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Chapter 1: Chapter One
Chapter image by onlyInevitability @ TDA
Albus sat up in bed with his eyes still shut when the smell of bacon and eggs wafted in through the underside of his bedroom door. He lay back down with a groan when he heard his father calling up to him from downstairs. He whined loudly in response and pulled the covers back over him, not wanting to get out of the warmth of his bed just yet.
Without even knocking, James barged into the boy’s bedroom and yanked the blanket away from him with a loud laugh. “Get your ass out of bed, Al!” he shouted, throwing the large duvet down onto the floor. “Mum’s making breakfast.” He hurried back out of the room and slid down the banister, much to his father’s annoyance.
“James, what did I tell you about sliding down those banisters?” Harry snapped as he followed his eldest son into the kitchen.
Albus remained where he was, his legs pulled up to his chest in an attempt to keep warm. He lifted his head to spare a glance at his duvet on the floor and whimpered.
“Come on, Albus,” Lily said from the doorway. “Just throw a jumper on and come downstairs.”
Albus pushed himself into a sitting position and stretched his arms high above his head before pushing his hands back through his messy, black hair. He slipped out of bed and threw a pair of plaid pyjama pants over his boxers. He descended the stairs and took a seat at the kitchen table, yawning loudly.
“Someone must have had a late night,” Harry said over the top of the Daily Prophet.
“I didn’t get that much sleep,” Albus grumbled in response, picking up his fork and attempting to bend the top with his fingers.
“Albus!” Ginny snapped as soon as she saw what her son was doing with her cutlery.
Albus dropped the fork and sent it clattering to the floor loudly. He huffed quietly and pressed his elbows to the table, keeping his eyes on his empty plate. A loud bang caused him to slip out of his trance; he turned around in his seat to see James practically wrestling with the toaster.
“James, what the hell are you doing?” Albus cried, getting off his chair and hurrying over to his brother.
“I’m trying to make toast. What does it look like I’m doing?” James snarled back. “The stupid handle won’t stay down.”
Albus pushed the toaster handle down and raised an eyebrow when it just shot back up again. “Um, James?”
“It’s not even plugged in, you idiot!”
After breakfast, the Potters' washed up and got dressed before heading out to Diagon Alley using the Floo Network.
“Dad, can’t I try out Apparation just once?” James said as they made their way through the familiar cobblestone alley.
“Oh, stop asking silly questions,” Harry replied indignantly. “You failed your Apparation test so no means no.”
While James went to Madam Malkin with Harry to get some new school robes, Albus went along to Flourish and Blotts by himself to get his new school books.
“Are you sure you’ll be alright?” Ginny called after him, clutching Lily’s hand tightly in her own.
“I’ll be fine, mum,” Albus grumbled, shoving his hands deep into his pockets as he made his way down the street. He stepped into the shop and groaned upon seeing how packed it was. He made his way over to the school book section and pulled a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them off the shelf. Although Albus generally took great care of his books, his Care of Magical Creatures textbook had seen better days. He turned around to ask for help on reaching a Potions book but was met with the familiar face of a blonde boy who reached up and got it for him.
Albus laughed quietly and took the book with a small smile. “Thanks, Benjamin.”
Benjamin Hunt was a former Slytherin Prefect who only just graduated that summer. He became a member of their already-large family when he began dating Albus’ cousin, Louis, two years ago. As he came from a family of French Pure-blood aristocrats, his relationship with Louis caused him to get disowned by his disapproving mother, Emilie. “How’s it going, Al? Doing some shopping for school?”
“Yeah but this place is packed! I’m sorely tempted to go and get my things for Potions first,” he responded, rubbing his hand over the back of his neck and shrugging. “Is Louis here?”
Benjamin gave a curt nod and pointed over towards the large queue which was now streaming out the shop door. Louis was standing in the middle of the line, talking animatedly to his father. He was clutching a heavy amount of books under one arm but that didn’t seem to bother him. Albus and Benjamin stepped out of the shop and within ten minutes, they were joined by an excitable Louis and an exhausted-looking Bill.
“Albus! I didn’t expect to see you here so soon,” Louis said, rushing over to Benjamin’s side and linking their arms together. “...where’s everyone else?”
“Oh, we went separately. James needs new robes and Lily wants an owl. How’s it going, Bill? You look a little...tired.”
“Every time I get stuck with Louis, I feel like I need to take a nap.”
Louis frowned at his father but turned back to Albus with a smile. “O.W.L year this year! Think you can handle it?”
“Oh sure; piece of cake,” Albus responded with a smug grin.
“You do this every single year, James!” Albus shouted, slamming his bedroom door right against his brother’s face. A loud cry from the landing caused him to yank it back open again. He spluttered with laughter at the sight of James sporting a very red and bloody nose.
“You broke my fucking nose, you little twat,” James growled, backing against the wall and groaning in pain.
“I broke it? Well...you deserved it then, you stupid plonker!”
“If I hear you two swear like that in this house ever again, you’re sleeping in the back garden for a month!” Ginny roared as she hurried up the stairs. “What the hell happened to you, James?”
“Albus broke my nose,” he muttered under his breath.
“The door broke his nose actually,” Albus spat before disappearing into his room once again. He swept the old pieces of parchment and broken quills off his desk and threw his new messenger bag down onto it instead. He stuffed his ancient copy of Little Dorrit into his bag for the train ride back to Hogwarts, followed by a number of other random objects such as his broken glasses from second year, a Golden Snitch that James had stolen for him two years ago and his most prized possession: his father’s old Invisibility Cloak.
At first, Harry had thought it best to pass the Cloak onto the eldest child but since James had the Marauders Map, another heirloom considered precious to the family, he passed the Cloak to Albus. The black-haired boy ran his fingers over the silvery material, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“Despite the ruckus that happened just now,” Harry said as he entered Albus’ room. “...we’re all set. Ready to go?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Albus said, stuffing the rest of the Cloak into his bag and zipping it up. He threw it over his shoulder and grabbed the cage containing his owl before following his father out of the room.
The Potter family made it to the station on time for the first time since James had started Hogwarts. They were greeted by the particularly large gathering of Weasleys.
“I think I’m going to die in a sea of ginger,” James mumbled, only to be nudged sharply in the ribs by Louis. “What? You’re blonde! No need to take it as an offence.”
“I was just hinting for you to shut up because your sister is coming over,” Louis hissed through his teeth. As soon as he had left his luggage at the train, he ducked back into the crowd to say goodbye to his family and, in particular, Benjamin.
“No worries then this year?” Harry said, gazing down at Albus over the rim of his glasses.
“Dad, I’m not a little kid anymore. I’ll be fine,” he said with a smile. “Lucy! Wait!”
“Goodbye Albus,” Ginny said sarcastically when she saw her son running onto the train after his cousin.
Albus stopped in his tracks and glanced over his shoulder at his parents. He groaned loudly and rolled his eyes. “Do I have to?” Without waiting for an answer, he hurried over and pulled both parents into a tight hug. “I’ll write, ‘kay? And no, Mum, not every day.” He pulled away from them with a quiet laugh and gave them a final wave before boarding the train.
Louis pulled Benjamin over to a more secluded corner to say goodbye to him properly. “If my mum bothers you at all, promise me you’ll let me know?” Louis whispered as he hugged his arms even tighter around Benjamin’s neck.
“Fleur’s been good to me; I’m not promising you that.”
Louis whined loudly in protest and pushed his forehead up against the other boy’s. “I’ll owl you when I hear about the Hogsmeade trip, yeah?”
“It’s always on the second weekend of October, you idiot,” Benjamin laughed, cradling Louis’ neck between his hands.
“...just to be safe.” He bit down on his trembling lower lip and squeezed his eyes shut while muttering, “I’m not gonna cry,” over and over again. Although his “method” worked for the best part of about twenty seconds, Louis pressed his face into Benjamin’s chest in order to muffle his sobs.
“It’s only a month, Louis,” Benjamin whispered, slipping his arms around the boy’s shoulders and hugging him tightly. “It’ll fly by; I can guarantee you.”
“Louis, time to go!” James shouted over the volume of the crowd.
As if on cue, the steam engine whistled loudly and the conductor was walking down the platform, shutting the train doors.
Louis leaned up and gave the older boy a deep, lingering kiss before hurrying away and boarding the train, just before the door was slammed shut after him. Benjamin followed the scarlet steam engine with his eyes and continued to stare long after it had rounded the corner and disappeared. He snapped out of his train of thoughts when Bill pressed a hand to his shoulder.
“I’m sure the time apart will do you both good,” the man said softly.
“James, do you have to suck face while I’m in the same fucking compartment?” Louis shot, glaring over at his cousin who was in the seat opposite him. He had an attractive brunette held tightly in his lap who he referred to as 'you there.' “You’re such a dick some times, you know that?”
James ushered his little friend out into the corridor before turning back to Louis. “Louis, you wouldn't be half as mad as you are now if you got yourself a proper shag."
“Oh, grow up! What year do you think this is?” Louis shouted, standing up and shoving James back into the compartment door. “It’s twenty-fucking-twenty-one. I suggest you get over your sick homophobic tendencies and grow a pair.”
“What...the hell?” Molly Weasley said from behind the Daily Prophet. “You two got along just fine during the summer!”
“Just a stupid act,” Louis muttered as he opened the compartment door and slammed it shut again. “You can go back into your tosser now,” he spat at the waiting girl.
Lucy, having not been there to see the argument, shot him a huge grin as she skipped by him in the corridor. She stopped outside a nearby compartment and peeped in through the window. Staring in, she noticed a tiny hooded figure inside who was gazing out the window and happily tapping their fingernails off the armrest; fingernails which were painted in every colour of the rainbow. “Jess?” Lucy said, opening the door and widening her eyes at the girl. “I didn’t...think you were...you know – coming back.”
The person turned her head towards Lucy and gave her a bright smile, showing off her gleaming white teeth. “I got discharged,” she said cheerfully, turning to gaze back out the window. “No more medicinal actions for me, Luce.” Using her thin fingers, she pushed her hood back to reveal a head-full of golden blonde hair which reached just below her shoulders. Her skin, naturally pale as it was, held a sickly pallor to it and evidence of exhaustion hung under her eyes in the form of dark shadows.
“Good God, Jess! You look like you’ve been to hell and back,” Lucy said, her eyes widening in horror.
“Thanks, Luce,” Jessica responded without even a dribble of sarcasm. She pressed her head against the glass and stared out at the passing fields, attempting to count the cows as they whizzed by. “I like cows,” she whispered, a bright smile crossing her face. “But I like cats even more.”
“I know you do, Jess,” Lucy laughed as she took a seat opposite her friend and stared out at the cows with her.
“How was your summer?” Jessica asked her, raising both eyebrows questioningly.
“Same old; dad worked and mum fussed...just like every other summer,” Lucy sighed. “I got to see Albus and –”
“Albus?” Jessica sat upright in her seat and leaned forward, digging her fingernails into the seat on either side of her. “How is Albus?”
“H-he’s fine. Jess, could you lean back a bit?”
“Sorry, Luce.” Jessica bit down on her bottom lip and resumed her cow-watching. “Did you know that cows can eat two-hundred-six baked potatoes and one-thousand-four-hundred-forty slices of bread?”
“You astonish me, Jess.”
Jessica propped her elbow up onto the armrest and leaned her head in her hand, the grin on her face growing even wider. “That’s what everyone says.”
Author's Note: First chapter of Reckless, the companion piece to Dream a Little Dream of Me :) What did you think?! Leave some thoughts, yeah? - Siriius.