhart's books aren't sold in America, for some reason." Jasper muttered. Ron nodded.
"I need to get the books as well, and Fred and George recommended me some to help with potions this year." He mumbled, scooping a bit of Jaspers offered ice cream.
They were walking down the alley a few minutes later, dodging fellow shoppers and chattering family's, the three children running ahead of the two adults to get to Flourish and Botts first, although Abby was bouncing in place to restrict herself from running after them and joining in their gossip (that she knew they were doing). Instead, she let Gibbs' hand on her back stop her from running off like the child she knew she was at heart.
She stopped when she saw the three children skid to a halt, and watched as Gibbs looked around, searching for danger. The reason for their abrupt halt, however, became obvious when they caught up with the children.
There was an absolute huge line coming out the door of the book shop, and Abby felt her eyes widen in both surprise and wonder. They were all women.
"Hello, hello! I am very glad to be here today. . ." The rest was drowned out by screams.
Charles grimaced as the screams reached an almost impossible level and plugged his ears with his fingers. He was, very unfortunately, stuck right at the front of the crowd, his mother, Mrs. Weasley and Ginny around him. He had been volunteered to go with the women to the book store, and couldn't say no, not to his mother.
In front of him was a very large solid wood table laden with books. No matter how strong it looked, Charles could see the legs shaking under the pressure of what he was sure were very heavy books, with multiple big picture frames containing pictures of the star of the moment himself.
Said star was stood to the side of the table, no worry at all for the soon to be fate of the table, shouting out to be heard by the crowd, even with a sonorous charm. The man was tall and rather slender, with questionably died long blonde hair in waves and sparkling blue eyes that Charles was sure must have been brightened by a charm to be seen from so far away.
Charles knew that Mrs Weasley loved the man and his brave, adventurous stories, as did the rest of most of the female population, but what Charles couldn't quite understand was why he had been dragged here. He wasn't sure his mother even liked the guy, although even Lily Potter wasn't excluded from the feelings the rest of society held for the man.
He was shaken out of his thoughts when his hand was grabbed in one of the hardest handshakes he had ever received - and that was saying something, he had received a lot of handshakes over the years.
"Charles - Charles Potter!" The blonde exclaimed loudly, quickly quieting the crowd as they all craned their necks to stare at the two celebrities near the front of the shop, as Charles was pulled away from the three woman and up by what he was sure was a blonde mad man. "The Boy-Who-Lived! Are you here to get my books - looking for pointers, eh, Charlie?" He winked at him, and the twelve year old resisted the urge to tell him it looked stupid and like he had a twitch.
"My name is Charles, as I'm sure you very well know, and I am here, like all Hogwarts students, to buy my books." He said calmly, smiling as he was taught as a camera flash went of to the side. "Now, if you will please let me go and let us all carry on with our business. . ?"
The man looked confused for a moment before he laughed loudly and half-heartedly, letting go of his wrist to instead wrap an unwanted arm around his shoulder. Charles looked up just in time to catch a rather evil-looking smile spread across the mans face.
"Now, who do we have here?" The man asked, shooting and arm out into the crowd and scoping someone up like a snake catching its prey - Charles wondered if Lockhart had been a Slytherin when he had gone to Hogwarts.
That line of thought, however, was quickly lost as he realised who had been pulled up to the front with him.
It was his quite scared-looking twin, who was looking up at the man with shocked green eyes, blinking slowly at the crazy smile the man wore.
"Well, well, if it isn't the lost Potter twin?" The man mused loudly, licking his lips smugly when the crow gasped dramatically.
Charles heard the other boy sniff and mutter "I was never lost, thank you very much." And had to bite his lip to stop from smiling at that sarcastic comment.
"Now we've got both survivors of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's attack and we've got the twin who went missing from that Halloween night to the start of last September, when he started Hogwarts. Do you think, Ladies, that I will be able to solve the mystery of the Potter twin?"
A loud roar followed not seconds after his question, and Charles guessed the consensus to be 'Yes, they did think he could solve the mystery of his brother's disappearance'. He could see the slightly smaller boys teeth grit together, and realised rather belatedly that the boy must have grown quite a bit in the months he hadn't seen him, for the boy wa definitely taller, although still as thin.
"Well now - " The man said letting go of both of them temporarily to instead place a hand on each of their shoulders, twirling Jasper around as if showing him off to the crowd. Charles could see Jasper dig his feet in to stop it, but all the action did was cause him to stumble a bit. "The obvious way is to ask, especially with him right here!" He exclaimed, like it was some grand discovery. The crowd, once again, seemed to agree with him. Out of the corner of his eye, Charles could see his mother biting her lip anxiously and looking as if she wanted to rush over and drag him from the blondes clutches.
"So, where have you been all this time, my boy?"
Charles winced when he remembered what had been said when Dumbledore had called Jasper 'My boy', the whole school having found out by the day after the incident, and wondered what the Ravenclaw boy would do to the author.
"First of all," Jasper said forcefully, stepping away from the man and pushing his hand of his shoulder with a little more force than was strictly necessary. "I am not 'Your boy'. I am not anybody's boy, and even if I where, I have no desire whatsoever to be yours or anything associated with yours. Second of all, why is it any of yours, or anybody else for that matter, the right to know where I have grown up, and am still living. If I wanted to tell anybody where I live, I would have told them by now, and as I haven't, I suppose that means that I have no intention of telling you, or the rest of Wizarding Britain, where I have been staying, yes?" The boy paused for a breath, giving enough time for the blond to give a dumb nod, before continuing. " And third of all, why are you touching me? I do not know you, I have no wish to know you, and do not want you touching me, now or ever. I am sure that you know the meaning of 'unwanted touch'?" Jasper asked, widening his eyes innocently.
"And lastly, you shouldn't have pulled me out of the crowd." Jasper shook his head. "My dad's going to kill you." He said, and walked away, leaving a stunned crowd and a gaping Lockhart behind.
As he walked away, Charles heard him mutter, "He's going to be teaching us thins year. Good Lord, we're all doomed."
Sorry that there is no Gibbs-Lockhart showdown or something of the sort, but I just wanted Jasper telling him off. I hope you liked it.
Review, and tell me what you think.