Potions was even more horrid than ususal. For one thing, Professor McGlinnin looked awfully sad and gloomy, which gave the whole dungeon an even sadder and gloomier look. Scorpio kept glancing in Albus's direction, and Albus couldn't help but look back, so Albus had a terrible time concentrating on the lesson. His hands shook, so his notes looked like dragon scratches and he accidentally put too much pansy powder into the potion they were making, which made the thing start to boil over the top of the cauldron. It burned a hole through Albus's pants and practically disintegrated his partner's shirt. When it got to the floor, everyone had to crawl up on their chairs to avoid the stuff eating through their shoes. Thankfully, Professor McGlinnin was fast with his wand and the gunk didn't get far.
"Well, I think that will be all for today..." Albus was grateful when those words exited McGlinnin's mouth. He grabbed his book bag, shoved his potions book into it, then dashed out the door. "Albus Potter, wait, I'd like a word with you!" Albus cringed and slowly turned around. Derek, Holly, and Peter walked past him, looking sorry.
"You'll be fine, mate." Derek whispered. Holly gave him an attempt at an encouraging smile. It turned out more like a look you would give someone who was about to be sent to Azkaban for life.
"Yes, professor?" Albus asked as he walked back into the classroom. McGlinnin glanced up at Albus and motioned for him to come closer to the desk. Albus practically crawled forward.
"Are you feeling all right, Albus?" Asked McGlinnin. Albus nodded. "Really? Not feeling... Sad or scared or hurt or...regret?" Albus thought for sure McGlinnin's eyes were looking straight into his soul.
"Hm... You know, Albus, it's all right to feel sad or scared or hurt... But regret is one thing that will eat at your soul faster than anything else. It's not your fault that whatever happened out there happened."
"But it is!" Albus practically yelled. He felt like he wanted to cry again. He had no idea if Andrea was even alive or not, and she was one of his best friends. And probably Scorpio's best friend as well. If not his only friend. "I was the one that said we should go out of the Common Room! I was the one that-"
"Yes, Albus, you suggested it. But the fact that something happened to her out there in the Forbidden Forest is not your fault!" Professor McGlinnin interrupted Albus. McGlinnin put his hands on Albus's shoulders and bent down to his level to look into his eyes. "You can't regret what happened then. You have to think of ways to not let it happen again or fix the problem. Regret is not an option, Albus." Albus sniffed and blinked back the tears in his eyes. His potions teacher was right. And much smarter than Albus had ever thought. "Albus, do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?" McGlinnin finished and Albus nodded.
"I understand." Said Albus softly.
"All right, you can go, now." McGlinnin stood up straight and gave Albus a small smile. Albus sniffed one last time then walked out the door.
The rest of the classes went relatively normally after that. Of course, Peter, Derek, and Holly wanted to know what McGlinnin had talked to Albus about, but Albus didn't want to talk about it. Care of Magical Creatures was interesting, because they were no longer on skrewts. They had gotten far too big to be used for teaching anyone anything other than the fact that skrewts were a pain in the rear. Instead, they had begun on faeries. Hagrid had actually gotten one to come to class. It was quite fascinating.
Care of Magical Creatures was their last class, so Albus decided to stay afterwards to ask Hagrid about Andrea. "Have you seen any sign of her out there?" He asked softly. Hagrid shook his head.
"No... Ain't a whole lot of leads, though. From what we can tell, she just up 'n disappeared. Did find somethin' else interestin' though. Sad, but interestin'." Hagrid replied quietly.
"What did you find that was sad but interesting?" Asked Albus. He was curious to see if it had anything to do with Andrea.
"Dead unicorn." Hagrid replied shortly. Albus's heart skipped a beat.
"Did someone kill it or..." Albus began, but Hagrid shook his head, so he stopped talking.
"Looked like it was killed. Not sure how, but it was sliced open and looked like it'd been dead for a couple days, at least. Blood all over the place... Someone wanted the poor thing dead." Explained Hagrid, a sad look on his face.
"Why? And who would want it dead?"
"Why? 'Cause unicorn blood is magical. It'll save ya from the worst of injuries if ya drink it. Can practically bring ya back to life, that stuff can. But, o' course, it comes with a price. Ya drink it, and ya live a half-life. A cursed life..." Albus listened intently to Hagrid as he spoke. He was getting goosebumps. "Who would want it dead? I dunno, Albus. Someone who wanted to live that bad, I s'pose." Hagrid sighed and shook his head. "I think that the person who killed the unicorn probably has somethin' to do with Andrea disappearin'." Albus swallowed hard as Hagrid finished. He hoped that whoever killed the unicorn wouldn't kill Andrea too.
"Well, I'll see you later, Hagrid." Albus said as he turned around and walked up the hill to the castle. He had knots in his stomach as he walked through the doors and down the hallway, making his way towards the Griffindor Common room.
"POTTER!" Someone yelled at Albus from behind. Albus turned around just as a hand grabbed his shoulder and slammed him into the wall. Scorpio Malfoy was surprisingly strong, Albus concluded as he gazed into Scorpio's angry eyes. "You lied, Potter. She's not in there. I went and looked." Scorpio sounded angry, hateful, and on the verge of tears at the same time. Albus plastered himself against the wall as Scorpio pulled out his wand and held it up. No one else was in the hallway... For some odd reason, the place was deserted.
"Where is she, Potter?" Scorpio growled.
"I-I don't know!" Albus exclaimed, trying to become the wall. He was sure that Scorpio was trying to kill him with his eyes.
"I don't believe you, Potter. You had your chance to tell me the truth and you lied! Where is she? Where's my best friend?" Scorpio was practically yelling now. Albus hoped it would attract a teacher or someone.
Scorpio and Albus stared at each other for the longest time. Scorpio maintained his glare, and Albus was sure he looked like a deer caught in some one's headlights. "You lost her out there... Didn't you?" Scorpio said softly. Albus didn't reply, so Scorpio yelled it. "Didn't you?!" Albus turned his face away and flinched.
"I didn't loose her! They think someone took her!" Albus yelled back. Scorpio scowled hard and pulled his wand back. Albus thought for sure Scorpio would kill him. Just then, Sir Nicholas rounded the corner. Scorpio quickly let go of Albus and put his wand away.
"Everything all right down here, boys?" Nick asked, looking over the two of them.
"Yeah, just peachy." Scorpio growled. He gave Albus one last glare then stormed off down the hallway. Albus sighed then glanced up at Sir Nicholas.
"Thank you, Nearly Headless Nick. I think you just saved my life." Said Albus, truly grateful. Sir Nicholas stared at him, puzzled, but didn't have time to ask a question, because Albus quickly ran off.