The Firebolt V
The following morning, Albus was sitting at the Slytherin Table. Although he was extremely hungry, he had only filled his plate half-full with sausage and eggs. He wasn't focused on eating. He was more focused on the ceiling of the grand room. He knew that most Owl Post usually came in the morning, and he was eagerly waiting for the return letter from his parents.
"Alohomora!" Thomas Montague said, suddenly.
Albus looked up to see Thomas trying to force open the box they had received in Charms class, but it wasn't moving. Albus felt a pang of guilt as he realized he hadn't even started on his homework from the previous day. Now, with three more classes that day and homework that was sure to follow, he knew it would start piling up. He remembered a letter from his brother to their parents the previous year, where James said he had a pile of homework at the end of his first week he had to work on, and their mother had sent a long letter to James about how he shouldn't do his homework at the last minute. Albus knew he didn't want to get the same type of letter from his mother, so he knew he had to focus on his homework that evening.
"Ugh!" Thomas groaned, "Why isn't this working?"
"You still haven't opened that box, Montague?" Jasmine Nott said, as she sat down near Albus.
"No," Thomas said, frowning, "I suppose you have."
"Yes, earlier this morning," Jasmine said.
"Did you hand it into Professor Flitwick?" Albus asked, "We could get 50 points for Slytherin."
Jasmine frowned, and Albus could tell she was annoyed.
"I did," she said, scoffing, "But it seems I was quite a few hours late. It seems a Gryffindor got there first last night."
"Who?" Albus asked, thinking of Rose.
"He didn't say," Jasmine said, "He didn't want us to ask them how they opened it. He said it was for the best. But I told him I already opened mine, and he tells me there are still quite a few students who haven't done it yet."
"Ugh!" Thomas said, pushing his box away, "I guess there's no point then."
"I wouldn't say that," Jasmine said. "If you open it, you'll get a free homework pass and a chocolate frog. At least I did in mine."
"A free homework pass?" Albus said, his mind on the stack of homework that was sure to come, "Wicked!"
"Who cares about the pass?" Thomas said, "I need that chocolate before it melts! Alohomora!"
Albus chuckled softly as Thomas groaned when the box didn't open. Suddenly, he heard loud hooting sounds above as several dozens of owls flew in through the rafters of the ceiling and towards the students. Albus looked around for his father's owl, Ares, though he couldn't find him anywhere in the crowd. Albus frowned. Perhaps his father was so ashamed that his own son was placed in Slytherin, he didn't want to send a letter to him. Albus started to regret asking his father so many demanding questions. He should have just ignored the whole thing altogether.
"Young Potter, m'boy!" a voice said nearby.
Albus looked over his shoulder and saw Professor Slughorn, the Head of Slytherin house, and Potions Master coming toward him. Albus frowned wondering what the old Professor could want. Obviously, it couldn't have anything to do with Potions yet, since he hadn't been in the class yet.
"Er... yes, Professor?" Albus asked.
"If you are finished with breakfast," Slughorn said, "Can you follow me please?"
Albus turned around toward Thomas and Jasmine. Thomas looked positively scared, and Albus couldn't tell the reaction in Jasmine's face. Albus turned back to Slughorn.
"Er... yes, sir," Albus said.
He stepped away from the table and followed Professor Slughorn out of the Great Hall.
"Am I in trouble, sir?" Albus asked.
"Trouble?" Slughorn echoed, "Oho! Oh, no, you are in no trouble, m'boy. None at all, no. Actually I am talking to you on your father's request."
"M-my father?" Albus asked, trying to keep his jaw from dropping to the floor.
"Yes," Slughorn said, "Your father sent me a letter and a parcel addressed to you, with the instructions to give it to you in private. The parcel is rather big, and he didn't want you to open it in front of your peers. He thought it would be quite an embarrassment for you."
Albus blushed. He tried to remember if he had forgotten anything at his house. Particularly anything that would embarrass him. The only idea that came to him was indeed quite embarrassing, and he hoped his father hadn't sent him any underwear or anything like that!
"Um... where are they, then?" Albus asked.
"I have the letter here," Slughorn said, digging into his robes.
He pulled out a rolled up piece of parchment and handed it to Albus.
"And the parcel?" Albus asked.
"Oh, yes," Slughorn said, then frowned as he looked around the Entrance Hall. "Unfortunately, it has to go through a process. I thought it wouldn't be any trouble at all. But that Argus Filch... he always wants to check these things. I tried to tell the man that anything sent by Harry Potter himself would have no need to be checked, but the old coot said he remembered what Potter did when he was at school, and he had to check these things. I don't understand that – but – oh, look at me, I'm blabbering on. I always do this when I talk about a dear friend like your father! Oho! I'm sure you're wondering when you'll get that parcel? Yes, well... er... you should have it shortly... I hope."
"Um... thanks," Albus said, still trying to get everything Slughorn had said through his head.
"No problem, m'boy!" Slughorn said, "None at all. Anything for your father! He was such a good student in Potions, and I'm hoping you'll be the same, eh?"
"Er... I'll try, yes, sir," Albus said.
Truthfully, Potions was the class he was least looking forward to. But he didn't want Slughorn to know that.
"I'm blabbering on again," Slughorn said, "I'm sure you want to read your letter. I'll see what I can do about that parcel, eh?"
Albus nodded. He faintly heard Slughorn's footsteps walk away as he looked at the rolled up parchment. Now that the letter was in his hands, the reply letter to his announcement that he was in Slytherin, Albus wasn't sure if he wanted to read it. But before he knew it, his hands were unrolling the parchment right there in the Entrance Hall. He closed his eyes, then opened them again and started on the letter...
I'm sure when you were writing your letter to myself and your mother, you were nervous and wondering how we would react to you being placed in Slytherin House. I'm sure you thought we wouldn't be happy with you, even though I said you'd be an excellent wizard in Slytherin. But I will say I am proud to see you where you stand, a student of Hogwarts and Slytherin House. Slytherin isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, though I'm sure your house-mates are not a part of that category.
Now, to the other part you wrote about. Al, my son, you have nothing to worry about. Yes, I am what you heard. I did defeat a dark wizard named Voldemort, and I have been called the Hero of the Second War. But you should know that as an Auror, I do things like that every day, so I don't see myself as a hero, though I wouldn't be surprised if you did. It is my job to do what I've done. Even though I wasn't an Auror when I defeated Voldemort, that is what my job is now. To track dark wizards and criminals. I didn't tell you this because I didn't think you were old enough to hear it. I hope you can forgive your old man for that.
As for your other worry, about Slytherin House, I will tell you now that I have seen all kinds of wizards come from Slytherin House. Yes, some Dark wizards have come from Slytherin house and they were criminals. But I've also seen very good wizards and witches come from that house. It is true that Voldemort and his recruits were, by a strange coincidence all from the house of Slytherin, but that does not mean that you'll be a Dark wizard just because the Sorting Hat placed you there. That was just a silly rumor Hogwarts students (including me and your Uncle Ron) liked to make up back then. It isn't true.
I've told you this before, most recently that day when I said goodbye to you before you went on the Hogwarts Express, and I will say it again. You were named after two Hogwarts Headmasters. One of them was a Slytherin, Severus Snape, and he was the bravest man I've ever known. But, and I am being entirely honest when I say that, I will not be upset if some day, Severus is replaced as the bravest man, the bravest Slytherin, I've ever known. I don't think I need to tell you what I mean by that, am I right, son?
I was going to send this letter to you last night, and then there was a change of plans. Your brother wrote to me and your Mum, and one of the things he told me is something I'm surprised I didn't hear from you. What is this I hear about first years being able to try out for the Quidditch Teams? I'm sure you were jumping for joy at the thought of that, am I right? I know you love Quidditch. So, I am giving you something to help you on your way. Oh, and as your mother seemed to proudly (but very unneeded) remind me, your birthday was in August, so if you make the team this year, I will no longer be the youngest Quidditch player in a century. I have no problems with that, and I wish you luck if you do want to try out for the team. I only hope my gift sets your mind right.
Er... I think your mother wants to write something now. She's trying to steal the quill from me. So here's your Mum...
Albus this is your mother. I do hope you are doing your homework every night. You know that will stack up if you don't, right? I don't want to read letters from your Professors about late coursework! Also be sure to wash yourself every night, right? No once-a-week baths, mister! I know you! And no fighting with your brother. Even though you are in different Houses, I don't want to hear you fighting, young man! But most of all, just remember to have fun. It's not all about coursework. I had a lot of fun at Hogwarts, as did your father. It's supposed to be enjoyable. So have a good time.
This is your father again. We both love you and hope you do well in school. We'll see you at Christmas. Lily says 'hi' too and that she misses her brother. She also wants me to remind you to keep on eye on Gellert! She misses him too. Well, we better stop here before we run out of room. Say 'hi' to Hagrid for us!
Dad, Mum and Lily
Albus wiped the tears out of his eyes and looked around to see if anyone had seen him crying. He was so happy to read this. His father was proud of him being in Slytherin, and had told him that he wouldn't end up a Dark wizard even if he was in Slytherin. He hadn't expected all of that in his letter. And he had a clue to what the parcel was from his father... now he just wanted that parcel!
"Potter, m'boy!" Albus heard Slughorn say.
Albus looked up. Professor Slughorn and Argus Filch were walking across the hall toward him. Miss Prudence, Filch's cat, was following in their footsteps. Professor Slughorn was holding a long box in his hands, but Albus couldn't tell what it was.
"After a hearty discussion with Mr. Filch," Slughorn said, "He agrees to let you have your father's gift."
Beside Slughorn, Filch muttered and grumbled.
"He also," Slughorn said, clearing his throat and prodding Filch with his elbow, "wants to say something to you."
"I do?" Filch asked Slughorn, who prodded Filch once again with his elbow, "Okay, I do! Er... I'm sorry I thought your father sent us a cursed parcel, and I hope you will not hold any grudges."
Albus raised his eyebrows and felt a mad desire to laugh, but the look in Slughorn's face told him it wasn't a good idea.
"Er... no problem?" Albus said.
Filch stared at Albus for a moment, then turned around and walked off back across the entrance hall, muttering something inaudibly. Miss Prudence hissed at Albus then followed her master off across the hallway, her tail swishing rather crudely behind her. Albus looked at Slughorn, who started chortling and Albus, knowing it was safe, finally let out the chuckle that had been near his lips for over a minute now.
"Oho, m'boy, I haven't had a good laugh like that in days!" Slughorn said, rubbing his rotund belly with his free hand, "Ol' Filch has been needing a good talking-to for a while now. Oh, right, your parcel!"
Slughorn handed the long box to Albus, who took it. Albus admired the package for a mere second before he ripped into the ribbons that held the package together. He found that it was a very long, wide box, and opened it. Then his jaw dropped. Resting in the box was a broomstick. It had a long mahogany handle, and the brush at the top was wrapped in twigs that were painted a slick, dark orange. But it was the indentation at the end of the broomstick that made Albus gasp. It read Firebolt V.
Albus couldn't believe it. The new edition of the Firebolt was extremely rare. It had only come out a few months ago, and even then there were rumors it wouldn't even be sold in stores. After the disaster that happened with its predecessor, the Firebolt IV, became faulty and caused the whole 2012 Spanish Quidditch World Cup team to crash just mere minutes after the final of the World Cup began, it was thought that there would never be a Firebolt made again. But after five years, many lawsuits, and numerous inspections, the new Firebolt had been created and it was said to be one of the best sporting broomsticks ever created. And Albus was holding one in his hands. He couldn't believe it. His father had bought this for him?
"Very nice!" Slughorn said, "A nice gift from your father. Could I look at it? I promise I will not do anything to it. You have my word as your father's friend."
"Er..." Albus said, unsure whether he wanted to let go of this marvel for even a moment, "Sure, I guess..."
He handed it to Slughorn, who admired it and smiled.
"You know," Slughorn said, "Your father owned the first round of Firebolts that came out. It was a beauty. I always wondered what happened to -"
"Whoa!" Albus heard a familiar voice say.
Albus looked up. James was crossing the Entrance Hall from the Grand Staircase, and had seen the broom in Slughorn's hands.
"Is that –?" James asked, "No – it can't be! The new Firebolt! I never thought I'd see this up close! Where did you get one, Professor Slughorn?"
Albus narrowed his eyes at his brother. Professor Slughorn just laughed heartily, his rotund belly shaking like that of Father Christmas.
"Oh, dear boy, this isn't my broomstick," Slughorn said, "It is your brother's!"
James raised his eyebrows and looked from the Professor to his brother. He started laughing.
"I always loved your jokes, Professor," he said, "But be serious, I mean -"
"It is mine!" Albus said, yanking the broomstick from Slughorn's hands. "It is! Dad bought it for me!"
James sputtered and Albus narrowed his eyes at his brother. It was just going to be another joke. He knew it. His own brother would never believe him.
"I'll see you in class, Professor," Albus said.
He harrumphed at his brother and walked off across the Entrance Hall and toward the dungeons. Albus frowned for a moment, until he caught sight of the broomstick in his hands. He grinned and nodded as he saw, in his mind, him holding up the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup in one hand, and his broom in the other, the star Seeker of the Slytherin team.
"You'll see, James," Albus said, "I will make the Slytherin team. I will be the youngest Hogwarts Quidditch player since our own father. I'll show you."
Albus made the vow to himself. He would make the team on Saturday, even if it was the last thing he ever did.
(Rose's PoV – a few minutes earlier)
Rose was eating breakfast with Scorpius, Alice, and a number of her fellow Gryffindors, when she heard the distinct sound of hooting.
"Ah, the post is here!" Scorpius said.
"Forget something at home, did you, Malfoy?" Rose joked.
Scorpius narrowed his eyes, but smiled anyway.
Rose looked up at the ceiling, looking for one particular owl. A number of barn owls and snowy owls made their way across the ceiling, and Rose thought she might have seen a crow or two headed toward the Slytherin Table. Then, as she looked around for one particular owl, she found him. The tiny owl, Pigwidgeon, was making his braving his way through the much large birds, and he swooped down toward Rose and dropped a rolled up piece of parchment toward her. She caught it in mid-air. Rose frowned as she watched the tiny owl fly away, as Pig had reminded her already of home. She unrolled the parchment and recognized her mother's handwriting. She started to read it:
Congratulations for making Gryffindor, I'm very proud of you, and your father is practically beside himself. In fact, I asked him if he was going to write you a letter instead. Well, he started on one, but his hands were shaking so much from being so happy for you, that you probably wouldn't be able to read his writing. So I told him I'd write this to you. We're both happy for you. I hope you enjoy Hogwarts and Gryffindor Tower. Just reading your letter makes me miss the old tower so much.
Now, if I know you, and I think I do, then there may be no point writing this to you, but I really hope you are
working on your homework and not letting it stack up. But since you are my daughter, I don't think I have to worry about that, right?
Since I know that you are also your father's daughter, I'm going to tell you that you better not have any second thoughts about venturing into the Forbidden Forest, young lady. It may look inviting, and you may be a proud Gryffindor, but I better not get any notes from Professor McGonagall about you going in there. It is a very dangerous place.
We talked to your Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny last night, after we received your letter. They told us about Albus being placed in Slytherin. Your father couldn't believe it. I even think he had a nice long talk with Uncle Harry. But as for me, I will tell you that Slytherin isn't a bad house. It is quite respectable like Gryffindor. I hope you don't start a rivalry with your cousin just because he is a Slytherin. He is still family, and I know you two are very close. I want to see you still as close as ever when it comes for Christmas holidays, okay?
I was amazed to hear the news about Professor McGonagall allowing First Years to play Quidditch. Quidditch is a dangerous sport! I'm happy to hear that you have no intentions of trying out, though your father was a right sight when he read that in your letter. But he knows James is going to try out for Gryffindor this year, and your father wants you to tell him 'Good luck from Uncle Ron!'
Your father and I miss you, and so does Hugo, believe it or not. He doesn't have his big sister to tease right now, thank goodness. But he misses you and loves you, as do I and your father. I hope you enjoy your classes. Work hard, young lady, but remember to have fun. Even I had fun sometimes. Now I will end this letter right here because your father is reading this over my shoulder, and laughing at the thought of me having fun in Hogwarts.
Mum, Dad and Hugo
Just as Rose finished the letter, she was interrupted by a loud harrumph. She looked up to see a very miserable looking James sitting at the table across from her. Usually James was known for piling his plate with every possible food group, except perhaps the vegetables, but right now he was just staring at his reflection in the metal plate.
"Something wrong?" Rose asked, as she stored her letter in her knapsack.
"Am I a bad brother?" James asked. "I mean – if I was your brother, and not your cousin, would you think I was a bad brother?"
"Oh, James," Rose said, shaking her head, "What did you do to Albus this time?"
"Apparently my Dad bought Al a broomstick," James said, "and sent it here to him this morning. He was showing it off to Professor Slughorn, who had it in his hands, right? So obviously I thought it was Professor Slughorn's broomstick. I thought it was, because frankly... I couldn't imagine seeing my brother with that broomstick."
"What kind was it?" Rose asked.
"The new Firebolt," James said, frowning.
"What?" a voice said, further down the table.
Rose and James looked down the table to see their cousins, Fred II, and Louis Weasley looking up from their plates. Louis stood up, and Fred did as well, and walked over to James.
"Repeat what you just said, James," Louis said.
"My father gave Albus the new Firebolt," James said.
"The new Firebolt?" Fred asked, "The Firebolt V?"
"Yeah," James said.
Louis groaned and sat down beside James, and put his head in his hands.
"What's going on?" Rose asked.
"The new Firebolt?" Fred said, "The Firebolt V, said to be the fastest broom ever! Said to be the best broom ever! And now our cousin... our Slytherin cousin, has one!"
"What's so bad about that?" Scorpius asked.
"You don't get it, Malfoy," Louis said, in hysterics, "If Albus makes the Slytherin team, and he has his sights on being Seeker like his dear ol' Dad. We – well – we -"
"What my dear cousin, and fellow Beater, is trying to say," Fred said, "If Albus makes the Slytherin team -"
"Which he will with that new broomstick," Louis said.
"We can kiss the Hogwarts Quidditch cup goodbye... again!" Fred said, "No Seeker will stand a chance against that!"
"Oh, no," Louis groaned, "It's Junior!"
Rose looked up. Oliver Wood, Junior was walking into the Great Hall.
"I don't want to be around him if he founds out about this," Fred said, "Goodbye."
Fred stood up and headed away from the table. Louis stood up to follow him, then turned back to James.
"James, I swear to Merlin," Louis said, standing up, "If you want to even try out to be a member of the Gryffindor team, you will not say another word about Al's broom. Especially around Junior."
Before James could reply, Louis walked away from the table. James turned around and looked at Rose, who shrugged. James then started laughing, hysterically.
"Has he taken the mickey?" Scorpius asked Rose, "Do we need to send him to Madam Pomfrey?"
"Madam Pomfrey, of course!" James said, "Thank you, Malfoy! If I ever say a bad word to you again, I regret it!"
Rose raised her eyebrows to James, who laughed.
"You don't get it, do you?" James asked her, "Albus already has detention with Madam Pomfrey. This weekend! Saturday is when the Slytherin try-outs are."
"So?" Rose asked, shaking her head.
"Albus will probably not even be able to try out for the Slytherin team cause he'll be in detention!" James said, raising his arms in triumph.
"James, that is awful," Rose said, frowning. "You're happy cause your brother might not be able to try out for the team."
"He's a Slytherin!" James said, "Show some Gryffindor pride!"
Rose narrowed her eyes at James. Albus was indeed a Slytherin, but he was also family. Something like this, in Rose's opinion, shouldn't come between them. James shook his head, grinning, when he noticed Rose's expression, and stood up, then walked away from the table.
"I will never understand Quidditch," Scorpius said.
Rose chuckled in agreement as she watched her cousin trot happily out of the Great Hall.
Well, I was going to have some of the classes this chapter. Then I realized it could wait, and I decided I'll have more classes in the next chapter. Hope you liked this one!