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24 July 2007 @ 07:58 pm
HP fic: The Second Road Less Travelled  
HP fic: The Second Road Less Travelled
This part: 5141 words, PG-13, ships but foreshadowed for now
Warning: contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

a/n: Unwary readers should take note that the epilogue, and more to the point this fic, has given me license to populate Hogwarts with OCs a-plenty. If you didn't like my OCs before, you won't now. Also: I'm enjoying this far too much to rush it, so we're taking the scenic route to shipping.

For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.

(Patrick Kavanagh)

The cheer for Rose when she was Sorted into Gryffindor was everything Albus' hadn't been: loud, welcoming and there. But most of the Hufflepuffs were sending him glances laden with quiet sympathy, except for the few who were already staring at their plates with tangible anticipation.

Rambo's shoulder nudging his roused Albus out of his stupor. "I'm glad you're in the same House as me," whispered Rambo.

"I'm glad too," said Albus, taken aback to realise that it wasn't remotely untrue. Down the table from him, Titania Abbott winked ferociously before ladling out the biggest portion of mashed potatoes Albus had ever seen on one spoon. The two other first year Hufflepuff boys were seated across from him, and took a moment out of their caballing to wave hello. The table was too wide and too laden with delicious food to make general conversation possible or even desirable, but Albus felt that despite the ominous silence following his Sorting, he was not in the least bit unwelcome here.

Albus couldn't bring himself to eat or talk much, even to Rambo, whose gasps of wonder came at regular five second intervals. He was glad when the feast was over, but also nervous about his immediate future. Almost everyone he knew or was related to was a Gryffindor; all their tales of school life revolved around the red and gold Gryffindor Tower. Albus didn't even know where the Hufflepuff common rooms were located. He felt a swoop of apprehension in his stomach.

As soon as the last plate had been cleared, the prefects began marshalling their troops. The boy with the Alice band turned out to be the Hufflepuff prefect in charge of first-years. Instead of talking, he stood up and pressed his badge. It immediately glowed blue and began to whistle. Rambo laughed.

Albus followed the boy out of the Hall, with the less savvy first years trailing behind him. Once they were clear of the noise and bustle, the boy spoke. He had a soft, lilting voice, and Albus immediately understood why he hadn't tried to yell for their attention: the boy would have had difficulty being heard in a library.

"My name is Morse Lovegood," he said. "I'm one of your prefects, which means I'm the person you go to when you have any questions or concerns."

"I have a question," piped up one of the boys. "Where's the lavatory?"

"There's one behind that tapestry of Wendelin the Weird," said Morse, "but I wouldn't go there unless I had to. Whoever decorated it charmed the tiles to talk, and they're not very complimentary. If you can hold it, our quarters aren't far."

The boy considered this. "I guess I can hold it."

"I'm glad to hear it," said Morse, without the slightest hint of sarcasm. He turned to lead them on, and Albus had to suppress a gasp. One side of Morse's face was mottled with blotchy discolourations. They traced a pattern under his chin and beneath his short ponytail. Albus knew it wasn't polite to ask about scars, so he didn't, but the lavatory boy had no such scruples.

"What happened to your neck?" he asked, ogling.

"Oh, I see you've noticed," said Morse. "I was born that way. My mother experimented with a lot of potions when she was pregnant, so I think I got confused as to which colour I was supposed to be."

"What do you mean? People are only one colour, aren't they?" pressed the boy. Albus shared a look of distaste with Rambo.

"Yes, they are." An infinity of patience engulfed Morse's words. "But my father has black skin, and my mother has white, and I think they got into a bit of a fight when it came to me."

The boy opened his mouth to speak again, but Albus jumped in. "Morse, can you tell us the password, please?"

"Albus Potter, isn't it?" Morse smiled for the first time. "You probably know more about Hogwarts than I do. The password for the moment is favourite food."

"'Favourite food,'" repeated Albus.

"No, the password isn't the words 'favourite food,'" said Morse. "You have to reveal your favourite food to be granted entrance. You all better start thinking what your favourite food is, because if Moley thinks you're lying you won't get in."

Silence fell on the little group as they all began thinking hard. Morse sauntered ahead of them, hands in pockets. People passed them in small groups, most wearing yellow scarves or hair clips. They all saluted Morse, who nodded back and said, "How's it going?" He didn't seem to expect answers, which was fortunate, as he didn't get any.

Albus' nostrils were teased by tantalising odours, and his suspicions were confirmed when Morse told them: "We're getting close. You can smell the kitchens nearly everywhere in Hufflepuff Wing, which is fine except when the house elves are cutting up five thousand onions. Rumour has it Helga Hufflepuff loved midnight snacks, which is why she claimed this part of the castle for her House."

"I'm glad she did," said Rambo, who was visibly salivating.

"Have you picked a favourite food yet?" asked Albus in an undertone.

"I can't possibly choose just one!" groaned Rambo. Albus grinned.

Turning a corner brought them up against an alcove in which stood a huge rearing badger. It topped Albus by two or three heads; Morse could just about look it in the beady eye.

"This is Moley the badger," said Morse. "In case you hadn't noticed, the badger is our House's mascot. Now, watch closely: you have to rub Moley's belly in just the right way to get him to speak." He reached down and patted the lifelike tuft of fur midway between Moley's jaw and lower legs. There was a grating noise as Moley's mouth opened.

"Password?" he rasped.

"Grass-flavoured Every Flavour Beans," said Morse.

"Very well," said Moley. The plinth on which he stood slid forward, revealing a worn velvet curtain the colour of old gold.

Morse swept back the curtain. "Youngest first."

Albus stepped through the curtain after Rambo and let out a long breath of delight. The common room was large and square. Fires blazed in two marble hearths at either end of the room, around which were grouped squashy armchairs festooned with yellow cushions and soft black throws. A long table ran the length of the room. Although empty now, it bore the scratches, glue-spills and ink splatters of heavy use. Each of the walls was hung with huge noticeboards, numbering seven in total. All but one was covered with photographs - Muggle and wizarding - drawings, notices, dried flowers and greenery, and odds and ends. Albus stepped closer to the noticeboard nearest him to read the plaque above it. It read 'Seventh Year' in fancy curlicued handwriting, purple against a green background.

"Those are the class boards," said Morse from behind him. "Each plaque was designed by the year in question, and we keep the old ones in the cabinet over there. Some of them are incredible. As each class moves up a year, so do the class boards."

"These are great!" Laughter bubbled out of Albus as he noticed a long written conversation between 'the V-man' and 'Firefly' on the seventh-year board. It appeared to have been going on for years, and incorporated good-natured insults as well as jokes about teachers and other students. Albus' eyes widened as he caught a reference to James: 'The first of the Potter clan has his head stuck so far up his own arse that it's surprising he can see daylight. - Firefly. Yes, absolute fame corrupts absolutely. - the V-man.'

"Watch out for those two," said Morse, although he sounded amused. "They translate 'loyalty to Hufflepuff' as 'an excuse to butcher the reputations of every other House.' Don't take it personally."

"Believe me, I don't," Albus assured him.

While they were speaking, the other first-years had formed a tightly huddled nucleus of fearful wonder. The older students, sitting in armchairs and at the table or discussing the noticeboards, regarded them with fond superiority. All were smiling and cheerful, and Albus' attempt to identify the V-man and Firefly failed miserably.

"This is Rhianna Pratchett," said Morse, gesturing at a short girl with black hair and acres of costume jewellery. "She's the other fifth-year prefect, and she'll be showing the girls where to sleep. Boys follow me, please."

As Rhianna shepherded the girls away, Albus caught sight of Titania gesturing frantically over her shoulder. He frowned, trying to decipher her hand signals. At last he realised she was mouthing, "Meet me back here!"

Albus shrugged and nodded. He knew curfew was stringently enforced for first-years in Gryffindor, but perhaps Hufflepuff was more relaxed. All the signs seemed to be pointing that way.

He was as delighted with the dormitory as he'd been with the common room. Because there were only four boys in Hufflepuff the beds were far larger and the room more spacious than he'd anticipated. The two other boys claimed the window beds. Albus, who knew a considerable amount about the ice-forming properties of centuries-old, single-glazed windows, wasn't about to object.

When they'd inspected their trunks and pulled out their pyjamas, Albus crossed the room and held out his hand to the lavatory boy's other half. "I'm Albus Potter. What's your name?"

"Conan Gilligan." Conan sounded subdued, in direct contrast to his friend, who was bouncing on the bed.

"I'm Rambo Dursley," said Rambo.

"Are you serious?" sniggered the other boy. "Do you parents really hate you or something?"

Rambo blushed. "No. My dad just loves Rambo, that's all."

"Huh." The boy bounced off the bed and on to the floor, making a godawful thump and nearly knocking Rambo over. "I'm Eoghan O'Neill. Conan there is my half-brother."

"We think," said Conan.

"Oh, come on." Eoghan rolled his eyes. "We are, just accept it, Conan."

"You do look awfully alike," remarked Albus. Although Conan had reddish-brown hair and Eoghan dusty blonde, they shared the same sharp nose and determined chin.

"We were both so surprised when the letters came," continued Eoghan. "No one else in our village was even a bit magical. That's when our mams told us our dads weren't really our dads. Well, mine did. Conan's mother doesn't have a husband."

"So? Lots of people's mothers don't," retorted Albus. Conan looked on the point of tears, and to distract Eoghan Albus observed, "You don't sound English."

"Thank God," said Eoghan. "We're Irish, from Kerry. We had to catch the ferry over in the middle of the most enormous storm. The Great Lake was a doddle compared to that! And Conan was seasick four times."

"You were seasick three," said Conan.

"And we made a solemn blood pact to try and stick together, even if we were put in Slytherin." Eoghan crossed himself devoutly, as if to ward off evil.

"What's wrong with Slytherin?" Albus narrowed his eyes. Eoghan hadn't been in the castle five minutes before he was spouting anti-Slytherin sentiments. He sounded like Uncle Ron, except Uncle Ron had an excuse and from all Albus could see, Eoghan had none at all. Eoghan was certainly loyal, but Albus was starting to see that 'loyal' wasn't a synonym for 'nice,' any more than 'brave' was.

"It's, like, the worst house there is. Fancy you not knowing that." Eoghan tossed his head. "This boy, James, invited us into his compartment and told us all about it. No Hat was gonna put me in the bad House!"

"How lucky for the Slytherins," said Albus under his breath. He grabbed Rambo's arm. "We have to go get something from the common room."

"We do?" Rambo let himself be tugged along. "Albus, we do?"

"Titania Abbott said to meet her there," explained Albus. "Besides, if I spend any longer with that git I'll end up hexing him, and I don't want a detention on my very first day. My Dad would kill me."


Albus followed the minute hand of his watch as it rotated slowly around the clockface, illuminated by a slice of moonlight. As it quivered into place on twelve, atop the big hand, he thrust back the covers and gently touched his socked feet to the floor. He thought about finding his slippers, but they were still in his trunk and rummaging for them would make too much noise.

He tiptoed to the opposite bed, where Rambo was slumbering with gunshot snores. Despite his half-dead appearance, Rambo awoke instantly when Albus shook his arm.

"Are you still sure you want to do this?" whispered Albus.

"Of course!" Rambo rolled out of bed. "Exploring a haunted castle at night is exactly what Sylvester Stallone would do."

"Well, if you're sure," said Albus, who wondered why Sylvester Stallone wasn't mentioned in his book, 100 Greatest Exorcists of the 20th Century.

Fortunately the little winding staircase leading to their dormitory was hewn from stone, and they traversed it noiselessly. The common room was shrouded in shadow, except for two points of light where the embers in the fireplaces still smouldered. A head peeked over one of the armchairs as they creaked on to the floorboards.

"Hi," said Titania, in a soft but still speaking voice.

"Why aren't you whispering?" whispered Albus.

"Because it carries further." Titania rose out of the chair, a majestic figure in spite being swaddled by a terry-towelling dressing gown. Her eyes gleamed behind her thick glasses. "The other two boys aren't coming?"

Albus looked at Rambo, who shrugged. "We didn't ask them," said Albus.

"Fair enough," said Titania. "Lumos!" A bead of light lit up the end of her wand. Albus repeated the spell and his light-ball flared into being, slightly larger than Titania's.

"You have a go," said Albus encouragingly to Rambo. "Just say the spell, and think about light as hard as you can."

"Lumos," quavered Rambo, gripping his wand in both hands. The resulting burst of light outshone Albus' and Titania's put together.

"Cool," said Titania. "Let's roll, homies."

"What?" said Albus, as Rambo said, "Right on, sister."

They crept out beyond the curtain, doing their best not to rouse Moley. The kitchen scent grew stronger the further they travelled.

"How do you know she'll be able to find her way?" asked Albus. Rambo was busy peering at the cold sconces, saying 'Wicked' a lot.

"We Abbotts have an excellent sense of smell," said Titania smugly. "And we're still on the ground floor. Everyone knows the Slytherin rooms are in the dungeons, so they can't be that far away. If worst comes to worst, we'll ask the house elves."

There was no need, for as they came within smelling distance of what had to be the main kitchen entrance - although all Albus could see was a lurid still-life of a basket of fruit - they spied Norma Abbott waiting for them. She was not alone.



Titania ran to Norma and gave her a hug. Norma returned it with one arm; her other hand was occupied in holding Scorpius Malfoy's ear in a tight pinch. Albus stared.

"What on earth happened, Norma?" asked Titania.

"I don't know." Norma shrugged. "I got the feeling the Hat could see all those tricks we got up to - the ones I always came up with and you joined in with? I'm sorry, Ti! I thought our twinny bond would be enough. Can you live with a Slytherin for a twin?"

"Don't be an idiot." Titania punched her sister on the arm. "I don't care which other House you got Sorted into, only that it wasn't mine! I tried to tell the Hat to put me with you, but it just laughed."

"We'll hardly ever get to see each other now," lamented Norma.

"Slytherin and Hufflepuff share classes this year," offered Albus. "You'll have all those."

"I didn't realise! Fabbo." Norma's face brightened.

"How on earth do you know that?" Scorpius Malfoy spoke for the first time. His voice was as haughty and refined as his appearance suggested, but he sounded curious rather than hostile.

"My dad's friends with Professor Longbottom," said Albus. He felt a little guilty about that connection, although it had nothing to do with him.

"Well, it's something, at least." Titania peered closely at Scorpius. "I said you could bring back-up, Ma, not prisoners."

"He tried to stop me sneaking out," said Norma. "What was I supposed to do, leave him behind to squeal on me?"

"As I've been trying to tell you the whole way here," said Scorpius, with as much dignity as a boy could must while fruitlessly trying to free himself from the captivity of a little girl, "I was not going to dob you in. I thought it was strange to wander the castle in the middle of the night, that's all. You could have just said you were meeting your sister."

"Well, I'm a Slytherin now," said Norma. "We're supposed to be sneaky."

Scorpius muttered something about Norma interpreting House ethics entirely wrong, but only Albus was listening. He noticed Scorpius' eyes were slightly pink.

"Norma, before I forget, this is Rambo Dursley and Albus Potter," said Titania. "I'm considering moulding them into my new partners in crime. What do you think?"

"I think they can't be worse than this pathetic specimen," said Norma, tugging Scorpius' ear. Scorpius winced.

"You could probably let him go now," suggested Albus. A look of relief flitted briefly across Scorpius' face. "He'll be in as much trouble as us if we get caught."

"You never spoke a truer word, Potter."

A figure stepped out of the shadows. Albus watched the other four blanch. He gulped as the figure bore down on him.

"Penwyn Jones," said the boy, smiling alarmingly. "Seventh-year prefect, Hufflepuff. I'm doing rounds. What's your excuse for being out of bed? Because, unless it's a good one, you're all booked for breaking curfew." Penwyn squinted at Scorpius. "And inter-house consorting, oh my!" He turned his piercing gaze back on to Albus. "Well?"

"Er, um ..." Albus racked his brain. He didn't think Penwyn was going to buy any excuse he came up with, but if Albus knew anything about intimidation tactics, he had to try. "Midnight snack?"

Penwyn raised his eyebrows. "Close, but no cigar. You two snakes get back to your prison cells. The rest of you, come with me. You've got a long day ahead of you ... and as I happen to know Brown's taking detention tomorrow night, you've just made it even longer."


The main memory Albus carried of his first day in Hogwarts revolved around the nasty head cold that dogged him from the moment he awoke. He'd felt chilled getting into bed, the cold in his feet rising steadily throughout the night. Come morning he was sniffling in a manner guaranteed to enrage all but the sickliest of companions. He knew better than to play around with his health, fragile as it was; but it wasn't until classes were over that he had a chance to visit the infirmary. By then the cold was well-established.

Albus was annoyed with himself, both for not knowing better than to walk around cold floors at night in his socks, and for not being able to fully enjoy his first classes. They'd had Defence Against the Dark Arts with Professor Bones and Double Herbology with Professor Longbottom.

They'd spent the first Defence class learning and perfecting the disarming spell. "It looks simple, and relatively unimportant," said Professor Bones, "but it has been the saviour of many lives in battle. But you'll be hearing all about that from Professsor Binns in History of Magic, I'm sure."

Rambo's Expelliarmus! had sent Albus' wand flying on his first attempt, but he was not at home among the mud and plants of the greenhouse. He particularly disliked the sentient nature of the Curling Passionberry shrubs they were working on. He shook off the creeping tendrils every time they so much as touched him, which meant his repotting wasn't half finished by the end of the class. Albus was bemused by Rambo's behaviour, as he himself was content to let the Passionberries wind their soft stems around his arms as far as the elbow. Albus wasn't incredibly fond of dirt, but he wasn't anywhere near as fastidious as Rambo. It was while Rambo marched off in search of a bathroom to thoroughly scour his hands that Albus slipped away to the infirmary.

Madam MacDougal was the school nurse, a hard-faced woman with a kind manner. "Yes, your mother sent me your medical file by owl before you'd even arrived," she said. "You were right to come to me. The last thing you need is to develop a lingering cold or 'flu. Your immune system just isn't up to it yet." She dosed him with some horrible Pepper-Up Potion, which unfortunately was not the worst medicine Albus had ever tasted, and sent him off steaming at the ears. He had to come back the next day for more. He knew as well as Madam MacDougal that one dose wouldn't be enough to shake this cold.

All too sooner dinner was over. As Penwyn predicted, it had been a long day, and Albus wished for nothing more than an hour spent dozing in front of the common room fire before bed. Instead, he, Rambo and Titania had to find their way to Professor Brown's classroom in order to take their detention. The Divination Tower was supremely difficult to find, located as it was in a far distant and mainly unused part of the castle. By the time they got there, they were not only thoroughly hot and flustered, they were late.

Norma and Scorpius were already inside the classroom, sitting uncomfortably on purple pouffes. Titania raced to her twin, or tried to; she was hampered by an obstacle course of pointless tables and fringed stools. "How did you get here so fast?" she demanded.

"We followed Professor Brown after dinner, of course." Norma preened, and Titania hit her on the shoulder. From the look on Scorpius' face, it had been his idea. Albus chose the pouffe just behind Scorpius', and Rambo plumped himself into a purple and gold armchair.

Albus wasn't quite sure what to say to Scorpius; 'sorry' seemed appropriate, if misplaced, and 'hello' was a little late. Scorpius looked tired, but not as if he'd been crying. Norma wasn't the kind of girl on whose shoulder you could cry, if Albus could correctly judge her from a day's acquaintance. Scorpius had sat next to Norma in every class so far.

In the end he vacillated too long, and by the time the round door at the far end of the class room swung dramatically open, Albus and Scorpius hadn't exchanged a word. Rambo had been examining a crystal ball, which he dropped with a dull thud as a spooky figure advanced into the classroom. Despite her trailing diaphanous veils, she found a path through the wilderness of furniture with the ease of long practice.

"Good evening, children," she said mournfully, adjusting the circlet of moonstones around her head. "I understand you are here to take detention with me?"

"That's right, Professor," said Albus, when no one else appeared prepared to answer.

Professor Brown heaved a tragic sigh. "I was just in commune with the Great Spirit," she informed them. "I have begged to be excused - evenfall is my most astrally open time - and Uranus is bright tonight - but always, always they refuse."

"If it's too much trouble, we could just leave," Norma suggested helpfully. Professor Brown's glowered at her, a fact which was not hidden by the blue silk half-veil covering her eyes.

"Don't be ridiculous, child," she snapped. "Crystal balls always need polishing, do they not? Tarot cards must be reshuffled, teacups cleaned - do they not, do they not?"

Norma shrugged.

"I see you've already begun," said Professor Brown, waving a thin hand at Rambo's dropped crystal ball. "But what possessed you to sit in my chair, child?" She pronounced 'child' like 'venomous tarantula.'

"I didn't know," mumbled Rambo, sliding on to a pouffe with his face blazing.

"Since you are so fond of my balls," said Professor Brown, to a stifled snigger from Titania, "you may clean them." She waved her wand, and a very un-mystical bucket of rags and polish appeared at Rambo's feet. "The three shelves over there need doing. Since you find this so amusing," to Titania, "you may mend my torn Tarot cards by hand." Another wind-whistling snap of the wand, and a pot of glue and a brush dropped into Titania's lap. "You'd better clean out my cupboards, girl -" Norma stiffened "- I'm afraid there's still some cheese left over from last year's tiromancy seminar."

A large wooden scrubbing brush and a bar of soap fell on Norma's foot, and she yelped in pain.

"Hmm, as for you two..." Professor Brown's eyes roved over Albus' and Scorpius' faces "... you can wash out the teacups. Come, I'll show you the sink."

Albus had hoped this was being let off easy - until he saw the cups. There were three heaps of them, one beside the sink, one in the sink and one on the floor. The tea leaves had congealed at the bottom of the cups, forming a glutinous, unpleasant mess.

Professor Brown aimed her wand at the sink, and the cups within were instantly submerged in purple-tinged soap suds. A dishcloth fluttered into Scorpius' hands.

"Pray don't make more noise and mess than absolutely necessary," said Professor Brown. It occurred to Albus that judging by the number of cups, the teacher had also had a long day and wanted nothing more than a little peace and quiet. In the harsh light of the pantry he could also see the three raised, ugly scars on Professor Brown's cheek.

"We won't, I promise," said Albus. Professor Brown looked surprised.

"Get along, then," she said and drifted off, leaving behind a faint odour of lavender.

Albus plunged his hands into the sink with an almighty splash, but it was Scorpius who truly broke the silence. "She looked like she got mauled by a werewolf," he said. "No wonder she's so bitter."

"Accidents happen, you just have to make the best of it." Albus shrugged and placed a cup on the draining board. Scorpius picked it up and began to dry it, his awkward movements betraying his slim familiarity with such a task.

"Is that water boiling?"

"No, it's just nice - here." Albus reached out for Scorpius' hand and dunked it in the water. The violet bubbles tickled them both. Scorpius' expression changed from indignant to intrigued in the blink of an eye. He splashed the water at Albus, drenching his sleeve, and Albus did the same back before remembering his promise to Professor Brown.

"We can't make too much noise," he said regretfully.

"I didn't take you for a teacher's pet," snorted Scorpius. Albus was disappointed by the scorn in Scorpius' voice. He shifted away from him.

"I'm not trying to suck up to her," he said. "But she's a person too, and she's tired, and we should respect that."

"Huh," said Scorpius, although it could have been 'oh.' They worked in silence through the first batch of cups. Albus was hurt by Scorpius' dismissal of him, but he hated conflict and wanted more than anything to gloss over the incident. He was concentrating so hard on figuring out how that he barely heard it when at last Scorpius spoke.

"Hey, what did you think of ... the classes today?"

His face was blank, but his mouth betrayed him. Albus accepted the unspoken apology.

"They were great," he said. "I've been so busy I haven't even had a chance to be homesick."

"Oh -" said Scorpius "- haven't you?" and Albus remembered that he'd been up, alone, in the common room in the middle of the night. It was then he knew it was going to be all right.

"Nope, but I will be," he said frankly. "I miss home something rotten."

"Me too," said Scorpius in a soft voice.

It was nearing midnight once more when they finished washing all the cups. In the classroom, Norma was lying on her stomach, making half-hearted swipes at an open cupboard. Titania was painting her fingernails with glue in between mammoth yawns. Only Rambo was devoted to his task, rubbing the crystal balls with such effort his face sported a similar sheen.

"When can we leave?" asked Scorpius, while Albus sank on to a pouffe. He felt drained and slightly nauseous. His body told him he should have been in bed hours ago, sleeping off the worst of his cold.

"Whenever our task is done," said Norma, mimicking Brown's sob-filled voice perfectly. "She came in about an hour ago and said that."

"Our task is done," said Albus.

"Mine is too." Norma abandoned the scrubbing brush and with it her veneer of exhaustion. "Let me tell you, if I had found any cheese I would have died from the excitement. Is there anything more boring than cleaning empty cupboards?"

"Try gluing these stupid fiddly things together," yawned Titania. "I swear she went and ripped them up her own self. How else would Tarot cards get this mangled?"

"Hey, Rambo, you finished?" said Albus. "Rambo!"

"Huh?" Rambo looked up. "These things are ace. You know I've been seeing all sorts of things?"

"Really?" Albus sat forward, impressed. Norma, far less so, called over, "Yeah, his own face!"

"Just shadows and stuff," said Rambo. "And one or two people."

"You have'ta learn to recognise your own reflection, mate." Titania popped the cap on the pot of glue. "I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like splitting. Who's with me?"

Titania saluted, Scorpius and Albus raised their weary arms and, after a moment's reluctance, Rambo nodded.

It took them half an hour to find their way back to the Great Hall, lumbered as they were with a poor sense of direction enhanced by tiredness. Titania and Norma exchanged mock-tearful farewells and the three boys nodded at each other, but there was nothing false about Titania's parting wish: "If only there were some place we could meet up properly, 'cause it's not like we can visit each other's common rooms."

"I'd be down with that," said Rambo eagerly.

Scorpius and Albus opened their mouths at the same time, caught each other's eyes and smiled.

"My dad," started Scorpius.

"Knows this place," finished Albus.
Current Music: keep the car running (the arcade fire)
shllybkwrmevr_afire on July 24th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
(I couldn't figure out what to click to comment for a minute...)
This is awesome ^^. The last part was cute--I'm guessing RoR, yes? Anyway, I love the idea of Albus and his friends roaming around Hogwarts at night *grins*. Write more!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Comic stripscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
It's the Potter in him coming out - or the Evans, if we count Rambo too. ;D Thanks!
Sayraaryas_zehral on July 24th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
Love the last two lines. Made me smile. I assume you're planning more?
Sayraaryas_zehral on July 24th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Oh there was just one thing: I'm fairly certain that the Epilogue says Neville teaches Herbology...
(no subject) - grey_hunter on July 25th, 2007 12:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
xphineasxxphineasx on July 24th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
VERY cute. I loves it. ^-^ I like all of your OC's actually, and I generally dont like OCs. Scorpius is SO cute.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Librarianscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks, although I'm sure he'd hate to think of himself that way. :D
Alexis: ravenclawjapanimecrazed on July 24th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
I love this! Glad to hear the shipping will take awhile; the friendships you've set up are too good to rush. Your OCs are wonderful. Can't wait for more!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: SGA: Two of usscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that, because shipping is such a big deal in fandom! ♥
ang \\: hp \\ wake me up insidecallmeang on July 24th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
"Cool," said Titania. "Let's roll, homies."

"What?" said Albus, as Rambo said, "Right on, sister."

BHWAHAHAHAHA. Poor little not-in-the-muggle-world Albus.

And I love Rambo. I really do.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Yellow boys kissingscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Rambo clearly needs a fanclub of some sort. :D Thanks!
it's weird to have a vibrating cat on your head: i'd tap that as/smeiface on July 24th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Eee, I'm so pleased that there's more. I love that you're taking your time with this, too, because I feel like we're really getting to know all the characters better, including your OCs. I'm still terribly endeared of Rambo, and I can't wait to see some more Albus and Scorpius interaction. It's a nice change of pace to see them develop a friendship off the Hogwarts Express, as happens in so many other fics.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Because the Irish do it betterscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine that every single person in Hogwarts finds their best friends on the train. It doesn't happen at school or during Freshers' Week. Clearly Ron and Harry were a bit of an exception.

wildestranger on July 24th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
Oooh, most exciting. I'm really enjoying this. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Candy lipsscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you, honey. I hope this epilogue similarly inspired you? ;D
jess: AS/S = OTPerudire on July 25th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
I'm loving it. ♥

One quibble: Isn't Neville supposed to be teaching Herbology?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Ryoma: failscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
He is, that was my bad. I'm on my way to editing it. :D
i'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly: In the light.takewing on July 25th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
This fic is just too fun. :D Please keep up the good work, I'm loving it!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: SGA: Johnscoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'll do my best, I promises. ♥
Luce Redissen4 on July 25th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
Rambo Dursley was the perfect touch. This was great fun to read; I'm looking forward to more!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: It's dead. Let's eat it!scoradh on July 25th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked him (and it)!
(Anonymous) on July 25th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
Well, I liked this chapter as much as first one.
I wonder, though, about the power, Rambo seems to have. I mean his Lumos was brightest, and his Expelliarmus was powerful, and he must be really see something in those Crystal balls. I wonder, why Albus doesn't show this level of magic. Maybe, he isn't self-confident enough? But again, Rambo doesn't seems so sure of himself also.
What I didn't liked is how controlling and commanding twins Abbots were. Hermione with her all-knowing and commanding habits was annoying enough, but two of like girls can be annoying, boring and frustrating in whole. Oh, I like it when girls can stand for themselves and take equal rights with their partners-in-crime, but to have them as leaders, ordering others about, makes me want to slap them into assuming others as equal and worthly comrades.

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Mobscoradh on July 25th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
I wonder, why Albus doesn't show this level of magic.

Because neither he nor any of the Weasleys showed any exceptional magical talent that I could see, if you don't count rule-breaking and making mischief. The most powerful witch in the books was Hermione, the first-generation Muggleborn.

Eh, controlling and commanding? If you say so. Titania asked Albus and Rambo to come with her, in a sort of 'do you fancy an adventure?' kind of way. Granted, Norma did drag Scorpius along, but it was because she acting in haste.

but to have them as leaders, ordering others about, makes me want to slap them

I'm sorry you have an issue with women being in power, but that's neither my problem nor the focus of this story. There's leaders in every group - not that I'm saying they are the leaders of this group - and the point is that they lead. Equality and worth have nothing to do with it.
focus and we'll be flyingfiredraygon97 on July 25th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
Hahaha, love the Sylvester Stallone reference. XD I'm surprised Rambo's such a natural at magic. I'm looking forward to his development. And I love how you're taking it slow, building the AS/S friendship before anything slashy happens. Great work with this chapter. Please write more soon!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fake: Ryoscoradh on July 25th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad people don't mind the slow and steady thing I've got going. It helps when your audience likes what you like... :D
mrsquizzical: harryronholdinghandsmrsquizzical on July 25th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
i'm going to read this. haven't yet.

hope you don't mind if i friend so i don't miss bits along the way?


every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Rodney: I like foodscoradh on July 25th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
Not at all, I just hope you won't be disappointed if I don't keep producing chapters with such military regularity. :D
grey_hunter on July 25th, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
still loving it!
heh it just makes sense Dudley's son would be not very bright but somehow still brilliant in magic. :D

And yay for RoR!!!!

May your muses and bunnies marry for eternity and hold a looong wedding reception and successive wedding night... er that sounded somehow gross, didn't it?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Blue haired boy w/ phonescoradh on July 25th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
He's got all that raw Rambo power with nowhere to go... :D

Not really, it's just I don't think my muses are the marrying type. All free spirits, and VERY committment-phobic (particularly when it comes to my stories).
(no subject) - grey_hunter on July 26th, 2007 10:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
janeaverage on July 25th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
A DURSLEY! :D I so wanted to see Dudley in the epilogue. Did they know each other from before, or did they meet on the train?

I love the last three lines. And that Neville is DADA teacher! I'm so used to thinking of him as Herbology, but it definitely suits him, after the last few books.
janeaverage on July 25th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
...and never mind, I've just found part 1. How did I miss that? *facepalm*
(no subject) - scoradh on July 25th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)