The week following Quidditch tryouts was warm and sunny. A stark contrast from the week before. I walked down into the Common Room to see everyone crowded around the message board. Usually covered with vulgar insults and drawings, there seemed to be something important on it for once.

I edged my way to the front of the group. A few dirty looks were shot my way, but I ignored them. Tacked on the message board was a large sheet of parchment that read: 

                                                                                DUEL PRACTICE                                                                                                                                                    FOR ALL YEARS

           Come Thursday nights at midnight to practice wand dueling in the dining hall with Professor                                                                 Longbottom. Not required, only take if interested.

A smile spread across my face as I pushed my way back into the center of the common room. Albus wasn't awake yet, and I had nobody to share my good news with. I decided to walk to breakfast and wait for him there, since that's where he usually goes first thing in the morning.

The dining hall was crowded as usual, and I took a seat at the end of the table. I scooped some eggs onto my plate and started eating. I looked around at the dining hall while I was eating, still fascinated.

Albus startled me when he walked up. "Did you see what they posted in the common room?" he asked me.

"Yes! Don't you think that would be so much fun?" I waved my hands around like an idiot, earning a laugh from Albus.

"Well, from what I saw a few weeks ago, you're pretty skilled at dueling." 

It took me a second to realize what he was talking about. I blinked when it came to me: Josh attacking us. "I was even more surprised you pulled off that countering spell. That's some high-level magic."

"Whatever. Anyway, today's going to be fun."

I swallowed my last bit of eggs and looked at Albus, a bit confused. "Why?"

"Charms with the Ravenclaws."

I groaned.

 *

 "Ravenclaws take things way too seriously," I muttered to Albus after our last class of the day.

"You sounded like a Ravenclaw in there," he grumbled back.

"Just because I didn't want any of them to get more house points than the Slytherins. You're welcome, by the way." We arrived at the Slytherin common room and I stared at the brick wall. "Albus," I murmured.

"Yeah?"

"Do you mind saying the password?"

Albus looked between the wall and me and nodded silently. "Mudblood." The wall turned into a door and we both walked in. Never had I heard someone use that term so innocently. I almost laughed, but caught myself.

"So," Albus slung his pack at a couch and sat on it lazily, "what do you want to do. We have until midnight to spare." I checked the clock on my phone. Eight hours. We had eight hours to spare.

 I tossed my phone at Albus, which he caught easily. "Are there any types of secret rooms in this place?"

Albus thought for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, why?"

"One second." I ran up to the girl's dorm, hoping Keira would be there. Sure enough, I found her reading a book while sitting on her bed.

She looked up when I ran in. "Hey, Danny. What's the rush?"

"Do you wanna go somewhere and watch movies and eat popcorn and be normal kids for a couple of hours?" Keira, being a half-blood, knew what I meant by "normal."

She looked down at her book for a second before looking up at he and smiling widely. "Oh, God yes." I motioned for her to follow, and she did. When we arrived down into the common room, I told Albus to go get a pillow or five.

"Why?" he asked.

"Just do it!" I yelled, and threw a pillow at him. Keira and I giggled while he practically sprinted to his dorm. A few seconds later, he walked down with about three pillows.

"What the-" Albus started to talk, but I silenced him.

"Okay, I have jobs for both of you. Keira, go around to all of the other houses and bring anyone you know can keep a secret. Bring them all back here. Okay?" She nodded and jogged out of the common room. I turned to Albus. "Take me to this secret room."

Albus and I climbed the stairs all the way up to the seventh floor. On a few occasions, the staircases were being stubborn and wouldn't move, so we had to plead with them. Stupid staircases. Anyway, we finally reached the seventh floor and took a left. On the right wall was a tapestry, with a strange wizard trying to dance with trolls.

"That's Barnabas the Barmy." Abus explained. "He tried to teach trolls ballet. Didn't end up well for him, poor bloke." I nodded and looked at him expectantly. "What?"

"The secret room?" I prompted.

"Oh. Right. Well what you do is walk up and down this corridor three times, and think about what you want the room to look like. Got it?"

"Kinda." I took a deep breath and started walking down the corridor. A room full of muggle movies and a TV to watch them all on. I did this three times and watched. To my amazement, a door appeared right in front of me. I walked forward, almost afraid to touch the handle.

"Well, go on," Albus urged me. I reached my hand forward and turned the handle, finding exactly what I had asked for inside. Albus walked up behind me and gawked. "What is that?" he pointed at the TV.

"No time for explaining, we gotta go get Keira," I made myself walk away from the door and towards the staircases. I practically ran down them all, and I was out of breath by the time I reached the dungeons.

"We got everyone!" Keira yelled excitedly as I walked toward them. Among the group of about ten kids, I saw Ali Calhoun, a Hufflepuff whom I's had a couple of classes with, Sydney Wyatt, a Ravenclaw, Connor Evans, a Gryffindor, and-

"James? What are you doing here?" Albus pushed past me and looked his brother up and down.

"I wanted to come. Why, do you have a problem?" James pushed Albus a little bit and I could foresee a fight about to happen.

I stomped angrily towards the two brothers. "Okay you two, do I need to owl your mother?" they both looked at me, a bit confused. "One fight- and I mean it, ONE FIGHT -and I'm kicking you both out of the movie popcorn party. Understand?"

"But-" Albus started.

"Hell no, Potter. I want a couple hours of bliss, and that's it. Deal?"

"Deal," they both grumbled.

*

We watched Rise of the Guardians, Frozen, Tangled, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I watched the amazement on all of their faces as I explained Jack Skellington was made entirely out fo clay, and that the movie was made out of a bunch of pictures sped up to resemble a video.

"It's called claymation, or stop-motion," I finished. 

Albus nudged me. "Check the time." I checked my phone and jumped up.

"Guys, we gotta go. It's 11:45. Time for dueling."

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