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Chapter 4: Family Bonding
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Dating. Dating is pretty much the quintessential part of a teenager’s life. During adolescence, all people can really seem to focus on is the opposite gender. They gossip about who’s seeing who, who kissed who at that party last weekend, and so on and such forth. There’s always that special someone in a person’s life. Whether you are dating them or pining from afar, they’re always on your mind.
I, personally, haven’t dated many girls. Not from lack of interest on their part, though. Unfortunately, being the son of the savior of the world and living my life in the constant glare of the spotlight has earned me a lot of unwanted female attention. That’s not to say that girls are only interested in me for my fame – only the exceedingly shallow ones. Others like me for my personality, my humor, or my staggering good looks. Selene always laughs when I mention that one. It’s quite the confidence builder.
Selene. And right there, we find the main reason I have for remaining single most of the time. I’ve liked Selene for ages. She feisty, smart, and has the most devious mind of anyone I’ve ever met – and that includes my cousin Fred and Uncle George. That also means that, from the time I was thirteen, I’ve seen her spurn countless boys. She catches a lot of attention – I’ve always said it’s the eyes – but, much like me, she doesn’t like it. Unlike me, she’s much less diplomatic about the attention. I prefer to let the girls down easy, but Selene will tell any blokes seeking her attention exactly why she refuses to date them. No holding back.
That, of course, is one of my main qualms about asking her out myself. Not only do I not want to ruin our friendship, but what if she doesn’t feel the same? Normally, I love Selene’s constant honesty, no matter how brutal it can be, but in this case, I think I’d rather not know. Yes, I am scared. I’m not afraid to admit it, ironically enough. Selene is more than just a girl I like. She’s also my best friend. There are just some things you should hesitate to mess with.
That being said, Selene hasn’t completely stopped me from any dating. There have been other girls I’ve liked. I had my first girlfriend in fourth year. Hailey Corner. She was a year above me and in Ravenclaw. Unfortunately, she definitely lived up to Ravenclaw stereotypes. She was extremely smart and, after three weeks, figured out that I liked Selene. Impressive, considering I didn't even know that I liked Selene at the time. That was the end of my first relationship.
I went out with a two different girls in fifth year, but neither of them was serious enough for me to refer to them as my girlfriend. Last year, I dated Emily Gunner of Hufflepuff for two and half months. Selene hated her. I never found out exactly why Emily broke up with me, but I do have a faint inkling based off the smug look Selene had after we split and the fearful looks Emily gives her to this day. It’s all very suspicious. I don’t really mourn the loss of that relationship. To be honest, Emily was a bit clingy. But she was sweet and pretty, so I hadn’t minded at the time.
No, other than family members, Selene is the only female constant in my life. Although, with the amount of time she spends around the Wotters, she may as well be part of the family. Maybe I could do something about that in the future…
Then again, the future is the uncertain thing at this point. Because you see, there is this little issue of Selene being pregnant with my child… Yeah, that definitely complicates things.
“I’ve found it!"
I looked up at Mickey, who was pointing excitedly at something in the enormous book of potions she had been perusing. She and I were in the library – I’ve been spending way too much time here this year – looking for a potion for our project. It was extraordinarily dull. Mickey tried to keep up light conversation, but I was a bit preoccupied. Lily was sitting a few tables away, working on an essay with a bloke. A bloke. As in, a member of the male gender. This was not acceptable.
“What was that?” I asked, glancing over at the shady looking guy that was sitting a little too close to my baby sister. He better watch out…
“I found the perfect potion for us to study and brew for our project,” Mickey explained patiently. “You know, the whole reason you and I are in the library right now?”
“Right,” I said, not really listening. Mr. Shady whispered something that made Lily laugh. Hell to the no.
A hand waved in front of my face and I returned my attention back to the girl in front of me. “Should I be worried? You zone out a lot, James.”
“Eh, sorry. Trouble concentrating. You were saying?”
Mickey smiled wryly. “Our project? For Slughorn? I think I know what potion we should do.”
“Oh.” I blinked. “Okay, cool. What is it?”
She spun the book she was looking at around to face me, pointing to where I should look. I raised an eyebrow. “Amortentia?”
“Yeah,” she said, nodding vigorously. “It’s complicated enough to meet Slughorn’s requirements and I’m sure we could find a lot of interesting things about it. I mean, there’s side-effects, famous cases of its use –“
I stopped listening, instead focusing back on Lily and Mr. Shady. I can only see one of his hands. Where is the other one? I swear, if he is touching my sister in any way at all, I will kill that boy. He will die. Slowly and painfully.
“If it really bothers you that your sister is over there with a boy, maybe you should do something about it,” Mickey said in amusement, her voice drawing my from murder plans.
She laughed. “James. You’re not being subtle. You don’t like it that your sister is sitting with boy. Go do something about it so that we can continue working on our project.”
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at her. “You think I should go over there? You’re not going to lecture me about how Lily can make her own decisions and she doesn’t need me interfering, blah blah blah?”
“Why would I do that?” she asked with a shrug.
“I dunno… I just assumed that’s what most girls would say. I mean, Selene definitely would…”
“Well, I’m not Selene, am I?” Mickey’s smile seemed to grow a bit more forced. Huh. Strange…
“I suppose not.” That’s an understatement. No one in their right mind could ever mix up Selene and Mickey. They were nothing alike, in both looks and personality. Mickey had curly, dark brown hair, green eyes, and a tan complexion. Selene, on the other hand, was all silver. Silver eyes, silvery blond hair, and perpetually pale skin. She looked like every bit the moon goddess her loony parents named her after.
Mickey was a lot calmer than Selene. I mean, if it had been Selene I was ignoring to glare at Lily and Mr. Shady, she wouldn’t have brushed it off in amusement. She probably would have punched me. Or hexed me. Or pushed me out of my chair. She doesn’t like it when people ignore her. Ironic, isn’t it, considering she’s currently ignoring me? But Selene is also a lot more fun. She would’ve turned the search for a suitable potion into a game. A competition to see who could find one first. We would’ve chosen a potion a long time ago.
“Well?” Mickey looked at me expectantly. “What are you waiting for?”
I nodded. “Right. Going over there. Be back soon.”
I got up, trying to look intimidating. I am the son of Harry Potter. My dad is considered to be the biggest badass in the Wizarding world. I can surely scare a boy into staying away from my sister.
“Hey, Lils, what are you up to?” I asked her, sitting down at her table and smiling tightly.
She looked up, her eyes narrowed, but smiling back at me. “Just working on an Herbology essay. Caleb is helping me."
Bugger. It was Neville’s son. I bloody well can’t intimidate him. I mean, c’mon. I’ve seen the kid in diapers. Stupid Lily. I bet she picked him just because she knew I couldn’t be a jerk to him. Never mind the fact that his dad is the Herbology professor and is extremely gifted in the subject. It’s just an inconsequential detail.
“Ah.” I frowned. “Hi Caleb. How’s it going?”
He smiled at me. Git. “Pretty good, James. Lily just has some questions about the Fanged Geranium. I was more than happy to help.”
Yeah, I bet you were. I may have known the kid all his life, but that doesn’t mean I have to trust him. “Right then, I’ll leave you two kids to your work. I’ll be right over there. At that table just a little ways away. In sight of this table. So I can see you. From over there. Where I’ll be sitting. And able to watch.”
“We get it James,” Lily said through gritted teeth, glaring at me. I’m so going to get it later. She’s going to try and murder me in my sleep.
I retreated back to where Mickey was watching me in curiosity. “How’d it go? I see the boy is still there.”
“Bloody Lily is too clever. She’s there with Caleb Longbottom. She knows I can’t threaten him, he’s a family friend. Yeah, she’s definitely a wily one…”
“Or maybe she just likes him?” Mickey suggested.
I brushed her off. “Don’t be ridiculous. Lily’s too young to actually like boys. She just wants to bother me.”
She shrugged. “If you say so. So, back to the Amortentia…”
The next morning I got another letter from my mum. The message wasn’t quite as friendly as before.
James Sirius Potter
Did. You. Call. Me. Old? Boy, I will end you.
Also, if you don’t back off your sister, I will personally see to it that you never eat coconuts again for the rest of your life. She wrote to me last night about your behavior in the library. Honestly, James? Are you really worried about Lily spending time with Caleb Longbottom? The child of Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbot? Seriously? Are you on drugs?
Give Neville love. Or I will kill you. That’s a promise.
When your father and I come to pick you up at the platform for Christmas, I’m going to hug and kiss you and fawn over you in the most obnoxiously loving way possible. The world needs to see how much James Potter and his mummy love each other. And if you think this is an empty threat, you’re an even bigger idiot than I thought. And definitely on drugs. Bad James. Don’t do drugs.
Your loving (but only because I have to) Mum
P.S. Your Forbidden Forest field trip has been cancelled. Feel free to shower me with chocolates as a small token of your appreciation. That’s a demand, not a request.
I snorted. Don’t tell anyone, but I honestly think my mum might be the coolest person in the world. And my dad, despite his reputation, is actually a huge dork. How he managed to get her will forever baffle me. But I suppose he’s an inspiration to nerds everywhere. Win.
“There are way too many festering stairs in this school,” an unmistakable voice grumbled. I looked up, a disbelieving smile already spreading across my face as Selene plopped down into the seat across from me.
“Hi,” I said, trying not to sound too pleased. “How are you feeling?”
She shot a glare at me. For once, I wasn't frightened by this, but elated. I’ve missed being on the receiving end of Selene’s death glares. “If I hear that question any more, I’ll implode. Or end up snapping and going on a murderous rampage. It’s a 50/50 chance."
My lips twitched as I forced myself not to start outright grinning. “Why do you say that?”
“Because that’s all your sister ever asks me anymore!” she cried. “It’s maddening! Flibbering floppington, when will she understand that I’m as okay as I can be right now?”
She grinned at me, her mood shifting suddenly. “You like? I decided to try out a new phrase. I was getting a little tired of ‘jabbering jibberjob.’”
I shrugged. “I’m just happy you’re not using actual swear words anymore. That was just… wrong.”
“Yeah, well, can you blame me?”
I held up my hands as if in surrender. “Never said I did. Your reason was probably the best one in the world.”
And the glare was back. “You’re darn right it was.”
“Yes, well, maybe we should talk about that,” I said, laughing nervously.
Selene rolled her eyes. “Oh yes, James, let’s just start discussing you-know-what right here in the Great Hall where anyone can hear about it?”
Oh. Right. Public setting. “I’m stupid.”
With a slight smirk – seriously, these mood swings are slightly disturbing – she opened her mouth, probably to make a sarcastic jibe, but was interrupted by Louis. “Er, you two do know that we’re sitting here, right?”
Both our heads whipped around to look at Louis, who was looking at us in amused confusion, and Nick, who was building a mini fortress out of his breakfast. That kid worries me sometimes, honestly.
“Yeah…” Selene said slowly. Then she looked back at me. “See! My point exactly.”
“Okay then, just ignore me. Whatever,” Louis muttered. Then he slapped Nick’s hand when he tried to steal his bacon.
“Aw, I’m sowwy, Lou Lou,” Selene pouted.
He blinked at her. “That’s actually kind of disturbing. You never pout to get your way, Selene. You use threats and intimidation.”
Intimidation… that’s it! “Hey, Leena, can you do me a favor?” I asked excitedly.
She and Louis looked at me. Nick made a moat out of pancakes and syrup. “What?” Selene asked.
“Can you scare Caleb Longbottom for me? He’s been hanging around Lily a little too much for my liking. But I can’t threaten him or anything because he’s a family friend. Do it for me?”
She stared at me for a moment. “You’re an idiot.” Then she got up and left.
Well. That was rude.
Sometime I really don’t understand people. I mean, most of the time, I can figure people out pretty well. You can say that I’m occasionally intuitive. You know, when I’m not being an idiot, that is. But sometimes things just baffle me.
Right now, I’m trying to figure out what exactly is the appeal to snogging in a broom closet. Sure, it’s private and all that fun stuff, but really people? It cannot be a comfortable experience. What if your foot gets stuck in a bucket? I’m sure that’s a real turn-on. I don’t think I could ever snog someone in a broom closet. I know, I’m a bloke, we’re supposed to be horny and unable to keep it in our pants and all that whatnot, but broom closets just don’t float my metaphorical boat. It’s about standards.
Apparently, I’m the only one who feels this way. At least in my family. And no, I’m not talking about Lily. If I were, the guy with her would die. Instead, I watched my dear brother stumble out of a broom closet with some girl, looking thoroughly disheveled.
I raised an eyebrow. “Well. Fancy running into you here, Albus my boy.”
He spun around to look at me, surprise etched on his face. The girl with him, a fifth year Slytherin, I think, looked at me as well, giggling and straightening her skirt. Lovely.
“Er, James. Hi,” Al said uncomfortably.
“Dear, dear… what have you been doing little brother?” I smirked at him. You know, I really love being the oldest of my siblings sometimes. It’s a great excuse to act superior and all-knowing – though Lily generally punches me when I do that to her. She’s a bit violent.
Al cleared his throat, seeming at a loss for words. He’s a bit of walking contradiction, my brother. He’s the son of the savior of the Wizarding world, captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team, and just all around hotshot. But he’s also, for lack of a better word, a nerd. Like, a really big nerd. He has this obsession with Transfiguration that really can’t be healthy. He reads more than anyone I know and could probably recite the dictionary. And don’t get me started on him with girls. He can, as the evidence shows, get any girl to snog him. But he’s never had a girlfriend. Never. He’s all suave when flirting with girls, but when it comes to actual dating and all that lark, he turns into a nervous, sweaty, quivery mess. It’s really funny to watch.
The girl with Al giggled some more. She was one of those ones. “Hi James,” she said, batting her eyelashes.
Er… is the girl Al was just snogging now trying to flirt with me? It’s a bit soon, don’t you think? And that simpering smile. Maybe she isn’t a Slytherin… But then why would she be wearing a green tie…
“Hi,” I responded in bemusement. “Eh, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like a word with my home boy, over here. Yeah.”
Unnamed Broom Closet Girl fluttered her eyelashes some more. Wouldn’t that make her dizzy or something? And why do girls think that makes them more appealing? I’ll have to ask Selene – Lily wouldn’t know anything about that, she’s too young. Like I said, sometimes I just don’t get people.
I jerked my head at Al, silently telling him to follow me. He glanced at Unnamed Broom Closet Girl, who smiled coquettishly, before retreating after me. I barely contained my laughter.
Once Unnamed Broom Closet Girl was out of sight, I turned around and raised my eyebrows at Al and smirked. He just shrugged.
“So…” I said, not even bothering to hide my amusement.
I rolled my eyes. “Who was she?”
Al shrugged again. “I’m not really sure. She just started flirting with me in the common room, and well…”
“You magically ended up in a broom closet?”
“Sounds about right, yeah,” he said, straightening his still ruffled shirt.
At least he’s confirmed that she was indeed a Slytherin. Unless someone from a different house broke into the common room… nah. Who would willing go to the Slytherin common room? I clapped him on the back. “Albus Severus Potter, you dog.”
He shrugged again. “It happens."
“Only to you. And I swear, Al, if you shrug again…”
He looked at me quizzically so I elaborated. “You do realize you just shrugged three times withing the course of this very short conversation."
“Oh. Okay then.”
I chuckled and threw my arm around his shoulder, guiding him towards the Great Hall for dinner. “You’re a weird kid, did you know that?” I continued, not bothering to wait for an answer. "Al, we need to find you a girlfriend. Someone that won’t mind the fact that you’re the most awkward person in the world.”
“Since when are you a girl expert?” Albus asked doubtfully.
I gaped at him dramatically. “Albus, my brother, you wound me! Everybody knows that James Potter is a ladies man.”
“Yeah. James Potter the first. The only thing you know about girls is what you learned from Selene."
“And who better to learn from than a member of the fairer gender herself? You’re just jealous that I can actually talk to girl without stuttering, mumbling, and blurting out random facts,” I retaliated, nudging him in the ribs.
“Nobody asked you anyways,” Al grumbled.
I laughed. “Actually, technically, you did.”
“Why do I talk to you again?”
“Because I’m your brother and you love me. Because, let’s face it, I’m pretty damn awesome,” I stated.
Al shrugged. Okay, seriously. This boy has a problem. “You know what they say: you can’t pick your family.”
I grabbed my chest, groaning as if in pain. “Ouch! That one hurt little bro. Maybe I should be the one questioning why I talk to you. Just wait until I tell Mum.”
“Oh, sure, run off to Mummy as soon as you get your feelings hurt.” He smirked.
“Excuse me.” I cleared my throat. “What are you implying?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” Al said innocently. Don’t believe him for a second. Then he coughed “Mummy’s boy.”
I jumped on his back without a moment of hesitation. “Take it back!”
“Bloody hell, James!” he yelled, trying to reach around to hit me. “Get off me, you nutter!”
“Take it back, foul beast!”
“Would you get the bloody hell off me, you’re fat!”
“How dare you?! Another insult? Take that back as well!"
“I won’t get off until you take it back!”
"You're going to snap my spine, you overweight plonker!"
“You’re so mean to me, Al. Apologize and tell me you love me.”
“GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF-“
“I love you Al! You’re the best brother in the world! Now tell me you love me!"
“TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!”
“Yay! Sibling love!”
“Oof,” Al and I both grunted as Lily came barreling out of nowhere and jumped onto my back while I was still clinging to Al.
“This is fun, great idea guys!”
“Lily, I love you and all, but this just became a lot less fun."
“I HATE YOU TWO SO BLOODY MUCH WOULD YOU GET THE BLOODY FUCK OFF ME!”
“Whee! Now bring us to dinner Al!”
“I lied. This is much more fun now! Splendid idea, Lils. Yes, Al, to the Great Hall!"
“I WANT A NEW FAMILY!”
At the sound of a throat clearing, we all froze. Lily had her legs wrapped around my back, her hands thrown up in the air, her mouth still hanging open from her cheering. I was clutching Al’s shoulders while I hung on to his back. And Al was hunched over, his glasses askew and face bright red. All three of our heads slowly turned to look to the side (it probably would have been incredibly comical to an outside observer).
Professor McGonagall was staring at us, her mouth thin, though I thought I saw a twinkle of amusement in her eyes. “Mr. Potter, Mr. Potter, and Miss Potter. Might I ask what it is you are doing?”
We were all silent for a moment. “Er, family bonding?” I said tentatively.
“I see. Well, could you please move your bonding to a more private locale? You seem to be drawing a crowd.”
It was at that point that we all noticed that a large group of people – including a wide variety of our cousins – were gathered around us. Rose was trying to frown disapprovingly, but the corners of her mouth kept twitching, giving away her suppressed laughter. Next to her, Hugo and Louis were on the floor laughing and Lucy was bent over, clutching her knees as she tried to catch her breath. Hey, this is a nice family reunion!
“Hi family!” I said, waving cheerfully. They all waved back, except Louis and Hugo who were still rolling around on the floor in hysterics.
“Get-off-you-tossers,” Al hissed between clenched teeth.
“Oh. Right, sorry Al,” I said, clambering down off him, though Lily was still perched on my back.
“James, bring me to dinner,” she said, tightening her grip on m
“What’s the magic words?” I sang obnoxiously.
I shook my head. “False statement. Unable to compute.”
“I’m not going to say it."
“Then I guess you’ll have to walk to the Great Hall.”
“Just bring me there, James!”
“Not until you tell me the magic words.”
“You couldn’t pay me to say it.”
“I guess I can’t help you, then.”
You know, I don’t think this was really helping to disperse the crowd. Granted, people weren’t falling about in fits of laughter due to the extreme hilarity of my family antics, but they were definitely interested in my exchanges with Lily. Professor McGonagall made no attempt to stop us, though. Actually, I think she was just as interested as everyone else.
“James Sirius Potter, I command you to bring me to dinner.”
“Lily Luna Potter, I refuse."
“Say the magic words first.
“I’d rather have my tongue get ripped out and eaten by turtles.”
“How rude. Now say the magic words."
“I’m hungry, James! Just do it!”
“Nah, I don’t think I will.”
“I’m your older brother. It’s my job to mean.”
“Would one of you just relent already?” Lucy burst out.
I looked over at her. “Hi Lucy! How’s it going? I haven’t seen you for a while. How’s Ravenclaw?”
“I’m fine, James,” she said, rolling her eyes. “But, seriously, I have a limited amount of patience. One of you two just needs to make up your mind.”
I shrugged – dear God, I’m turning into Al. “Well, Lils, I can say with absolute certainty that I am not moving until you either get off my back or you say the magic words. Choose wisely, young grasshopper.”
“… you’re so weird. But fine. Fine! You’re lucky I’m lazy.” Lily took a deep breath and I could tell without looking that she was rolling her eyes. “James Potter is more awesome than a monkey wearing a jet pack.”
“Truth,” I said, grinning. “All right, let’s get you to dinner, Lillers.”
I started walking towards the Great Hall, but Nick, who I hadn’t even noticed until then stopped us. “That’s it?” he demanded incredulously. “That’s all she had to say? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
I stared at him briefly. “Wow. Coming from you, that’s actually kind of insulting.”
“It’s not stupid!” Lily insisted. “Think about it, Nick! A monkey. Wearing a jet pack. You know, flying around and being all awesome and stuff? It’s like the coolest thing in the world!”
Nick stared at her. “Yeah, that is pretty damn awesome. But I think I’d prefer a platypus wearing a fedora.”
“Nick, don’t start on that again,” I began with a groan, but Lily cut me off.
“That’d be so amazing! I’ve always wanted to have a pet platypus!”
…Where do these people come from? You know what, I don’t even want to know. Clearly, Mum and Dad went wrong somewhere with Lily. And as for Nick… yeah, I definitely don’t want to know.
“I’m going to go now,” I announced. “I’ll just leave you two to your bizarre conversation that I want no part of.”
With that, I walked away, shaking my head in dismay. I suppose it should have occurred to me that Lily was still on my back.
Sorry about the slow update on this story. Writer’s block kills. Just a fair warning, updates are going to be coming much slower now, as I’ve just started college. I expect I’ll be very, very busy for quite some time.
I've started two new stories that I'll be posting soon. One is a Lily/James short story called In My Life. It's basically a collection of random one-shots about them. And then there's also a post-Hogwarts Albus/OC novel. It'll be from Al's point of view and the OC is a Muggle. It's going to be a bit darker than my other stories with a more serious plotline. It's called Finish the Job. I hope you all check them out! (You know, once I get around to writing and posting them...)
Let me know what you think!
Also, why is it that I invariably end up listening to The Beatles every time I write this story? Other than the fact that The Beatles are amazing and my favorite band ever.