23RD JUNE, 1912
Slate grey eyes peered out of the gloomy darkness, glittering like diamonds, even in the dark years after his murder. They seemed so bright and so merry, and it was terrifying how his killer had martyred him without mercy. The seventeen year old's hair shimmered fiercely in the pearly light of the crescent moon that hung low over the motionless skies.
Crumbling masonry surrounded the unnamed hero that had fallen only minutes previously. A triumphant smile was etched onto his lips.
Three elegant words were carved onto the stone that he'd hidden behind, not a perfect boy, but a petrified one. Not yet a man, but he still had a colossal fire burning inside him. Maybe the fallen hero had taken advantage of the so few precious hours, minutes left to him, and had scratched these defiant words on the stone, directed not to his killer, but to a man that would one day follow in his footsteps, the one who'd give freedom back to the ones who deserved it, after so many cruel years of waiting.
Three words was all it took to turn the tide. Numquam solus ambulo. And underneath it written by someone else, maybe days or weeks before:
Anno Aquila venire,
Eo tempore vitae suae oblitus.
The meaning of these two sentences was unknown to the boy's killer, but he faintly understood the boy's own. You'll never walk alone, it read.
14TH JANUARY, 1981
A man of twenty, a youthful and energetic wizard archaeologist, observed the carving and the ancient gravestone, in the minute building that might have sheltered it if hadn't been so ruined. He took out an enormous camera and photographed the carving, graffiti below it and the gravestone, which had the faintest traces of letters signifying who it was that had died in 1912.
His jade-green eyes and unruly black hair made him a figure of mystery in the towns and cities surrounding that tiny little memorial garden.
"You'll never walk alone," he muttered. "When you walk through a storm...Hold your chin up high...And don't be afraid of the dark..." He scratched his head, and pushed his glasses further up his nose.
James Potter paced back and forth the courtyard, desperately thinking. Could these words be referring to something about Liverpool FC, the one that his girl-friend's sister supported with much glee? What had a Muggle football got to do with this world-renowned archaeological discovery?
Dumbledore should know, he thought, his heart pounding. James gave one last glance at the gravestone and hurried away, his canvas bag slung across his shoulder.
31ST JULY, 2024
"You'll never walk alone..." Albus Severus Potter mumbled to himself, rubbing his eyes. Why was that phrase so familiar to him? He'd only just woken up from a nerve-jarring nightmare, and he was already confused with the depths of that terrifying dream.
During that nightmare, everything had seemed to make sense. Well, at least I had the facts then, he thought.
A knock on his bedroom door shocked him to himself. However, it was only his second best friend, Sky Ellis. The boy's fiery green eyes gleamed at the sight of Albus looking baffled on his bed. "Sorry, friend, but I had yet another nightmare," Albus announced, a grim smile spreading across his face.
Sky shook his head. "Oh well. The enchantments on the stuffed leprechauns I gave you for Christmas wouldn't have held forever," he said sadly.
"But...it's your seventeenth birthday!" squealed Rose. "My seventeen year old cousin that I saved from nightmares last year!"
Albus rolled his eyes. "So, what did you get me? Yet another book on enchantments?" he joked sarcastically. Sky grinned, wild euphoria spreading across his features. Rose shrugged off the sarcasm. "No, Rose, please, no..." He groaned.
"Nah," she announced firmly. "A psychology textbook, so you can basically get people to spill the beans..." she glowered at Sky, who had the audacity to glance at one of Albus' battered Charms textbooks and hum loudly. "However, I thought to get you a sketchbook as well, since you like drawing quite a lot."
Albus felt the tip of his ears burn a startling shade of red at this comment. "Well, er, thanks Rose," he answered, a few moments before she handed him his birthday presents.
She raised an eyebrow curtly and exited the room briefly. Sky sighed. "Is she gone yet?"
Al snorted with laughter. "Yeah, so what about you? Whaddya get me? Another teddy bear?" Sky pretended to blush at this remark. "No, I've guessed - it's another stale cauldron pie!"
"God, Albus, you can be really narcissistic at times!" Sky said, a playful smile on his face. He handed the birthday boy a weirdly shaped object, which consisted of a crystal on a chain, and a broomstick polishing kit. Sky knew of the Potter family's fondness for Quidditch and shared the intense rivalry that Albus had with his older brother James.
In some ways, Albus found this oddly comforting.
"A nice necklace?" he asked, examining it close.
Sky laughed softly. "No, that's one of the things you requested last year, something that Light Brigade would've used when war was stirring, and rebellion was plausible." His tanned expression darkened as he cast his mind back to the tales his grandfather would've told him. His eyes grew weary. "The days when nothing was certain, like the First Wizarding War."
Albus nodded, curious to know more. Why did Sky look like he was battle-worn at these moments? Had he actually fought in one?
A resonating knock on the door jarred Albus from his thoughts. Scorpious stuck his head around the door. "You finished up here yet? You've got about a thousand Weasley relatives congregating downstairs," he declared. "And one of them is your mother, Albus."
At that precise moment, a blood-chilling yell echoed through the house. "ALBUS SEVERUS POTTER!"
The exquisite aromas of pancakes buzzed around Albus' nose as he reluctantly ambled downstairs. He had enjoyed these few minutes with Sky, although they were quite brief.
"Alright there?" asked an eager Harry Potter, his usually untidy inky black hair flattened down for once. His elegant jade green eyes watched Sky suspiciously as Al made a swift reply. "I want a word with you, Sky."
Adolpha smiled at Albus softly, placing a few pancakes before him. "Happy birthday!" He nodded tensely, his eyes fixated on his father and Sky.
The rapid meeting between Sky and Harry had taken no more than five minutes, but at twelve o'clock in the afternoon, everyone present at the Potters' dewelling, including Lily, James, Mrs and Mr Weasley, Ron, Rose and Hermione, and Adolpha, had already gotten the gist of what had been discussed.
It was now half eight, and the pastel azure blue skies outside had already darkened to a murky dark grey colour.
The flickering candles floated gracefully over the tables constructed in the garden, allowing for more space and food to be placed on the table. Albus was the centre of attention, recounting the tales of the past year to his avid listeners, ahich always seemed to include his father, mother, Lily and Adolpha.
It seemed that they never grew bored of the stories often told of Albus' adventures at Hogwarts - even though he'd repeated it about a trillion times that summer.
"-I stabbed the Dementor with Sky's black sword and it-"
"Here comes the cake!" someone hastily yelled, interrupting Albus. "Look at it!" Contented murmurs rippled down the garden, as the focus was turned to the immense cake being presented to Albus by a staggering Mrs Weasley.
It was almost as if a switch had been thrown in his brain, illunminating this vast garden.
Why had his father ordered a meeting with his second best friend? Was it because he and Albus so unnaturally close, so close that many people would dare suggest they were gay? Or was it to do with the fact Sky had developed a keen interest in his family? Whatever it was, the thought of it sent shivers down his spine.
The cake, with impeccable designs iced by no other than Scorpious or Adolpha, had been set down in front of Albus.
A slow 'Happy Birthday' was chorused and the lights simply blew out, vanishing within seconds as a silent whoosh was heard in the garden. The Minister had arrived, with no cordon to accompany him. An expression of the utmost sadness was carved into his battle-stained and chiselled face.
Albus hadn't met the newest Minister yet, but he was sure that his father and the Minister had already fallen out - Theodore Roberts wanted to issue Dementors around large areas where a huge number of wizards congregated, such as Hogwarts, but Harry was against it, since he had experienced what the Dementors inflicted on a person.
"What?" roared Harry, his face contorted with rage. "Roberts, I told you-"
"It is not my daughter I am concerned with, Harry, but the allegedly untainted knoweledge of your son and his friends, Sky, Adolpha and Scorpious. I would like to talk to them in private," announced the Minister for Magic. "Now."
His eyes gleamed with a dark menace. Harry shook his head, clenching his jaw tightly.
"If it's a matter you want to pursue, because it's so...urgent, just send owls with your letters. Or if it's so important, that the entire Wizarding world is under threat, you can do it, under my supervision!" he snapped.
"No," said the wizened wizard carmly. "I need to talk to them immediately."
Harry glowered at the Minister. "Ten minutes and you're out."
The Minister smiled thankfully. "Thank you, Harry. I appreciate this," he announced, his eyes narrowing as his gaze settled on Sky. "In the living room. Now." His words were full of a venom directed at Sky that Albus had never seen the likes of before.
Sky raised a curious eyebrow. "Is this about last year?" he demanded, his defiant eyes gleaming.
The Minister glanced at him and took a sharp breath, replying in an instant. "Yes." Albus felt his stomach drop, as last year had been an absolute nightmare. Sky had been posessed by the scarely alive Salazar Slytherin, of whom Sky was a indirect descendant of.
The sixteen year old had be contained in a cramped and dark cellar for two months, whilst Albus, Scorpious and Rose struggled to work out how to drive out Salazar.
The whole situation was made ten times worse by Sky's phobia of tight spaces, and the fact that Salazar was rapidly growing stronger, forcing Sky's mind to the brink of insanity. Their only choice was to send Sky a year back in time, and silently hope that he returned to their time alive and sane.
"Let's go," Scorpious muttered, yanking the helm of Albus' ruby red shirt.
The only source of light was a moribound candle, and it projected dancing shadows on the walls. The Minister's face was gloomy and somehow composed, at the same time.
Albus swallowed nervously.
Finally, the man spoke. "The wizarding world is crying out for you to be executed, since you willingly allowed Salazar to possess you," he declared, pacing back and forth. "However, you didn't know what he would do once he was in control of your body, so...I don't know. But...you had intent to bring down the rightful wizarding order."
"That's not true!" Scorpious cried out, a tremor in his voice.
Sky nodded glumly. "But it is," he said firmly. Then he turned to the Minister, holding out his wrists that bore the black snake emblem. "I was branded with this when I went back a year."
Theodore's eyes were fixated on the marks. "You killed a fellow student, Sky. That's an one way ticket to Azkaban."
"That was only because he was controlling me, Theodore. Do you realize how hard it was to push him out? Do you know what it felt like to have the taunting voice of your ancestor whispering in your ear every second of every day? I'm not asking for forgiveness, I'm asking you to give me-"
"A fair trial," countered the Minister.
Scorpious' jaw dropped open, a look of shock etched upon his pale face. "Sky, you said...after all we've done for you, you're still going on trial? With this bloody idiot?" he asked. "No offence, Minister."
"None taken," answered Theodore. "Sky Ellis, your trial is to begin on November the 14th, in front of the Ministry's jurisdiction. Your heinious crimes are as listed below: allowing freely a Dark wizard to possess you, unlawful use of a Time Turner, the murder of a fellow student, and assualt of several members of your class." He sighed deeply.
"Is that all?" asked a quiet voice. It was Rose, her eyes brimming with tears. "We fought to have Sky back, we're gonna keep on fighting for him. He's one of us."
Albus smiled softly.
Al lay in bed, the covers wrapped around him. He stared at the ceiling, his mind retracing over the events of last year. It had been gruelling, struggling to help Sky whilst pretending, under a mask, that nothing was really wrong.
And that was how everything had gone wrong.