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He could feel the morning sun shining down onto his tanned skin, the light dancing across his cheek, and he frowned, knowing someone had come into his new bedroom and opened his curtains. But he didn't open his eyes. Obviously, it was too early; his alarm clock hadn't rung yet.
Then he heard them walk around, the old hardwood floor creaked from under their feet, and he wanted to tell them to get lost. But he didn't. He knew that if they realized he was awake, he'd have to get up now and he certainly didn't want to do that. So he pretended he was still sleeping and hoped they'd leave. Only they didn't. He felt the mattress give way under their weight, though not by much. He realized it was his little sister and continued to ignore her.
She jumped on his bed, standing on his leg. He felt her wobble a little before she started jumping again, not that she mattered at that moment. His eyes snapped open and he yelped in pain, pulling his leg up to his chest and rubbing where the red mark had been left from her sneakers.
"Charley!" He yelled at her. "Get out of my room!"
She smiled down at her big brother, her pony tail and fringe bouncing up and down as she continued to jump, and giggled at his frown. She clapped her hands together. "First day of school! First day of school!"
"Yes, it's my first day," he agreed, speaking slowly. "But not yet, it's early."
Charley stopped bouncing and tilted her head, confused by his words, and shook her head. "The big hand is on the three and the little hand is on the ten," she told him, pointing to his clock. "Daddy said to see if you were awake."
"Albert, are you up yet?" Their dad called from the bottom of the stairs. "You don't want to miss the train!"
Picking up his alarm clock, Albert stared at the time. "That's not possible," he muttered. The minute hand was between the three and the four when he finally broke from his trance and turned the clock around in his hands to check the batteries, then he shook it as if it would help. He got out of bed, facing his sister. "Why didn't the alarm go off?"
"I don't know," she shrugged. Charley jumped down to the floor and ran out of the room, leaving the door wide open. Albert dropped his clock onto his bed and moved to slam his door shut, angry that he now had to rush getting ready and breakfast so he could get to the station on time. He opened up his wardrobe doors and pulled out the box that had been labelled 'winter clothes'. Albert rummaged through the box until he found clothes that looked suitable enough to wear and placed them onto his bed, before going to the bathroom.
He stood in front of the mirror, thankful he'd chosen to have his shower last night (though it had actually been because it had been unnaturally cold; English weather was weird), and hurried to wash his face and brush his teeth. Once he was done, he ran a hand through his thick, brown hair, making sure it was flat and examined his face in the mirror. He could only just see that he had freckles dotted across his cheeks and nose. They only really came out in the sun and he'd lived in the sun his whole life until the move.
Albert flattened his hair again, refusing to think about why he was here. He just wanted to be excited about school. With that in mind, Albert crossed the hall into his bedroom and got changed. Dressed in a pair of shorts that stopped just below his knees, a light blue surfer t-shirt, a sleeveless blue and white checkered jacket and white sneakers with velcro straps, Albert jogged down the stairs and into the kitchen.
He sat down at the table, on the edge of his seat, and his dad, Jake, chuckled, amused, his arms stretched out at either side to the different breakfast options. "Cereal or toast, kiddo?"
Albert cast a quick glance at both. "Cereal," he said. As soon as his dad moved to the cereal box, Albert shook his head. "Toast. No, cereal." His dad gave an annoyed sigh. "Toast," he answered with an assured nod and jerked his head to the front door. "To go."
His words caused Jake to automatically relax and smile. He prepared the boy's breakfast. "It'll be fine, Bertie, I promise," he reassured, buttering the lightly toast bread, just how he liked it. "Your trunk is already in the car, everything is there, your wand is here on the table," he held it up, "I put it here for you. You will get to the station on time." He placed the little plate with his breakfast in front of him. When Albert opened his mouth, his dad cut him off. "You can eat it in the car, I'll bring the plate back. Charley!"
He called for his daughter, picking up her coat that he'd put on the chair for when they were ready to leave. She came running in and put her coat on. "We should have left her in Australia," Albert said, glaring. "She jumped on my bed and stood on me!"
"She didn't mean to," their dad scolded him, zipping up her coat.
"Why didn't Mummy come with us?" Charley asked.
"Mummy has work at home," he replied. "She couldn't come."
Albert shook his head, toast in his mouth, and stood up with his plate in one hand and wand in the other. "She just didn't want to," he muttered between bites.
Jake narrowed his eyes at his son, warning him to say nothing more on the subject. He didn't like that Albert would say it in front of Charley, no matter how true he thought it was. Charley was only six and loved her mum; he had no doubt she was missing her. He told her that Albert was just missing her too and that she couldn't come, but loved them both, and then he changed the subject. "Don't you think you should get changed, Bertie. It might be a little cold outside."
"No," he shook his head gently. "We're only going to the car, then a train; I'll be fine. Besides," he pointed out of the kitchen window, "the sun's out."
Jake steered them in the direction of the front door, picking up his car keys along the way. He opened the door and they stepped out. Albert felt the cold air against his skin as the wind hit him and he held onto his breakfast, while trying to keep warm. "Don't be fooled by what you see, mate."
The car ride to the station was relatively quiet. Albert was anyway; he ate his breakfast in silence while his dad and sister talked excitedly about school. "We'll get your uniform today, charley."
Jake grinned at her through the mirror, then tapped Albert on the shoulder. "Are you alright, mate?"
"Yeah," he replied softly. He dad gave him a skeptical look and he sighed. "Do you think they'll make fun of my name like my last school did?"
Jake ruffled Albert's hair with his hand. "I don't know," he said. "But I do that you never let it get to you. You still had friends in Brisbane and you'll make friends at Hogwarts. The one's who didn't call you Bertie, called you Will anyway; you can always tell them to call you that if you want."
"I like Bertie," Charley called out.
Albert turned around and smirked. "Great, I'll call you Bertie then."
Albert met three people who made some sort of impact on what to think of Hogwarts, its students and the British in general.
The first one he met was on the train. He stood by the window closest to the carriage door, his face and arm sticking out, and waved good bye to his dad and sister as the train left the station and they disappeared from his line of sight completely. He didn't realize he might be blocking the way until it was too late; Albert pulled his arm out and spun around, knocking into another boy who had been trying to get past, and they both fell to the floor.
The boy in front of him groaned in pain and rubbed the base of his back. Albert stood up first and held out his hand, but the boy batted it out of the way and got to his feet slowly.
"I am so sorry," Albert said sincerely. "I was saying good bye, I didn't see you."
"I noticed that," he spat, glaring. He pushed his dirty blonde hair out of his eyes and looked Albert up and down, studying him. His eyebrows were raised, but he said nothing more and walked away.
Albert watched the boy's retreating form walk away, confused as to what had actually happened. He went through it in his head, but it didn't help him understand the situation.
I apologized and tried to help; what went wrong?
"Are you all like that?" Albert asked a girl who walked past. She gave him a funny look and carried on walking. "Never mind."
He found a carriage near the back of the train. It was completely empty and he was fine with that. Albert stretched his legs out on the seat and watched the scenery pass them by, the rude boy gone from his mind.
England was so different.
The second person he met on the boat that took them to school. They didn't speak at all throughout the journey; Albert was amazed by the castle that would be his home until winter.
Summer, he mentally corrected. His dad said it was summer in the UK. England was backwards.
The boy at his side seemed to be nervous rather than excited. He was shaking enough for Albert to notice. Though, he mused, it could have been because of the weather. He wrapped his arms tighter around his new uniform. The boy kept his eyes at the bottom of the boat.
He didn't say a word until they were waiting in line at the sorting. Albert had his head tilted up, smiling at the bewitched ceiling. "Look at the sky," he whispered.
He saw the boy look up from the corner of his eye, the smallest hint of a smile. It disappeared the next second when the Sorting Hat that would tell them their houses (he was still a little freaked out by the hat) shouted Slytherin to the girl on the stool, the girl who gave him a funny look on the train.
"I'm scared I'll be in Slytherin," he whispered. "Dad said not to worry and that I could ask to go in Gryffindor if I wanted. What if it doesn't listen and Slytherin is bad?"
Albert thought about what he had been asked, taking note of the worry in the boy's emerald green eyes. "I think it will listen. There's no harm in asking if you want to change. But, remember, there are four houses here; it might not say Slytherin."
His smile came back and he looked calmer. "Thanks." He held out his hand. "I'm Albus Potter."
"Albert Rivers," he replied, returning his hand. "But you can call me Bertie. Or Will. My middle name," he explained, giggling at Albus' puzzled expression.
Albert gave him a thumbs up once Albus sat on the stool. The Sorting Hat did put him in Gryffindor. Albert hoped that he would be in the same house, he liked the idea of having a friend on his first night. But the Hat put him in Ravenclaw. His smile was not as big as before, but Albus returned the thumbs up and the table was right next to his. They wouldn't share a dorm, but that didn't matter.
He was going to like it here.
The final person he met was the next day. He was in the corridor on his way to his first class of his first day, Potions, and he accidentally tipped his bag trying to fasten it. Everything fell out and he cursed quietly; he didn't want to be late.
Albert bent down and began stuffing his books back into his bag when he heard someone rush over and help. "I've got it," she said. They stood up and she held out his book. "Here you go."
"Thanks," he replied.
"I saw yesterday," she said as they continued walking. "You were talking to Albus."
Albert nodded enthusiastically. "You know him?"
"He's my cousin," she answered, laughing. "I'm Rose. You are Albert or Bertie or Will, which is your middle name."
Albert laughed, more understanding of Albus' confusion last night; Albert and Will really were two completely different names. "He told you."
She nodded. "He didn't say were you were from, though," Rose told him, hinting.
"I'm from the magical world of Oz," he told her, smirking lightly.
Her answer made him laugh out loud. "Like the movie?"
"Australia," Albert explained. "Brisbane."
"Where's Brisbane?" She asked him. "I'm not familiar with Australia."
"Oh," Rose nodded. "I've heard of Queensland. Honestly, though, the most I know of Australia are kangaroos, surfing and those soaps my nan watches."
Albert opened the door and held it open for Rose, grinning. "There's more to Oz than that, I assure you."
They entered the classroom in silence and the professor gave them their allocated seats. He was disappointed that his seat was next to the rude, blond boy from the train, but he ignored it, mostly because Rose and Albus were on the table across from him.
But back home, Bertie was known for his bad luck. And bad luck was due.
They were to work in pairs to produce a potion of a good standard. It was simple enough, just a simple sleeping draft. But his partner was always correcting Albert and telling him what to do. His anger boiled inside him until he almost shook and grabbed the next ingredients, throwing them in. He didn't care that the potion would be ruined, it was only practice; he just wanted him to stop talking.
"No!" He shouted, causing everyone to stare. "That was too much. It's gonna -"
The cauldron began to shake and Albert stepped back slowly. Albus came over to see if he could help, Rose following. "What happened?"
"I don't know!"
"He put too much in," the blond growled.
"Well, what did you do to upset him, Malfoy?" Rose pointed at him. "Every time I looked over, he looked like he was about to explode or hit you!"
"I think you should move back," Albert spoke quietly, his eyes on the cauldron as he moved further away. But it was too late.
The potion exploded, thick liquid covered the three first years in front of him, just missing Albert. Then, to make things worse, the dangerous mix of ingredients caused what was left of the potion to combust. The professor came rushing over and put the fire out quickly, his face red with anger, and he pointed at the four students in turn. "Detention," he said.
The three stared up in shock, unable to believe that they had been given detention on their first day, then turned to Albert. Record, he thought, not surprised by his bad luck, however unhappy he was about being given detention. But what he hated more was the look the cousins were giving him. He thought back to his talks with them and the thought of having new friends: I guess not.
"I'm so sorry," he said hurriedly.
"That's the second time you've said that to me, but you still managed to get in my way," Malfoy sneered.
"I've apologized, what more do you want?"
Malfoy looked like he was about to charge at him, but Albus had his hand hovering close to his chest before he had a chance to move, telling him he'd stop him.
"That's enough," the professor said, his tone final. Everyone fell quiet immediately. "The four of you will come back here the moment your last class of the day is over. I will have a suitable punishment for you."
The professor cleaned the mess on the four and the students with a flick of his wand and dismissed the class. The other students stared at him, whispering on his way past.
"Did you see that? Malfoy almost killed him?"
Malfoy pushed past him, his shoulder connecting with his painfully. Albus gave him a small smile and a wave. Rose just left.
Albert grabbed his bag, took one last look at where the explosion had happened, and sighed as he left for his next class. He wasn't looking forward to his detention.
"I can't believe this."
Albert rolled his eyes, having heard the same four words come from Malfoy's lips every few minutes for the past hour, but refrained from commenting. Rose had long since given up telling him to shut up and Albus just ignored him. Albert went back to his parchment and continued writing. He was grateful they were only given lines. They had to write 'I must be more careful' until the professor came back. Once he deemed they had written enough, they could leave.
Not the worst detention in the world.
Malfoy started muttering again and Albert turned slowly. "I said I was sorry."
"That seems to be all you know how to say."
"Enough!" Rose snapped. "What's done is done. It was an accident, Malfoy. An accident that probably wouldn't have happened if you had just left him alone."
Malfoy opened his mouth to speak, but closed it when he saw her eyes narrow. "He said he was sorry," Albus cut in quietly. "So leave it alone."
Albert thanked him quietly and Albus nodded before finishing his lines. They stayed quiet until the professor came and he let them go. They left in silence and made their way to dinner. No one sat near him at the Ravenclaw table; they'd heard what had happened that first lesson. He barely ate, not in the mood, and went to bed early. He stared at the ceiling, hating how his first day had gone. He sincerely hoped tomorrow would be better.
"Bertie Rivers, as far as bad impressions go, this has got to be a record."
A/N: Hey all! I wasn't going to post a new story and focus on the one's already posted. But then I found this challenge and... The rest is history. :D
I hope you enjoy this fic and my new best friend, Bertie. Reviews would be greatly appreciated. :)
Chapter 2: Celebrations, Sulking and More Detention
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He caught it. It had been dangerous to dive for the quaffle from so far away, the risk of falling from his broomstick seemed to outweigh the chance of catching it, but he hadn't cared about that at the time. Gryffindor had been almost brutal with their passes, their hard work in practice paying off, the atmosphere the crowd brought with them was addicting, and the adrenaline rush that consumed him was enough for him to dive.
And he caught it.
Which meant that, even though Albus Potter got the snitch, Ravenclaw was ahead by ten points; the House Cup was theirs. They had won.
Bertie regained his balance and lowered himself to the ground with the rest of his team. Sweat fell down his face and he used the sleeve of his uniform to wipe it away. As much as Bertie loved Quidditch, he couldn't wait to get out of his gear; it was so hot. House members swarmed the pitch, gathering around his team as they all patted him on the back and took his hand, congratulating him. It was the most attention Bertie had ever been given since arriving at Hogwarts six years ago; he felt a little overwhelmed.
The crowds parted little by little, enough for Albus to come over and throw his arm around the Aussie's shoulders. "I can't believe you actually did it," he said, awed. "I saw you just before I found the snitch; you actually dived for it! Why?"
"Does it matter?" Bertie asked, laughing. "We won."
"I'm sure there'll be a party in your honour because of this," Albus told him. "Beating Gryffindor is a rare moment," he joked.
They stopped outside of the Ravenclaw changing rooms, occasionally waving to people passing by who wish more congratulations, and Albus rubbed his ears, pretending that the team's cheering was too loud. "I'm not sure it's in my honour, but Ewan did say that if we were to win we'd have to celebrate," he replied, nodding to Ravenclaw's captain. "I bet everyone will be invited."
"Just tell me where," Albus said as he walked away to his own team's changing room.
Bertie walked in and started to remove his uniform as he reached the bench with his bag. He smiled as his team resumed to pat him on the back, slightly uncomfortable. Ewan put his arm around Bertie's neck and pulled him to him in a one-armed hug, the first hug of any kind since they had joined the team together in second year. "We're celebrating thanks to you, Will! When Potter went for the snitch the first time, I thought we were done for. But that disappeared and you caught the quaffle! Can you imagine what would have happened if you'd missed?"
Bertie rolled his eyes at the captain's running commentary of the game and answered his question. "If they had caught the snitch, we would have drawn."
"Oh, God," another player called out. "That sounds worse than losing."
"Especially since the game lasted long enough already," a player on his right said. "I wonder what would have happened if we'd have drawn on points; I don't think I've ever seen that in a game, you know."
Bertie took his towel from his bag, along with his clean clothes, and made his way to the shower. "Well, thank God you don't need to think about it; we won, just celebrate!"
He turned his back on their laughter and entered the shower the furthest away from them. Bertie let the water cascade down his back, washing away all the sweat, dirt and hard work that had been put into that final game, and thought about the summer.
Good bye homework, hello surfing!
Yes, that was what he wanted; the sea, the sun, home. And he would tolerate his mother to have it. Well, he would if he had to; Bertie was always out and even if he did stay home, she was never in. "Blessings," he muttered, getting out slowly.
The rest of his team were in the showers when he got back to his bench and he dried and dressed himself with no messing from them. His first day on the team, the older kids hid his clothes while he was still in the shower because he was the last. He shuddered at the memory, not wanting to relive it. It wasn't what actually happened to him, no, it wasn't like he was a specific target; they were always playing pranks on team members. And besides, he'd walked around the beach in a towel, so it hadn't bothered him. No, it was because Rose Weasley had caught him. Of all the people to catch him walking around the Quidditch grounds in only a towel looking for his clothes, it just had to be her. And she was only there because she'd promised to wait for Albus, who was waiting for James.
Bertie always became a stuttering mess when she was around and he was always caught in awkward situations. He looked up at the sky as he made his way to the school.
Someone up there must really hate me.
At least in Australia that couldn't happen.
"Bert! Bertie!" Bertie stopped and turned, waved when he recognized Albus and waited for him to catch up. "So, did you find out about the party?"
Bertie smacked his palm to his head. "No, I was too busy trying to get them to stop thinking about the fact that if I had missed, we'd have drawn. I completely forgot to ask Ewan."
"Oh, that's fine," Albus promised. "You'll find out in your common room, right? Then you can just let me know."
"Will do," Bertie laughed. They talked enthusiastically about the game with ease; most of the students were still outside enjoying the sunshine, their last few days before they left for the summer, the game still in their minds; the hallways were mostly empty. Albus waved goodbye once they reached Ravenclaw tower and continued on his way to Gryffindor.
It didn't take long for Bertie to figure out the riddle and he made his way to his dorm. He planned in sleeping until his dorm mates got back and they kept him up, then he would ask Ewan about the party and write to Albus. Bertie threw his bag underneath his bed, jumped on top and got comfortable.
"Good plan," he muttered, closing his eyes.
Bertie climbed the last set of stairs to the seven floor, hoping Albus was already there waiting for him, since it wouldn't take him very long. Bertie had sent him a note about the party about an hour before it was said to start, barely five minutes after Ewan had gotten in, and, because Albus was helping his sister, Lily, they had agreed to meet an hour after the party started. The celebration would be in full swing by the time they got there, which was just how Bertie liked it; no awkward silences with people who came early, no sticking out in the crowds, no chance of causing a noticeable scene or have anyone be able to spot when he made a fool of himself.
It wasn't Bertie's fault it always happened to him; it was just bad luck, nothing more.
Bad luck he could do without; Albus said Rose was coming to the party.
He groaned thinking about it and turned the corner to the Room of Requirement. He waved when Albus spotted him and stopped in front of him, both staring at the wall. Albus must have noticed his nervousness, because he clapped him on the back reassuringly. "Don't worry, Bertie. I mean, what are the odds of Rose spending than five minutes in our company?"
"It takes less than thirty seconds for me to lose the ability to speak, less than a minute for me to look like an idiot and less than two for me to do something so stupid she has to leave." Bertie turned to face his best friend. "That's why she never spends more than five minutes in our company."
Albus didn't say anything for a while; he seemed to be seriously reviewing Bertie's words in his head. Just as the wall became a door, Albus nodded. "Yeah, you're right."
Throwing his so-called-best friend's hand off his shoulder, Bertie made his way into the room and to the party. "Real nice." Albus burst out laughing. "You are such a jerk, I hate you."
Anything else Bertie might have said was drowned out by the incredibly loud party music, people laughing and dancing, everyone was celebrating and Bertie just closed his mouth and went straight to the refreshments table. He picked up bottle after bottle, putting them down again and frowning. "Not it. Not it. Not that one. Eww. Ah ha," he called out, lifting it up and showing it to Albus with an almost triumphant grin on his face, and then he poured it into a glass. "Now we're talking."
"I don't get your obsession with that," Albus said, pulling a face. He made himself a glass of pumpkin juice. "It's just sugar."
"As all good things are," Bertie grinned, taking a drink. "How you can't like Pepsi, I will never know."
Albus laughed at his words, picked up a marshmallow and threw it in the air, catching it in his mouth. They both knew that they were about as close as best friends could become, no one ever really saw them hang out with anyone else, but if someone ever asked them who they would consider a friend, they would always say Ewan. He always knew exactly how to get what he wanted and what his friends wanted, hence the Pepsi for him and the marshmallows for Albus. He changed the subject to Ewan. "I still don't know how he does it. How does he get all of this to school, especially in such a short time?"
Albus popped another marshmallow into his mouth, moved closer and as soon as he'd swallowed it, shouted down his ear so Bertie could hear him. "He's awesome!" Bertie jumped back, rubbing his ear, which caused Albus to start laughing again. "Come on, Albert, his mum's one of the school governors and his dad owns a chain of sweet stores, one of which is in Hogsmeade. It's sounds fairly easy for him to get all this in a short amount of time; he probably asked his mum beforehand if he could celebrate if Ravenclaw won and his dad made sure everything was prepared. We'd probably be celebrating anyway, whether you won or not."
"Yeah, that sounds like Ewan."
"What sounds like Ewan?" They both turned to the new voice, Albus' hand on his heart as if the voice had scared him. Bertie hid his smirk behind his glass.
"Don't do that!" Albus shouted. "You almost gave me a heart attack. Where the hell did you come from?"
Ewan smirked and stood between the friends, bringing them closer together, and discreetly pointed to a young girl they recognized from Divination; Carly, Bertie only remembered her first name. "I came from the dance floor, I'm going to get my friend and myself a drink and then I'm going back to the dance floor." Ewan narrowed his eyes, pretending to be thinking of something. "We might go to my room."
Bertie almost choked on his drink, understanding the boy's meaning, and groaned; he didn't want to spend the night sleeping on the couch. "You're an animal."
"No, I'm a teenage boy," he grinned. He grabbed the drinks he came for and saluted them. "And I'm going back to the dance floor. And all of this," he opened his arms to the party, with a grin that could put the Cheshire Cat to shame, "is your fault, Quidditch star. Oh," Ewan put both glasses carefully in one hand and dug into his pocket, pulling out a blue and silver bag. He threw the bag into Bertie's eager hands. "A deal's a deal."
As soon as he was gone, Albus moved forward, lifting the bag to see the name. He shook his head, scoffing. "You have got to stop making deals for Oreos."
Bertie opened the bag, let out a childish giggle and brought one out. "Never." He popped it into his mouth.
"Oh, Oreos, can I have one?" Bertie choked on the biscuit, recognizing the voice instantly, and he looked up slowly. "Hey, guys."
Albus greeted his cousin with enthusiasm, asking her if she was enjoying the party. Bertie just nodded, inwardly cursing himself over and over for getting tongue-tied. Again. He didn't understand why it was so hard just to say hi. When she turned to him, he opened his mouth, ready to speak, then closed it again and held out the bag instead. "So, I can have one?" She asked. Bertie nodded and she took and Oreo from the bag. "Thanks, Albert. I was worried you'd say no; Al told me you don't share Oreos."
Bertie looked down to the bag and stuffed his hand in, pretending to busy himself with getting one. "U-Usually true," he stammered a little and hoped she didn't notice.
"It means he likes you," Albus added, smirking. He groaned and tried to hide a grimace when Bertie stood on his foot.
Bertie winced at the smile she gave; either she didn't believe her cousin and just wanted him to shut up or she did believe him and wanted him to shut up even more because she didn't feel the same and would prefer no one spoke about it because she didn't know how to tell him that she didn't feel the same. Either way, he felt like crap. He shoved an Oreo in his mouth then proceeded to wash it down with more pop.
“Oh, hey, it’s Chris,” Rose called out, causing Bertie to choke on that Oreo, too, only it was worse than before. Rose turned around. “Is he okay?”
Albus hit his back repeatedly with his fist until Bertie calmed down and he moved out the way. “I’m fine,” he muttered. “It just went down the wrong hole, that’s all.”
“I should go. I’ll see you later.” He grimaced when saw Chris waving Rose over and took her hand, saying something to make her laugh.
“Oh, look, it’s Chris,” Bertie called in a high-pitched voice. “I hate Chris.”
Albus scoffed, punched him in the arm as a distraction and stole an Oreo. “You only hate him because she likes him.”
Bertie gave him a look that said his friend didn’t understand. “I consider that a perfectly valid reason.”
“You sound more and more like Ron every day.”
“He has the right idea.”
“He would say the exact same thing about you,” Albus argued.
“That’s where you’re wrong, everybody loves me,” Bertie countered. “At least, they do when they find out about my family.” Albus shook his head, a knowing smile on his face; he had heard the story too many times to feel pity for his friend. Bertie didn’t even feel pity, he just ignored it. “Hey, what’s Malfoy up to?” He pointed his out and they watched as the blond made his way to the other side of the room and stop at James Potter’s side. James, who had still been sulking a little over losing, broke into a huge grin and pushed Scorpius back to the door, while he made his way to stage where the music was.
“I have no idea, but if he’s talking to my brother, it isn’t good,” Albus muttered.
“Hey! Guys! Over here!” They watched everyone turn their heads to listen to James, who had decided to make his voice louder with a spell and shout over the music instead of turning off. The speech obviously wasn’t going to last long. James extended his arm and pointed to Scorpius. “I give you real drinks!”
Bertie laughed at the look on Albus' face and his choice of words and made his way over. “You’re brother does come in handy.”
“What?” He shrugged. “I’m depressed and no one here is under the age of seventeen; I think we should enjoy it. We drink and we dance, Al.” He frowned and corrected himself. “We’ll drink and I’ll dance. You’re rubbish.”
Time got away from them. People enjoyed the night, no one wanted to leave. It seemed to have turned into an all-night thing. And that was perfectly fine with Bertie. He spent the night dancing with anyone and everyone who were willing to dance with. This happened to be a lot of people, though he vaguely wondered if it was because he won the game. He decided that it really didn’t matter. Albus gave up after an hour, content to just sit to the side and talk with the others. Dancing was not his strong point. He just didn’t know how Bertie did it; he could go in for hours and feel nothing. It was the mornings he didn’t look forward to.
The party was a hit and everyone was enjoying themselves. Until about 3 o’clock in the morning.
Malfoy ran across the room again, only this time he didn’t go to James; he went straight to the stage. “Teachers are on their way. It’s time to go.”
The chaos was overwhelming; Malfoy stayed on the stage to escape the masses of teenagers trying to escape. Albus soon joined him. Bertie was pushed and pulled from every direction until he ended up on the floor, his hand clutching his head. By the time the teachers had made their way through the door, everyone had left through the back door and were on their way to their dorms. Including Ewan, Bertie realised when he sat up slowly. One of the teachers, he couldn’t remember who, helped him to his knees and he thanked them quietly.
“You four again?”
Four? Again? Bertie scanned the room; himself, Albus, Scorpius… Rose. He hadn’t seen her before.
A/N: Yay for the second chapter of Bertie story, because we all love Bertie.
Next chapter: Deja Vu and Summer Plans...
The alarm clock rang noisily, just as Bertie came back into the dorm, waking his roommates from what little sleep they had. Bertie chuckled to himself, not wanting to receive any glares, or worse, have them throw things at him - again (he had a feeling the scar on his temple from the book would never fade) - and ran his towel through his dripping wet hair.
Bertie sat down on his bed, made sure he was covered by the curtain, and finished drying and dressing himself. He stood back up when he heard their groans, he pulled on his New York t-shirt and he called out, unable to help himself. He'd take whatever they threw; they deserved it anyway.
"He is sounding way too chipper," one of them groaned. "Make him stop."
"Rise and shine, boys," he carried on, with an overly enthusiastic voice. "The sun is shining brightly and everyone is so cheery and loud!"
Bertie flinched a little when the boy on his left, Rick, outstretched his hand to pick up something, preparing himself for the hit, but Ewan, who was still lying down and half asleep, held up a hand to stop him. "William, here, is still a wee bit drunk; we'll get him back in the afternoon."
"Even when you're angry, you call me by my middle name, why is that?"
"I've been calling you by your middle name since the day we met, I'm not changing now," Ewan pointed out quietly. "Now get out, you're obviously going somewhere."
"Yes," Bertie glared. "Detention, no thanks to you!"
Ewan smirked widely and still didn't look up. "Good luck with that!"
It ended up being Bertie who threw something; he left with a new spring in his step after the statisfying thud of the alarm clock hit his blanket-covered stomach and his shout was worth any afternoon trouble it may bring.
At least he was finally up.
Bertie rubbed his eyes, hoping it would remove any traces of sleep. He hadn't slept, that was the problem; is alcohol fueled body hadn't seen the point of going to sleep at half three, only to wake up at half six. So he'd stayed awake; he'd started his packing, he'd read a book or two, he'd finished his packet of Oreos. Now, with each hour that passed, the level of alcohol in his system was surely dropping and all he wanted to do was sleep. Hopefully the coming headache and nausea would pass without him even noticing.
He sincerely hoped.
By the time he reached the transfiguration classroom, Bertie's ability to stay awake and alert and not throw up was well and truly gone. He leaned against the wall, his face pressed into it, and closed his eyes.
He let out a snore. Malfoy let out a laugh. "Morning, sunshine. What's the matter? Can't hack it?"
"Didn't sleep," he muttered.
He felt Albus clap him on the back. At least he thought it was Albus. "You have really got to stop d -" his friend stopped speaking, causing Bertie to remove his face from the wall and look up. Standing right in front of them was Professor Burns, the transfiguration teacher. Everyone knew the name suited him; his glare made a person feel like they were being burned from the inside out. "Dancing. You should quit dancing."
Bertie nodded his head quickly, agreeing with his friend. "I really should quit d-dancing, it does me no good."
"I had never seen you dance before last night. I don't think you should quit." It took the boys a minute to realize she meant it literally and wasn't playing along because of the teacher.
"How long has she been stood there for?" Scorpius asked, confused. Albus only shrugged at him.
"Does it matter?" Rose said. "We're here for a reason."
Burns seemed to snap out of it then and interrupted the students' conversation quickly. He clapped his hands together forcibly, getting them to notice him, and folded his arms over his chest. Bertie watched Scorpius shut his eyes as the noise rung through his ears; he gritted his teeth. Bertie wanted to laugh; it looked like he wasn't the only one who couldn't quite handle his drink. "Yes, for a reason - detention. Get in." He jerked his head in the direction of the open classroom door.
The professor waited until they had taken a seat, each on a different desk, before standing in front of them. The way Professor Burns handled himself made Bertie remember the stories Albus' dad had told them when they were younger; about Professor Snape, who shared Albus' middle name. Bertie cracked a hint of a smile when he imagined Burns actually being a spy. It didn't seem likely. But, then again, neither had Snape, Harry Potter had said.
"Is something funny, Rivers?" Bertie shook his head quickly, refusing to say anything, and the professor changed the subject. "Who brought the Firewhiskey onto school grounds?" The four kept their eyes to the front, no one speaking a word.
He tried again. "Who supplied the party with alcohol?"
Again, no one spoke. Bertie couldn't say for the others, but he felt he was just as guilty for drinking it, even if he hadn't brought it. He wasn't going to rat on Malfoy and James for their part in it. So, he kept his gaze on the teacher's desk and waited for Burns to hand them their punishment so he would leave and Bertie could sleep with his head on the desk.
Burns gave up, knowing they wouldn't cooperate, but Bertie knew it wasn't over; he'd just go to someone else. He removed his wand from inside his robes and pointed at four boxes, levitating them to the desks, one for each student. "Past essays and detention records. Sort them both by name, by subject and by year."
As soon as he was gone, Malfoy sighed. "It sounds like such a dull and painful task." He received a echo of groans in reply. "And thank you," he muttered quietly. Bertie guessed he hoped they hadn't heard. But they all had and they faced him confused. "For not telling him about me," he added.
"No problem," Bertie answered, softly. "Besides, I have one year left here; I want to live." Scorpius smirked and nodded. "Look at us, getting along. Just don't mention it to anyone." He turned to his box of detention records and pulled out the first file. "Ever."
Two and a half hours later, Bertie was almost three quarters of the way through his box when Albus finally cracked. "That's it, I'm so bored that these essays are interesting. Interesting! I will not allow myself to think that!"
"How interesting?" Bertie asked, faking curiosity.
"Well, did you know -" Albus stopped himself before he could say anymore, noticed his best friend's smirk and glared. "I hate you."
Bertie returned the glare, remembering what happened between them in front of the wall before the party. His eyes flickered to Rose for a second, who barely noticed them, before returning to the brunet. "Now we're even."
They turned when they heard someone tsk at them. "Now, now children. No need to get angry."
They turned their glares into identical frowns, confused. Scorpius was sat on top of the desk, his face buried in the file in his hands. "Are you not bored, Malfoy?" Albus asked slowly.
He shook his head casually. "No. These detentions are actually quite interesting." He looked up. "I do get a sense of deja vu, though," he said with a smile. "Like I've been in this room with you lot before."
That cut through the tension and they all laughed. Bertie lifted his arms up above his head in defense. "Not my fault this time." He pointed at Malfoy. "It's yours."
He spun around, back to his box, and picked a new detention file. He was halfway through the file when it slipped from his hands. Bertie caught it quickly and brought it back to the desk, noticing that a piece of parchment had fallen out and onto the floor. He bent down and picked it up, reading over it so he knew where it had to go, and frowned. It wasn't a detention sheet, it was a list. The writing was old and faded, but just about readable to Bertie. He went through the list, forgetting all about the remaining detentions he had to go through, and sat on top of the desk.
"What is that?" Albus asked, making his way over as soon as he noticed his friend's attention shift.
He sat on the desk at his side and Bertie showed him the parchment. "It looks like a bucket list. You know, 'do this', 'do that'."
"I know what a bucket list is," he said with a roll of his eyes. "Whose is it?"
The other two soon followed Albus' example, reading the list over Bertie's shoulders. No one recognized the handwriting, Rose wisely pointing out that they wouldn't given how old it looked; it was quite a few years before their time. They didn't get a chance to talk about the contents of the list as the classroom door opened and Burns entered. Bertie and Albus jumped off the desk swiftly and they all stood straight and waited for the professor to speak, Bertie stuffing the list into his back pocket before it could be seen and acting as though they'd been working.
"The files?" he asked.
Rose spoke for them. "Almost done, Sir."
"And the alcohol supply?" No one answered, as they suspected he knew would happen. "As soon as you are done, you may go."
They each nodded and went back to their own boxes, finishing their detention in silence as Burns chose to stay until the end this time.
"Library," Albus mouthed to Bertie discreetly and Bertie was able to give a quick nod before the professor turned to him.
As soon as Burns dismissed them all, Berite and Albus all but ran from the classroom, hangovers forgotten, and neither were very surprised when they noticed that Rose and Scorpius were following them; they all wanted to see the list that had spent so long buried in a box of old detentions, to know what was written on there that a person thought was worth making a bucket list. What did they want to do with their life? Did they do all those things?
The two friends made their way to their section of the library; the old, dusty corner that was home to Muggle fiction and classics. No one ever came here but them, no one bothered, and they came here to hide from school, to hang out and laugh and joke without getting caught by the librarian. They stopped around the table, Albus on his left, and Bertie pulled the list back out. As soon as the other two had come, he put the list out in front of them and read out the first thing on the list.
"Travel the world." He scoffed. "Obvious."
"Common, but a luxury some are unable to do," Rose pointed out. "I've always wanted to travel the world."
"Yeah, me too," Albus agreed. "Just because you can."
"You can?" Scorpius asked skeptically.
Bertie looked visibly uncomfortable under his gaze, but refused to look away and shrugged. "Yeah, so?"
"Nothing, I just didn't know that."
Bertie went through more of what the mysterious person had wanted to do when they had been in school, each giving their own opinions of what they thought and if they would do the same. Grinning, Bertie swatted Albus lightly on the arm; a move that told Albus his friend just had an idea he thought was brilliant. "We should do this list," he said, waving it in his face.
"We?" Albus raised an eye-brow, unsure as to whether or not Bertie was serious.
He nodded his head with obvious enthusiasm. "Just last week you were saying you wanted something to do this summer and we've always talked about having a lads holiday. We can do this!"
"That holiday was planned for next Summer after graduation," Albus reminded him. "We have, like, two days left here; can we prepare for this in such a short time?"
Bertie gave him a look that told him to remind himself just who he was talking to. "We have everything we need."
"Right, of course." Albus nodded and a small grin of his own started to form. "It does sound like fun."
"It sounds like a lot of fun," Scorpius cut in. "So, why is it just you two planning this? It's our list, too. We were all there."
"Yeah, that's only fair, dude," Albus agreed. "We can't just cut them out."
Bertie stood in silence, his eyes wondering between the other three around the table, Al on his left, Scorpius right in front of him and Rose on his right, and nodded slowly. He knew it wouldn't be fair to leave them out when they had been there when he found it, but would they really want to spend an entire Summer with him? Wouldn't Rose rather stay with her precious Chris?
Albus nudged him in the ribs and he schooled his features quickly; he couldn't let Rose and her apparent boyfriend get to him. "No, we won't cut you out. Looks like it'll be four of us. If you want to come," Bertie muttered to Rose, not quite able to look her in the eye.
"I wouldn't dream of missing out," Rose answered. "When am I ever going to get a chance like this again?"
Bertie looked up long enough to give her a brief smile, far too happy about the thought of her being with him instead of Chris than he knew he should be. He caught Malfoy smirking from the corner of his eye and scowled; he couldn't have anyone else know about his crush. The less people who know, the less likely it would get to Rose herself. He couldn't handle the rejection. Bertie cleared his throat and spoke before the silence became awkward, still not used to being around the other two more than he was used to. He was so thankful he had Al with him in that moment.
"I need writing stuff." He moved away to the shelves, pulled out a notebook and a pen, which he kept handy in case he needed them, flicked through until he found a fresh page and started writing.
"What's he doing?" he heard Rose ask.
"I'm copying the list so it's clearer to read, plus I thought maybe we could add to it if anyone had anything they wanted to do," Bertie explained quietly. "We don't have to worry about money, I've got that covered."
"You have money?" Bertie nodded and Scorpius let out a soft whistle. "Didn't know you were rich, Rivers."
"You don't know me," Bertie countered, wondering how the boy thought he'd be able to travel the world without it, and Malfoy had to agree.
"We should make a note of cost, so we can pay our own way for things," Rose said. "It's not fair to make you cover everything, Albert, whether you have money or not."
Bertie took her words into consideration before nodding slowly. He liked to think he'd gotten to know Rose pretty well over the years and he knew she'd say something like that. "Okay, but it'll only be for, like, food, drink, anything we do on this 'holiday' that requires money, because transport will definitely be covered."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Bertie's dad has his own jet," Albus said smugly.
There was a collection of gasps and murmurs from the other two and Bertie wanted nothing more than to rewind and shut Albus up. "Just how rich are you?" Scorpius finally got out.
"Very. More than enough to own a jet," he muttered, not looking up. He hoped what he said gave them enough of an indication as to his family's wealth, because he had no intention of repeating it. "Money is not important, just be thankful we can travel or we wouldn't even be ticking off the first item."
Bertie finished copying the bucket list, ripped the page from the pad and put both the paper and the pen in the middle of the table, gesturing to the others to add what they wanted. He'd add his last. Albus went first, only adding a couple of things, Scorpius passed it to Rose next, saying ladies first, and she added another couple, then the Slytherin added a few more than the others. When Bertie took the list back and read through them, he found himself not completely surprised that Malfoy's were all Muggle experiences.
"I bet you just loved item twenty," Albus said, chuckling.
"What was item twenty?"
"Get a tattoo," Al answered his cousin.
They both turned to the brunet, surprised by everything they had never known about him surfacing.
"You want a tattoo?"
Bertie shook his head, which only served to confuse them. "I want another." From their shared looks, he guessed they were wondering how many he had, along with a where and a what, like others had asked before. "I have two; one on my side and one on my back."
"Show them, Bert, the one on his back is so cool."
"I'll show them mine if you show them yours," Bertie countered, grinning in satisfaction when he lost his excitement and Rose's eyes widened.
"You tell my mum and I'll kill you," Albus glared at Rose before moving to lift up his shirt, explaining himself as he did so. "We got them at Christmas, presents for ourselves when Bertie said he wanted another and dared me to get one, too. We'd had quite a bit to drink and I said yes. Thank God I don't regret it. We got them in the same place."
Albus pulled his t-shirt up to expose his entire back and turned around. On the back of his left shoulder blade was a Phoenix, its wings spread out and open and the bottom encased in fire. "It's my patronus."
He turned back around, letting go of his top so it covered his tattoo again, and nodded to Bertie. They all stood and watched patiently, waiting for Bertie to show them his two. He copied Albus, showing them his back first. His was a black dragon, its tail curled at its feet with the tip dangling down and breathing fire from its mouth. He heard Scorpius whistle in appreciation again.
"Why a dragon?" he asked.
It was Albus who answered. "Because Bertie has a temper. Don't get him really angry or provoke him, he's like a dragon breathing fire. Fortunately, I've only seen it once, last year."
No one seemed to believe him, Rose asking him himself why he'd been so angry, but Bertie refused to answer and the look he gave Albus warned him to keep quiet. He changed the subject back to tattoos and turned to Albus, so they could all see his right side.
"You only live once," Scorpius read out the fancy black writing that went down from his top rib to his hip. "Hurt much?"
"Little bit," he shrugged, dropping his top back down. Physical pain wasn't something that got to him. He could take it, better than Albus too, who had complained the whole time he'd sat for his tattoo. Though neither regretted getting them, despite their relatively large size - they took up all of their shoulder blades - and the fact that they'd been in the tattoo place for hours, he knew Al was thankful they'd had a bit to drink when they'd promised it get one; he wouldn't back out of a promise. "It was worth it; it's a motto I stand by."
Too bad you don't follow through when it comes to Rose. He ignored his subconscious.
"Tattoos are not allowed in my house," Scorpius admitted, pushing back his blond hair from his eyes. "For obvious reasons."
Both Albus and Rose nodded, understanding exactly what he was talking about. "You don't have to do everything on the list, Malfoy. We understand."
Scorpius scoffed, then tried not to laugh. "Are you kidding? I'm not gonna miss out just because my parents don't like them. I just won't get one there." He gestured to his left arm.
"Figures," Bertie said with a roll of his eyes.
"Hey, believe it or not, I actually love and respect my parents enough to not want to give them that heart attack," he told them honestly. "They're saving their heart attacks for an unplanned pregnancy or a secret relationship with someone they disapprove of." Albus laughed at the pure irony of Malfoy's words, knowing they wouldn't stop him. "Exactly. Never gonna happen, well maybe the second one, but who am I to take that away from them?"
"You're all heart," Bertie said sarcastically.
"It's not my fault their faith in me is lacking," he defended.
The other three laughed for a good five minutes, Malfoy joining in relatively quickly, and Bertie marveled over the fact that they could get along, even if their only reason was currently residing in his front pocket. He tapped his pocket slowly, smiling softly. "I can't believe we're actually going to do this."
Albus lifted up his hand in a high five which Bertie followed through with. "This Summer is going to be awesome!"
Scorpius cleared his throat. "Yeah, awesome. Just one little, tiny issue we still need to address."
They all shared a look, the same thought seeming to dawn on the two cousins at once. They turned to Bertie, knowing he had nothing to worry about, and he too understood; no way was he going alone. "We need to talk to our parents."
A/N: Finally a new chapter of Bertie, my longest to date. I hope you enjoyed the chapter, the plans, the revelations, the secrets, and you continue to read. :)