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As January passed by and February began, Rose still had not figured out how his globe worked. Albus knew it was driving her mad- here was a mystery she couldn't solve- but unfortunately for her, Albus kept it safely tucked away and moved on with his life. There was much going on, with both the world and his personal life, and he simply didn't have the time to keep focusing on his mysterious Christmas gift.

According to the Daily Prophet, The Dementor King was continuing to move north, and speculation that it was headed for England grew every day. It was created in England, after all, and many of the epic battles were inside England. It was only natural that the Dementor King would wish to return there. However, nobody exactly knew what the Dementor King planned to do once it got there. Go to war with wizards, like it had during Emeric’s time? Speculative articles were posted each day in the Daily Prophet by experts of sorts, but each author had a completely different opinion. Conspiracy theories ran amok. One person even suggested that the Dementor King had good intentions, which boggled Albus’s mind and the idea was quickly shot down by many other people. It had kissed multiple towns, in the first few months of being revived. And it was a creature bred from darkness, incapable of feeling compassion.

No, all that article had done was prove that nobody really knew what the King Dementor’s plans were. Dementors in England continued to consolidate, instead of wandering on their own, and Albus feared that once their commander came, the dementors would go to war with the rest of England. Albus was hopeful that the wizards won, if it ever came down to that. After all, wizards had the advantage of patronuses, which weren’t discovered until after the imprisonment of the Dementor King.

In the midst of all this, classes resumed at Hogwarts, like it always did. Albus still loved Potions and was one of the best students in the class, and using his nonverbal magic, he slowly became better and better in Charms class. Unfortunately, Defense Against the Dark Arts was still completely useless, as Unglesbee still had them acting it scenes from Lockhart’s books. Albus was so disinterested that he was barely passing that class. History of Magic was dull, and he was about average in Herbology. Transfiguration was still as miserable as usual.

For now, talk of classes diminished as the next Quidditch match approached. The Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match of the winter was soon. There was expected to be a big turnout, because of the infamous Gryffindor and Slytherin rivalry that lasted decades. The worst part of all of this? Albus was playing in the match as a beater, which was probably the position that he was worst at.

“Madam Pomfrey won’t let Brad out of the hospital wing in time. I’ve tried everything, but she won’t budge. I’m half tempted to poison her. In the meantime, the plan is for you to play, Albus,” Chris told Albus a day before the match. Brad had gotten injured during practice earlier that week, and even though he appeared fine Madam Pomfrey still refused to let him out, saying he needed to “rest”.

Unfortunately, Chris never got around to poisoning Madam Pomfrey, so Albus ended up on his ice-cold broomstick on the first Saturday of February, staring longingly up at the stands. Why did he have to be beater, of all things? He simply didn’t have enough muscles. Sure, he played beater occasionally during practices, since he was reserve, but it was still his least favorite position.

At least you aren’t playing against Snake, that really ferocious Hufflepuff beater, Albus thought as Madam Pomfrey approached the pitch, getting ready to throw up the quaffle and the bludgers. But by picturing Snake, Albus suddenly had an image of being beat to death by bludgers.

Great. That was not what he needed.

“You’ll be fine,” a voice whispered in his ear. It was Roxanne.

“Easy for you to say, since everyone knows you’re one of the best beaters in the school,” Albus whispered back.

“I’ll help you out. It’ll be like Quidditch at the Burrow, yeah?”

“I suppose,” Albus murmured. He didn’t bother mentioning that he never played beater at the Burrow. He was usually chaser.

“Let the game begin!” Madam Pomfrey shouted, and she released the quaffle. The bludgers were knocked into the air as well, and as he flew closer, he saw two other broomsticks hurrying towards the bludgers. It was only then that Albus realized that, in the midst of his worries, he hadn’t even looked at the two Slytherin beaters. One was a broad, strong looking sixth or seventh year with determination set on his face.

The other was Vincent Rosier.

Albus stared at him for a moment, taking his eyes off the bludger. He remembered Rosier from their little run-in last year. It ended quickly when Filch came, but if Filch hadn’t come, or if Rose hadn’t come and been her usual clever self, Albus would have been mince-meat.

“Miss me, little bugger?” Rosier asked as he smacked the bludger his way. Albus reared his arm back, and hit it back with all the force he could muster. He ignored the question. But he didn’t miss Rosier at all.

As the game wore on, Albus learned that being a beater was extremely hard work. He had to zoom around the pitch quickly to get the bludger out of a teammate’s way, and his eyes had to keep track of two balls at once. Plus, in order to rocket the ball away, you had to give it every bit of force you had. It didn’t take long for Albus to be sore.

Vincent Rosier was nasty to Albus, but Rosier was downright infuriating with his interactions towards Roxanne. Al remembered their fierce rivalry that had apparently been going on all of their Hogwarts years. The whole school knew about it, because the rivalry was that epic. Roxanne and Rosier hit bludger after bludger at one another, not even bothering to hit them at the direction of the chasers, seekers, and keepers like they were supposed to do. The other Slytherin beater hit the bludgers towards the other people, so Albus concentrated on combating those. Through listening to the commentary somewhat subconsciously, Albus learned that the beater was named Edward Nott. Instead of the game being two against two, the beaters on each team were divided. It was Weasley vs. Rosier and Potter vs. Nott. It remained that way for most of the game. Until…

“Well, Weasel, I know what’ll get you, if nothing else will. You wear your heart on your sleeve, Weasley, like your entire family does,” Albus heard distantly. He wasn’t really paying attention to them; he was too busy knocking a bludger out of the way that was on path to hit James. He forgot to watch for the other bludger. He heard a shout, a warning, but as Albus turned around and saw the ball inches from his face, it was too late.

“NO!” someone screamed, and there was a distant cackle from Rosier. It’s okay, Albus wanted to say. He felt fine. He was flying in the air, not with a broomstick, but all on his own. He did gracious somersaults and flips in the air as he drifted towards something green. The green shifted towards white, and he heard music in his ears. Beautiful, soothing music, but sad. Why was it sad? Albus wanted to comfort the crimson fluff….

 

Albus bolted upright and it took a few moments for him to figure out his surroundings. He wasn’t on the Quidditch Pitch anymore; he was in the hospital wing. He recognized the white of the walls and the feeling of sheets beneath his fingers. Numerous faces were staring at him- was it in awe? Madam Pomfrey stood above him with a vial in her hand, her mouth gaping. Then there was Rose, Art, David, and the entire Gryffindor team, all gathered around his bed. They stared at him like they were in shock. He didn’t understand why. Surely other people had taken a fall during Quidditch before. It wasn’t too unusual…

And then he saw why. Perched on Al’s leg was the phoenix that had visited him twice so far this year.

“Hello Mr. Phoenix,” Albus said softly, uncomfortably aware that everyone in the room was continuing to stare at him. It blinked at Albus, with its startling green eyes, which were so similar to his own. It ruffled its wings, and then the phoenix flew out the open window. Albus looked at everyone else, who were all still frozen with shock. Albus turned slightly red under the intense stares.

Rose was the first to speak. “Albus…” she whispered, trailing off. Albus looked at everyone else. He wished the entire Gryffindor team wasn’t around for that. He couldn’t explain it, but it felt like a very private moment, between just him and the phoenix. He wasn’t even comfortable with Rose, Art, and David around to witness it.

“Don’t spread it around the school, okay?” Albus said, reasonably calm compared to everyone else. After all, he had seen the phoenix before, even though nobody else had. Everyone else slowly started to nod, breaking them out of their state.

“Albus, I’m so sorry you got hit, it was all my fault, Rosier just decided to take it out on you…” Roxanne whispered. Albus realized she was crying.

“It’s okay. I’m okay,” Albus said, trying to reassure her. And he was. He’d never felt better in his life. He felt wonderfully refreshed.

“It was so scary,” Rose whispered. “The bludger hit you straight in the head, with all the force Rosier could muster… and he’s pretty muscular, and you fell and then hit the ground, and everyone was so scared…”

“On the plus side, Gryffindor won,” Chris said. “Renehan here caught the snitch.” Olivia gave a weak smile. Albus realized Louis was there, as well as Fred. He was going to have some trouble keeping them quiet about the whole phoenix thing. The fact that David was the son of a death eater was already spread around every corner of the school, because of the inability for the Weasley family to keep a secret. Luckily everyone took it well, but Albus had the impression that David wasn’t too happy.

“That phoenix was beautiful,” Caroline Mitt whispered, taking in no part of the conversation around her.

“All of you, can you please keep it quiet?” Albus asked desperately. Albus looked longingly at James, (and, suddenly noticing) John, and then Louis and Fred. All four of them nodded.

“Our lips are sealed,” Louis confirmed.

“Though I won’t pretend I’m not curious out of my mind,” Fred added.

“I don’t have the answers,” Albus said. That wasn’t true, he didn’t know the full answer, but he knew more about it than any of them had before.

“Well, Albus, you’re free to leave,” Madam Pomfrey said, almost in a whisper. She still seemed to be in awe over the phoenix.

“WHAT?” a voice shouted which startled Albus as everyone had been so quiet for the past several minutes. The source of the voice was Brad Romo, the Gryffindor beater, who Albus had been subbing for during the game. “You keep me in here for a few days, and then Albus almost dies and he’s free to leave like, an hour later?”

“Phoenix tears heals their recipient completely,” Madam Pomfrey said, sounding like she was speaking from personal experience. She probably was. “When you’re healed with phoenix tears, you don’t even need a recovery. Albus is probably healthier than everyone in this room right now.”

“Really?” Albus said, curious. He didn’t know that.

“You should read up on phoenixes. I’m surprised you haven’t already. You barely seemed surprised when you saw that phoenix sitting on your leg. You’ve seen it before, that’s for sure. Phoenixes don’t just heal random people, you know.” Albus stared back at her, worried that she was going to question him about it. But she didn’t say anything back to him, so he got up and left the hospital wing with everyone else (excluding Brad).

Albus said hasty goodbyes to everyone once they reached the Gryffindor common room, ignoring each and every question thrown at him. Albus dashed up to his dormitory, grabbed his cloak, and threw it over himself. That way if anyone came in, they wouldn’t be able to tell where he was.

“Hello Albus,” Art said as he entered the room. Art looked thoughtful for a moment and then grabbed thin air, and pulled. The invisibility cloak slipped off of him.

“How’d you know I was there?” Albus asked.

Art smiled. “I guessed. Plus, I know you.”

“Albus!” Rose shouted, as she entered the dormitory, and she hugged him. As Rose clutched onto him her face buried into his shoulder, Albus noticed her ragged breaths. She was crying.

“Was the accident really that bad?” Albus asked.

“You didn't see it. Later on, it was apparent that Madam Pomfrey could fix, but at first it seemed awful,” David said, who had also entered the dormitory. “Mate, if I were you, I’d go kill Vincent Rosier.”

Albus laughed slightly. “I think Roxanne will do that job for me.”

“Do you want to explain anything to us?” Art asked.

“Yes, but not here,” Albus said, as he noticed Marc and Rob on the other side of the Gryffindor dormitory.

“Where are we going?” Rose asked as they went down the spiraling steps. Rose had finally pulled herself back together and was her usual, calm, curious self again.

“That boarded up room we found last year through the trick staircase,” Albus replied. He hadn’t entered that place since last year. For a split second, he thought about going to the Battle of Hogwarts Cemetery, where he knew they would be alone and where he first saw the phoenix, but Albus decided he wanted that to remain a secret for now. His friends already knew about the phoenix. Albus felt like he was ripping himself open for a dissection. He didn’t want to rip himself up further.

They went to the secret room underneath the cloak, but took it off when they jumped. Albus nimbly landed on his feet, and glanced around. The Gryffindor hangings that David had put there last year were still there, along with Albus’s cauldron and potion ingredients. He had mostly forgotten about this place until now.

“Do we have to pull everything out of you, or are you going to spill?” Rose asked, sounding slightly irritated.

“I’ll spill,” Albus said. He explained how he had first seen the phoenix during their brief fight, and how it comforted him, and then it came to him a few months later as well. And then today for the third time.

“That is so cool,” David said. Art’s eyes looked wide. But it was Rose who Albus was staring out. Her lips were parted, like she wanted to say something, but she seemed to be deep in thought.

“Rose?” Albus said cautiously.

“Well, I suppose it could be… it fits… I’ll have to check in the library…” Rose seemed to be talking to herself. “Albus, can I borrow your cloak?”

“Uh, sure,” Albus said, tossing it to her.

“Bye!” Rose said, levitating herself out with the cloak.

“Wait, Rose, what are you going to do?” Albus shouted. But she was already gone.

“Curses,” David said. “What are we going to do now?”

“Hang around in here until we get back?” Albus said.

“Yes, but what should we do in the meantime?” David said, sounding extremely annoyed and bored.

“Dust?”

 

When Rose came back an hour later, the boys were bored enough to think about dusting, but they didn’t actually do it. But that didn’t mean they weren’t bored. Or mad.

“Rose, don’t run off like that again,” David said, vexed.

“What were you doing, anyhow? And how come you couldn’t take us?” Albus asked.

“Guys, relax. I was just getting a book. It’s on magical creatures, and has a rather long section on phoenixes.”

“What are you looking up?” Albus asked.

“Your little case, Albus,” Rose said. When Albus looked at her, perplexed, she sighed and continued, “You’ll understand shortly, Albus. Let me read a portion of this out loud.

While wild phoenixes choose to remain on mountain peaks, completely isolated for their entire life, a select few number of phoenixes choose to come down from the mountains in search of a human to take them in, give them much needed comfort, and in return give the human comfort as well. They often will fly down on a person who is noble and pure-hearted, but who may need some guidance then or later in life.

"Phoenixes often approach those who are young and under age, because at this age they are innocent and broad-minded. Once the phoenix has identified someone as their potential master, they will approach them, and usually sing. When the phoenix flies away, it will leave behind one feather. If the person in question accepts the feather, then the bird and master are united. The phoenix will perform feats of absolute loyalty to the person and their friends, and will come instantly when summoned.

“The most famous example is of course, Albus Dumbledore, one of the most notable men in history who possessed a phoenix. His phoenix, named Fawkes, saved his life many times, and lead his path toward goodness after the situation with Gellert Grindelwald, whom Dumbledore had befriended at one time.

“One important thing to note is that if a person ever sees a phoenix that is not their own, that person will never be approached by a phoenix looking for a master. For example, The Boy Who Lived would have been an ideal candiate for a phoenix; however, as he had numerous encounters with Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, he effectively drove all other phoenixes away. If you are already master of a phoenix and see another one, then the loyalty of your own phoenix will never be affected.”

Rose stopped reading. Albus’s mind was racing along at rocket speed.

“Oh, Merlin- it dropped a feather- and I picked it up and put it inside my robes-” Albus said, in near panic. He looked in his robes and pulled out a small, scarlet feather. They all stared at it, catching the light off the end of Albus’s wand.

“One last test,” Rose whispered. “Albus, summon it.”

Come to me, please, Albus thought, conscious of how much his heart was aching. He hadn’t realized how fond he was of the phoenix, until now.

Albus couldn’t repress his gasp of shock as a flash of flame appeared in the room, died away, and the phoenix emerged. It flew down next to Albus and landed on his shoulder.

“Hello, Mr. Phoenix,” Albus said. So, this meant...

“I think that settles it,” Rose said, sounding like she was in awe.

“Merlin's pants, Albus has a pet phoenix,” David said, sounding shocked.

“What are you going to name him?” Art asked.

“Well, I’ve been calling him Mr. Phoenix, just as a silly sort of mannerisms thing, but I like that. I think I’ll keep that.”

“Welcome to Hogwarts, Mr. Phoenix,” Art said politely. “I hope you’ll enjoy your stay.”

Albus and Mr. Phoenix stared at each other, looking into each other’s eyes. But the eyes were the windows to the soul, so they shared a look of deep understanding in that gaze. Each of them knew what the gaze meant. What it represented.

The union of bird and master.





Hello everyone! As HPFF is shutting down next month, this will be the last update to this story on this website.

However, that does not mean that the story is done! I am currently in the process of transferring my stories to HPFT (Harry Potter Fanfiction Talk), where I will upload this and everything else, and then I will also keep on updating. So, if you wish to keep following along with the story, follow me on there!

Good luck to everyone, and thank you to HPFF! I will miss you. <3

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