13th June 1992
Harry shuffled silently towards the Great Hall alongside Ron, who was chatting animatedly with Seamus. Tonight was the End of the Year Feast, and looking at the green and silver banners around him, he was reminded again of the hundred and fifty points that he had cost Gryffindor.
Added with Snape's biased attitude over the course of the year and their recent defeat against Ravenclaw, Gryffindor was now dead last in the race for the house cup. Most of the older students had by now forgotten about the incident, but the guilt was still fresh in his mind, particularly due to the conversation he had with Professor Dumbledore and the Flamels.
The fact that he had rushed in without a proper plan and could've easily caused the death of one or more of his friends lay heavily on his mind. Not considering the personal failure he considered in being the cause of the Flamels impending death. Professor Dumbledore had told him about the sacrifice his mother had made all those years ago and how it had protected him against Voldemort's touch.
His musings were interrupted with the arrival of the said Headmaster in the Great Hall, which immediately silenced the chattering students.
"My dear students. Another year gone!" Dumbledore said in his usual cheerful tone. "And what a year it has been! I hope that we all have succeeded in teaching you something new, be it magic or not. After all, that is the true essence of learning."
Dumbledore raised his goblet, and everyone else followed suit.
"With the end of this year, let us all say goodbye to our oldest pupils. May they encounter prosperity on the path that they choose!" he addressed to the graduating students to a loud applause.
"Next, we have the House Cup which needs awarding. The points stand thus: In fourth place, Gryffindor, with eight hundred and forty-seven points; in third, Hufflepuff, with nine hundred and twenty-one points; in second place, Ravenclaw, with nine hundred and eighty-three; and finally Slytherin, with one thousand one hundred and forty-two points."
To Harry's surprise, the Slytherin table did not break out in cheers. Instead, the students started banging their goblets on the table in unison. Seeing the feral expression on Draco Malfoy's face made Harry feel a bit sick. However, Professor Dumbledore wasn't done yet.
"Yes, Yes, well done, Slytherin." He waited for the din to subside before continuing, "However, some recent events have yet to be taken into account." The room went very still at this
"First - to Mr Ronald Weasley…" At this, the entire Gryffindor table looked towards the boy in question before turning back to the headmaster.
"… for what can be considered the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has ever seen, I must award Gryffindor fifty points."
Thunderous applause followed from not just the Gryffindor table, but also from the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables. Harry looked at the Head table to see Snape scowling and Professor McGonagall with a strong hint of pride on her usually reserved face. Once the applause died down, Dumbledore continued.
"Secondly, to Miss Hermione Granger… for the use of brilliant deduction skills and the use of logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor House fifty points."
The Gryffindors cheered were the loudest yet, with some of the students banging their fists on the table. Harry saw that Hermione had buried her face in her arms. The energy at their table was beyond anything, for they were now second in the ranking.
"Next - to Mr Neville Longbottom… for excellent observational skills and unflinching loyalty, I award Gryffindor fifty points."
Another round of cheering and celebrating followed; Neville, who had been ridiculed all year was now being hugged and praised by everyone around him. It took a long time for the cheers to die down.
"Finally - to Mr Harry Potter and Mr Mark Smith…" Dumbledore continued. His voice was now heavy and serious.
"… for pure nerve, outstanding courage, and bravery worthy of Godric Gryffindor himself, I award them each seventy-five points."
The hall exploded. The cheering and banging were coming not just from Gryffindor, but from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff as well. The Slytherin winning streak was finally broken. Harry was currently being mobbed with pats and hugs by his enthusiastic housemates. Mark, who face was screwed in concentration, was receiving the same treatment.
"I think we need a little change of decoration," Dumbledore remarked with a smile before clapping his hands once. Instantly, the green and silver all around them became scarlet and gold. Snape had the most unpleasant and forced smile on his face as he shook Professor McGonagall's hand, who was smirking smugly. Once the applause died down, Dumbledore spoke again.
"Now that's done, lets tuck in." As soon as he said those words, the feast appeared on the table. Harry was amazed to say that it looked even grander than the one at the start of the year. Or maybe it was just his joy that coloured his perception.
As he started piling food onto his plate, he noticed that Mark was still thinking. In fact, the boy had not even touched the food on the table. Suddenly he burst out into a small laugh before beginning to serve himself.
Harry looked around to see if anyone else had noticed; Ron, Hermione, and Neville seemed equally confused at this behaviour.
"Wha's the ma'der?" Ron asked, with his mouth full.
"Well we won the House Cup thanks to you Ron," Mark said with a hint of amusement.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, we won by five points, right?" Mark asked, barely containing his laughter. Harry nodded, still confused.
"Remember, Professor Quirrell awarded Ron five points for his levitation charm."
20th June 1992
Mark looked out the window of the compartment at the scenery speeding by. The last two weeks at Hogwarts had passed away just like that.
After the conversation with the Flamels, he had spent every free moment in either the Library or in the Restricted Section in the Come and Go Room reading everything about alchemy and the Philosophers Stone. Much was quite advanced for him, but he understood the gist of many things.
He also copied down stuff to study during the summer, along with the summer homework that they were supposed to do. Sadly, he couldn't take any books outside the Room of Requirement, as he now called it; it was one of the few limitations of the Room.
The exam results had come in during the week; he had forgotten all about them in all the craziness. He had gotten fairly decent grades in everything. He'd tied for first with Hermione (she was back to scowling at him) in Transfiguration and Charms, with Harry (who had been surprised at his own marks) in Defence, and gotten in the top five (he didn't bother to check further) in Potions. He had passed everything else and even managing to get an E in Herbology (thanks to Neville, who was grateful for Mark's help at his own A in Potions).
Fred, George, and Neville had promised him to try and practice their skills when Mark had convinced them to borrow the instruments over the summer. Neville was the most hesitant, probably due to the stern nature of his grandmother. The twins had given him an invitation to their house, but Mark had politely declined; he didn't want to spend any further time away from his dad.
Once the express reached Kings Cross, he said his farewells to his friends. Even some random older student called him out; Dumbledore's announcement at the feast seemed to have helped his popularity some.
He hurried out the barrier as quickly as he could, the thoughts of his father weighing him down with guilt. Mark looked around and found him, leaning on one of the nearby columns. With his feet moving of their own accord, he managed to get to his dad in a flash.
"Champ!" John said as he wrapped his son in a bear hug. "You've gotten heavy"
"Is that the first thing you say to your son who's been away for five months?"
"Well, it's the truth. What are they feeding you lot at the school?" John asked suspiciously. Mark tried to shrug it off.
"Well, I did find the kitchens with the help of my mates," he answered, "and I may have taken advantage of that fact."
John laughed out loud, and thumping his son on his back, picked up Mark's trunk.
"You'll have to tell me all about it then. How was your year? What shenanigans did you get up to?"
"Oh, you have no idea" Mark muttered to himself
3rd July 1992
We write back to tell you that yes, we have been raising quite the hell at home. Be sure to be on the lookout from our mother. She is right upset at someone corrupting her sons further. She refused to believe that we chose this rocker lifestyle.
Ickle Gin-Gin was quite fascinated with your Bass, but we gather she is looking forward to her meeting with the legendary Harry Potter. She's been pestering Ron about tales of his 'adventures with Harry.' Gred heard him tell her about one involving a midnight duel with Malfoy; you have any idea about it?
What have you been up to comrade? Your letter was a little short on any mentions of your shenanigans. You are getting up to mischief, aren't you? Otherwise, we may have to demote you from the New Marauders.
Write back soon brother,
Gred and Forge
Mark smiled as he folded up the letter. He would have to write to the twins soon. It had been two weeks since he'd been back from Hogwarts, and he had not realised beforehand how much he would come to miss the place.
He had debated telling his father and Edwin about Quirrell and Voldemort, but had finally decided against it. He wasn't sure how to make 'My teacher was a possessed Dark Lord after a priceless artefact and tried to kill me' sound good enough.
At his dad's insistence, he had grudgingly written his letters to his friends. Letter writing was something he had never enjoyed, particularly as all the other instances had been as an exercise during his English class. Once he realised that he didn't have to particularly care about the proper format and stuff, it became more enjoyable.
He had written to the Twins, Neville, Dean, Harry, and Ron at first, but at his dad's insistence also written to the other members of the Quidditch team as well, and grudgingly even to Hermione. The girl's reply had been the fastest, with subtle questions about how much he had finished off from his summer homework.
Neville's reply was all formal, written on some form a quality parchment. The contents were quite positive; his grandmother had been impressed by the academic performance of her grandson and had agreed to let him practice on the drums in the conservatory. The other replies were also quite polite; the only one who had not replied was Harry. Still, it was just two weeks in.
Mark had spent his time reading up on stuff he had borrowed from the Room of Requirement. The stuff on shielding that he had copied was quite informative. He wished there was some way to use magic over the summer; the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery prohibited students from using magic outside of school, according to the pamphlet he had received before boarding the Hogwarts Express home. Perhaps he could ask the twins in his next letter. They might have already figured out how to do it.
He planned on doing some preliminary examination of the Elixir in the next few days. He would have to retrieve the chemistry kit he had stored away along with his microscope. The very thought that he might be able to find a cure sent a thrill down his spine.
AN: Finally, Year One is wrapped up! Year Two onwards will have more original content than before, as the story starts diverting significantly. Hope you are enjoying the story. Please review and provide your feedback
The next chapter will be released after a while, probably in a month. I have started creating a more detailed outline of the complete story since I've realised how easy it becomes to write then. Books One and Two had been worked out already, but I've decided to elaborate on the contents of Book Three with more ideas and subplots I've developed since I began writing. The thing is, these additional things would possibly need to be referenced and mentioned in the earlier chapters. I don't like elements in a story that haven't been foreshadowed beforehand, so bear with me as I finalise the outline of the complete story.
For the time being, let's play a game. What will Mark grow up to be (occupation)? Comment your guess. Let's see who comes closest