Almost four weeks had past since Leon left the Wizarding Academy after completing his third year. His holidays had been rather tedious; but he was still too shaken up about his encounter with The Dark Lord, Lazarus – or as he now went by, Morvayne. He had been forced to watch a seventeen-year-old die right before his very eyes, and had to watch his non-magical friend get cursed by a dangerous curse. He spent most of his holidays sitting on his bed, recalling the event, even though he knew very well that that experience was better left in the past. But just like last year, he had been quite happy about the 31 of August dawning once again, as he was only a day off from starting his fourth year at the academy. At about 3 o’clock on the final day of August, Leon was sitting at home by himself, looking over the new book they had been issued for their new year; reviewing what spells the academy had in store for them this year. He heard the doorbell ring.
He placed down his cup of tea and his book, and left his room, knowing very well who to expect to be on the other side of the door, he opened it and immediately said, “Hello, Blair.”
“Hi, Leon. How have you been?” Leon opened the door more widely and stood to the side to allow Blair entrance, and closed the door behind him.
“Well, you know, not bad considering…”
“Yeah, I totally understand that. I’m still shaken up about it, too,” said Blair, with a whisk of nervousness in his breath. They entered Leon’s room where, to Blair’s dismay, Leon had all of his school supplies and clothes packed. Blair had always enjoyed scolding Leon for never being prepared for school a day before they were due to go back.
This year round, his room was also tidy. Blair had no compunction of sharing this surprise with Leon.
“Well, hard to make a mess when you spent all your days feeling guilty because you could have stopped somebody from dying, Blair,” said Leon with impatience.
Blair was just about to fidget with Leon’s piano again, when he paused and turned around, “Leon, do not start blaming yourself for that. There was nothing you could do. Most you could have done would be to have taken the curse for him.”
Leon looked at his feet, not saying a word. Until he finally did. “How do you think May is holding up?”
“I don’t know. She suffered a pretty big loss. Leon, I do know you like her; you shouldn’t hide things from your best friend. And I can just tell,” he continued, grabbing Leon’s shoulder, “that she likes you, too.”
“That’s all well and good,” replied Leon, “but she’d be devastated about Cyrus. The last thing I wish to do would be to impose on her while she is grieving.”
At that moment, they heard flames roaring from the lounge room, and a quick flash of green lit by flames. “Hello?” a female voice called. Leon and Blair, recognizing this voice as Eruka’s, rushed out to greet her.
“Oh, there you two are!” said Eruka, “Is it just you two here?”
“Yeah. Both my parents are at work.” Said Leon. “Do you plan on staying the night?”
Eruka nodded with a smile, “If it’s not too much to ask. I thought it would be great for us all to go to school together. And if you’re at all wondering how I used the Floo Network when I live in a mostly Muggle-populated suburb, I went to visit my grandma last night, and her fireplace is connected to it.”
“That answers that,” said Leon, as he led his two friends into his room. “Are you two hungry? Thirsty?” They both shook their heads, “No thanks, Lee. I ate before I came here,” said Eruka at once. She now had a condescending look in her eyes, “And have you two been doing your Dark Arts homework over the holidays?”
Leon and Blair both gazed at each other in puzzlement.
“Oh, Lord,” she said, “Professor Sithofith wanted us all to practice the Unforgivable Curses!”
“Wouldn’t that cause trouble with the Ministry if they found sixteen year old Wizards casting a series of illegal curses over and over?” asked Leon.
“I believe he cleared it with the Ministry,” said Eruka, “Apparently, he can do that.”
They had decided to go to sleep at about ten o’clock that night. The following morning, Eruka and Blair were up before Leon, who seemed to still be dead asleep. He showed no signs of consciousness, nor seemed as though he would wake up soon. Eruka leaned in to shake Leon awake, when Blair stopped her.
“No, please, leave it to me. It’s been tradition for the past three years that whichever of us woke up first would curse the other with the Laughing Curse to wake him up. Watch this.”
Blair brandished his wand and lazily recited the incantation as red beams shot out of his wand and struck Leon and he awoke abruptly and began uncontrollably laughing until Eruka finally got sick of hearing him laugh; it was now her turn to use an anti-jinx.
‘Finite Incantatem,’ she also, said lazily. A clear beam shot Leon and he stopped laughing almost immediately. He began standing up.
“Thank you, Eruka,” said Leon, agitated, “I finally woke up before Blair last year, but now, like always, I’m the one who slept in—“
“Yeah, yeah, whatever!” interrupted Eruka, “Let’s just get going!”
Eruka rushed the two boys to brush their teeth, have their breakfast and coffee, and shower. Eruka was stressed out because she believed they were running late, even though they were quite ahead of time. “Let’s go, let’s go, boys!” she said.
“Will you relax, Eruka? We’re right on time,” said Leon as Eruka lit the fire in the fireplace and grabbed the pot of Floo Powder. She took a handful and threw it in the fire and the flames turned green. “I’ll go first, then, shall I?” Eruka stepped into the flames and yelled the city of their destination and disappeared into the flames. Leon followed, and then Blair. They all appeared in the exact same spot that Leon and Blair had turned up at that time last year, this time with Eruka waiting on the other side. Eruka ushered them into the direction of the castle, again repeating, “Let’s go!”
“Eruka, maybe we can go window-shopping, I mean the start of year breakfast doesn’t begin until ten, and it’s only 9:30—“
“Do you want to be last-minute?!” Eruka yelled, and pushed them harder.
They finally stood at the gate that led to the long bridge that crosses the ocean to the castle with Headmaster Mayhew standing there, waiting to bring the students into the school. Eruka turned to Blair, “Now, you see? Professor Mayhew is about to bring us all into the castle, and then the gates would have been shut by the time we got back from window-shopping and then we would have been terribly late. You are welcome!” Mayhew said, “Welcome back. I will now lead you all into the castle; please follow me.” He stepped aside and motioned everybody into the gates. After Leon, Blair and Eruka at the end of the line entered, being the final students to get onto the bridge, Mayhew waved his wand and the gate closed and locked with unbreakable magic. He Apparated to the front of the line and began walking to the front doors at the end of the very long bridge.
He opened the huge wooden doors that creaked, and led the students down the familiar hallway with the red carpet and candles with tinted windows. Mayhew opened the huge doors that led to the Great Hall and turned around to address the students, “Please go and sit at any table; you don’t need to sit in House Groups – anywhere will do, please.” Then began walking to his usual seat at the front and center of the front of the Hall. Eruka tapped Leon and Blair, “Look, there’s Alexis and Dimitri.” The boys followed Eruka over to them, Eruka sat next to Alexis, who now was sitting next to Blair, and Leon sat next to Dimitri on the adjacent side. They all greeted one-another and asked how they were doing. After they had finished with their greetings, Leon looked around them. “Willow isn’t here, yet?”
“We haven’t seen her,” said Dimitri, “I’m sure she’s around, somewhere. Have you seen May yet, Leon?” Leon shook his head and looked down at his food. They sat in silence for about fifteen seconds when a familiar voice addressed the room: it was Headmaster Mayhew’s.
“Welcome back, Wizards, Witches and non-magic students, to what I’m sure will be another great year! Before I read out the start-of-term announcements, I would like to talk for a minute, about what happened to our academy in July last year. You see, a dark wizard named Lazarus, who goes by Morvyane, had penetrated our school’s fortress. And while most students in his vicinity reached safety, a group of unfortunate students were stuck standing face-to-face with him, and one of our very own regular students was…” he looked malevolently around the Great hall, “…murdered,” he finished. “Cyrus Laplume had died trying to hold off the Dark Lord to protect you all. He did not stop here: one of our very own non-magical students had been cursed; and had she not been rushed to the hospital wing, also might have died! Which is why I stand before you all, to give you warning: be very careful. Since last year I have fortified our castle’s defenses, but we are talking about a very, very dark wizard. Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons will be very serious from here on out,”
Alexis turned to her friends, “You mean last year was fun, joyful Dark Arts? They had us practicing the Killing Curse!” she whispered.
“and I must implore you, to pay attention,” Mayhew finished. He then began to read out the announcements, and then let the students resume eating. Towards the end of the feast Leon, Blair, Alexis and Dimitri were greeted by a friendly face, “Hi everyone!” called Willow, as she sat down next to Leon.
“Willow! How have you been feeling?” asked Leon, his voice filled with concern. “Oh, quite splendid, actually,” replied Willow, “the cuts have just about healed over completely. My mother didn’t want me to return to school this year, but I told her I was going, whether she liked it or not.”
“Well, it’s great you’re feeling better, anyway,” said Alexis.
“Yeah, you had me worried I hadn’t gotten to the hospital quick enough,” said Eruka, “Gave me a good fright.” She laughed, and then so did Willow.
“What have we got first tomorrow?” asked Blair as he opened his timetable, “Oh, lovely, Dark Arts. More hard work for us, then, I’ll bet Sithofith is going to get REALLY serious,” he sighed, “Oh well, at least we have today off.”
“I think I’m going to go and get a head-start on my unpacking,” said Leon.
“I’ll come, too,” said Eruka, and then Willow, echoing Eruka, said the same thing. They all ran off to Ravenclaw tower.
That afternoon, Leon had decided he would take a look around the castle to see if anything has changed from their previous year. As he was passing his favourite spot by the fountain, he saw Dimitri who sprung to his feet and joined Leon.
“Hey, Leon! What are you up to? Why aren’t you relaxing somewhere?”
“I thought I would take a look around; get some fresh air. Why not, you know? The weather is brilliant.”
“Mind if I might join you?”
“Not at all! Please.”
They took a look down most, if not all of the hallways; they had a look in the courtyard; and in the Astronomy Tower; and the classrooms. Everything had seemed pretty much the same.
“Have you tried talking to May, yet?” asked Dimitri.
“No. In fact I haven’t seen her at all, yet. Perhaps she skipped breakfast?”
“Well, she’d definitely be around. Make sure you comfort her, sometime.”
Leon let out a hum of agreement. The two walked in silence for about a minute, when finally, Leon, working up the courage, brought back up a topic Dimitri refused to talk about previously. “Dimitri, before you boarded the train two months ago, I—“
“wanted to know how Salvador knew my name, yes,” he interrupted and finished for Leon. Leon looked at Dimitri and said, ‘Yeah.’
“Ever wonder, Leon,” said Dimitri, “why I’m in Slytherin house when I don’t meet the traits necessary for those of a Slytherin?”
“I assumed because you were pureblood, and Slytherin takes aboard every pureblood,” said Leon.
“Yes. I am pureblood. But, I think even you know what that means. You were about to ask me months ago, weren’t you? In Potions, you said, ‘but purebloods are—‘ then told me not to mind? I knew what you were going to say: ‘but purebloods are all evil. They’re all Death Eaters,’ weren’t you going to say that? Tell me I’m wrong.” Leon said nothing. “You were quite right if you were going to say that. My father is a Death Eater. My father…Salvador. He ran off to join the Death Eaters before my mum died. I despise my father for choosing such a life; I would never answer to the Dark Lord! He should die and rot in hell.”
Leon wasn’t quite sure how to talk to Dimitri when he was in this state of mind.
“I’m sorry, Dimitri. I shouldn’t have pried it out of you.”
“No, you had every right to know. Alexis was the only one who knew, but I think I’ll tell the other three when I get a chance. They should know, too.”
Dimitri saw Leon off as they arrived back at Ravenclaw tower. They bid each other farewell and Dimitri strode off to Slytherin tower. Leon barely slept that night, because he knew that, in order to win this war with the Death Eaters, they would have to end up killing Dimitri’s father. He knew that, if anybody, Dimitri had to be the one to do it. Otherwise Salvador will kill him, and then the rest of us. He was able to fall asleep once he turned his mind to something a bit more cheerful:
He was back at school with all of his friends, and happier than ever to have returned.