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James was bored, as usual.
Professor Binns’s class was theepitome of boredom. He twirled his quill slowly between his fingers, letting itbrush up against his face every now and then. He was nearly asleep. Then thebell rang and the students around him began to move, packing their books andheading out of the room. James did the same.
He exited the classroom and turned down the corridor toward his nextclass. The glazed look he’d had as he fell asleep was still upon him as hestaggered zombielike with the crowd. Someone bumped into him and it jarred himenough to bring him to reality. He shook his head, trying to clear it. Then heheard a voice.
“Stop! Give it back!”
It was his brother, Albus.
James swept down the hallway past slower students toward the sound of thecommotion. Albus’s bag was being held high above his head by a seventh yearSlytherin. James knew he wouldn’t win a Muggle fight against that one, but ifhe cursed him… well it would definitely mean detention for a week either way.
“Put it down!” James shouted, pointing his wand directly at the Slytherinboy.
The boy laughed. “Why should I?” There was a crowd of students growingaround them now.
“Because if you don’t I’ll give you teeth the size of a walrus.” Jamessaid calmly. “Now put it down.”
Slowly, the boy put Albus’s bag onto the floor. Albus was too busyadmiring his brother to notice, until James said, “Pick it up, Al, what are youwaiting for?”
Albus snatched his bag and went to stand near James. Just then theheadmistress came striding into the scene. “What’s going on here? Potter, putdown your wand. Magic is not allowed in the corridors, you know that.”
“Yes ma’am.” James lowered his wand, but didn’t take his eyes off theSlytherin.
“Will someone please tell me what happened here?”
There was only silence, until a small blond witch stepped forward andsaid, “Please Ma’am, that boy was holding Albus’s bag, threatening to throw itout the window. James made him stop.”
Professor McGonagall reviewed the scene, Albus cowering beside James, andthe two of them staring, one frightened and the other angry, at the Slytherinboy.
“Potter, is this true?” She asked James.
“Yes, Ma’am.” James answered still not averting his gaze.
Professor McGonagall sighed. “Very well then. You,” she pointed to theSlytherin, “I’m taking ten points from Slytherin for your misbehavior. I do notwant to hear of it happening again, is that understood?”
“Yes, Professor.” The Slytherin replied, sneering.
“And you two,” she turned to Albus and James, “I want to see in my officenow. Follow me. The rest of you, off to your classes!” She continued down thehall to her office. She stopped in front of a large statue of a gargoyle andsaid, “Remember.”
The gargoyle stepped aside, revealing a spiral staircase that shemounted, with the boys following. When she reached the door, she swept inside,holding it open for them before closing and latching it. She went to the deskand sat, inviting them to do the same.
James looked around the room. It was covered in portraits of sleepingwitches and wizards, each one with a small plaque below bearing their name.Then there were shelves that held yet more pictures. These were of people;families, individuals, gravestones; he even thought he saw one of Hogwarts,though it looked damaged somehow.
“I brought you here,” said Professor McGonagall, “To introduce you to twopeople. They were planning to wait until all three of Harry Potter’s childrenwere at school, but when I told him of Albus’s appearance,” she looked intoAlbus’s eyes, “One of them insisted on seeing you now. They will meet littleLily when she comes as well, but for now you’ll do. Boys, I’d like you to meetthe headmasters who led this school while your parents were here, AlbusDumbledore, and Severus Snape.” She turned to the two portraits closest to herdesk, hanging right next to each other. One was an old man, long hair andbeard, smiling serenely from behind half-moon spectacles. The other was ayounger man, with sallow pale skin, dark greasy hair, and a look of longing onhis face.
James had heard stories from his parents about these two men; how Harryhad trusted Dumbledore, how he’d hated Snape, and the sacrifices of both men tobring down the one called Voldemort. As enthralled as he was with seeing them,he knew that Albus would be more so. He looked to his younger brother and as heexpected, saw nothing but wide-eyed amazement. James stood and helped Albus todo so, walking him toward the portraits.
“Hello boys.” said Dumbledore. “I am so glad to know that your father andmother have been blessed with such noble and honest children. We heard whathappened in the corridors a few minutes ago. It was very brave of you, James,to stand up for your brother. No less than I would expect from the son of Harryand Ginny Potter.”
“Thank you, sir.” James said, nodding.
“Come here, boy.” said Snape in a hoarse whisper. The two Pottersapproached him together. Even though they knew he’d done right in the end, hestill looked menacing. “Look at me.” He said, staring at Albus.
Albus looked up, and the green eyes met the black. They remained lockedfor a moment or so, before Snape said, “You have your grandmother’s eyes.” andleaned back in his chair.
“You knew Gramma Lily?” Albus shouted, startling the others, except forSnape.
“I did.” He nodded slowly. “And she was the kindest person I’ve everknown.”
The boys stood still, amazed at the opportunity they’d been given to meetthese men. James said, “Thank you, sirs, both of you.” He felt he should’vesaid more, but couldn’t think of what.
“Enjoy your time here, young men.” said Dumbledore. “We’ll be here if youneed us.”
Professor McGonagall led them out of her office. When they reached thebottom of the stairs, she handed them each a rolled up slip of parchment. “Handthis to your teachers, and you will not be punished for being late. Enjoy therest of your classes.” She gave a small mischievous smile, and turned back upthe staircase. The boys stood in wonder, watching the gargoyle take up itspost, before looking at each other. Grins spread across their faces, and theylaughed, turning down the hall toward their next classes.