Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Albus Potter, James Potter, Scorpius Malfoy
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling wrote the original story, and created the characters, if only vaguely.
Summary: Some people are born to be enemies. Inspiration came from marginalia. Then it took on a life of its own. (933 words)
WARNING: Contains Deathly Hallows spoilers.
Albus left the Great Hall, grateful to have been sorted into Gryffindor with his brother, and was following the rest of the House up to the dormitory when he heard a sharp voice behind him.
"Well, Alice Snivellus," came the drawl. "My father told me another Potter was entering our year."
Albus laughed and turned around to see a first-year with a rather pointed, pale face and sleek platinum blonde hair. He was laughing, but seemed surprised that Albus wasn't more bothered by his obvious insult.
"You're mocking my name, Scorpius? What, your father couldn't find a better constellation that suited you? Cancer was taken, was it?"
Scorpius stopped laughing and pulled a nasty sneer. "Don't you have a go at my father, Potter!"
Albus contemplated for a moment, then drew his wand as he heard several other first-years gasp in shock behind him. "Howabout I have a go at you, then?"
"Oh, no you don't, Al."
James had swooped in and seemed to be trying desperately to keep his brother out of trouble just an hour after he had been sorted. Being older and bigger, James had little trouble restraining him. Scorpius used this opportunity to send a jinx Albus' way, but James pulled him to safety and the spell bounced harmlessly off the staircase.
Albus wrenched himself free and managed to fire off a perfect Bat-Bogey Hex at a terrified Scorpius before James could intervene again.
"Albus!" James shouted. "How did you do that?!"
He giggled. "Mum taught it to me. Said she thought it might be useful."
They looked down at Scorpius, whose face was now being attacked by flying bogies, and both laughed. It was at this most triumphant moment that Professor Nott, the Potions Master and head of Slytherin House, appeared. He spoke with a somewhat high-pitched voice that matched his stringy appearance, but there was no mistaking the command in his voice.
He pointed his wand at Scorpius and said, "Finite!" and the youngest Malfoy held his hands to his face, which was now free of flying bogies, then turned to face Albus and James.
"Another Potter. Another Potter whose parents will be receiving an owl on the first day of school, no less."
Albus look curiously at James, who snickered.
"Five points from Gryffindor for duelling in the corridors, and I'll let Professor Longbottom know about it. He won't tolerate rule-breakers in his house."
James and Albus shot each other knowing glances. They were perfectly aware Neville was a teacher, but they knew he was friends with their parents, who had told them many stories about their rule-breaking at Hogwarts, and he'd never seemed to have a problem with it then.
Nott was now helping Scorpius to his feet and leading him away from the scene, along with the other Slytherins.
"Come on, Al, the common room's this way," James began brightly, clearly approving of Albus's actions as they had only lost the house a fraction of the points James managed last year.
He started leading his brother up the stone staircase and continued, "And why didn't Mum teach me the Bat-Bogey Hex?" he asked jealously.
"There aren't any Malfoys in your year," Albus answered knowingly, still laughing at the whole thing, though slightly disappointed he had been caught at it, and wondering what his parents would say when an owl arrived next morning telling them of their son's attack on Malfoy.
In fact, he found out the answer to that the very next morning at breakfast, when an owl swooped down and dropped a bright red envelope on his plate.
Several students nearby shuffled down the bench, away from Albus and his letter, but he tore it open quickly, then realising why everyone else had tried to get away.
"CONGRATULATIONS!" bellowed his father's voice, loud enough for the whole Hall to hear. "I thought it would be at least a week before --"
His mother's voice cut in. "Harry, we're supposed to be reprimanding him, not congratulating him!"
"Ginny, it's Malfoy's kid he --"
"ALBUS SEVERUS," Ginny cut in loudly over Harry, though she couldn't seem to suppress the giggle in her voice, "it was very wrong to jinx Scorpius Malfoy in the corridor, especially if you used the jinx I think --"
"What? You taught him that? Why?"
"I didn't think he'd use it on his first day!"
"Well, you thought wrong, didn't you? Anyway, Al, we're glad to hear you're in Gryffindor, but try not to lose them any more points, all right?"
"And James," Ginny added, "try to keep an eye on your brother."
"Right," Harry agreed. "And remember, CONSTANT --"
There was a brief pause while everyone waited in rapt silence, then a magically magnified voice came from the letter once more.
"This is a Howler, right?"
"Which means we've just had this conversation in front of the entire school."
"Unless Albus had the foresight to take it into the Entrance Hall."
"No good, you can still hear Howlers from there. Why don't we just do another one and throw this one away?"
"All right, then."
The letter burst into flames. Most of the other students in the Hall were laughing, and Albus wasn't sure whether to join them or to shrink away and hide in his dormitory.
He looked across the room at a miserable and angry-looking Scorpius, then turned down the bench towards his brother, who was high-fiving his classmates, before he decided that it didn't matter what the rest of the school thought. His fellow Gryffindors' (and apparently his parents') support was enough.