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Chapter 13: And Then Things Get Messy.
“Unca Aaaaaal!” Three squealing toddlers threw themselves at Al’s legs, and his knees buckled slightly under their weight and his surprise. We had been in the middle of a rousing argument about who was more idiotic (clearly, it’s him), and it was just getting to the good part (“Well…your mum’s stupid!”).
I couldn’t help but laugh slightly at the look on his face as he reached down and picked up the two giggling girls. He threw them both over his shoulders, and their blonde pigtails flapped back and forth as they screamed in delight and beat his back with their little fists.
“Well, if it isn’t my two most favorite girls in this whole world,” he said warmly, nuzzling his face into a girl’s stomach. She giggled again and pushed at his shoulder.
“Put me down, Unca Al! Imma big girl now.”
“But Aurelie!” he pouted like a little kid, and I stifled another laugh. “We’ve got to find Remus together!”
“I’m right here!” The little boy who had latched himself around Al’s leg cried up at them. I deduced that this was Remus. I’m a clever one. No wonder I got into Healing School.
“I wanna help, too!” The other girl on his shoulder reminded him. He turned around and kissed her on her cheek.
“Of course! How can I find Remus without my favorite Nicole?”
“I’m right here!”
“You can’t!” Nicole cried shrilly, throwing her arms around his neck. “I’m gonna grow up and be an Aura like Daddy and Grandpa-Unca Harry.”
“Who told her to call me Grandpa?!” Harry yelped, looking over at Teddy and (a very pregnant) Victoire in anger. They both grinned and shrugged, though Teddy looked a bit more mischievous about it. I’d met Teddy a couple of times since we were related (somehow), and he had quickly become one of the few people that I genuinely liked on this planet. Though I am finding that the list has been expanding drastically since I became a Potter.
Damnit, I really need to start working on becoming a cold bitch again. I haven’t been able to be as mean ever since That Night, when I’d come back and pretended as though everything was okay. That’s the best idea for me – just deflect. Just pretend it never happened, and over time, it’ll blow over.
Yeah, so I may have some denial issues. But denial is honestly the way to go. I’m maintaining pride and dignity right now. I don’t want to believe anything else.
So I’d come home – to the Potter’s home, that is – and me and Al just went back to normal. The constant teasing, mild harassment, and occasional innuendo thrown from his part. I usually blushed wildly at those and practically ran into another room to do something else.
I really hope he doesn’t actually believe I have a pet llama named Agnus. I promise I’m not that unstable.
“I’m here! Down here! Here, Unca Al!”
Remus’ voice had reached a shriek so high-pitched I’m surprised the windows didn’t all shatter into a million pieces. He also looked like he was ready to burst into tears at being ignored so cheerfully, as Al had placed both of his nieces on his hips and was using their help to “search” desperately for Remus.
“Al,” I said quietly.
“Where could he be?”
“Where is Remus? Remus, where are you?” Aurelie giggled.
“I can’ta find Remus, Unca Al!” Nicole chimed in, looking gleeful.
“I’m over here!”
“Al, you might want to –”
And Remus promptly burst into tears.
Everyone looked down at him. “ – stop doing that to him,” I finished, biting my lip as I looked down at the little kid. His face was screwed up in obvious distress as he clutched Al’s leg and cried heartily into his knee as though the world was ending. It was clear that he looked up to Al very much.
I shot aforementioned Al a disgruntled look. Honestly, how much of an arse could a person get?
“Unca Al, Remus is crying,” Nicole informed him gravely.
“I know, love. I’m going to put you down and spend some time with Remus, alright?”
“NO!” They both shrieked, locking their arms around his neck. He choked slightly, sending me a desperate look. I rolled my eyes at him and bent down so that I was level with Remus and Al’s knee.
“Hi,” I said softly to Remus. He sniffled and looked over at me.
“Who’re you?” he asked.
“I’m Adele. Your Aunt, I guess,” I winced slightly at the thought, but held my hand out for him to take.
“Are you Unca Al’s girlfriend?” Remus asked me, his eyes wide as he stared at my outstretched hand. I let out a little laugh and ruffled his hair instead.
“No,” I said, “I’m his wife.”
Remus’ eyes grew. “Wife? Like mommy and daddy?”
“Sure,” I nodded.
“But Unca Al said he was never gonna get married!”
I pulled my mouth up to one side. “I guess he lied, then.” I winked at Remus and he giggled, reaching out to pull on one of my curls, watching it as it sprung back into shape.
“I like your hair,” he said, pulling on another curl, then giggling again as it bounced up and down.
“Thank you,” I said politely. I reached out and ruffled his hair again, and it turned pink. “I like yours.”
His face lit up. “I’m a metamorphy! Aurelie and Nicole think my hair is weird.”
“Well, I think it’s really cool,” I promised him.
He beamed at me, and let go of Al’s leg, stepping down onto the ground so that he could lean over and plant a wet, sloppy kiss on my cheek. “I like you,” he announced.
I grinned. “I like you, too.”
He blushed, and his hair turned pink again.
“I think he has a crush on you,” Al told me later as he leaned over me to get to a cup of Butterbeer.
I handed it to him before he crashed into me and we both fell into the table. “Who?”
“Remus.” He winked at me and lifted the cup to his mouth, taking a long sip. He lowered it just in time to see me rolling my eyes.
“What makes you think that?”
“He’s telling everyone that he’s going to marry you as soon as he’s old enough,” Al informed me. I glanced over at Remus, who was chattering happily with James about something. James had him situated on his knee, and he was nodding very seriously at Remus.
“Brilliant!” I perked up. “I’ve always wanted to get married to someone who can actually tolerate my presence.” I shot Al a glare at the end of that, and he laughed again, moving forward so that I was pressed against the table.
“What makes you think I can’t stand your presence?”
“Gee, I wonder.”
“I happen to think that your presence is, in fact, very…” he looked me slowly up and down, and a slow, lecherous smirk spread over his mouth. I nervously pressed myself closer to the table. “…arousing.” He whispered the last word in my ear, and I was literally so shocked I had to stand there for a couple of minutes to get my wits about me.
When I finally did, I shoved him so that he had to stagger away.
“Wanker,” I huffed, crossing my arms and glaring at him as he laughed at my obvious discomfort.
“Well, love, you are a Chaser,” he said.
“So?” I asked icily.
“You know what they say about Chasers…”
I looked at him as though he was insane. “No, actually. You probably just came up with this yourself, didn’t you? Face it, Al. You’re not cool.”
He ignored me. “Chasers are very flexible.”
I sent him another weird look. “Yeah, and…?”
“You look pretty flexible to me,” he continued, clearly enjoying himself.
“Of course I’m flexible, you idiot. You said it yourself. We have to be bloody flexible so we can catch the bloody Quaffle in weird ways; what’s the big deal?” I was starting to get thoroughly irritated at this point, tired of him and his little remarks that he seemed to find oh-so-amusing.
He was grinning at me again. “Merlin, you’re going to be fantastic in bed.”
My mouth dropped open in outrage. “You – that’s just – you insufferable piece of shit!” I hit him around the head a couple of times, and he laughed gleefully, putting his hands up to protect himself.
“I – bloody – hate – you – so – bloody – much – you – prat!” I yelled, punctuating each word with another blow. By this time he was laughing so hard he could barely breathe, and I was getting angrier and angrier by the minute. The nerve of him!
Finally, I realized that we were drawing a little too much attention: everyone was staring at me as though I had turned into some sort of raving lunatic. I gave them a meek smile and a little wave for good measure (you know, things that scream ‘normalcy’ and not ‘hi, I’m deranged!’). No one looked convinced.
“Erm…Al’s annoying?” I explained weakly.
There was a general murmur of assent and everyone went back to doing what they were doing before. I turned to Al with a smirk, noting his outraged expression with happiness.
“Just for the record, dear, you’ll never get me in bed so you can kiss that little dream goodbye.”
I flounced away before he could retort.
I’m so awesome.
I was reading The Most Boring Book Ever (aka Magical Herbs and How to Use Them) in bed right before going to sleep when it happened.
No, not the apocalypse.
Al tackled me like a muggle American football player.
Me. Me! He bloody tackled me! In bed! While I was sitting. And reading a bloody book, and clearly trying to get ready for my Healing Course, which starts in two months.
Naturally, I screamed and my book went flying into the dark green wall before falling to the floor, almost simultaneous with me falling back onto the bed with Al above me, grinning away like the utter idiot that he is.
“What the bloody fucking –”
“I got you in bed! I win!” He crowed gleefully, his green eyes sparkling like a little kid’s right before they get ice cream for being good. I stared at him for a couple seconds, at a complete loss as to how I should react to something as bizarre as this situation.
So I started laughing.
It was the kind of laughter that’s loud and carefree and just bordering on hysterical, but not quite. My eyes were nearly closed and my nose was scrunched up at the top and my face was slowly turning pink from the effort of it all. It literally got to the point where I couldn’t breathe because I was trying to laugh with the weight of a seventeen-year-old male (and a Quidditch Player, at that) on me.
He sort of just stared at me as though I was a little crazy, then decided to screw it all and join along.
“You’re – so – weird!” I got in between my laughs, shoving him slightly on the shoulder. He rolled off of me and I wheezed slightly, curling up on my side and taking deep breaths. “Oh god. I honestly don’t even know what to say to you sometimes,” I said, my eyes closed and a smile at my mouth.
“Why do you hate me so much?”
The words were rushed, blurred, as though he was battling himself not to get them out, but did anyway when his Gryffindor spirit won out. I opened my eyes in surprise, and saw that he was on his side and facing me, looking curious and serious. We were so close together, but I couldn’t even think of moving away.
His eyes were a million shades of perfection and it left me feeling breathless.
“You irritate me,” I finally said. My voice was a little choked.
“That’s not a reason to hate someone.”
“It’s not,” I agreed, “I guess there’s just something about you that puts me on edge. You seem to know exactly what to say and do just to irk me – and by Merlin, you really do it well.” I laughed, but he didn’t join along.
“Well, I feel the same way about you,” he said thoughtfully. It wasn’t meant to be mean – he was just telling the truth.
“I don’t like how you keep being all suggestive and flirty with me. It makes me nervous,” I said randomly, since we were going to be truthful anyway. Might as well just get it all out there.
“And I don’t like how you take everything I say so seriously. Not that it’s not entertaining, because watching you squirm is actually quite hilarious.” This time it was his turn to laugh and my turn to not join along. “Sometimes I just wish you would loosen up.”
“Maybe I don’t loosen up the same way you do.” I turned fully onto my side and put my arm under my head, my curls spilling all over the place. He mirrored my actions, using his other hand to brush some curls to the side so he wouldn’t be sleeping on them.
“Maybe,” he conceded.
We stared at each other for a while, glad for a moment with just unspoken words and serenity.
“My favorite color is red,” he said suddenly, and I blinked in surprise. He smirked slightly at my expression and went on, “not the Gryffindor Red, mind you. Bright, brilliant, passionate red. It’s the color I associate with you when you’re yelling at me.”
I couldn’t help but grin.
“When I was ten, James informed me that he thought my name was the wonkiest thing he had ever heard. I cried for hours. He’s always been my role model, the guy I look up to for everything. I wanted to be just like him, but when I was in second year, I met this bloke who taught me that being me was better than anything else.”
I stared at him almost wondrously (though I will vehemently deny this at any later time), intrigued by this person that I thought I knew and hated.
“He’s my best friend, you know. Your brother.” He nodded slightly at me, and my mouth dropped open slightly.
“Scorpius said that?” I asked incredulously. “That’s impossible! He’s the most tactless little shit I’ve ever met; he hasn’t said a wise thing in his life! And besides, you two aren’t even that close…”
“Maybe you need to take the time to get to know your brother better as well,” Al said quietly. “Did you know he’s been in love with Rose since he was eleven?”
My mouth dropped open. “No way! He told me that he only just recently started liking her!”
Al laughed loudly. “Of course Scorpius would be concerned about impressing his sister along with the rest of the world. He’s trying to make you think he’s a lot cooler than he actually is.”
“I don’t think he’s cool.”
“Well then, he obviously failed.”
This time we both laughed.
“Tell me more,” I said.
“You’re the first person that I haven’t been able to figure out within a couple of days,” he said, after a moment of thinking. “You keep changing, morphing, growing. I feel like I know you – and then you do something that leaves me reeling and rethinking everything. It’s very unnerving.”
I swallowed nervously. “Whenever it comes to you, I don’t know anything anymore.”
I don’t know why I said that.
There was a long silence, and I could almost feel the next words before they came, electric and altering and the type of sentence that was going to change everything that I knew –
“That night at the club, after we danced together…I wish you hadn’t left. I wish you’d just let things continue the way they were going, because I honestly…wanted things to continue.” The words were barely a whisper.
My breath left my lungs in a loud whoosh. I lowered my eyes from his, instead watching my fingers fiddle with a thread on the blanket in a detached sort of way. I couldn’t even think of what to say next…hell, I couldn’t even breathe…
When his large hand pressed against mine to stop me, I could have sworn that my heart stopped beating for a second. My eyes flashed to his and I lost my breath all over again.
I have to get out of here.
“I, uh –” I began in a strangled voice, swallowing convulsively. “I have to, um…er – I –”
Before I could even finish, he kissed me.
can i get some major fangirl squees?! only took 13 chapters of severe sexual tension to get them to kiss, nbd ;)
oh, and heyy hope you liked this cliffhanger ;)
brain farts, rants, hate-mail towards my cliffy, spazzers about al's unfair hotness -- i wanna hear it all. in a review.