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Rose Weasley’s POV

I tentatively pushed the door to the boys’ dormitory, watching the light spread to hit the bunks.

“Scorpius?”

“Yeah?” he asked, seemingly still half asleep.

“I need to talk to you,” I stammered quietly, blushing at the sight of him in a tight-fitting white tee. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t seen him with his shirt off before, I reminded myself, with him being my cousin’s best friend and all that. But damn that boy had some muscles.

“Sure, Rose.” He sat up, looking alert all of a sudden, and climbed out of his bed. I averted my eyes as he pulled on a pair of slacks, nonplussed that I was seeing him in his boxers. I was certain I was going red all over.

He followed me to a little ways outside the dorm.

“I like getting social visits from you,” he drawled as I stopped to turn and face him. A corner of his mouth was quirking upwards, like he was somewhat amused. I frowned at him, then remembered why I was here again and started blushing.

“Um, Scorpius,” I began, “I might not be able to go to Hogsmeade with you today.”

His expression was unfathomable.

“Might?”

“Won’t,” I admitted. “I forgot I already promised to go shopping with Lily, and she just broke up with Scamander...”

“Oh,” was all he said.

“I’m really sorry,” I rushed to fill the awkward silence between us. “It’s nothing personal.”

“I see. Well, have fun with Lily,” he said calmly. I might have imagined the disappointment lingering in his steps as he walked away, but somehow, I was the one left feeling crushed.

 


Alyssa’s POV

“How was it?”

“Good,” I said distractedly. Honestly, I didn’t really want to tell Jen that Draco Malfoy was my guardian, or at least not yet. I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with her exclamations at the moment.

Jen snorted. “You’ll have to give me more details than that,” she admonished, arms crossed over her chest.

“What details are there to give?” I asked.

“Was he nice? Where did he live? What did he think of you?” Jen prompted. I sighed.

“He was very nice, if a little reserved. He lives in this giant mansion, and I don’t know what he thinks of me. I hope it’s positive, though,” I replied reluctantly. This was good enough for Jen.

“Not bad. C’mon, it could’ve been worse,” she added, catching my expression. “He could have been eighty, fat, and hated you on sight.”

I laughed. “I like to think no one could ever hate me on sight, thanks to my beauty and charm.”

“Don’t forget modesty,” Jen reminded with a straight face, and we erupted into a giggling fit, much to Jason’s annoyance.

“I’m trying to study here!” he bellowed, waving his sixty-foot long essay around the common room. Jason had, according to Jen, recently learned that his prefect status would be in danger if he didn’t up his abysmal performance in Transfiguration. As expected, he was applying himself more than usual...and staying up until two in the morning so all you could hear, every single night, was the scratching of a quill pressed harder than necessary and rather colorful words that definitely weren’t spells whispered vehemently.

“Sorry, Jase, didn’t know you had so many ants in your pants,” we chorused, then swiftly went back to completing our own Transfiguration paper on “In the Abstract: How the Theory of Sianora’s Animal-Plant Transformation Affects Transfiguration Today.”

“Did you get Shannon Eclipse’s failed pig-fern experiment as an example yet?” Jen whispered to me, watching her brother warily. I nodded.

“I’m still missing one,” I muttered.

“Same.”

“D’you have the first wax to crayon transformation as an example of principles of the theory transcending into other categories of transfiguration and allowing for the development of the subject to further expand?”

“Good one,” said Jen, scribbling it down. “What about the successful raid on Trill Village in 1478 as how this theory was applied in history?”

“Nope, thanks!” I exclaimed, jotting down what she’d said. “I’m done, then.”

“Yep. Exploding Snap or Wizards Chess?”

I shrugged and looked across the room to Delilah and Yelena.

“Delilah, Yelena, want to play Exploding Snap or Wizards Chess with us?”

Delilah frowned at me and jerked her head, firmly looking in the other direction, but Yelena looked conflicted. Finally, she appealed to Delilah.

“We could have a Wizard Chess bughouse, you and me against Jen and Alyssa,” she pleaded, trying to make brown puppy eyes and failing drastically. Not that, of course, we would ever tell her that.

Delilah didn’t respond, and Yelena’s broad shoulders sagged a little. “Alright, then,” she said mournfully, this time really looking like she was about to cry. I could see Delilah beginning to cave. Being the most softhearted of our group (or what used to be our group), she couldn’t stand sad faces.

“Fine,” she finally said, not looking at me as she walked over. “But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven Alyssa for being an idiot yet.”

“Yet?” I asked hopefully, my ears perking up. She glared at me, making eye contact. I flinched and could feel the first bubble of anger rising. Sure, she had a right to be a little angry, but I had some tough stuff to deal with lately. If she’d only think a little, she’d get it; besides, I hadn’t even wanted to be picked, just entered to annoy Potter. Not that she knew that, but still.

I slammed the chessboard down on the rug.

“I’m not playing anymore,” I snapped sulkily, like a small child, and stalked up the stairs.

 

 

I didn’t know exactly where I was. All the signs were in French, but it seemed like a station of some sort. A burly blonde young man in a light blue polo strode towards me, and I felt my face, for some reason, break into a huge grin.

“John!” I exclaimed, rushing over to hug him. “How’re you? Where’s Annie?”

He wrapped his arms around my back, and I breathed in the comforting smell of his cologne.

When we finally broke apart, he said, “It’s great to see you too, Alyssa.”

“What about me?” asked a feminine voice, and I turned to see a slender brunette of about twenty. She was very pretty, in a sort of mundane way, and she rather reminded me of Delilah.

“I’d never forget you, Annie,” I reassured her, laughing, grabbing onto both their hands. “So, what have you been up to lately?”

“Art school’s been great. We’re getting a Picasso imported to study Wednesday.”

“Psyched?” I asked.

“Definitely.”

“What about you, John?”

“The States are wonderful,” he replied enthusiastically. “You’re probably sick of listening to me babble about my major...”

“Probably,” I agreed, to which he glared at me briefly.

“Alyssa,” he chastised. I grimaced.

“Sorry.”

The minute the word escaped my lips, a wand was held like a knife at my throat, and a thick arm had wrapped itself from the abdomen.

“Don’t move,” the man holding me said in a deep, scratchy way.

John and Annie looked at him in abject terror as I contemplated what to do next. Only one thought was running through my head: how could I have slipped up so badly?

And with a crash and a burst of red light, everything faded into nothing.

 


“Lizzi, do you ever get enough sleep?” asked Jen, frowning at me. I shrugged, tracing the area underneath my eyes for excessive puffiness.

“I’m fine,” I reassured her, shuddering. “Other than the fact that I have to go and meet with Albus Potter right now. Champion thing. God, the very idea gave me nightmares.”

“It’s alright,” Jen said sympathetically, patting me on the shoulder. “I understand why you can’t sleep now. He’s a jerk, but don’t let him get to you, and you’ll be okay.”

“I hope,” I grumbled, hefting my purse. “I feel like hexing someone right now. How much are you going to bet it’s going to end up being him?”

“A lot.”

I laughed as I headed for the door. “Thanks.”

Walking down the stairs, I felt as if I was going to my doom. Each slow step I took reminded me of the repetitive sound of time ticking in a grandfather clock, and I hastened; I was feeling a little creeped out. I was, after all, all alone with the shadows and webs stretching across the abandoned corridor in which I was wondering. I suddenly realized I hadn’t specified where to meet Albus.

A perfect reason to back out, I mused, preparing to move in the opposite direction. Before I could turn, though, a voice drifted out of a nearby room. I froze.

“Excellent,” it said, and the sound cut me to my core, drawing fear for some unknown reason. Although it was hopelessly distorted, it carried an edge – a nasal edge that made my blood crawl. Slowly, thoughts of Potter forgotten, I began to creep towards the door. I was surprised at the way my feet complied, and I floated on the ground, coordinated and not making a single thud or scrape or swish.

“Please to serve, my lord,” a high, indifferent pitch rang out. I frowned at the sound; it was so insincere that it was almost mocking. “This servant lives to serve.” She laughed, a peal of bell-like tones.

“Spare me.” There was a rustling, as if either the unknown entity or the girl moved. “Thank you, my dear, for taking care of that blonde bitch, by the way. She was beginning to make me nervous.”

“Indeed,” she agreed, “too clever by half, that one.”

A low chuckle rang through the corridor, only there when you listened for it, but impossible to ignore after you did. It wasn’t, however, warm the way chuckles were supposed to be; there was a hard, icy blade to it.

“Anything else I should be informed of?”

“No,” the girl stated flatly, blandly. I could hear the scuttling of feet and the crackling of the fire as the other occupant of the room deliberated whether to trust her answer.

“I will take my leave, if that is all.”

“Good-bye, my lord.” There was nothing except a tiny popping noise to signify the man or woman was gone. I inched towards the door, curious and afraid that the girl might still be there. When there was no sign of movement, I snuck a quick glance at the interior of the room.

Mystified that there was no one there, I stepped in, and the fireplace caught my eye: it glowed the same freakish purple as the people who’d attacked me and Al in Knockturn Alley for the briefest moment before vanishing for good, and I was left there to ponder.

 

 

Scorpius’s POV

I watched Kent stuff a muffin further into his gaping mouth.

“Delicious,” he said, licking crumbs and the odd blueberry off his lips. I winced, while Rose looked positively revolted. Delicately, I began to cut my own pastry with a silver knife.

“Stop being so neat, Malfoy,” said Rose, rolling her eyes and tossing her thick titian hair. I stared at it and the way the light seemed to do cartwheels on it. Flounce, sparkle, glisten...

“Scorp, she just insulted you,” broke in the teasing voice of Lily Weasley, the youngest in our group. “Are you going to take that?”

“Huh? What?” I blinked.

“I said, it’s annoying,” repeated Rose, looking greatly amused.

I shrugged to cover my momentary lapse of good sense. Rose had utterly chickened out on our Hogsmeade date, and there was no way in hell I would ever work up the courage to do that again (without the influence of drugs or alcohol, that is).

“Good manners mean something in my family,” I retorted. I could never resist the jibes at Rose’s very big, very noisy, and very famous assortment of parents and uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents.

“Pig,” she snorted. Ah, the irony. Although I said nothing: I liked my head where it was, thank you very much.

“Speaking of pigs, where’s Al?” asked Lily, buttering her muffin. “I was trying to find him this morning, but he wasn’t there in the dorm.”

“Don’t know,” Rose said flippantly. “What’d you need him for?”

Lily made a face.

“D.A.D.A. practice,” she explained. “I’m trying to get a head start, and Al knows, like, everything there is in the world on the subject.”

“He’s doing some champion thing.” With the Leilani girl, I silently added, but that was Al’s business and no one else’s. We guys have got to have some secrets, anyway.

“Oh.” Lily sighed woefully. “Guess I’ll have to do without him.”

Lily, surprisingly enough, was the Potter-Weasley child who took after her Uncle Ron. She was a master strategist both on and off the chess board, and she was especially good at getting people to do things her way. Unfortunately, even armed with the advantage of prior knowledge, my shields were splintered on contact when hit with her deadliest weapon: the dreaded puppy dog eyes.

“Alright! I’ll do it with you!” I caved. Kent, unusually silent during our short exchange, snickered loudly, and I shot him a death glare. “If you don’t behave yourself, Hufflepuff, I’m going to hold a vote to get your honorary Gryffindor status repealed.”

“Repealed?”

“Voided. Invalidated. Destroyed,” I threatened, staring him straight in the eye. He blanched pure white and didn’t say another word. Satisfied, I turned back to lil’ Lily. “C’mon.”

 


Alyssa’s POV

I whirled around, reflexes kicking in, and I sank into a fighter’s crouch with my hand gripping my wand underneath my robes –

“Alyssa!” he exclaimed in surprise at the same time as I said, “Potter!”

We lapsed into a preferable silence as I waited for him to speak.

“Funny to find you here,” he commented at last in a flat voice, raking a large hand through his unruly hair. I smiled without much humor.

“I could say the same for you,” I pointed out, my hand reluctantly letting go of my battered, secondhand wand. Champion unity, I chanted to myself. Remember champion unity. A tiny crease formed between his eyebrows.

“I was looking for you.”

“It wasn’t as if I wasn’t!” I protested, flushing angrily. For some reason, the littlest thing he said could set me off like a time bomb.

“You weren’t looking very hard,” he said wryly.

“I was so looking,” I lied through my straight, recently un-braced, and tightly gritted teeth. An amused glint entered his glimmering emerald eyes, and I barely managed not to do something excessively violent.

“Of course,” he conceded without conceding at all.

I snapped at him. “Shut up, Potter.”

“Whatever you’d like,” he drawled in that same infuriating Albus-Potter-esque way. “But if you want to get anything done, you’d better come on. I’ve got something to show you.”

Muttering darkly to myself, I followed him as he walked in the opposite direction. I prayed to God that I wouldn’t actually kill him today. There probably would be severe repercussions for attempting to murder Harry Potter’s son.

We furiously climbed sets of stairs until we reached the seventh floor. I grimaced, panting. I was in good shape, but not that good. Unfortunately I was outdone in that area: Potter wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

“Why are we in front of a blank wall again?” I asked, annoyance clouding my voice. Potter tried to mask irritation on his part, but failed entirely.

“Wait,” he ordered curtly, sounding just as annoyed as me. I kicked him in the shin. And pretty hard too, I must say.

“Ow!”

I plastered my best innocent look on my face and hummed to myself, greatly pleased, since getting the last word didn’t mean much if the last word was “ow.” Alyssa: one, Potter: two million. But we could always work on those statistics.

“Watch,” he demanded this time, hopping and clutching a foot. I burst out laughing at the comical sight; he glared at me.

“I thought we were going to try to get along.”

“We were,” I mumbled guiltily, turning my attention back to the wall. “So, I’m watching now – oh!”

A jolt of shock rushed through me as I stared at the massive stone door that formed before my eyes, with a polished silver handle. On the front, a plaque hung reading: the Room of Requirement in golden block letters.

“Wow,” I said, impressed in spite of myself. For the first time since the attack we’d survived together, Albus grinned at me. Not that fake grin, but something genuine, and I felt something warm course through my body from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Stupid me, I chastised myself, that he could have an effect like that.

“Cool, isn’t it?”

“But how do we get the door to open? It’s rock. And I don’t mean to offend your manly sensibilities, but I don’t think you can move about a ton of granite.”

“Just watch,” he said mysteriously, and the granite turned to wood, particle by particle. I stared at the door, awestruck, touching it to see if it was real.

“Are you serious?” I asked incredulously. “What is this place?”

“I do know a few things about Hogwarts,” Albus said, smiling dazzlingly, and I found myself entirely diverted. “It’s a Potter tradition.” He slowly pushed the door open, and strode in confidently.

“Welcome to the Room of Requirement.”

 


The room wasn’t that impressive to another eye; it was a comfy place with red and gold brocade hangings and a few plushy sofas in a wonderful neutral shade that matched the backdrop perfectly. Flames twisted in an earthy fireplace, and bookcases lined the side of the room in dark wooden shelves and glass cases. A brown rug was laid in place on the floor with a few beanbags scattered around. Off to the side, there was a small desk with papers strewn everywhere. Some people, it might have been considered messy, or even a bit shabby, but to me it was perfect, a safe haven, located in the exact best spot in my comfort zone. I turned to look at Al in amazement that he’d found such a wonderful place. Any prior emotion I’d felt was forgotten in the wake of this new secret.

“What is this place?”

“My hideout,” he said sheepishly. He looked faintly embarrassed, unsure of himself, as if this was unfamiliar territory he was exploring. I screwed up my face in confusion. This couldn’t have been the first time he divulged the information to someone.

Suddenly, a massive golden frame on one side caught my eye. An oil painting of a family hung on the chocolate colored wall. In it, two adults stood, one with messy black hair that looked just like Albus – Harry Potter, I realized. That meant the beautiful woman with bright red hair standing next to him had to be Ginny Potter, who was holding a giggling toddler with a crop of dark red hair. Three boys stood in front of them, occasionally escaping their mother’s eye to engage in a lively game of tag. The twelve or thirteen-year old that possessed the one with light brown locks was definitely Teddy Lupin, currently an Auror under his godfather’s supervision, and the one that looked about six or seven had to be James. But I only had eyes for the youngest boy.

He was adorable, full of a childish naiveté that was entirely lacking now; he often glanced out of the picture and grinned, making dimples appear in his ruddy cheeks which possessed a healthy tan and fairly glowed with happiness.

“Is that you?” I asked abruptly, gesturing at the picture in surprise. Albus shrugged.

“Yeah.”

“With your family, right?”

He rolled his eyes. “Of course not. After all, I am in the habit of sitting for three hour paintings with absolute strangers.”

I acted on my impulse and whacked him, feeling great satisfaction as my open palm collided with his toned abs. “Shut up, Potter.”

He laughed in response. I decided if I was going to resort to violence, I’d do it thoroughly, and lightly kicked him in the shin this time. He laughed harder, so I moved to punch him. I had forgotten about his lightning fast reflexes – quickly, he grasped my hand mid-strike without meaning to, his warm fingers closing over mine, and a small puff of air left my windpipe as I felt the deliriously wonderful feel of his rough skin brushing against my own –

“Sorry,” we said hastily at the same time, both a little breathless, a little unhinged, and both jumping like the other was breathing poisonous fumes. Delicious fumes. I blushed, feeling heat course through me. I tried to pull my hand away, but he didn’t relinquish his hold. I should have been angry, except my anger was gone, repressed until it was carried away by the wind.

“Alyssa...” he said quietly, thumb tracing over my fingers.

“Yes?” I stammered, my heart racing desperately.

“I wanted to say I was sorry,” he said slowly, as if apologizing wasn’t something he did very often. “For...you know.”

My hand slid out of his grasp, while two spots of color bloomed on my cheeks; why on earth did Potter have to be the only one who could make me feel this way?

Now, if I was a Disney princess, I would swoon dramatically, and then forgive him. He would propose on bended knee, pulling out a sparkling diamond ring, we would kiss, and together ride into the sunset on a beautiful white horse. But real life doesn’t work that way. Instead of being swept off my feet, anger and pent up frustration overwhelmed me.

“Sorry doesn’t cut it,” I said shortly, irritation eating at my fuse and creating a spark. The more I thought about it, the more angry I was; inexplicably angry, for all he did was say a single, often polite word, yet nonetheless in a rage. My hair seemed to feel my wrath, as it fizzed out in all directions. Crap. Now I was mad and had frizzy hair. “In fact,” I continued, my voice growing louder with every syllable, “’sorry’ doesn’t do a thing for me!”

I stormed out of the room when I felt my vision blur with a misty film, and in slow motion, it seemed, a single drop splashed onto the beige carpet, making a dark brown crescent mark in the fibers.

 


I barely made it into the Ravenclaw common room before I burst into tears. Half blind, I stumbled up the stairs, stubbing my toe, to collapse into my bed. What was this...the third time now? I needed to get over myself, I told myself quietly. Only whenever I thought of my mother, my eyes started to wet.

Not to mention Potter. The name brought out a discordant melody of emotions, happiness, caring, and gratitude, mixed with more than a substantial amount of the negative. Mostly it was anger. I still hadn’t gotten over everything, or anything, to be honest.

My eyes flickered over to a book resting on the floor only inches from my bed, near Sabrina’s bunk. Hesitantly, I picked it up; a book would do wonders for my taxed brain. I had to calm down enough to think of everything clinically, I reminded myself, to get anything done at all.

Without even bothering to glance at the cover, I flipped to the first page and sank into a world of floating ink and creamy white.

Unlocking the Secrets of Your and Others’ Minds, I read, jumping with a start. Legilimency, I realized at once, and I melted into the fantasy world even more, away from reality and away from my troubles.

If you are reading this, you are one of the millions of individuals who struggle with the art of organizing their minds. Do not fear, because this book will be your guide.

The text you hold is a guide to Legilimency and Occlumency. Knew it, my six-year-old inner monologue gloated.

For the first part of this book, you’ll be learning how to organize your mind, the number one step in Occlumency, the art you’ll learn first. This exercise can also be useful before stressful events, for example, test taking.

Begin by clearing your mind. Sit in a comfortable position, relax, and let all your thoughts, both positive and negative, flow away from you. Focus on your breathing, and close your eyes.

When you reach a state of mental calm, you have completed the first half of entering your “refuge.” The second half is much harder.

Reach inside yourself and search for your inner core. The difficulty of this is not knowing what to expect: the innermost essence of every person is different, as is its location. It is best to enter without any expectations whatsoever to provide optimal chance of finding your core. Be aware, this might take some time before you can accomplish it.

After finding your “core,” you should have found a perfect building ground, a place to create your special place. This place should be a refuge, and can look like anything you’d like. This will become the contents of your mind that must be protected. Building a shield around your place would be the next step. Making a fortress or shield is very popular. Be sure to guard your pool of power very carefully!

 

I closed the book, interested. Following the instructions, I sat amid the soft, fluffy mattress and closed my eyes, letting the black soothe me. Strangely enough, I’d never had an issue with the dark. Even as a child the dark had been something mysterious, something tantalizing and calming, as far from an object of fear as possible. My pulse slowed and I breathed in deeply, allowing the air I inhaled to fill my lungs from the bottom up, then released. Repeating the process, my mind cleared amazingly quickly.

It felt so good, just breathing in and breathing out. An insurmountable amount of time passed, and slowly, I drifted farther and farther away from my dimension. Laughing inside, no thoughts, only emotions, I marveled at the wonder of being free. Free, free, free.
 

A/N:

Just a FYI, the thing that the chapter title refers to is family, if you didn't catch it.

And 2000+ reads! I would really appreciate some more review too. Thanks, everyone!

-Sola Grey :)

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