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Cheating the Bet by Ryebread
Chapter 1: Heat of the Moment?
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Thanks, Carousel., for the image! :)
I paced around the dimly lit corridors, not even pretending to continue my prefect patrols, wondering how this whole thing got started. At first I was arguing with that gigantic arse, Albus Severus Potter (which is what I love to call him when I’m especially annoyed at him because it truly is a hideous name) like always, then we just got closer and closer and then… I shuddered at the thought.
It’s not my fault. I couldn’t help myself. Besides, he kissed me first! And it’s not like I could control myself, being a hormonal, teenage girl. Plus, it was very good, I suppose. Brilliant, you could even say, even though I have nothing to compare it to, but from what I heard from my friends and dorm-mates, it would be classified as amazing. At the moment I can almost feel Potter’s lips smashing down on mine and his hands…
Whoa there! I thought. Stop thinking about Potter like that, Alice Marie Longbottom! You know better. You hate him, remember?
How did it get to this, you might ask? Well, here it goes. Enjoy, as I unfortunately did.
Flashback to patrols:
“Wow, Longbottom. Never been snogged at sixteen? It’s pitiful. It must be horrifying for you, but I don’t blame all the blokes. Who wants to snog a troll anyway?” taunted Potter with his trademark smirk plastered on his face, enjoying my misery, as we watched the halls and argued without thinking, which is what got me into this situation.
I felt my face burn up and anger burned inside of me.
“Well, at least I am not some man-whore that sleeps around with any and everybody I want and then leaves the girl like she’s nothing! At least I am not some spoiled arse who lives off of Daddy-dearest’s fame and fortune, using it as an excuse to do all of the horrible and disgusting things you do,” I yelled, his smirk disappeared and mine appeared as I mentioned the daddy comment. It was always a nice one to bring out when I was particularly raging mad.
I could see that I had gotten to him and just for a moment, I let the smug smile grow larger on my face and I flipped my long, dirty blonde hair. His jaw was clenched and his hands were curled up tightly into fists by his sides, shaking in rage. But his eyes, sparkling emerald green in the corridor torchlight, only displayed hurt and sadness, not the fury and hatred that his body portrayed.
I paused for a moment, feeling confused and guilty, but only for a second, as the look in his eyes was gone when I peeked back at him, so I tried to ignore it, but the suspicion that I was missing something wouldn’t go away. It lingered in my brain, staying at the edge of my thoughts so that I wasn’t focusing on it, but it was there, teasing me.
“What!?” I screamed at him. “Tired of being a sleaze? I bet you couldn’t go one month without running off with one of your bimbos to a broom closet.” Potter’s smirk found its way back onto his face, making me think that he knew something I didn’t. His face looked triumphant and giddy mixed with his usual self-conceit and arrogance.
“Yeah? You want to take that bet? Let’s say twenty galleons?” Then Potter reached out his hand towards mine to shake.
“You are going down, Potter. That twenty galleons is all mine,” I said arrogantly, narrowing my hazel eyes, and then, I extended my hand.
Attention readers: This is where I make my mistake. This is where shit hits the fan.
I took his hand in mine and shook it. Almost immediately, I felt a shock. Not a static-electricity shock or a muggle-hand-buzzer-shocking-toy shock. It was like I felt all of the electricity and chemistry flow between us, which is absolutely ridiculous because there is nothing between us except our joined hands and the air we breathe... and, yet, as I looked into Potter’s eyes, I knew he felt the same way about it. He felt that shock and the attraction that came with.
In an instant, he pulled me toward him and crushed his soft lips to mine. They fit perfectly together.
He was snogging me like there was no tomorrow and I was doing the exact same thing back, not once thinking about the consequences of snogging the life out of my sworn mortal enemy.
He dropped his hand from mine and, quickly, they made their way to my hips, fingers spreading out as wide as they possibly could, covering my hips fully, and pulling me closer to him, our heated bodies pressed against each other. My fingers seemed to have a mind of their own as they entangled in his jet black, messy, just-woke-up hair. Before I even knew what had happened, my back was against the corridor wall and then, as hastily as it started, we were done. I didn’t know how, but it was over, and I couldn’t help thinking about why I didn’t push him away. Although, at the same time, I wanted to pull him back to me and continue where we left off.
Potter backed away, so that we were standing about three feet apart from each other. Both of us were staring at the other with no words spoken between us, breathing heavily. My heart was racing and, though I couldn’t prove it, I would bet his was, too. Again, his eyes confused me with a hopeful gleam in them, but, like always, it was gone in on the spot. Potter was an expert at hiding his emotions, keeping them from my searching gaze with roamed all over his face like a spotlight.
All of a sudden, the realization of what I had just done hit me like the Hogwarts Express.
“No one can know,” I pleaded frantically. “No one, Potter, you got that?” Al—I mean Potter just nodded, looking vaguely like he was disappointed, but that was just a crazy thought and I couldn’t be certain about his expressions anyways. Who was I to know how the famous Albus Severus Potter thought?
Then, as if nothing had happened between us, he started smirking again. I felt relief for a moment at the normalcy of it. Maybe it would all go back to like it was before and no one would be the wiser, but then he spoke.
“Well, Longbottom, I guess you had your first snog,” he said, snickering at my horrified face, though it didn’t look as though his heart was in the teasing. Potter, at that moment, proceeded to turn around, with his hands tucked lazily in his pockets, and walk down the corridor into the darkness, leaving me to think about how much I would love to hate that kiss and how much I hate to love it. I couldn’t deny it or lie to myself about it. I wanted more; more of him.
When he was out of sight, I slid down the wall and sat with my head between my knees and my hands gripped tightly together around my legs, and tried to slow my racing heart. I wondered, for a second, if he felt that way, as well. I wondered if he felt the attraction, but then I dismissed the thought. Why would Potter think about me in that way?
He constantly ignored me as a child and as soon as we started going to Hogwarts, Potter made it his goal to annoy and irritate me as much as possible.
Besides, attraction was all it was, nothing more. I never denied that he was drop dead gorgeous and we got caught up in the heat of the moment, right? Or maybe we were just exhausted because of studying and, then, on top of all that, we had to patrol the halls of Hogwarts because of our prefect duties. I mean, I did feel tired. Yeah, that must be it. There was nothing more to this. I hated him and he hated me. That is just how it works and nothing would change. How could I even fall for an arrogant, womanizing prat like Potter anyway?
Famous last words.
Chapter 2: Oops I Did It Again
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Thanks ballad.wav for the awesome chapter image :)
I awoke the next morning with the remembrance of Potter’s kiss. I just couldn’t get it out of my head, or my dreams, even.
Last night, my subconscious could only think of his hands on my waist and his lips on mine. My body and my mind were traitorous against me as I helplessly enjoyed the dreams.
I hurried into the shower, trying to wash away my new and constant thoughts of Potter. I quickly changed into my uniform, brushed out my hair, and put on a tad of makeup before meeting Rose in the common room, where she was reading a book. Excuse my sarcasm, but what a shocker.
Rose took after her mother, Hermione. She was always studying, always reading. She made it her goal to get top marks and when exams came around, she went as wild as her bright red mane of frizzy hair. Despite Rose’s endless studying, I loved her.
She was my best friend. She was sweet and managed to be honest without hurting people’s feelings. Rose also really cared about what was going on in the lives of people she loved. Albeit, she was a little nosey, but everybody has their faults. All in all, I couldn’t ask for better, nor would I want to.
“Hey, Al,” greeted Rose teasingly. I narrowed my eyes and glared at her, but she just smirked at me mockingly. She knows that I hate when she calls me “Al” because that is Potter’s nickname. Rose loves it because she thinks we “would make an amazing couple and we don’t hate each other, but just have sexual tension”. Her words, not mine. She would jump for joy if she learned about last night.
Last night… I thought dreamily. No, no, no. Bad Alice.
“Don’t even go there, Rosy-Posey,” I counteracted. She stuck her tongue out at me, but then continued to taunt me.
“Oh you know you and Al will get together eventually. Just think about it Albus and Alice. Al and Al. I just love it!” she mocked again, laughing at my pained expression and clapping her hands maniacally. She was reminiscent of a muggle mad scientist, but without the bushy mustache.
Once she finally stopped taking the mickey out of me, we headed to the Great Hall.
Upon getting there, we plunked ourselves down on the wooden benches and began eating our breakfasts only to be interrupted by none other than Potter.
“Hello, Rosy-Posey,” he said in a sing-song voice to his favorite cousin. Then, his cheerful greetings stopped. “Longbottom”.
“Albus Severus Potter,” I replied dully. He winced and glared at me, but was interrupted by Rose smacking him on the shoulder with the back of her hand.
“You know how I hate that nickname, Al. Don’t make me use your full name, like Allie does,” she threatened before digging into her breakfast like a dog. (She had gained her father’s ravenous appetite.) It shut him up very fast. Unfortunately, he turned his unwanted attention back to me.
“Hey, Longbottom. Did you do anything fun last night?” he asked me knowingly. I mirrored his cocky smirk, but my fingernails dug into the wooden table leaving scratch marks.
“No, actually, yesterday was quite dull and unexciting. I could even describe it as horrible,” I said to him, putting on my best innocent face. The smile that he was smugly wearing vanished and I could almost see his large ego deflate into a limp balloon. Too bad it would be pumped back up by the endless supply of admirers he had.
"Well, my evening wasn’t so great either,” he countered angrily.
"Yeah, well, mine sucked! It was bloody awful,” I spat back at him. I know what you’re thinking and I agree; it was a great comeback. Don’t argue with me.
Rose looked from my face to Potter’s repeatedly in a very confused fashion.
“I’m just going to go now…,” she said, looking at us like we were both nutters. “You do… whatever it is you were doing. Carry on.” She made a shooing motion with her hand.
Finally, she left the Great Hall and headed, I’m assuming, to the library. She always does, though lately she’s been skipping meals to leave and it’s entirely abnormal for Rose. I pondered this for a moment, but my thoughts were halted.
After she was gone, Potter grabbed my arm and dragged me into the corridors. (He didn’t even let me finish my food! I really wanted those waffles!) I don’t know how far we went, but he stopped pulling me when we arrived in an abandoned classroom. The desks were stacked against the walls, covered with a light layer of dust and we were standing in the middle of the room with Potter looking at me intensely.
In a flash, exactly like last night, he was snogging me. And again, all my willpower seemed to vanish into thin air and my hands flew up into his shaggy, ebony hair. We backed up against the dusty desks and started to kiss my jawbone and my neck. I had to bite my tongue to hold in a moan. To my disappointment or pleasure (depending on how you look at it) his hands didn’t remain on my hips as they did before. They slowly made their way up my shirt and were on the small of my back and he was back to attacking my lips.
This time, I couldn’t hold in the moan and I could feel his lips turn up against mine as I did.
Potter, then, stopped snogging me, which I hated and hated myself for hating. Curse hormones! He smirked widely at me and my guaranteed disheveled appearance.
“Now, you can never say that I sucked,” he said matter-of-factly and strutted to the door of the classroom. Before leaving he turned around and looked straight at me. “And your bet, from last night, is on.” Then he left the room into the hallway full of people who had no idea what had happened right beside them.
It took me a few minutes to return my pounding heart rate back to normal and to slow my breathing down to normal. By the time I reached the Transfiguration room for class, I was about ten minutes late.
“Well, Mrs. Longbottom, how nice of you to join us,” said Professor McGonagall, who still taught Transfiguration, even though she was also the Headmistress, because she seemed to love teaching. I must say I’m glad she did because even though she is a strict teacher, she’s fair and great at what she does. Plus, though she’ll deny it if you ask her, she gives the Gryffindor house a little more leeway because she used to be the head of it.
“You will join Mr. Filch tonight right after dinner for detention. Take your seat by Ms. Weasley,” she said, pointing to a seat in the front row of the classroom, where a red-headed Rose sat, studiously taking notes.
I nodded slightly and then I went to go sit down by Rose, only to see Potter smirking at me as I walked down the aisle between the desks. He obviously enjoyed knowing the reason that I was late, I’m sure. That bloody prat.
I sat in a furious silence as Potter tossed wads of paper at me throughout the class period. Each parchment piece had a moving cartoon on it that either showed me being turned into a toad or being struck by lightning or, when those didn’t cause a good enough reaction, one cartoon that depicted our abandoned classroom indiscretion.
I turned around when McGonagall wasn’t looking and flipped him the bird. That satisfied me enough to get through the rest of the class.
After Transfiguration, I had double Potions with Slughorn, who didn’t make my day any better by fawning over Potter, as always. Though, I’m in Slug Club, as well (Slughorn saw me give a particularly nasty Slytherin a bloody brilliant body bind spell, if I do say so myself), Potter is his golden boy because he is bloody fantastic at Potions, as much as I hate to admit it and I do hate to admit it.
I stood in front of my table beside Rose with a bubbling, and quite smelly, potion brewing in front of me while I glared at Potter and his admiring Professor.
“Well done, Albus, my boy. You have your father’s talent for potions, I see. You’ll get in to a N.E.W.T. class for sure,” Slughorn praised. I pictured Potter’s head growing larger, inflating like a balloon, and snickered.
“I plan on it, Professor. This is my favorite class and I can’t wait until next year,” he schmoozed. What a bloody kiss arse.
I made a disgusted sound and Potter turned to glare at me. I returned his glare by rubbing my nose with my fist. He was such a brown-noser.
After spending the majority of the class with his favorite student, Slughorn made his way around to me and Rose.
“Brilliant, as always, Ms. Weasley and Ms. Longbottom. Taking after your mother, are we, Weasley?” he asked with a chuckle. Rose’s mouth formed a fake smile.
“My brains, maybe, but I’m told I look like my father.” Slughorn looked confused.
“I don’t recall him.” He changed the subject. “Will I be seeing you both at my dinner next week?” I shook my head before Rose lost her temper. She hated that Slughorn chose favorites and didn’t remember her dad. She was a daddy’s girl.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we have to study. We can’t get behind with N.E.W.T.’s coming next year,” I said trying to sound apologetic. Professor Slughorn frowned.
“Oh, one night of fun won’t get you behind. Next week, I’ll see you there.” He left before he could hear no again, though we still weren’t going.
The rest of my day was uneventful and I was glad to be sitting down for dinner, even if it meant that detention was afterwards.
“Ugh,” I grumbled. “You’re cousin is the absolute worst, Rose. He is such a prat.” She rolled her eyes at me. I bet you can guess that she’s heard this a few times before… Okay, maybe a little more than a few times… Okay, I say it every single day. Happy now?
“What did he do this time?” she asked, knowing exactly which cousin I meant and sounding tired of hearing all of my complaints about Potter, I’m sure.
“He just made me late in Transfiguration today by—, “ I hesitated as Lily, Al’s little sister plopped down next to me. I couldn’t tell them, at least, not right now. I didn’t want anybody else to find out by overhearing me. I could imagine the hype about it. Albus Potter and Alice Longbottom become the modern day Lily and James. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to shudder or scoff at the idea.
“—nothing,” I finished lamely. Smooth move, Alice. I thought. Rose looked at me quizzically, one of her eyebrows going up, but Lily remained oblivious to our conversation.
“Anything you want to tell me, Allie?” she asked, looking slightly suspicious of me.
“Tell you what?” questioned Lily, suddenly interested in our conversation. Like Rose, Lily was slightly nosey, too. She was smart and wicked funny and though she cared about her family and friends, she just wanted to know what we were talking about because of her overwhelming curiosity and pure entertainment. Lily Potter and her cousin, Rose’s brother, Hugo, were the biggest pranksters since Fred and George went to Hogwarts.
“I’ll talk to you about it later, Rose. I don’t feel like saying anything about it right now.” Rose raised her eyebrows.
“You’re telling me you don’t want to complain about Al? Are you okay?” she said in mock shock, putting her hand up to my forehead. We three giggled a little bit. “Well, if you’re sure you’re okay. I’ve got to go to the library.”
I looked at her with disbelief. Rose was trying to skip another meal to go to the library? This was coming from the same girl that ate food like it was the last thing she would get. My best friend chowed down.
“I know you like to get good marks, Rose, but you love food, too. Are you sure you are okay? You’ve never missed a meal as long as I’ve known you.” Rose hesitated and Lily looked surprised at her apparent loss of appetite.
“Look, Alice, Lily, you cannot tell anybody, especially the rest of my family. You know how they can get, particularly the guys,” she said pleadingly with her hands together.
“Of course not. I won’t tell a soul, Rose, you know that,” I assured her.
“Absolutely,” Lily agreed, holding out her pinky. “Pinky promise, Rosey. I completely understand how you feel.” Rose took it and looked at us gratefully.
“I’m meeting somebody at the library. I really like him, Allie. I’ll tell you more about it later tonight, but I have to go. He’s waiting for me and I don’t want to be late,” she said with a smile on her face and bolted out of the Great Hall without even finishing her dinner and leaving me to wonder about her mysterious, new boyfriend.
After she left, I decided it might be time to go to detention. Simply smashing. I thought. Note my spectacular use of sarcasm.
With a wave to Lily, who had moved to sit by her favorite cousin and best friend, Hugo, when I told her I had to leave, I left the Great Hall.
The last I saw them; they were motioning about something going boom. I really didn’t want to know their plot.
I walked down the corridor to Filch’s office thinking about what my punishment might be. They were never too bad, but I really hated cleaning things without magic.
Once I finally got there, he told me to hurry on to the trophy room and help out one of the other “delinquents”, as he called it, clean the trophies and the case without the use of magic. To my disappointment, he took my wand for the time being and I went on my way. I always hope he forgets to grab it, but he never does.
When I got to the trophy room, I walked in without seeing who was to be cleaning with me. How stupid of me.
“Hey, Longbottom,” said the most annoying voice in the world. I could almost see the typical trademark smirk and I heard his arrogant snicker. “Long time, no see.”
I spun around quickly to face the mocking voice.
“Go get stuffed, Potter!” I spat at him.
This was going to be the single longest detention of my entire life. No exaggeration.
Chapter 3: Everybody Talks
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Thanks to indiana jones @ TDA for the adorable banner :)
I dragged myself up to my dorm, exhausted, and no, it wasn’t the cleaning that had me in a tizzy. No, it was Potter that was so exhausting. I fell backwards onto my bed, kicked off my shoes and stared at the scarlet drapery that was my canopy, remembering the detention.
Flashback to the detention:
“No need to be cheeky, Longbottom. I was just making polite, casual conversation,” Potter said, holding his hands up in a sign of surrender and waving his dirty rag in the air, but still smirking at me. I rolled my eyes and refrained from saying anything. Just one hour. I can get through an hour without becoming a murderer… I hope. I thought to myself.
We both promptly got to work, grabbing trophies off the shelves and polishing them until they shined like new, instead of looking as though they were fifty years old, which some were. The best part of it all was that we worked in total silence… for about half an hour. Then, Potter had to hear his own voice.
“So, Longbottom, I have a proposition for you,” he started, stopping his cleaning. I could feel him looking at me, but I didn’t dare meet his eyes because I kept thinking about his kiss, so instead, I started cleaning the trophy from 1985 more intently than before. “I’m not allowed to snog any of my ‘bimbos’ as you call them because of the bet, though you shouldn’t because they have a real talent for—,” I cut him off with a gag.
“Get to the point, Potter. I don’t want to know about your sex-capades,” I spat at him, motioning with my hands for him to hurry it up and get to the point.
“Bite me, Potter,” I growled. His smirk got bigger.
“I didn’t know you liked that, Longbottom, but I’m game,” Potter replied, chuckling at my narrowed, glaring eyes. He continued to ramble on.
“Right, anyways, if I’m not allowed to snog them as part of the bet, what do you say to becoming Al Potter’s personal snog buddy extraordinaire? Because let’s face it; I liked snogging you and judging from the noises you made,” he said, his ego growing by the minute and my blush getting redder by the minute. Damn my pale skin. “You enjoyed snogging me, too. Plus, you’re not a bimbo, so it doesn’t count against the bet. It’s a win-win situation.” I looked at him in disbelief. That was the closest thing to a compliment that has ever come out of his highly talented mouth.
“Are you out of your mind, Potter?”
“Come on. No one has to know and maybe if you were snogged more, you wouldn’t be such a prude.”
“I am not a prude!” I argued, although even I couldn’t help thinking that the lady doth protest too much.
“Prove it, Alice,” he said smirking, which I’m sure he thought was sexy, but it wasn’t. Okay, maybe it was a little bit, but I didn’t pay that much mind and it wasn’t until afterwards that I remembered that he called me “Alice” because at that moment, I had this insatiable need to prove him wrong.
I slowly made my way towards him, and then stopped only when we were inches apart. At first I just kissed him softly, unsure of what to do, but then I felt his hands touch my cheeks and I deepened it. Once we started full on snogging, I put my hands on his chest, grabbing his shirt collar and bringing him closer to me. Then, my hands gradually made their way up to his untidy, black hair. His found their way to my waist, pulling me closer and slowly making their way up the back of my shirt.
Regrettably… I mean thankfully, that was the time that Professor McGonagall decided to walk in and tell us that detention was over.
“What in the world…? You know what? I’m going to pretend I didn’t see this,” she said, shaking her head. “Don’t let it happen again, you two. Especially you, Ms. Longbottom.” She walked out of the room, leaving us to stand there awkwardly with our eyes looking anywhere, but at each other.
“So…,” said Potter. “I’ll take that as a yes.” He held out his hand. “Snog buddies?”
For the second time, I shook his hand and I knew I shouldn’t have. It seems to always lead to trouble. Again I felt the shocking sensation, but did my best to ignore it. I figured that now I wouldn’t be so hungry for his kiss, right? Or maybe he was like drug and he would leave me wanting more and more.
“I’ll owl you if I happen to want you and same for you,” he said casually, as if this were a business venture, hands in his pockets, and walked away as if it was no big deal. The only way I could tell that this affected him was when he kept wiggling his fingers and clenching his hand in his pocket, leaving me to speculate on how the electricity affected him.
Back to the present:
I left a few minutes after him, retrieved my wand from Filch, who muttered something about “in his day” and “strung up by their toes” (I really didn’t want to know), and headed up to my dorm to wait for Rose to be done with her Head Girl duties, which took her presumably longer because of mine and Potter’s detentions. She would have my head for that, I’m sure.
While I waited I chatted with the other girls of my dorm. My dorm-mates consisted of Rose (of course) whose bed was right next to mine, right against the wall, Aileen Finnegan, who was laying down on her bed against the opposite wall, Sophia “Sophie” Wood, who slept in a bed next to Aileen, and Rose’s cousin, Roxanne (but she likes to be called Roxy), who sat on her bed right next to Rose’s, square in the middle. They were very nice and fun to talk to, but when first year had started, Rose and I had clicked, while Roxy and the other girls became good friends.
Don’t get me wrong, Rose and Roxy love each other, but just have grew apart a little bit since Hogwarts. Rose threw herself into her studies and took multiple classes that she even had to use a time turner for (But don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret. Shh.), while Roxy dedicated all of her free time to practicing for her position on the Gryffindor quidditch team as chaser. She wasn’t a bad student, but she didn’t go the extra mile, or extra one hundred miles, as Rose did. She made up for this by being one of the best chasers that Hogwarts has seen since her aunt, Ginny Weasley.
Rose waltzed into the room at about ten o’clock, which was a little later than would be expected of her Head Girl duties, which she got sixth year because of her excellent marks and dedication.
Despite being Head Girl, she still rooms with the other sixth years because the Head Boy, Jerry Boot, is a seventh year Ravenclaw that has a thing for her and bores her out of her mind with lots of did-you-know facts trying to impress her. She always says that if he stopped that, he might actually get a date. He was good looking, but once he began talking, most girls started sleeping.
She sat down on her bed and sighed happily. Roxanne had a look of realization on her face and she grinned.
“Who is he, Rose?” she said, leaning towards Rose expectantly as if making sure she didn’t miss what Rose would say, even though their beds were right by each other’s. A few strands of her long black hair fell in her dark-skinned face; the rest was up in a messy bun at the top of her head. Aileen did the same, trying to get close to hear Rose’s juicy news, her blue eyes sparkling with curiosity. I sat on the edge of my bed to listen and even sleepy Sophia roused from slumber to hear about Rose’s new love interest, though she remained curled up in her mound of blankets.
“Well,” she said blushing. “You promise you won’t tell, you guys, especially you, Roxy? No one else in our family can know.” We all held out our pinkies and swore. What can I say? We’re kids at heart.
“I was with…” she said, whispering the name quietly so that no one could hear.
“Come on, Rose, don’t leave us hanging,” I urged her on.
“Scorpius Malfoy,” she said smiling slightly and her face reddening even more. We all started talking at once, gushing about the whole idea of her forbidden boyfriend and talking about how she liked him since last year, you know, being extreme girly-girls at that point.
“This is so great, Rosy,” said Roxy. “But your dad is going to kill you. Uncle Ron will probably burst a blood vessel in his forehead and his face will match his hair.” Roxy started to laugh, but Rose’s face paled.
“Nice going, Roxanne,” said Aileen with Roxy glaring at her for her use of Roxy’s full name. “She’s probably going to freak out now.” Then, turning to Rose she said, “Don’t let it bother you, Rose. Your dad will just have to accept that you like Scorpius, even if he is a Malfoy. Why would he not? He’s you father and he loves you, despite some petty schoolboy rivalry.” I nodded excessively in agreement.
“He’s seems like a nice guy and if he treats you well, go for it. You seem really happy, Rose,” said Sophie groggily, trying to brush out her blond rat’s nest that she got from sleeping. Rose’s face got a little more of her color back, but I could see she was still worried.
“And he’s fit,” added Aileen, our boy crazy roommate. Her constant stream of boyfriends and endless flirting were a part of her and she noticed and ogled any good looking blokes. We all rolled our eyes at her. “What? It’s true. Everyone else here was thinking it, so I just said it.” All of us giggled and nodded in agreement. Well, she’s right. It is true.
“Enough about me,” Rose said smiling still with an evil glint in her eye. “Little Miss Alice wanted to complain about my cousin today at dinner, but stopped. Would you like to enlighten us on what happened, Al? The blush on your face wasn’t too telling.” I started blushing like crazy, unable to stop and I could feel the heat in my face. I didn’t even tell her off for the “Al” thing.
“What happened with you and Al? Did you finally get together?” squealed Roxy with a gasp.
“Well, of course they did. Look at her blushing. It’s about time. You can practically feel the sexual tension in the air when they argue,” added in Aileen who mimed grabbing at the air. I just glared at her and stuck out my tongue. Thankfully, Sophie was back asleep so that I didn’t have the mickey taken out of me by another person, though I thought I saw a small smile on her sleepy face.
“We are not together. It was nothing; just a mistake. Can we drop it now?” I said rapidly, trying to get off the topic of me and Potter. Just by bring up the idea of us dating reminded me of our earlier mistake and how he had called me Alice. What was that? Rose snapped me out of my reveries.
“Oh, but something did happen, didn’t it? You can’t just leave us hanging now that you’ve said something,” Rose whined. The other two girls nodded seriously, agreeing with my traitorous friend.
“Can’t you let it go? All we did was kiss. Big deal,” I said without thinking and quickly clapped my hands over my mouth before I spewed out anything else, but the damage was already done. Well, bloody hell.
All at once the three girls started exclaiming things that I couldn’t make out in the noise. Sophie decided to wake up and Aileen filled her in on the details and she proceeded to join in on the babbling. Curse you two. I said in my head.
“When did this happen?” they all questioned simultaneously.
“Well, it was just last night while we were patrolling. It didn’t mean anything,” I said, trying to make it sound casual.
“How was it?” asked Sophie, but before I could answer to tell her it was horrid and foul (I may be lying a bit, but who would know?) Rose cut in.
“I thought you said he caused you to be late for Transfiguration. What happened then?” My eyes widened. Sod it. I thought. Why can’t I keep my mouth shut? Realizing that I was caught I fessed up and told them about that snog, too, though I kept out the part about me… um… moaning. That would definitely be TMI.
“Twice? See, I knew you guys liked each other!” exclaimed Rose.
“Are you sure those were the only times?” interrogated Aileen looking highly suspicious, but before I could make a fool out of myself, I yawned loudly and fakely.
“Wow, it’s getting pretty late and I’m ready to hit the hay. You should, too, Roxanne, and Aileen. Don’t you guys have quidditch in the morning? Captain James wouldn’t want his chaser and beater to be tired on the field. Well, nighty night,” I said quickly and curled up in my scarlet and gold colored blankets so that no one could get another word in otherwise.
My plan worked when I heard Roxy and Aileen grumbled about James and his brutal practices, and then got into bed. Not long after that I heard Rose’s nose whistling. Success!
Tomorrow, I thought, is going to be hell. Then, I closed my eyes, ready for a good night’s sleep after all that I dealt with today.
I should have known that that wasn’t possible when, about an hour after I had closed my heavy eyes, I awoke when I heard an owl tapping at my window. I had a hunch about who was sending me a letter this late and I kept telling myself that I was mad, though I couldn’t stop myself from experiencing a little excitement.
My stomach was doing flips and my heart was beating so fast that I could feel it in my chest and I was sure that my dorm mates would hear it. I made sure the other girls were fast asleep (and they were, thank Merlin) before grabbing the letter with shaking hands.
Just as I guessed, the sender was my one and only official snog buddy, my enemy with benefits (though not those kind of benefits, if you know what I mean), Potter, wanting to have our first official get together… at twelve o’clock at night.
“Bloody prat,” I grumbled quietly.
Curiosity got the best of me. I could just open the letter. Where’s the harm in that? I mused. What could possibly go wrong?
Chapter 4: Up All Night
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Thanks to rebelYELL @ TDA for the awesome image of Scorpius Malfoy.
Meet me in the astronomy tower ASAP. I figured that you couldn’t go a few hours without snogging me.
I shook my head in amazement and could just see him smirking haughtily as he wrote and sent the parchment. He really expected me to go to the astronomy tower to snog him at this time. It was the middle of the night! I crumpled up the letter into a ball and incinerated it with my wand, destroying the evidence. I couldn’t have my dorm-mates find out about my and Potter’s… arrangement; I guess it would be called. I rummaged through my trunk and pulled out parchment and a quill.
I gave the note to his owl and then I crawled back into the comfort of my warm and cozy bed and closed my eyes.
Just as sleep was starting to overcome me, I felt someone grab my shoulder and shake me awake. I was about to scream when a hand covered my mouth. I looked up from the hand to find the face that went with it, only to see Potter looking at me with an amused expression.
“Calm down, Longbottom. It’s just me. Nice pajamas, by the way,” My smirk senses were tingling and I could almost feel his gaze on my body. It made my face go red.
My P.J.’s barely covered me, seeing as it was summer. I had red shorts that go about mid-thigh and had yellow draw-strings. My shirt was a form-fitting tank.
“Can we go to the astronomy tower now?” asked Potter, sounding exasperated when I didn’t race like the wind to the tower, as I’m sure he expected me to do. I glared up at him, but couldn’t say anything as his hand was still over my mouth.
“Bloody hell, Potter, how did you even get up here? You should have slid down the slide,” I whispered sharply when his hand left my mouth. Potter just smirked and looked down at his feet where, instead of human feet, there were cat paws.
“Uncle George gave me these shoes that transfigure my feet for a short time. They’re only prototypes and they’ll be unusable soon, but they work for the time being. The stairs just thought I was a cat, not a boy. Impressed?” He asked arrogantly.
“Not really, Potter, I always figured that you had a big ego because of your small feet,” I said matching his smirk. He just scowled.
“I do not have small feet,” he mumbled childishly, obviously catching my innuendo. “Now, can we go to the astronomy tower?”
“I don’t know if you know this, Potter, but it is way after curfew and my father is a professor here. If I get caught, I’m beyond screwed. You must be mental,” I hissed, thinking about what would happen if my dad caught me after curfew, snogging Potter no less.
Instead of replying to me, Potter hovered over me and then snogged me, leaving me breathless and unable to argue as he grabbed a cloak that was lying on the floor at his cat feet. He pulled me up from my bed and held close to him; my back squeezed against his muscular chest, and threw it over us.
“Now we’re invisible, but it’s not sound proof so shut it, Longbottom,” he instructed and directed me down the stairs and out the portrait hole.
I was surprised when we managed to make it to the tower without being caught, especially with me tripping over my feet every few seconds. I convinced myself that it was because there was no space to walk, not because I was pressed against Potter’s fit, quidditch abs. He whipped the cloak over our heads and his hands cupped my face, pulling it closer to his. We were millimeters from another snogging session that invaded my every unconscious dream (and even some conscious day dreams) since the first one occurred. Then we were interrupted.
Mrs. Norris waltzed in on our secret rendezvous, meowing and hissing horribly, alerting her owner to our presence. Potter scrambled for the cloak as we heard Mr. Filch’s footsteps coming up the stairs and his obnoxious wheezing as he exerted himself too much in pursuit of we “troublemakers”. I clung on to Potter closely as he threw the invisibility cloak on over us just in time.
Seconds after we disappeared, the red-faced and sweaty Mr. Filch arrived in the astronomy tower looking at the exact spot where we were under the cloak. His eyes scanned the area before he wheezed his way back down the stairs of the tower, grumbling to his cat while she followed him.
“That was too close, Potter,” I said angrily. “That cannot happen again.” I looked up at his face to see him nod in agreement.
It was at that moment that I noticed what an intimate position we were in. My arms were the only thing separating us, palms flat against his chest. His were wrapped around me gently, one hand stroking my hair. I felt myself blush. He must have noticed it, as well, because his hands went immediately down to his sides and I tucked mine behind my back. We avoided each other’s gazes. We had snogged before, but this was different; almost gentle.
Potter proceeded to take off the cloak and pull out a blank piece of old and worn out parchment and point his wand at it.
“I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,” he announced, leaving me a little confused and not just about his statement, but about his tender behavior. I pondered this until I saw a map of Hogwarts appear on the parchment.
“We’ll have to stay up here for a little while,” he sighed. “Filch is down at the bottom of the stairs, probably trying to catch his breath. Did you hear his panting? I thought a dog was coming up here.” I giggled slightly. Potter looked at me with a genuine smile. Why would he do that? I thought. Though, his smile is quite attractive.
“You have a nice laugh,” he breathed. It was so quiet that I almost thought that I imagined it. Almost. I couldn’t help it; my cheeks reddened again.
“Erm… Thanks,” I said unintelligently, still looking anywhere but up at his face. The tower wall was quite lovely. The way that the stones were crumbling was quite enchanting; almost as enchanting as Potter’s… No! I’m still watching the wall, not Potter.
“You’re… erm… welcome,” he replied, sounding as uncomfortable as I felt. “He’s still there. We might be here for a while. Want to sit down?” He gestured to a space on the floor.
I nodded and with our backs against the wall we slid down and sat by each other, our shoulders brushing briefly, electricity zapping us.
“Can I…?” I trailed off awkwardly, pointing to the map in his hands. He silently passed it over. Upon getting it from him, I searched the sixth year Gryffindor girl’s dorm and everybody was still asleep, thank Merlin. I looked over the boy’s dorm, where all of Al’s friends were dozing, too. Then, my eyes wandered down the various halls, where I could see teachers roaming, Filch still standing at the bottom of the stairs, and a Hufflepuff couple kissing in an abandoned classroom.
“How did you get this? This is amazing,” I wondered aloud in awe, setting the map on his lap which was covered in snitch-patterned pajama bottoms. Potter smiled with obvious pride.
“It was my granddad’s. James Potter I and the rest of the marauders, as they called themselves, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew, made it. It shows everyone. Where they are, what they’re doing, every minute of every day. I’ve done thousands of pranks with this since I got it in my fifth year after James decided he was ‘too mature to pull pranks anymore’, but between you and me, he was trying to impress a girl. I’ve never even been caught,” he said smugly, using finger quotations when talking about his brother.
“Except for earlier today? You were in detention with me. Did you get caught then?” I questioned. Potter’s face turned pink and he looked away from me, embarrassed.
“It was nothing. Just drop it,” he said quickly, not meeting my eyes. After a few minutes he added with another genuine smile, “You know? This is the longest we’ve talked without arguing since first year. Why do we argue with each other all the time anyways? I forgot.” It took me a minute to think about it.
Why was his smile so bloody distracting?
“Well, you’re a prat, so why wouldn’t I hate you?” I said smirking, but in a joking tone. I switched back to serious mode. “I don’t know, Potter,” I sighed. “I think it started on the boat ride when you threw my toad in the Black Lake.” Potter chuckled throwing his head back.
“Oh, yeah. Then, you pushed me in and said that if one toad was in the lake, then the other toad should go in there, too,” said Potter, still laughing. I couldn’t help it; his laughter was infectious. My stomach muscles hurt and I found myself laying my head on Potter’s shoulder. Once the hilarity died down, I looked up at him to see him looking at me intensely. I blushed and took a sneak peek at the map, where I found that Filch was gone from the bottom of the stairs and walking down the hall opposite of the one that we needed to get back to our dorms.
“It looks like we can leave now. Filch left,” I said, pointing to it. He snatched the map from my hands and looked at it intently.
“Give me a minute to find out how best to get back to the common room without running into teachers. Even if we’re invisible, we can’t be too careful.” He viewed it for about a minute before his eyes stopped on an area in the library and his face darkened.
“Potter?” I asked cautiously. “What’s going…?” I trailed off.
I looked at the spot that had blackened his gaze and found that Rose had snuck off to the library to be with Scorpius and they were unmistakably kissing.
“Is that Rose? My cousin with Malfoy? I’ll kill him,” he growled. He crumpled the map in his hands slightly before trying to go down to the library to break them up. I had to stop him. I stepped in front of him, blocking the exit.
“Potter, don’t,” I said warningly. “She really likes him. Don’t you want her to be happy?” He only looked angrier.
“You knew? You knew about Rose and that… that… prick? That filth? Why didn’t you tell me? His father was a death eater! She is not allowed to date him!” he exclaimed. I cast muffliato on the door.
“Don’t get mad at me, Potter, for being a good friend! I just want Rose to be happy. It’s what you should want. You don’t have to be such an arse! Anyways, you don’t even know him, so how could you know that he’s anything like his father?” I yelled with my hands clenched into fists.
“Because he is! Families like his don’t change, Longbottom. I would know, since you’re still a bumbling idiot like your father,” he said coldly. I could feel tears in my eyes and I lashed out, slapping him across the face.
“Well, you’re wrong because you’re nothing like your father. He was a good man and the savior of the wizarding world. What have you done? That’s right; nothing! You just live off of his fame and use it as an excuse to be an arsehole, but really you’re just sad and can’t stand anyone to be happy, not even your favorite cousin!” I screamed in his face. Then, I calmed down and looked at him with no expressions and said emotionlessly, “You’re nothing, Potter. You’re dead to me.” I thought I saw hurt in his eyes before I spun around and rushed down the stairs. I ran aimlessly down corridors until I finally made it to the Gryffindor common room, only escaping getting caught by pure luck, tears freely running down my face.
When I finally calmed down enough to be able to make it quietly into bed, I lied there staring at the scarlet canopy.
I pretended to be asleep when Rose made her way back into the room a few minutes after I did. I silently cast muffliato and curled up in my bed to cry. I was hurt. Potter had gone too far when he insulted my dad.
That night, I didn’t dream. I hardly even slept and woke the next morning a total wreck. My eyes were puffy, my nose was stuffed up, and Merlin knows what happened to my hair. All the girls in my dorm noticed, but let me have my space, though I knew Rose would ask about it later when I wasn’t so messed up. I got dressed quickly as to avoid seeing Potter when I went to breakfast and then I rushed to the Great Hall.
About ten minutes into my breakfast, Rose sat across from me. The other girls, along with Dom Weasley (Never call her Dominique. It’s painful.), who was a year older, and Molly, who was a year younger, trailed in a few minutes later. I ate silently and the other girls talked quietly, but awkwardly because they all wondered what was wrong and it was a huge elephant in the room.
Rose looked at me every few seconds with a question look, but I ignored it. She obviously didn’t know about Potter finding out about her and Scorpius, so I didn’t want her to get upset by saying anything.
Throughout the meal I wanted to take a glance at Potter to see if he was still angry or to see if he was going to try to kill Malfoy. Finally, the temptation was too great and I gave in. He was sitting at the other end of the Gryffindor table with his dorm-mates, Lysander Scamandar, Sophie’s twin brother, Eric Wood, and Cole Thomas, and a few of his family, Hugo who was talking intently with Lucy, who was in third year, James, and Fred. Everybody around Potter seemed to be laughing or talking or socializing in some way, but Potter looked horrible. He just stared at his plate with dark circles under his eyes and his hair messier than usual.
It was as if he felt me staring because he looked up and met my eyes. I looked away fast, but not before seeing pain on his face.
He must be hurting because he acted like a jerk when his cousin was happy. Why would he care about me? I thought to myself, but the nagging feeling that I had something to do with his agony wouldn’t go away. My appetite was gone. I got up from the table without saying where I was going, mostly because I didn’t know. I just had to leave.
I speed-walked out of the hall and as I left, I heard footsteps behind me.
“Alice,” Potter called out. I spun around fists clenched and tears in my eyes, ready to yell, but his next words stopped me. All of my fight was gone in seconds.
Chapter 5: Apologize
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I was shocked and in total disbelief. My mouth dropped open slightly and my eyes were wide in surprise. He wasn’t angry at me or murderous or giving me the cold shoulder. Potter had followed me out of the Great Hall just to say “sorry”. It was unbelievable.
“I said sorry,” repeated Potter in a quiet voice, looking humble for the first time since I've known him.
“I know. I heard you. What I’m confused about is why you’re sorry. Why are you saying sorry? We’ve fought before and said awful things to each other before, but neither of us has apologized for it. Why now? What is so different this time around?” I interrogated him.
“Because what I said was wrong and it was completely out of line. I even crossed the line,” Potter stepped closer to me so that we were now inches apart. I stepped back, trying to get space between us. “Your dad is a family friend and I didn’t mean what I said. I respect and like him. He’s a good man and one of my favorite professors. I was just trying to hurt you because I was angry and I was stupid. Can you forgive me, Alice?”
I was tempted to say “yes”, but I didn’t. I was still hurt and mad and upset at him. How dare he think he can just say sorry and make a sad puppy face and everything will be alright?
“No, I can’t,” I said coldly and continued to walk down the hall, the only destination in my mind was away. Again I heard footsteps behind me and seeing as there was no one else in the passage, I knew it was Potter trying to talk to me a second time.
“Alice, please!” he called after me. I could hear his footsteps get closer to me, but I ignored him. I picked up my pace as the tears threatened to escape. I wanted to escape him, but he reached me and grabbed my hand, pulling me closer to him.
“Alice, just hear me out,” he pleaded with me. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes and saw only pain and sorrow. I had to stay to hear what he had to say almost as if his gaze locked me in my spot. I nodded at him, letting him know that I was ready to listen to his apologies. I let him know that I was ready to be reasonable about it. He smiled sadly, grateful, and held both of my hands in his, thumbs stroking them softly. A single tear slid down my face, which he wiped off before talking.
“Don’t run away from me. Please. Yell at me, hit me, do something, anything, but don’t leave me because I can’t stand you not talking to me. I know we’ve never really got along, but we’ve had a friendship, maybe a rocky friendship, but a friendship in our own way. We argue, we fight, we say we hate each other, but truthfully, Alice, I lo— like spending time with you and last night I was stupid enough to mess it all up. I enjoy what we have. I’m serious when I say that I like your dad and I didn’t mean what I said about him and you. Neville is a good guy and one of my parent’s best friends. Also, I wanted to say…” he paused for a second before picking back up. “…that you were right about me. I’m not happy about Rose and… Scorpius, but I do want her to be happy. She’s my favorite cousin and best friend and I know you care about her. I really am sorry,” When he finished, he squeezed my hands lightly and his eyes begged with me to forgive him. So, I did. All my anger melted away.
I timidly put my hands on his face and he held my wrists and we looked into each other’s eyes. I got closer to him and was about to kiss him when he pushed me away.
“Do you forgive me?”
“Of course,” I answered nodding, gently caressing his cheeks. Then, when I went to kiss him this time, he let me. Unlike before, this was slow. We weren’t in a hurry. He touched my cheeks and my hands moved to his neck. It was different from our snog sessions and I’m sure we both knew it, but I didn’t know what to make of it. Al said it himself; we were friends at most. He didn’t feel that way about me. I didn’t understand what was between us, whatever it was and I didn’t want to, yet. I wasn’t ready for what the truth could be.
We stayed that way for what seemed like hours, but it was probably only minutes. When we broke apart, he smirked. It made me glad to know that we were back to normal.
“Well, I’m for sure forgiven,” he said cockily. I rolled my eyes and couldn’t help laughing a little bit. His apology, friendliness and kiss had me feeling giddy. I pretended to think about it, stroking my chin with my thumb and pointer finger.
“I guess,” I said mock-reluctantly. Sticking my hand out to him, I said, “Friends?” His smirk dropped a little, but he took my hand and nodded.
I went to Defense Against the Dark Arts and sat between Rose and Sophie, both of whom looked up at me when I walked in just in time. Potter slipped in the classroom right after me and plopped down at the table behind me, sitting by his friends Cole and Lysander, who were quietly arguing about the existence of Nargles. Those two were always arguing about the existence of some sort of animal.
Lysander believed in everything his mother and father said, through and through. He was a nice guy, but strange. Not only was he odd in his thought process, but he just looked… different. If you ever watched the guy, and I mean really looked at him, you could see him staring off into nothing. I always wondered what he was seeing.
Cole, on the other hand, was practical. He was a realist and thought the idea of something that had never been seen (at least, not by a credible witness) being real was absolutely ridiculous. He thought of everything logically, which made him super smart. He was up there in grades, competing with Ravenclaws and Rose.
Both Rose and Sophie gave me a look because Potter and I came in at about the same time, but I pretended like I didn’t see it and paid more attention than I usually did to Professor Lupin’s lecture.
Teddy got the job this year after spending a few years as an Auror with the Ministry of Magic. Once his wife of almost a year, Victoire, became pregnant with their little boy a few months ago, he promised to get a safer job and decided to take up teaching at Hogwarts and, hopefully, keep it for more than a year, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Voldemort wanted the job years ago. It seemed even though he was dead, he was still causing trouble.
Right now we were going over the three Unforgivable Curses. Al’s dad, Harry, (Yes, I’m calling him Al. We’re supposed to be friends, aren’t we?) was scheduled to floo in and talk about them tomorrow and all of the other kids in my class were talking about it. Everyone wanted a chance to talk to the savior of the wizarding world, but Rose and Al and all the other Wotters weren’t so thrilled about it. All the attention annoyed them and they wanted to feel normal. Rose was already starting to snap at people who mentioned Harry or her parents and how wonderful the “Golden Trio”, as they were called, was.
When all the Wotter kids first started to go to Hogwarts, they were automatically treated differently than other students. Some, like James or Dom or Fred, didn’t mind it, and even used it to their advantage. They could handle the attention, but Rose, Roxy, Al, and the others hated the special treatment. It made them feel like outsiders and they also didn’t like being put up on a pedestal. After a while, the hype about them went down and they were like everyone else, but now that it started up again, even James, Dom, and Fred were irritated about it.
Right after Defense, Dom, Rose and I went to the library during free period to study. Dom didn’t normally study very much, but now that it was N.E.W.T. year, she was kicking it into high gear. At this moment she was writing a one foot long essay in Charms. Rose, who normally was the studying master, was looking at me again questioningly. I couldn’t pretend not to see it anymore.
“What, Rose?” I asked with a little bit more irritability than I had intended.
“So it’s just a coincidence that you and Al both looked like hell this morning and then you both vanish off to somewhere after breakfast and when you get to Defense Against the Dark Arts, you both look better? What happened?” she asked slyly, but with a faux innocent look on her freckled face. I swear that girl could be a Slytherin. I thought.
“Nothing, Rosy-Posey,” I said. She scowled at the childhood nickname. “Look, we got in a little, itty-bitty fight. It’s nothing that hasn’t happened before. Stop worrying and do what you do best. Study your arse off.” Our conversation caught Dom’s attention.
“It’s about bloody time that you and Al got together!” she exclaimed happily, earning a look from Madam Pince. She looked at the librarian apologetically, but when she looked back at us she rolled her eyes. In a quieter voice she said, “So when did it happen?”
“It didn’t,” I denied adamantly. “Nothing’s going on between me and Al.” Her smile just got wider.
“But it did! You called him Al, not Potter!” She said enthusiastically, getting another glare from Madam Pince and a firm “shh”. I groaned.
“All we did was mutually agree to be friends with one another, you guys. Stop making a big deal about it. We’re not together. We’re just…” I paused, thinking about the right word. “… cooperating.” Dom gave me a knowing look.
“Of course. Right. Gotcha,” she said, obviously not believing me one bit. Then she continued to study. I looked at Rose for support only to see her trying not to laugh at my obvious discomfort. I narrowed my eyes at her.
“Oh, it’s on, Rose,” I challenged and she looked at me questioningly. “Hey, Dom. Rose has a boyfriend.” I turned to Rose, smirking a little. “Don’t you want to tell her all about it, Rose?” She mouthed “traitor” at me before blushing bright red when her cousin started to play twenty questions with her. I just laughed at the situation. I loved to win.
I went to the rest of my classes; Transfiguration, double Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Arithmancy, Herbology (where my dad brought out Venomous Tentacula for us to re-plant in bigger pots and I almost got my finger stabbed by it’s spikes), and Care of Magical Creatures. The last class was a bit dodgy because we were taking care of Blast-Ended Skrewts, but the other classes were normal. In other words, I had mountains of homework.
For the next few weeks or so, I spent most of my time in the library with Rose and Dom and occasionally others from my dorm or other Wotters. I got all of my essays and other homework done in time for the first Gryffindor match of the season on Saturday. It was Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw and this year, Ravenclaw had gotten a new seeker, Curtis Belby, so I was interested how he would do against Al.
I grabbed my Gryffindor flag for the game and rushed down with Aileen to meet the others, who were already up in the house box, saving our seats. Aileen took forever to get ready and was always getting places at the last minute. I stayed behind so she didn’t have to be there alone.
We got to the pitch right as the captains, James and Kelly Davies, shook hands. Kelly was a small blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, but was tougher than she looked and had a mean grip. I could even see James flexing his hand and wincing. Madame Hooch grabbed the quaffle from the box.
“I want a clean game. Follow the rules or you won’t play for the rest of the game.” She threw it up in the air and then released the bludgers and the snitch. Game on.
“Eric Wood has the quaffle. He passes to beautiful Roxanne, who I would just love to go to Hogsmeade with,” announced our commentator, Eddie Jordan, who was a fifth year. He was always biased towards Gryffindor and used excessive insults towards other teams and players, often getting in trouble with Headmistress McGonagall, but he made the games fun. Also, I think McGonagall secretly enjoys it.
“She passes to James Potter, but oh! It was intercepted by Kelly Davies. Come on, Roxanne. Has me asking you out really made you that nervous?” he joked. Fred, her older brother, hit a bludger at Eddie and called him a few interesting and highly creative words that I would definitely try to remember. He didn’t appreciate his little sister dating, even if she was sixteen. Roxy just ignored him, though I’m sure she’d get him back for using her full name as well as taking the mickey out of her.
Kelly had lost the quaffle to James, who proceeded to score. Al was scanning the field for the snitch with Belby hovering a few feet behind him. Gryffindor scored once again, but I didn’t see who did it because one of the Ravenclaw beaters sent a bludger at Al, who avoided it, but just barely, and then he proceeded to slowly circle the pitch in search of the golden snitch.
“Now, Jerry Boot has the quaffle and he fumbles with it. He drops the quaffle. How he made Head Boy, I’ll never know, the wanker.”
McGonagall scolded him, so he went back to real commentary for the time being.
“The quaffle is picked up by Corner, who scores. What are you doing, Thomas? Don’t let her score, you prat! The score is twenty to ten. Gryffindor in the lead,” Eddie yelled out. Right then, one of the Ravenclaw beaters succeeded in hitting Al in the back with a bludger. He cursed profusely, but stayed on his broom. He may have looked fine, but I knew he was just doing that for the sake of the game. I worried about him.
“You’re just jealous that Al is better than your seeker, Hilliard,” Jordan taunted the beater. Hilliard responded by lobbing another bludger at Al, but missing in his rage.
In the next few minutes, it seemed like Gryffindor went into overdrive because of Al’s injury. They scored three more times and were in possession again.
“Eric Wood scores again. Gryffidor in the lead; sixty to ten! Yikes and Aileen Finnegan sent a bludger at Belby, hitting him in the side. Nice hit! Take that, birdbrains!” Sure enough, Curtis Belby was bent over on his broom, struggling to stay on.
Unfortunately, Ravenclaw grabbed the quaffle and was passing it frequently between the chasers and Gryffindor was unable to stop them from scoring again. Cole Thomas threw the quaffle toward James, but Claire Corner intercepted it, earning a glare… and a wink? What was going on with them? She rolled her eyes and flew forward.
“Ravenclaw has possession of the quaffle. They’re making their way down the pitch. Someone stop her, damn it!” ordered our announcer. “They’re at the goal and… Cole Thomas catches the quaffle and passes it to Roxy. And, babe, my offer still stands.” He winked at her.
All of a sudden Al surged forward, right hand outstretched. Belby tried to catch up, but couldn’t as he was in obvious pain, probably a broken rib, maybe a couple. Eddie Jordan was shouting something, but you couldn’t hear it over the roar of the crowd. Al chased after it, then stopped and put his hand up in the air showing the crowd that he caught the snitch.
“Gryffindor wins two-hundred ten to twenty!” shouted Jordan while the players touched down on the pitch. I rushed down to look at Al’s injuries. Other players were hurt, but I could only focus on Al. When I arrived on the field, he had taken off his shirt and I blushed, trying not to look at his abs (even though I saw them already and they were amazing). I gasped when I saw his back. There was a giant bruise on his left shoulder blade and he was hunched over, wincing. Now that he wasn’t playing, the pain was really taking into effect with the loss of adrenaline.
I walked over to him and put my hand on his unhurt shoulder.
“Do you want some help with that?” I asked quietly. He looked up and nodded. I healed the bruise as fast as I could, but I wasn’t certified to fix the rest of his hurt shoulder blade. I left it to Madam Pomfrey, who arrived right after I did.
Worriedly, I paced around the quidditch pitch to find Roxy and Aileen and congratulate them on their big win, when I heard James talking to the Ravenclaw chaser, Claire Corner.
“So, Claire,” he said in a macho voice. “How would you like to go on a date to Hogsmeade with the winning quidditch captain?”
“Over my dead body, Potter,” she answered sweetly.
“Don’t be jealous that we won, Corner. I’ll let you win next time.”
“Let me win? My team will kick your arse, Potter. Today was just a fluke,” she replied.
“Your team? I thought you lost the captain position to Boot. I guess that means that I’m the better player. You could go out with me and learn some tips, Corner,” he suggested with a smile. That smile was wiped off his face when Claire smacked him and stormed off with a yell into the Ravenclaw girl’s changing room.
Once everyone was done getting treated and the drama was over, all of the Gryffindors gathered in the common room, the quidditch team grouped in the middle. James Potter stood on the sofa and shouted above the cheers for everyone to settle down.
“Shut it, everyone! Quiet down!” He had everyone’s undivided attention, but I could tell he was still angry and his ego was hurt after his heated fight with Claire (even though, let’s face it, he acted like a jerk). “Who won?” He asked, pumping up the crowd.
“Gryffindor!” we shouted.
“I can’t hear you. Who won?”
“Gryffindor!” we screamed at the top of our lungs. James grinned widely.
“Let’s get this party started, then!” With a flourish of his wand, music flowed through the room from an unknown source. Gryffindors, along with the occasional party crasher from other houses, piled onto the dance floor and started to boogey.
And so the Gryffindor victory party began.
Chapter 6: I'll Be Waiting
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Thanks for the beautiful chapter image by AtomicPanda @ TDA
The girls and I sprinted up to our dorms to change out of our uniforms and into something cute before the party. Roxy looked effortlessly gorgeous in some skinny jeans and a pink baby doll top that contrasted with her dark skin, and a pair of silver flats with a little bow on top. She always seemed to know exactly what to wear, but never spent much time on her wardrobe. She left her long black hair down and she stormed out of the dorm before all of the rest of us muttering something about Eddie Jordan and castration. I really didn’t want to know the details, but I felt bad for poor Eddie. Weasley women could be outright scary when they wanted to, so it’s best not to get in her way when she’s on the rampage.
Aileen, our resident fashionista, wore a light green, spaghetti-strap dress that brought out her green eyes. It was belted at the waist with a brown leather belt and flowed down to above her knees and would twirl as she danced. (That girl could move.) She looked summery with the light colors and her flowing light brown hair, which she, too, left down. She paired the dress with some dangerously tall, strappy silver heels that gave me vertigo just by looking at them.
Sophie wore a bold-colored floral skirt that stopped at mid-thigh and a deep blue sleeveless blouse with ruffles down the front tucked into it that matched some of the flowers on her skirt. She searched throughout our pigsty of a room, which wasn’t normally dirty, but had taken all the damage in our quest to look good, for her red ballet flats, that matched some other flowers on her skirt. She yelled out in triumph when she found them under her bed. She pulled her blond locks into a high pony tail, which was simple, but elegant, showing off her heart-shaped face.
Rose had more difficulty finding something that worked for her because of her modesty, cluelessness regarding clothes and her flaming red hair that clashed with certain colors. Sophie decided on a classic black dress for her that had a wide neck line, three quarter sleeves and came down to above her knee, but hugged her every curve perfectly. Aileen grabbed a pair of scarlet kitten heels to complete her outfit. Rose pulled her hair into a half up do and then went to work on doing the rest of the girl’s makeup.
I had no idea what to wear. I never dressed up. It wasn’t that I was a tomboy or anything, but I just always wore the basics. Plus, when one wears a uniform for most of the year, one doesn’t worry about fashion… well, at least I don’t. So, when the others were all ready and they saw me still in my uniform, they set to work.
Sophie and Aileen raided my wardrobe for something for me to wear and came up with a light blue dress that I forgot I owned. It had thick straps and flowed out under my bust, stopping a few inches above my knees. They slipped white pumps on my feet, which made me feel like I would fall over, but once I walked around in them, I realized they weren’t so bad (for now), though it was hard to avoid the mess in our room. I curled my hair using a simple heating charm and my wand so that it was in ringlets around my face. Rose, who, though a little fashion impaired, was a pro at makeup, assaulted my face with makeup. They went for a natural look; thank Merlin, because I wasn’t big on makeup. The overall effect was pretty and made me take a few minutes to look at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t a vain person, but damn I looked good.
Once we finished getting ready, we walked into a completely transformed common room. The normal sofas and side-tables were gone and even more students were dancing in the spaces where they used to reside as a Weird Sisters song played. The study table had also mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with a temporary bar, which was being tended by Al, who was making drinks for two girls that were definitely under-aged and definitely looking to get into his pants, judging by their dresses which didn’t cover their arses. I saw way more of them than I wanted to. I shuddered in disgust and horror.
I walked over to Al and the slags, faintly annoyed, but I couldn’t place why. Al looked up smiling and waving at me as I went over to him. The bimbos turned around and glared at me, the brunette one flipped her hair and the blonde one mouthed some vulgar, insulting word at me, but I wasn’t paying attention.
“Hey, Alice,” he greeted, smirking like always. “I didn’t know you drank alcohol. I thought Daddy wouldn’t like it.” I rolled my eyes.
“I don’t much, Al. I just want a butterbeer. Nice game, by the way,” I said, making small talk. He handed me a glass and poured some butterbeer in it. I sipped the warm liquid, enjoying the warm sensation as it went down my throat.
“Thanks,” he said. The two bimbos left when they weren’t getting enough attention. “You look good, Alice. You clean up really nice.” I smiled, pleased, and blushed lightly.
“Thanks, Al. You look pretty good, yourself,” I said, truthfully. He wore simple jeans and a dress shirt with a loosened tie around his neck. The sleeves were rolled up, exposing muscular forearms and his hair was in his usual messy, sexy style. He rubbed the back of his neck and muttered a “thanks”. It was nice to see him bashful, instead of his normally cocky self.
“So what brings you here, Allie?” he asked casually, handing a firewhiskey to Connor Young, a seventh year, though it looked like he didn’t need it. I raised my eyebrow at Al.
“I don’t think he needs more alcohol,” I said, worriedly. He rolled his eyes at me.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Alice. It was water. I figured it out last year, that I could charm the water to taste like firewhiskey. I give it to people who’ve had one too many. Now, answer my question, Mom,” he said, smirking at me. I glared at him pretending to be offended with a fake snooty gasp and a hand on my chest.
“Fine, I’m just talking to my friend. Is that not allowed?” I challenged. He chuckled.
“Not what I meant. I mean why are you talking to me when there are plenty of other people to mingle with? Soph and Rosey are over there dancing. Why aren’t you?”
“I like you, Al,” I said, his face brightening at my words. “I don’t feel like dancing and you’re fun to talk to. You’re a good friend.” His face fell, but it happened so fast that I couldn’t be sure what to make of it. After a moment of silence, I had to say something.
“I thought you were going to lose the bet for a second there. Those were most definitely bimbos,” I joked, laughing as I looked back at the pair of girls, who had moved onto their newest victim, Eric Wood, although he seemed to be enjoying himself as his eyes obviously were glued to their chest areas. Al chuckled when he saw them, while cleaning up the bar area.
“No. I wouldn’t do that. I have my eye on a pair of gloves for quidditch and they cost twenty galleons, which you’ll be paying me.”
“You wish, Potter. I may not have enjoyed seeing all that much of them, but you did. I saw you flirting with them,” I scoffed.
“Are we really back to last names, Longbottom?” he joked. “And are you jealous?” He smirked at me. I could feel my face grow hot and I couldn’t explain why. Was I really jealous of those two girls?
“No,” I denied. “Why would I be jealous?” Al kept smirking as he stepped from behind the bar and grabbed his cousin, Fred, so that he could man the bar. Then, we walked over to the window seat and sat down.
“Maybe because you enjoyed snogging me more than you want to admit,” he suggested arrogantly. I laughed at the ridiculousness of his idea, though I could feel a little truth in his words.
“Oh, please, Al,” I said, still laughing. “You’re a good snog, but I don’t have feelings for you.” His smirk grew on his face.
“I never said anything about feelings. You have feelings for me?” I was mortified. My eyes widened before I blushed brightly and avoided looking at his face.
“I… I don’t like you th… that way. You’re my… my friend,” I stammered. He stroked my cheek with the backs of his fingers.
“So when you ran out to make sure I was okay after the game? That was friendly concern? My own family wasn’t as worried as you were. I didn’t even break anything.”
“I… I was just worried that you had been hurt. It meant nothing more,” I tried to reason with him, looking at him defiantly, though even I could tell that I was just trying to convince myself.
“Your other friends had injuries. Why not them?” he smiled self-contentedly, knowing he’d won.
“I… We… We’re friends. Friends, Al. That’s all.”
“Oh, really?” he asked, staring into my eyes intently. “Would a friend do this?”
My heart was pounding in my chest and even though music was blaring and everyone was dancing right beside us, I felt like we were the only two in the room. His face got closer to mine and he kissed me softly, pulling my body towards his. Al’s hands slid down my face to my neck and then made their way to my waist. I found myself straddling his lap as our snogging got more heated. His tongue slipped inside my mouth and my hands tangled in his hair, pulling him closer to me. I felt one of hands grab my thigh through my dress and the other was resting on my hip, but it was making its way down to my arse.
When his hand found its destination and squeezed, I gasped into Al’s mouth and I could feel his lips curl upwards, but I didn’t stop. I didn’t even want to stop and it scared me. The way that he made me feel scared me. I couldn’t do this right now. I pulled away from Al and sat as far from him as I could on the window seat as I caught my breath and slowed my heart, which I seemed to do a lot of lately. I was definitely going to have a heart attack before I graduated.
Al hadn’t moved from his spot and looked as though he wanted to smirk, but decided it wasn’t a good idea. What a smart boy.
We sat like this for a few minutes before he spoke.
“So you are really saying that you don’t have any sort of feelings for me?” I pinched the bridge of my nose between my thumb and forefinger and cursed under my breath.
“Okay, fine. I feel something for you,” I admitted. “I’m not really sure what it is, Al, so you can’t expect anything to happen between us any time soon,” I said, hoping he would understand. He just nodded. I looked down at the floor because I didn’t want to see his disappointment. He just put his hand under my chin and had me look up at him.
“But you do feel something for me?” he asked, smiling for real this time. It was as if he hadn’t heard any other word I said.
“Yes, but—,” I tried to argue.
“No, ‘buts’, Allie,” he cut me off. He grabbed my hands and squeezed them. “I can wait for you to figure it out. I may have been an arse, but I’ve liked you for years and you’re worth the wait. Ever since we were kids, before Hogwarts, I had a huge crush on you, but never got the courage to say anything to you. I have acted stupid for years, but now that I have you, I’m not going to mess it up.” He got up to leave, but then turned around. “And, also, you have nothing to worry about with those girls. Total slags. They have nothing on you, Allie.” He kissed my cheek and then disappeared into the crowd of people.
I kept sitting down on the window seat stunned. He’d liked me for years? After all of our fighting and yelling and insults, he had a crush on me? How old was he? Seven?
I had thought it before, but now I was certain; Al was mental. And sitting there after his announcement, made me realize I liked him, too, so I must be mental as well. He was right when he said that even though we fought, it was just how our relationship was. In a strange way, we’d become friends, but now, I wanted more. I was ready for more with Al, though maybe not an actual relationship, I wanted to get to know him and spend time with him.
I got up off the seat, determined. I searched the room for Al, but I couldn’t find him. I saw Rose sitting with Sophie at the bar talking with Freddy. I made my way through the crowd of grinding and dancing Gryffindors, passing by Aileen, who was dancing unstably with a firewhiskey in her hand and a Slytherin bloke in front of her, and went over to them.
“Hey, guys, have you seen Al?” I asked the trio. All three of them shook their heads and I gave up the search for the time being and sat down with them to talk. We chatted about all sorts of things until Freddy saw Eddie Jordan, who must have already run into Roxy because he looked terrified, and decided it was time to get him back for hitting on his little sister. Eddie saw Fred coming toward him and bolted into the dance floor to escape his wrath with Fred chasing after him with an empty butterbeer bottle in his hand. Sophie, Rose and I just looked at each other’s faces and burst out laughing. When we finally could contain ourselves, Rose asked me why I was looking for Al.
“Um…” I said stupidly, blushing. Damn my blushing. It always gave me away. “Well… I’ve decided I want to be more than friends with Al. I think I like him and I want to ask him to Hogsmeade so we can really get to know each other better and we’ll see where we’ll take it from there.” Rose squealed and gave me a bone-crushing hug. Sophie just smiled knowingly.
Rose left the common room after wiggling her eyebrows at me, probably to go to the Slytherin common room to visit Scorpius. Sophie turned to me after she walked off and shoved me off of my stool that I was sitting on.
“Go away and don’t come back until you’ve found Al,” ordered Sophie, trying to look stern, but failing miserably. She gave me a push in the direction of the middle of the room. I shook my head and laughed. I was friends with some nutters.
She got up after shoving me and went to talk to Cole. I watched them for a minute. Soph kept smiling and playing with her hair and would bite her lip unknowingly. Cole would reach his hand up every once in a while to (I’m just guessing here) put her hair behind her ear. Both were smiling goofily. I would have to ask her about that later.
I scoured the dance floor for Al for a second time. This time I found him. He was in the back corner of the room, sucking face with one of the slutty girls that were flirting with him at the bar. I stood there and stared, dumbfounded. I felt stupid. It was all shit that he was feeding me, just to get into my pants. All he wanted was stupid slags.
Al… No, Potter broke away from the bimbo for air and saw me standing there. His face looked pained. He knew I’d caught him, but I didn’t want to hear his bloody excuses. I didn’t turn back as he called my name. I just shoved my way through the crowed and went to my dorm, struggling to hold in my tears.
I heard him yelling my name from the bottom of the stairs when I got into my dorm, but I didn’t go back down there. I got into my jumper and sweat pants and crawled into my bed. I wasn’t able to hold in my tears anymore and they flowed freely onto my face and then started to dampen my pillow. So much for him waiting for me.
The next morning, I woke earlier than usual, feeling like shit, even though I wasn’t hung over. The alarm clock said it was six fourteen in the morning. I groaned, but got up and dragged myself to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, my eyes were red and swollen and my nose felt stuffed up. I showered quickly and made sure I looked fine. I didn’t want anyone to know I’d been crying over Potter. I left the room before my mates had even woken up.
I reached the Great Hall and there were only a few people there eating. I grabbed a waffle and ate it with my hands, even though I didn’t feel hungry. Within minutes, I was done and speed-walking out of the Great Hall only to bump into the one person I didn’t want to see.
“Allie,” he tried to explain, but I shoved him backwards, away from me.
“You’ll wait for me?” I sneered before fuming away with hot tears in my eyes, not understanding why I was feeling hurt of this magnitude.
Chapter 7: Flashback
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It had been three weeks since I first and last encountered Potter after the whole incident and he had stopped trying to talk to me since. I know in my heart that I was hoping he would come after me, even if I didn’t say it. I should have said it, but I didn’t and he didn’t bother to come to me and explain again. I’m not sure what hurt more; that he was with another girl or that he didn’t even try to fix it. He let me go and so, I had to move on.
Rose and my other dorm-mates knew something had happened, but I wouldn’t tell them what was wrong and judging from their constant questions and confused looks, Potter didn’t say anything either. Rose was more persistent than the others, but eventually let it go. For the time being the girls left me to be by myself, knowing I needed space and would come talk to all of them when I was ready, as I always did.
Despite my hurt, I couldn’t help but look over at him while he was sitting at the other end of the table. His friends were all talking, but would look at him strangely from time to time. Potter must not have told them what happened either. The only person who seemed to know more about the situation was James, who kept looking at me questioningly, but he also was distracted by Claire, who would glare at him whenever their eyes met.
I envied them. I wanted to be back in that situation. I wanted to hate Potter like Claire hated James, but I couldn’t anymore.
My gaze was drawn to Potter again. His elbows were on the table, one hand under his chin and the other lazily eating a piece of toast and jam. He looked like hell. Half of me, the logical part, thought he deserved it for playing with my feelings, for making me feel like a fool. The other half wanted to forgive him so much that it physically made my heart ache. That part of me didn’t like seeing him in pain, even if he caused me so much of it, and though I hated to admit it, especially to myself, the illogical part of me was winning out. Right there, looking at him, I couldn’t help wonder what he was thinking about and how he was doing. I wanted to make sure he was okay, but I couldn’t. It would hurt too much to care about him.
I ate my toast slowly, but I didn’t feel remotely hungry. After I tried to talk to Allie, she just sneered at me and looked at me coldly and pushed me away, literally and figuratively. Stupidly, I was stunned and I let her get away and, now, I wasn’t sure how to approach her to explain what happened. It was all a misunderstanding and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Flashback to the party:
I was on cloud nine since I told Alice I liked her and I’d wait for her. After I told her, I kissed her cheek and I left to give her some time to think. I made my way over to James, who was sitting gloomily on the top of the stairs of the boy’s dorm.
“Good game, mate,” I said, patting him on the back. He smiled a little, but said nothing. I looked at him confusedly and sat beside him on the stair step. “What’s up?” James sighed, sounding frustrated.
“It’s just Claire,” he said as if it explained everything.
“Claire?” I asked. “Claire who?” Although I thought I knew who he was talking about.
“Claire Corner from Ravenclaw,” he replied with another sigh. Bingo. I was right. I decided to play clueless since I wasn’t supposed to know about James’s feelings. He didn’t like people to know exactly how deeply he felt about Claire since she turned him down all the time. It was his personal defense, a wall he kept around his emotions, scared of letting other people see them. It was sad, and thinking about it now, it was a mirror of myself, so I didn’t bring it up with him. If he wanted me to know, he would tell me.
“The chaser on the quidditch team? That Claire Corner? Don’t tell me you fancy her. She hates your guts.” James laughed humorlessly.
“Thanks for the help, little brother. I didn’t notice that,” he snapped at me sarcastically.
“Look, I’m sorry. Why don’t you just tell her how you feel? It worked for me,” I said trying to help.
“I did try that; multiple times. She keeps shooting me down. Claire says I’m too full of myself and too immature. She doesn’t even realize that I’ve changed so much over the summer and this year,” he paused and chuckled a little bit. “She was especially mad because we whooped Ravenclaw’s arse. Why do I fancy a sore loser?” I just laughed.
“She was probably mad about us winning because, knowing you, you rubbed it in her face,” I said and by his guilty expression, I knew he did. “I can see why you fancy her, though. You guys are so alike. Both of you are sore losers and completely bonkers for quidditch. It’ll work out, James. Just show her you care.” James smiled and ruffled my hair. I batted his hand away before punching him in the arm.
“Thanks, Al. You’re a good brother,” he paused before adding, “And what do you mean it worked for you?”
“I told Allie,” I said simply, trying to sound nonchalant, but my excitement showed through in my voice. James just laughed at me.
“It’s about bloody time! You’ve only liked her since forever.”
“Thanks for the support.” I rolled my eyes and then got up from sitting on the stairs. “Listen, it’ll work out. Don’t worry about it.” I hopped down the stairs two at a time and left him to think about it.
I headed towards the portrait hole. I was starving after the game and didn’t get the chance to eat before the party, so I wanted to go to the kitchens. I was almost there when the blonde girl that Allie said was flirting with me, Ella McLaggen, blocked my path.
“Hey, Al,” she purred, putting her hands on my chest. Normally, I’d be all over her, but now that I finally told Allie how I felt, I grabbed her hands and put them by her sides.
“Sorry,” I said. “I’ve got someone else. She means a lot to me, so I can’t do this.”
She looked at something behind me before grabbing my collar and kissing me. I pried her off of me and whirled around in time to see what, or should I say who, Ella was looking at; Alice glaring daggers at me.
“Alice!” I yelled for her. She just ignored me and headed to the girl’s dorm. I kept calling her name, but she kept moving, pushing people out of her way in order to get to her destination. She got up the stairs before I could get to her and I tried to get her to come back down, but I didn’t even get an answer from her. I wanted to grab my shoes, but unfortunately Uncle George gave them to me to try out and said they were prototypes. After the night I went up to get Allie, they stopped working.
“Shit,” I said under my breath, running my hands through my hair forcefully. “I seriously screwed this up.”
Back to the present:
I ran my hand through my hair as I remembered the party. I had to fix this and soon. I couldn’t sleep and I could hardly eat, which caused my quidditch skills to seriously suffer at practices. My teammates tried to find out what was wrong, but I didn’t say anything. Alice wouldn’t want me to. Roxy, Aileen, and James knew something happened between us, but they didn’t bring it up. I didn’t want to talk about it and I didn’t want to hurt Allie more.
The truth was that I lied to Alice when I said I liked her. I didn’t like her; I was in love with her. I figured that if I told her that off the bat, she would go barmy. I don’t know exactly when I fell in love with her, but I have had a crush on her since childhood.
Her dad has been friends with my parents since their years at Hogwarts and when Neville got married to Hannah, my mum and dad became close with her, too. Because of this, Alice was over at my house all the time. Unfortunately, I was too much of a chicken to even talk to her. She didn’t notice I existed, but I had the biggest crush on her. Anytime she came over, I would get tongue-tied and so I never said a word to her and tried to avoid her at all cost because I was afraid of looking like an idiot. Little did I know that, by evading her, I still appeared to be an idiot.
The first time I ever had a real interaction with her was on the boat going to Hogwarts. I smiled slightly for the first time since the party thinking about the memory.
Flashback to the first day of Hogwarts:
I was sitting in the same boat as Alice Marie Longbottom. A gigantic smile was plastered on my face. I couldn’t believe my luck, but what should I say?
Suddenly she got up and turned around in circles. She dug her hands into her pockets and frantically searched the boat.
“Has anyone seen my toad?” she asked worriedly, her hazel eyes starting to water. My eyes lit up. This was my chance to talk to her, to get to know her, to help her. I got up in the boat and looked around on the bottom of the boat. I noticed her toad, Trevor II, directly under the seat she was on. I picked it up, but it was so slimy that as soon as triumph, and the toad, was in my grasp, it slipped out of my hands and fell into the lake. I looked up guiltily and saw Alice fuming at me.
“Did you throw my pet in the water? Well, if one toad is in the lake, Potter, than the other one should be also!” she yelled and shoved me straight into the Black Lake before I could explain. I bobbed up to the surface surprised and spewing water from my mouth, but all I could think about was the fact that she talked to me. Alice talked to me and that made me the happiest boy in the world.
Back to the present:
I now chuckled for the first time since the party, which caught the attention of my friends. They all gave me weird looks because I’d been miserable the whole morning and now I was laughing at nothing. I couldn’t help it; the memory still made me laugh. It’s stupid, I know, but my logic was that if I annoyed Allie, she would have to say something, anything, to me and so that is exactly what I did. It worked, but she didn’t exactly like me very much, which is why I spent my time with brainless girls and having meaningless snogs. I never went too far, but most people thought I did. This year, though, I decided it was going to be different, and Alice made it easier with her bet, and it was… until now. Now, it was worse.
I couldn’t even finish my toast. My appetite was completely gone. I set it down on my empty plate and got up to leave the Great Hall, but not before glancing at where Alice sat. She had left.
Quickly, I sat down by my cousins, Rose and Roxy, and Aileen and Sophie and my little sister, Lily and asked them where Allie was. Rose scowled at me and the others ignored me.
“What did you do to her?” she asked fiercely, poking me in the chest (which kind of hurt, but I wasn’t about to admit that to her). I resisted the urge to rub the sore spot on my chest. Lily glared at me with hazel eyes that she inherited from Mum. It was a scary look. She’s been nagging me about Allie since the whole incident happened. I was close with my siblings, even if they annoyed me sometimes, and told her after bumping into Allie three weeks ago.
“Nothing,” I said, holding my hands up in surrender. “It was all a misunderstanding, which is why I need to find her, Rose. Please, tell me where she went.” I hoped she would because if she didn’t I was ready to get on my knees and beg. Rose sat there looking at me silently for a minute before sighing.
“Fine. She went up to the owlery to send a letter to her mum,” she said. I got up to rush there when Rose grabbed my arm. “Don’t hurt her, Al. I know you. You toy with girls. Don’t hurt Allie.” Roxy nodded, agreeing with her and Sophie and Aileen just looked for my reaction. I looked Rose’s straight in the eyes. Lily stopped glaring and looked a little pleased, but tried to hide it.
“Don’t insult me, Rose. I hate hurting her. I love her,” I said seriously. Lily smiled knowingly. Rose’s eyes lit up and she smiled at me and Sophie and Roxy started talking at rapid fire speed about how cute a couple we would be. Ugh… girls are so bipolar. I would never comprehend how their brains functioned.
“Really? Well, what are you doing here with us? Get going!” Aileen ordered, shooing me away with her hands. I chuckled and dashed to the owlery, hoping to catch Alice before she left.
I got up to the tower within minutes, thankful for the first (and most likely the last) time of all the laps that James had me and the rest of the team run at quidditch practice. I stopped before going in to fix my messy hair as much as possible, straighten my uniform and make sure I didn’t look totally disheveled. Then, I slowly and soundlessly crept into the owlery where Alice stood, back to me. She was handing the letter to her owl.
“To mum at the Leaky Cauldron,” she whispered to her owl, Tilly. When the owl flew off, she turned around and jumped when she saw me. Her face instantly turned cold and she tried to walk out, but I blocked the door.
“Alice, we need to talk,” I said, sounding extremely cliché.
“Move out of my way, Potter,” she growled and tried to push her way past me.
“Listen to me, Allie, please?” I asked her, holding both sides of the door frame. The cold look didn’t leave her face, but she stopped trying to shove me away from the door, so I figured I only had about a minute. “Allie, I never meant to hurt you.” She laughed without humor.
“But you did. I should have known that you couldn’t stay away from slags and your one-night-stands,” she stated. I winced, but continued on.
“I was trying to go to the kitchens, Alice. She came up to me and wanted...” I trailed off. I figured she didn’t need to know the details of that. “I said no because of you. That girl saw you and just grabbed me and kissed me.” She rolled her eyes and tried to get past me again, but I wouldn’t budge. “I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true. I would never jeopardize what we have for that slag, McLaggen, Allie. You should know that.” I grabbed her shoulders and looked into her hazel eyes.
“I have lo—liked you for years. Even before we talked and you would come over to our house, I thought you were the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but I couldn’t manage the courage to talk to you. It’s a wonder that I got into Gryffindor, huh?” I joked, but even though she didn’t look as mad, she didn’t look amused about the joke so I continued on. “When we were on the boat that day and you thought I threw your toad off the boat, I didn’t. It slipped from my hands as I tried to give it to you. All I could think was that this was my shot to talk to you, but you ended up pushing me into the lake. I still was okay with that, though, because you spoke to me. From then on, annoying you was the only way I knew for you to talk to me and it just became a habit. Please don’t be mad at me, Allie.”
With my guard down, she pushed past me and walked out the door. She was getting away and so I did something drastic.
“Allie, wait!” I shouted after her. “I love you!”
She froze in her place and slowly turned to face me. Her face showed complete and utter shock.
“What?” she choked out at me, a tear running down her face.
“I love you, Alice. Always have and always will.”
Chapter 8: Dangerous
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Thanks, bathtub. @ TDA for the chapter image :)
“Don’t joke around, Potter. That’s not funny. I don’t like your sick jokes. Now leave me alone,” I said, unable to stop the tears. Why was he doing this to me? Did he really hate me that much? Potter’s face was complete disbelief.
“Are you serious?” he asked incredulously. “You are dense, Alice.” He started laughing. The tears kept rolling onto my face. I just wanted him to leave me alone, to stop hurting me.
“Why are you laughing at me? Haven’t you done enough?” I asked, though it was slightly unintelligible with the sniffling. Potter ran his hands through his hair and walked over to me. He wrapped his arms around me, rubbing my back in a soothing motion.
“Don’t touch me,” I said, though I didn’t push him away. I felt too defeated to do anything, but just pretend that he hadn’t just shattered me. My words were empty threats. He must have known it, too, because he didn’t move away. I was a little relieved that he didn’t because I felt so safe in his arms, even though my brain told me I shouldn’t. I couldn’t think rationally when he was near.
After I settled down and stopped crying, he took his arms off my back and placed them on my cheeks. He wiped away the residual tears on my face and then gazed right into my eyes.
“I’m sorry about laughing at you, but you really don’t get it. I was serious when I said I love you. I just couldn’t fathom why you didn’t believe me.” I smiled tentatively, but all I could manage feeling was guilt. Guilt at yelling at him over the whole misunderstanding, guilt at hurting him so much, and guilt that I couldn’t say it back.
“I’m sorry, too,” I said, feeling ashamed. “I should have listened to your side of the story. I was just so mad at you. I thought you were just playing with me and it hurt. I didn’t mean to ignore you and yell at you—“
“No need to apologize, Allie. All I need is you to agree to go to Hogsmeade with me,” he said, wearing a huge grin and definitely putting on the charm.
“I don’t know, Al...” I said after a roll of my eyes and a soft laugh. I was conflicted. I wanted to go so bad, but how could I when he said he loved me, but I couldn’t say it back. Al’s grin got a little smaller.
“I thought you said that you liked me,” he said confusedly, looking years younger with his childlike puzzlement.
“I do, Al, but that’s the problem. I don’t love you. I can’t say it back. I don’t want to lead you on.” His signature cocky smirk appeared.
“Oh, Allie,” he said, putting an arm around my shoulders. “You will,” he said confidently. I just giggled and shook my head good-naturedly. “So come on, go with me to Hogsmeade next week. Please?” he asked with a puppy-dog-face. I bit my lip and stroked my chin, pretending to think about it.
“I guess. I mean, I don’t have anything else to do,” I teased with a huge smile on my face. Al thrust his fist into the air and then kissed me full on the mouth.
“It’s a date,” he said and then ran off down the walkway. In mid-run he turned around and started to run backwards. “I’ll meet you at the Great Hall at ten o’clock on Saturday. I’ve got to go to quidditch practice,” he yelled while waving good-bye. I waved back laughing at him.
I couldn’t wait 12 days until Saturday. It was way too long.
The next week couldn’t be any slower for me and now that it was Friday, it would go even slower. Friday was going to take forever. My dorm-mates were extremely excited about our date in Hogsmeade tomorrow. I even think Aileen already started picking out my outfit. (Let’s face it. I have no idea what to wear.) So today I sat on the bench in the middle of the Gryffindor table, waiting for Saturday.
Ever since Al and I made up and planned our date, our table arrangements had changed drastically. Instead of me and the girls sitting together and Al and his friends sitting on the other end of the table, we all sat together in a Wotter and co. group. It consisted of Al’s and my dorm-mates, James, Fred, Dom, and the occasional other family member who popped in for a spell. (Pun intended. Get it? Because we’re magic?) The whole group was loud and rambunctious and I loved it.
James and Freddy and Roxanne talked about quidditch non-stop; what new plays should they try, stats on professional players, anything and everything quidditch. They just ate that shit up.
Sophie and Cole were getting cozy and were going to Hogsmeade together as well, though we mutually agreed to go separately and not double date. Neither of us couples felt like sharing.
Rose, of course, only stopped studying to eat and to see Scorpius, though they were still a secret, so she had to be careful about it. They agreed to meet by the Shrieking Shack and I made it my goal to try to keep her family away from them.
Aileen, on the other hand, had gotten a new boyfriend, Jackson Ravensdale, just last week, but said that she wasn’t going to Hogsmeade with him and that he was getting boring. It was probably a good thing because Eric didn’t seem to like him very much. It was probably because he was on the Hufflepuff quidditch team and Eric didn’t want to sit with a rival… I think.
Lily had taken to sit with Hugo more, as they were planning a huge prank. I didn’t get a lot of details from her, but it was set to go off after holidays. Unlike the rest of her family, Lily didn’t play quidditch. She loved to watch it and knew all about it, but wasn’t interested in being a player. The only thing she played were pranks along with Hugo.
Dom and Lysander seemed to be getting rather talkative while we sat together. Though they were a year apart, they bonded and looked cute together. Plus, I hoped that Lysander, with all his quirks, would be able to have Dom keep an open mind.
Everything was going well in the world of Wotters and friends.
So it was on that morning that I sat, observing my friends and reading the newspaper simultaneously. For the first time this year, I was feeling really happy. Of course, not that I was depressed before, but everything was just going my way today.
I smiled to myself as I drank from my mug of hot cocoa and turned my full attention to the Daily Prophet. Normally, there wasn’t much news. After Voldemort died, the majority of big crimes disappeared. It wasn’t as if we were some new peaceful society, but there were significantly less murders, crimes dealing with muggles, and because of this; less to report in the news.
Today was a bit different.
Yesterday, a group of known ex-death eaters were found to be still active. After a vicious attack on a wizarding family with a muggleborn mother and wizard father, the aurors went to investigate and found the old symbol of the ouroboros (a snake eating its tail) over their house. Little is known about the location of the attackers, but the auror department is using their every resource to find them.
The article went on to describe more about the family, saying there were two casualties, the mother and the father, as they presumably defended themselves, and one boy, their twelve year old son, is in serious condition after being cut open in various place. The aurors think it was sectumsempra, but can’t be sure until they question the boy. The other two children, two daughters, ages four and five, were unharmed and found hiding in their parents closet. The last thing that I noticed was a mark over the house. It wasn’t the dark mark, strangely enough, but it consisted of a snake eating its own tail.
I was in utter shock. Since before I’ve been born, we haven’t had to deal with anything like this and I admit that I was a little scared. Al, who was sitting right next to me, saw my expression of disgust and fear and grabbed the paper from my hands. His face darkened as he read through it and he passed it around the table to the hands of our confused friends. Each one, when they got the Daily Prophet, looked horrified.
The rest of the school day was a blur. I didn’t know what was happening in classes. All I could see was the little boy and his bloody figure and the pictures of the suspected criminals. The bodies of the dead parents floated through my mind. Even though I didn’t know the people, I grieved for their family. My mum and dad told me countless tales about their Hogwarts days, including their seventh year and I knew what it would be like if the Death Eaters returned, even if Voldemort was dead.
During dinner our table was silent, but the background noise of students whispering voiced our fears and thoughts one hundred percent. Almost everyone was worried about the attack and wondered if there were more to come, for muggles and wizards alike. The only exception to this was a few Slytherins whose git parents taught them about blood purity. Thankfully there were only very few.
Al kept looking at me questioningly, his eyes silently asking how I was doing. I would give him a small smile, but I knew that wasn’t enough. He could see that I was worried. Worried about my family, who fought against the death eaters in the war, worried about my friends and their families. I was scared for everyone because everyone in the Great Hall at the moment was either considered a traitor to the death eaters or filth and both of those categories were prime targets.
My appetite was barely existent after hearing the news about the muggle family and word in the school was that another family was attacked this afternoon, but this time it was a wizarding family.
I got up from the benches and told everyone that I was going to the dorm. As I was walking, Rose got up and followed me. She had a hard time with this, too. Her family’s prominent role in the war made them high on the target list. I hugged her hard before walking back with her to the dorms, where we both curled up in our beds and tried to sleep.
Right as I was about to drift off, Rose said in a small voice, “I’m scared, Allie.”
I put out my hand, trying to comfort her and she held on to it. I wanted to tell her it was going to be okay, but I would never lie to her, so I just confessed, “I know, Rose. I know.”
The next morning, the sun was shining and, though it was a little chilly, it was amazingly bright outside, which was the total opposite of the demeanor of Hogwarts right now. I pushed the two attacks to the back of my mind and focused on my date with Al. I wouldn’t spoil it by worrying.
Everyone else seemed to have the same attitude as I did and they put all their energy into the appearance of me, Sophie, and Rose, who was going to secretly meet Scorpius at the Shrieking Shack.
Aileen was in charge of wardrobe. She picked out clothes that were cute and practical for the nippy air of fall.
Sophie wore a pair of simple jeans and a red, v-neck tee shirt. Over that she put on a black trench coat and some black boots to match. She wrapped a thin grey scarf around her neck to complete the outfit.
Rose had on dark wash skinny jeans, a long-sleeved grey shirt and a short sleeved black coat to go over that. She slipped on some silver flats and ran out of the dorm before the rest of us so that she could meet Scorpius without getting caught by her overly protective family members.
Aileen gleefully gave me some black skinny jeans and an ivory spaghetti strap shirt paired with a light blue cardigan and a pair of white tennis shoes to go with. I was not in the mood to traipse around in the heels that Aileen wanted me to wear.
After I was done playing dress up, I practically sprinted down to the Great Hall in anticipation of the afternoon. The only thing stopping me was Aileen, who insisted that I would get sweaty and she didn’t want her cardigan that I borrowed smelling like B.O., so I had to settle for speed-walking.
I arrived at the Great Hall to find Al already there. His bright green eyes brightened when he saw me making my heart hammer in my chest. He had the same tousled hair, which he didn’t even try to fix anymore, a pair of blue jeans and an open flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tee underneath it. He looked effortlessly good, like he didn’t even think about what he was wearing, but I knew that wasn’t true when he straightened out the wrinkles in his shirt and ran a hand nervously through his locks.
I laughed as I reached him and stopped his fidgeting by pushing his hand out of the way of his hair.
“Your hair is fine, Al. We both know it won’t sit flat, so don’t try. Plus, I like it that way,” I told him frankly. He grinned back at me.
“You look… you look great, Allie,” he said as we walked out to Hogsmeade. I blushed pink and muttered, “Thanks.” Now that we were going on our date, I was kind of nervous, but excited. The butterflies were doing acrobatics in my stomach and my heart was beating quicker than normal. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for this afternoon.
If only I knew how eventful it would be.
Chapter 9: First Date
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Thanks to brie cheese @ TDA for the beautiful image.
With my heart fluttering and my face feeling increasingly warm, I headed to Hogsmeade with Al. I giggled incredulously in my mind as I thought about my situation. If anyone would have told me a year ago, or even during summer, that this is where I’d be and who I’d be with, I would have died of laughter. Though now that I was here with him, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
We arrived in the middle of the hustle and bustle within a few minutes. Various Hogwarts students were making their way in and out of the shops, talking loudly in groups and shopping for the latest things, or more specifically looking for the best prices on those things. The problem with Hogsmeade was that it primarily was used by Hogwarts students and didn’t get many other people, therefore, the prices were extremely high and sales were a joyous occasion to behold.
As we window-shopped, Al’s hand kept brushing up against mine. At first I thought it was an accident, but it continued to happened several times. On each occasion he would mumble an apology and the tips of his ears would go red. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at his embarrassment, though I also found it endearing and cute. This little fact didn’t keep me from taking the mickey out of him for it.
I huffed in fake annoyance and put my hand in my pocket. Al’s eyes widened slightly.
“Ugh. Something keeps brushing against my hand. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about it, would you?” I asked with mock innocence. He stammered an unintelligible reply while his ears reddened further. I burst out in a fit of guffaws.
“If you want to hold my hand,” I said in between giggles, smirking at his embarrassed face, “Then hold it.” His ears flushed again, but this time he took my hand in his, rubbing his thumb over it gently.
“Sorry,” he apologized and then continued awkwardly. “I’m not really sure how this whole... thing works. I never date the girls that I’ve... well, you know.” I just stood up on my tip-toes and went to kiss him on the cheek, but instead he turned his face and I kissed his lips (not that I’m complaining). This caused him to smirk and to look a little more relaxed and like his normal self, though he wore a silly, self-satisfied grin on his face.
We continued our stroll in silence until Al spoke up.
“So, where to first?” I looked from shop to shop before deciding where to go.
“How about your uncle’s joke shop? I always love that place,” I suggested enthusiastically.
“As you wish,” he said with a melodramatic flourish of his hand. I giggled and tugged on his hand, leading him to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, feeling happy that he had obviously gotten over his previous nervousness.
Upon reaching George’s joke shop, I was in awe. In fact, every time I went there, I was speechless. The place was addictive and I felt like a kid in a candy store… which I kind of was, if I wanted to have a nose bleed or an upset stomach.
There were rows of various fireworks, candy, potions and other magical mischief-making devices. He even had a small section of muggle “magic” tricks for those people who had a fascination with muggle items, such as his dad, Arthur.
I felt like I was a little child again and I had the urge to run off into the store and try out everything in sight, but I didn’t want to let go of Al’s warm hand.
“I know you want to look at everything, Allie,” said Al looking highly amused. “Go ahead. I don’t mind.” I yanked on his arm.
“I will if you come with me. Please?” I put on my best puppy face. He snickered.
“You shouldn’t do that,” he said between snorts. “You look like a fish.” I just stuck my tongue out at him like the mature person I am. Despite my “fish face” (though I still maintain that it was a puppy face), Al followed me to check out the new merchandise.
For what seemed like forever, I dragged him through aisle after aisle, examining every single item that was in the store with complete fascination. Then, in the middle of my inspection, a man’s voice called out to Al.
“Albus Severus Potter,” boomed a jovial voice. “You just waltz into my joke shop and don’t say hello your favorite uncle.” We turned around to see George trying, but not succeeding, to look stern. The corners of his mouth kept turning upwards until he couldn’t hold it in anymore and he smiled brightly.
Al just scowled.
“Where? I don’t see Uncle Percy here,” he said mockingly. George just raised his eyebrows, not believing him for a second.
“We both know that’s not true. I’m for sure you’re favorite uncle. Percy is just a boring and pompous prat. Don’t make me say your full name again,” he threatened. I snickered silently.
“Really, Uncle Georgie-Porgie? Don’t say my full name. I’m on a date,” he whispered, even though I could full well hear him, and he pointed to me with his thumb. George ignored the jab at him and turned his attention to me for the first time and looked surprised to see me.
“Alice? I didn’t see you there. Nice to see you again. Are you and Neville and Hannah coming over to the Burrow for Christmas this year?” he asked, making light conversation, but I could see a mischievous gleam in his eyes that meant he was formulating a plan and going to say something embarrassing about our date.
“Yeah,” I nodded. “Harry invited us just last week. Mum told me in her letter,” I told him warily, trying to figure out what he was planning. George nodded and then turned his full attention to Al again. He put an arm around his nephew’s shoulders.
“And I see you finally agreed to give this poor bloke a chance. I must say, Allie, you could do much better. My Fred is much better looking than my nephew,” George joked as Al gave him a death glare.
“I think Al looks great,” I stated simply and smiled at Al. George just chuckled.
“Well, of course you do. Don’t think I haven’t seen you checking him out during the past few years,” he informed me with a waggle of his eyebrows. I flushed furiously and stammered as I tried to get words out of my mouth.
“I was just taking the mickey out of you guys. Mostly, I’m just surprised that you finally got up the courage to ask Allie on a date. That’s good. It only took you six years.” Al glared at him more (Merlin, if looks could kill…), but George pretended not to notice and went on.
“But at least you did it sooner than Ron. He took seven years, the spineless git. You’ve got to love him though. Oh, and you didn’t need to get your knickers in a twist over the whole name thing. She knows your whole name already, so you can stop worrying that she won't snog you because you have a wonky name," George finished. Al’s mood perked up and he appeared smug.
“Well, actually we had this arrangement before about—,” he started, but I stomped on his foot before he could tell his uncle about that embarrassing situation. Al cried out and grabbed his foot, hopping up and down. I just smiled innocently at George who was looking very amused.
“Well, it was great seeing you George. I’ll be there at Christmas. Good luck with everything. Bye,” I said hurriedly before dragging Al out of the store by his arm, blushing furiously.
This time, as we were out of George’s sight, it was Al’s turn to laugh hysterically. He was bent over with his hands clutching his stomach and sounded out of breath.
“That is so not funny, Al,” I said, trying to glare at him, but he just looked so bloody gorgeous that it was really hard. I could feel my frown turning into a smile. He took a minute to contain his laughter.
“Yeah it is,” he argued and then continued laughing. “Why does it matter if you practically assaulted me a few times, Allie? George doesn’t care.” I stuck my tongue out at him and smack him in the chest (Even though he probably didn’t feel anything because his chest is rock hard. Bloody quidditch players.).
“But I do. I just don’t want him, and your family for that matter, to think that’s all we are. I don’t want them to think that I’m just another floozy,” I shrieked worriedly, truly wanting to make a good impression on his family. Even though I’d be met them countless times, this was the first time I was talking to them as Al’s...
What were we? I pondered this for a second before Al put his arm around my shoulders, taking me out of my train of thought.
“They would never think that. My whole family knows that I’ve had a crush on you since... well, since forever, basically, so they would never think anything bad about you. Don’t fret, Allie, both you and my family know how I feel about you,” he reassured as if it was no big deal, but a guilty feeling came up again. I quickly shoved it aside. I really liked him, but when he brought up his feelings, I couldn’t reciprocate them. After years of fighting with him, love just didn’t come naturally to me.
“Plus,” he continued on, “they already love you, you know that. Mum always used to try to teach us better manners whenever you used to come over when we were kids because you were so “respectful” and “courteous” and we were “embarrassing little tots that ate like pigs”. It was bloody irritating.” I couldn’t help but smile widely and roll my eyes.
“Fine, Al, but I’m pretty sure that if they thought I was just using you for a quick snog, they wouldn’t love me anymore,” I said, being realistic.
“Oh, so that’s why you’re here?” he said with fake offense, putting a hand on his chest. I felt a grin make it’s why onto my face, but I still rolled my eyes.
“No. ‘Course not, but they don’t know that.”
“Psh, details, details. But enough of that. Why don’t we head to the Three Broomsticks next, yeah?” he asked. I sighed and nodded as we moseyed on down to the Three Broomsticks.
Once inside, we squished into one side of a booth in the back of the room and ordered two butterbeers from the old landlady, Rosmerta, who inquired about Al’s family and how he was doing.
A few minutes later, she handed us our drinks and then we were alone again, or at least as alone as you can be in a packed pub. The main thing was that no one was talking directly to us or sitting at our booth.
“So, Allie. I was thinking that this is going really great, but I could definitely use a little snogging time to make it better,” he said smirking as he winked at me.
“Really?” I asked, deciding to have a little fun with this. I sighed dramatically. “I don’t know, Al. I wouldn’t want you to feel assaulted or anything.” Now I was the one smirking. His face became serious and he brushed a strand of my blond hair behind my ear.
“So you don’t want to?” he asked in a husky voice, his face getting closer and closer to my own. I couldn’t speak and my heart pounded in my chest, so I just shook my head.
“Really?” he questioned again, letting his hand trail down my neck to my back and finally resting on my waist. It felt like a fire where ever he touched me. Again, I just nodded my head in response.
“Liar,” he said, smirking. Then, before I could respond with some brilliant head nodding communication (Notice the sarcasm?) he crashed his lips onto mine. Both his hands were on my waist, pulling me towards him. I ran mine through his ever-messy, jet black hair. His tongue entered my mouth and... We were interrupted. Why in the name of Merlin does that always seem to happen?
We stopped because we heard a girl clear her throat and a boy yell, “PDA! PDA!”
“Bloody hell,” I heard Al mutter under his breath. The two figures that were standing by our table were Sophie and Cole, both looking highly amused.
“I’m guessing you’re enjoying your date,” Cole stated, rather than asked with a smirk on his light brown face. I blushed red while Al just mumbled something along the lines of “I was”. Cole gave an even wider smirk, that gave resemblance to the one Al usually has and Sophie was attempting to hide a smile and a snicker, but losing at that enormously.
“So, are you two enjoying your date?” I asked coyly, hoping to change the subject. Sophie turned pink, but Cole looked unashamed and put his dark, muscular arm over her shoulder.
“Obviously,” he said. “I’m with the most amazing girl in Hogwarts. No offense, Allie.”
“None taken,” I replied and looked at the couple sitting across from us. They looked so cute and were obviously smitten. I couldn’t help but smile.
“Do you guys have any plans for today?” asked Sophie. “Cole and I couldn’t think of anything to do and were wonder—“
Shards of glass flying towards us as the windows broke stopped her mid-word. I could feel the glass shards cutting the right side of my face and body. Al pulled me down under the table until the windows stopped breaking and we stood up to see what was happening.
The door to the Three Broomsticks slammed open and in walked some familiar faces, wands raised. They were the ones that haunted my dreams last night, the ones that were supposed to be dead and gone, and the ones I had seen attacking that muggle family in the Daily Prophet. Death Eaters.
Their silver, shimmery masks gleamed in the light and their dark robes swayed as they silently and slowly stepped into the pub.
Everyone stopped what they were doing, seemingly frozen in place. The only things moving were the eyes of everyone in the pub, watching each move the death eaters took, ready to spring into action. Some looked terrified, their eyes searching for an escape, anyway to avoid the violence that was sure to come. Others had their hands reaching for their wands that were tucked away in pant pockets, fingers itching for a fight. For the time being we just stared at the daunting, masked figures in the door way in anticipation of what was to come.
Then all hell broke loose and the curses started to fly.
Chapter 10: Why Can't We Be Friends?
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Thanks to calypso. @ TDA for the chapter image.
A frenzy of spells zoomed through the air in a multitude of different colors. At first the spells were only from the death eaters and most of the jets of light were green killing curses, but then when everyone got their wits about them, more blasts whizzed around the pub as the students defended themselves against the group of masked attackers.
The four of us sitting at the booth slid out and had our wands at the ready. A stream of fatal green came straight at us, but we dived away just in time. Our evasion of the spell divided us; Sophie and I went to the right and Al and Cole went to the left. The glass shards cut my hands and my hip as I crashed down on the ground. Carefully and tentatively I removed the glass from my skin and healed my wounds with episkey.
When I determined that I was good as new, I shot up on my feet and searched for Al, Sophie, and Cole. First I saw Sophie. She was backed against a wall, her fingers grasping at the pockets of her jeans for her wand, but I saw that it was on the floor, out of reach. A death eater was closing in on her, his wand raised. He started to shout a spell, but he fell to floor stunned as I yelled “Stupefy!”
Sophie turned to me gratefully and hugged me, but winced as she did so.
“Soph, are you alright?” I asked, feeling concerned. She showed me her hands, which were covered in blood and had glass in them like mine had. I plucked out the pieces, Sophie wincing each time I did, and healed her as well.
“Thanks, Allie. I’m so glad you’re okay. Where’s everybody else?” she asked, looking around, but in the commotion it was hard to find anybody.
“I was just looking for you and the guys when I saw you. Here’s your wand,” I told her and handed her the wand that picked up off the floor. “Come on, Soph. Let’s go find them.” I grasped her hand and we charged into the fight.
We bobbed and weaved through the flying streams of light, trying not to get hit by them, especially the killing curses. Sophie and I desperately tried to find Al and Cole.
“Look!” exclaimed Sophie. “They’re right over in that corner!” I stared at where she was pointing as I watched both of the guys dueling masked figures. They both had obviously fixed their hands, but both boys had cuts on their faces and arms from the razor-sharp glass. Before we could help them out, the Death Eaters were stunned and lying on the floor unconscious. We ran over to them and Sophie hurtled herself into Cole’s arms and snogged the life out of him, though it looked painful, as she was hugging his glass ridden body.
Al and I looked from each other to the couple and cleared out throats, trying to capture their attention.
“Ahem,” Al tried. “Ahem. Is now really the time?” They stopped snogged, but their hands were still intertwined.
“Sorry,” said Sophie, blushing prettily.
“I’m not,” Cole replied with a huge grin on his face. I rolled my eyes while Al took charge of the situation.
“Okay, we need to clear the Death Eaters out of the pub. Once they’re gone, I want you two,” he directed, pointing to Cole and Sophie. “—to direct everyone to Honeydukes. Get them down the secret passage.” He turned and talked specifically to Cole. “You remember where it is, yeah?” Cole nodded and the two of them ran into the battle after healing Cole’s cuts.
When Al was done, I flung my arms around him, but I stopped when I saw him wince.
“Sorry,” I apologized. “Episky.” His cuts closed up, but I could still see the blood on his shirt. Seeing this, I hugged him again and he held me close for the moment.
“I know that it’s not the best timing, but I’m so glad you’re safe,” I told him.
“I happy you’re not hurt, too, but we’ll do this later.” Al went straight into leader mode. He was completely serious and focused on the danger at hand.
“After the Death Eaters are cleared out, I want you to find Rose. I know she’s going to the Shrieking Shack with Malfoy and she might be hurt. I still don’t trust that git,” he said darkly. I was pretty annoyed about that last comment, but decided to save it for later.
“Fine, but I’m also going to find Aileen and Roxy. They were shopping together today and I don’t know if they’re okay,” I said worriedly. Al shook his head.
“They’re fine. Eric insisted on going with them. Something about Aileen and her break up, but I don’t see how that’s an issue. She wasn’t even torn up about it. And then Fred went with them to keep boys away from his sister, like he does every Hogsmeade. Just go find Rose and get through the tunnel in Honeydukes. Cole can show you to it.” I nodded seriously and turned to get to a death eater that was fighting a fifth year from Hufflepuff.
“Wait, Alice,” Al called out. I turned and he grabbed my hand. “Be safe.” Then he ran up to a Death Eater and started fighting him.
“You, too,” I said quietly, even though he had run off and couldn’t hear it.
I focused back on the fifth year and the death eater. The Hufflepuff was a girl with long blond hair in pig tails and she looked so innocent and afraid. The image of the little boy popped up in my mind and I lashed out at the Death Eater.
“Petrificus Totalus!” I shouted and he fell down, stiff as a board. The girls smiled warily, but sincerely and ran off, trying to escape the pub and the vicious attacks. I took off in the other direction, trying to find others in need of assistance.
I, soon, saw a third year boy on the ground with a wand pointed at his throat by a man in a mask. He had tears running down his face. Unfortunately this one saw me coming. He stood straight up and sent a green jet at me. I ducked just in time and sent expelliarmus at him. The death eater dodged it easily and another killing spell flew at me. I shot to the right and sent another disarming spell, but this time I also conjured stupefy. While the first one missed him entirely, the second hit him in torso. He fell, almost hitting the boy he was about to kill.
The boy looked shaken and I offered him my hand. He took it and stood up on his feet, though he looked unstable.
“Hey, it’s going to be alright,” I cooed. “Just head to Honeydukes down the street. A sixth year Gryffindor by the name of Cole Thomas will lead you back to Hogwarts. Do you remember him? He’s on the quidditch team.” He nodded so I went on. “Head straight there.” The brown-haired boy nodded and sprinted for the door.
I surveyed the room. The pub was a disaster. Tables and chairs were flipped over or broken. People were lying on the floor and though, they were mostly death eaters, I saw a few Hogwarts students on the ground and I hoped they were only stunned. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than that. I didn’t want to.
At first, what looked like a complete impossibility of success now looked clear. There were two Death Eaters left standing in the Three Brooksticks. The rest were on the floor stunned or chained up with their wands out of their hands, rendering them useless.
Within seconds the last masked figures were lying on the ground and wouldn’t wake for a few hours. I saw Al from across the room. He walked over to one of the few upright tables and stood atop it. He addressed the room.
“People, people,” he said, trying to calm down the crowd. “It’s alright. Everyone who can fight, and is of age, get out of here and go into the shops in at least a group of three. Don’t go anywhere alone, but try and evacuate the other buildings. Get the younger kids to Honeydukes and talk to Cole Thomas. He’ll help you out.” Several people nodded and sprinted out of the pub in large groups.
“Other students who can’t help; I want you to get directly to Honeydukes and to safety. Don’t stop running and don’t go alone. Keep your wands out. Now, go!” he ordered. The other remaining people, who were either younger or too injured, nervously headed to the candy store.
Finally, it was only me and Al left. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close to him, kissing me softly.
“You know what to do,” he said when we stopped kissing. I nodded.
“Be careful, Al,” I said, fighting back tears that threatened to overflow in my eyes. “I don’t know what I’d do if...” I couldn’t finish the sentence. He just hugged me one more time.
“I know,” he said. “I feel the same way. Stay safe and find Rose.” I nodded again, wiping the tears off of my face and left him behind to search for my best friend.
It took me about ten minutes to get to the Shrieking Shack and I was thankful that I didn’t run into any Death Eaters. It wasn’t as if they vanished, but they were all too preoccupied with Hogwarts students that were fighting back.
As the shack came into view, Rose and Scorpius didn’t and it scared me.
“Rose!” I yelled out, making sure that no Death Eaters were around to hear me. “Rose! Scorpius! Rose, where are you?” No one answered back.
After another Death Eater check, I made my way into the spooky house. Upon entering, I was surprised. I knew it was old, but having never been there before, I didn’t know what a dump it was. There were broken pieces of furniture everywhere, curtains and other fabric ripped to shreds, and huge holes in the wall as if some animal rampaged around in here. I called out their names again, but I got no answer.
There was a stair way to my right and I climbed cautiously, hoping that I wouldn’t fall through the rotting wood. The steps creaked and groaned under the strenuous weight.
At the top of the stairs was a doorway to a large room, where, to my relief, stood Rose and Scorpius, but they didn’t notice my arrival.
“I’m sick and tired of this, Rose,” said Scorpius, looking very angry, but also hurt. “I can’t keep us a secret from everybody. I don’t care what your family thinks, damn it.” Rose looked on the verge of tears, but her Weasley anger won out.
“I told you when we started this that we couldn’t tell them! You agreed. Now, you don’t want me anymore!” yelled Rose, who looked as torn as Scorpius between rage and pain.
“Of course I want to be with you, Rose. Don’t be stupid--”
“Oh, so now I’m stupid?”
“No. You’re just ashamed of me! Of us! That’s why you won’t tell your parents; because I’m a Malfoy and you’re Mrs. Goody-goody Rose Weasley,” he spat back.
“You’re such a--” she was about to say, but I stopped her mid-sentence.
“I understand you have problems, but Death Eaters are attacking Hogsmeade right now and Al wants Rose to get to safety,” I announced. Rose and Scorpius instantly looked shocked by both my presence and the news of the Death Eater attack.
I moved over to them to take Rose’s hand and bring her to Honeydukes when Scorpius started to look horrified. He leaped in front of me and Rose and a white burst hit him in the chest.
I raised my wand and stunned the first Death Eater. Another one was behind him and she was more ready than her companion. She raised her wand and her sleeve of her robe slid back, revealing her forearm. I was shocked to see not the dark mark, but the snake eating its tail that I recognized from the Prophet. In my reveries, I was hit with a leg-locking jinx and I fell onto the floor. Another spell hit me and I writhed in pain, feeling the effect of the Crutiatus Curse. I bit my lip until it bled to keep myself from screaming. I wouldn’t give the bloody wanker that satisfaction.
Rose, who was frozen in shock at first, launched into action and grabbed her wand from her robes.
“Petrficus Totalus!” She shouted, pointing her wand at the death eater and she fell down the stairs, making an awful lot of noise as she slid down the steps.
My best friend unlocked my legs and made sure I was alright. Feeling a little shaken, but nothing injured, I told her I was fine.
Rose and I finally turned our attention to Scorpius to thank him. When we saw him, we were aghast. He had several cuts on his torso and arms. He was bleeding profusely and gasping for air. Rose’s hands started shaking and she tried to heal him, but couldn’t in her current state.
“Please,” she whimpered. I wanted to help him, but couldn’t.
“Rosy...” I hesitated. “I can’t. They’re too deep. We have to get him to Madame Pomfrey. Episkey won’t work on these.” Tears streamed down her face, but she nodded with new determination. Rose was able to transfigure a chair into a gurney and I levitated him onto it and into the air. I was about to go down the stairs when she stopped me.
“There’s another way out. It’s quicker, but be careful with him,” she said and led me to a trapdoor that I hadn’t noticed before that was in the far side of the room. She went down into the trapdoor and called out to me.
“Lower him down. Hurry, but very slowly.” I slid him down the steps and she grabbed the other end of the gurney. Once Scorpius was safely on the ground I went down the stairs and closed the trapdoor. We proceeded to levitate him and walk down the passage way.
It wasn’t very long, but with Scorpius it took us quite a while to get through it. Once we were at the end of the tunnel, Rose gestured for me to stop. She reached her hand through the doorway out and pressed something and then motioned for me to keep going. As we got out of the passage, I was stunned. Not by a spell, but by the fact that we had just climbed out of the trunk of the Whomping Willow. Even more surprising was that we weren’t being beaten to death. I would have ogled it longer, but I remembered the dying boy in the gurney.
As fast as we could, we got to Hogwarts castle and banged on the large wooden doors. Professor McGonagall opened them up and when she saw Scorpius, she immediately brought him to the hospital wing.
Once he was safely in the care of Madame Pomfrey, McGongagall came back to us.
“What has happened here?” she asked worriedly.
“There was a Death Eater attack, Professor. We’re evacuating under age students through the passage in Honeydukes. They’ll arrive behind the one-eyed witch statue. We need reinforcements now,” I said rapidly. McGonagall sent the portraits to alert the professors and sent an owl to the Ministry of Magic.
“Thank you, Ms. Longbottom and Ms. Weasley. If you would like to see Mr. Malfoy, I will allow it, though you should visit your father first, Alice,” she said to me. I nodded and ran off to his office.
I caught up to him right as he was about to leave. He saw me and a look of relief was plain on his face. My dad hugged me tightly.
“Thank Merlin you’re safe, Allie,” he said. “I was so worried. I told your mum about this, but I’ll send an owl telling her that you’re okay.”
“No, I’ll do it, dad. Go help at Hogsmeade,” I offered. He nodded and gave me another bone-crunching hug and ran off to help the students.
In my dad’s office, I found some parchment and a quill and quickly wrote a letter to mum at the Leaky Cauldron. Tilly was sitting on a perch by the window, so I gave my note to her and she flew to mum.
Next, I rushed to the hospital wing to support Rose and thank Scorpius when he woke.
For about an hour we sat with Scorpius. I was there for moral support for Rose, but part of me really wanted to go back and find Al and the others. I hoped they were okay. Even though I was dating Al and friends with my roommates, I had gotten to know the other Wotters and friends throughout the past few weeks and found myself worrying about their lives as well.
Madame Pomfrey knew exactly what to do about his wounds, but said that he would be resting for a few days to recover his strength, so Rose and I waited by his bedside while he slept.
As we sat there, the entire Wotter family rushed into the hospital wing, despite Madame Pomfreys protests about only two visitors at a time. They ignored the elderly healer and crowded the room.
All of the family members were calling Rose’s name, but when they saw her by Scorpius’s bed, the talking was replaced by murmurs of confusion. Her little brother, Hugo, stepped forward with a hard look on his face.
“What are you doing with him?” he asked, but I could tell he already knew the answer.
I reached the castle after helping to evacuate Hogsmeade which had gotten easier when the professors arrived. I patrolled around the buildings with Fred and Teddy (although he always tells me to call him Professor Lupin), but everyone was gone, so we went to Honeydukes and made our way back into the school.
The only thing I could think about was Allie and if she got back safely. I ran up to Professor Longbottom, who was answering people’s questions about the attack and trying to calm the students down.
“Professor!” I yelled. “Professor, where’s Alice?” His scruffy, round face looked tired.
“In the hospital wing, Albus,” he said distractedly. I couldn’t comprehend how he was being so calm.
“The hospital wing? Is she okay? Is she hurt? Will she be fine?” I asked, not giving time for a reply until all my questions were asked.
“No, she’s with Rose,” he replied and then went over to help a crying student. I was scared. Had Rose gotten hurt? How badly?
I rounded up Hugo and Lily, who were talking to Professor McGonagall about the events in Hogsmeade and pulled them aside. I swiftly told them the news. Hugo was beside himself with worry and wanted to go straight away, but I told him we needed everybody. Finally, when all of the siblings/cousins were together, we headed toward the hospital wing like an unstoppable force.
When we arrived, we saw that the situation was a little different than expected.
Rose wasn’t hurt. Well, at least, not physically, though she was crying hysterically with Allie comforting her and she was holding the hand of a sleeping Scorpius Malfoy. It wasn’t a shock to me, but the rest of the family was confused. Finally, Hugo spoke up.
“What are you doing with him?” he sneered, but the whole image was exactly what it looked like. There was no explaining it away.
Rose stood up from her chair and let go of Malfoy’s hand, though she looked reluctant about it.
“I’m with my boyfriend, Scorpius,” she said calmly, but coldly. “There is nothing you can do about it, so don’t bother. I love him and that’s that.” Allie smiled at her with pride and even I was impressed by her bravado and loyalty.
“What?” exclaimed James. “But he’s a Malfoy. His father and grandfather, and Merlin knows who else, were a death eaters, Rose. Did you forget that?”
“Of course not! I accept him, though, and know that he’s not his father nor his grandfather. Also, his father has changed. He got out of that, so don’t go saying bad things about Mr. Malfoy,” she defended them.
“You’re never going to be able to see him, Rose,” said Dom. “Once your dad finds out, he’s going to flip. Plus, Aunt Hermione isn’t going to be thrilled about it either. Just break it off now. It’ll be much easier this way and we can all forget about it,” she begged and the other family members nodded in agreement. Lily stepped forward.
“Dom, Hu, James, everybody. Rose is a big girl. She can do what she wants. Though I don’t particularly agree with her choice, I respect her ability to make her own decisions,” she said, sounding very grown up. I beamed at my baby sister.
“I don’t care if she’s a ‘big girl’, Lils. She still made the wrong decision, even you said that,” debated Hugo.
Suddenly, I was angry. Couldn’t they see how much Rose loved him? And looking back on the past month, she’s been happier. Didn’t they notice it? I may not have seen it before, but looking at Rose now, it was obvious in her eyes and the way she held herself. She was constantly checking on him out of the corner of her eyes and she stood in front of his bed, as if she was protecting him from her own family.
Before Rose spoke up to defend Scorpius further, I spoke my mind.
“No,” I said simply. “It would never be easier that way for her to just leave him, Dom, and she didn’t make the wrong decision, Hu.” My family looked at me with shock, but I kept going. “Haven’t you seen how she looks at him? It’s obvious how she feels about him and you think that breaking up with him would be easy for her? Are you really such a horrible family that you want to see her go through that much pain, all because of your petty prejudices?”
James averted his gaze from mine, ashamed and looked between Rose and Scorpius. Dom looked at me thoughtfully. Hu didn’t look happy, but his scowl had lessened and Lils had a small smile on her face. Everyone else had serious expressions except Roxanne, who looked at the couple knowingly. Rose must have already told her.
“How about a compromise?” Allie spoke up. That’s what I loved about her. She always tried to fix everything and help everybody. She wanted to make everything better. I smiled at her encouragingly, letting her know that she should go on.
“If Rose wants to stay with Scorpius, then she has to let the rest of her family know, including her parents. She doesn’t have to tell them now, but she has to tell them in person during the holidays. No one can do it for her, but at least she has time to figure out what she wants to say,” she reasoned. “Does that sound okay for everyone?”
Alice looked from face to face of each of us, looking at our reactions and when everyone nodded, though some reluctantly, she smiled faintly, relieved that the fight was over.
All of the Wotters, but me and Rosey, left the room and went their separate ways.
I walked over to Allie and pulled her into my arms and kissed her forehead.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” she said. “I was so worried and I wanted to go back out there, but...” She glanced over at Rose, who was back at Scorpius’s side.
To my surprise, he was awake and was smiling at me.
“Thanks,” he said to me. I was confused.
“What for?” I questioned.
“I awoke to the raised voices and I heard what you said. Thanks for defending me and say thanks to Lily, too, even if it was kind of back-handed. And you don’t have to worry about me hurting Rose. I could never— No, I would never hurt her. I love her, too,” he reassured me, though he said the last sentence looking at Rose. He turned back to me.
“Now that this is all over, do you think we could rewind? Friends?” he asked me and held out his hand. I hesitated for a second and looked at Rose’s hopeful face. Then I turned to see Allie grinning and nodding encouragingly. Finally I looked back at Scorpius.
I thought all about the prejudices that I previously held and found that none of them I could prove. Everything I believed about him was false, or at least, I hadn’t gotten to know him enough to find out if they were true. I reached out and grabbed his hand and shook it.
Chapter 11: How to Save a Life
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Thanks Chocolateluver @ TDA for the incredible image :)
I spent the rest of the day with Rose at Scorpius’s side. As she watched over him, I watched everyone else. Every bed had a hurt person in it. I found out from Madame Pomfrey that no one had died, thank Merlin, but a few kids had been sent to St. Mungo’s for serious injuries that couldn’t be treated here.
As I interrogated the nurse, it came to my attention that, apparently, the students that were lying on the floor in the Three Broomsticks had, actually, stunned themselves, preferring it to death. They simply wanted everybody to leave them alone rather than be killed trying to fight.
It seemed a bit cowardly in my opinion, however, it was clever. Not clever enough for me to ever consider, but a good option for someone who needed it.
Though I was beyond grateful for the lack of fatalities, it raised a red flag for me. Shouldn’t Death Eaters be able to overpower a bunch of unaware students?
Al sat by my side throughout it all, too. He comforted Rose, chatted with me, and, surprisingly, really acted like a friend to Scorpius. Throughout the day they had gotten to know each other and acted like old friends. In fact, it was as if they never hated each other. They laughed together, told each other about their idiotic childhood adventures that led to unnecessary broken bones or scars, and most of all, they made Rose ecstatic.
Not only did her brother and cousins accept Scorpius (even though they still didn’t particularly like him), but her favorite cousin was becoming good mates with him. I could tell by the enormous smile that she had plastered on her face when she watched the two of them talk. It got wider when they laughed.
I just sat there and watched as more people were brought in to the room. I hardly saw anybody leave, but people were walking (or limping or being carried) in every minute. At first it was just hurt kids. Then it was friends and siblings of the students that joined them. After that other family members came in. All of them looked scared, but relieved that the person they were visiting was going to be fine.
It was because of this that I wanted to be a healer. Right then and there I decided what I was going to do with my life. I wanted to help all of these people. I wanted to ease their pain, but I couldn’t right now. All I could do was watch it.
I grabbed Al’s hand; just knowing that he was near made me feel a little better. He glanced at me sitting next to him and smiled before going back to his conversation with Scorpius and Rose. I decided I should tune in and take my mind off of the people I couldn’t help.
“So, I reached forward for the snitch,” Al was saying. Scorpius looked interested in his story, but Rose was rolling her eyes. She had probably heard this before and no doubt it as a tale that played up Al’s own quidditch skills.
“And just as I was about to grab it, a bludger came straight for my hand. It had taken off my wrist guard and broken several bones in my wrist and hand, but I continued on through the pain. Unfortunately I couldn’t use my right hand, but I took my left hand off my broom, using only my balance to stay on. I surged forward and grabbed the snitch as I fell on to the pitch. Pretty impressive, huh?”
Scorpius looked confused as I felt and Rose was just shaking her head.
“I don’t remember that match, Al,” I said skeptically.
“Me neither,” Scorpius agreed with me. “When did that happen?”
“It... erm... well...” Al stammered. Rose started laughing hysterically.
“You don’t remember it,” she said still laughing, “because it didn’t happen. At least, not to Al. He stole one of Uncle Harry’s old quidditch stories from his second year. I can’t believe you bought that complete load.”
“That makes sense,” I said nodding. “I always knew Al wasn’t that good.”
“Oi!” Al said glaring at me. I just giggled at his face.
“I’m just kidding, Al, but that’s what you get. Plus, your ego could be taken down a notch, don’t you agree?” I asked smirking at his glaring face.
“You’re just jealous!” he yelled dramatically. All of the conscious students looked at him like he was insane, though the visitors were too focused on whoever they were visiting.
“All of you,” he continued loudly, “just wish you were me and--” I cupped my hand over his mouth.
“Shut it, Al. No one is jealous of you. Especially when you are that melodramatic,” I said mock-patronizingly. Al just stuck his lip out and pouted.
“Stop that. You look like a fish,” I reused his own words and smirked like him. He just pretended to be offended and said, “Ouch! That hurt my feelings. I’m never talking to you ever again.” I decided to play along.
“Oh dear Merlin, what ever shall I do? Al isn’t talking to me. Oh no,” I announced, but more quietly than Al. Scorpius and Rose were snickering at our display.
“Please,” I begged, getting on my knees. “Forgive me for my rashness and insolent words.” Al stood up and grabbed my hands, pulling me to my feet. Then, he sweeped me off my feet, both literally and virtually.
“Of course, buttercup,” he said loudly again. He gave me no time to reply because he snogged me. When we were done we stood and grabbed hands and bowed.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Al waving at everybody in the infirmary. “We’ll be here during visiting hours.” Rose and Scorpius were laughing loudly and Rose almost fell off her seat. The rest of the room was either following suit or looking at us like we were barmy.
The two of us sat down back in our seats and continued as if we hadn’t done a thing.
Once Rose and Scorp stopped laughing and started breathing again, we went back to talking until Madame Pomfrey kicked us out when visiting hours were over.
The next morning Scorp was let out of the hospital, as he was fussing about in there. The only way he could get Madame Pomfrey to agree to letting him go was to say he would rest all day and not go to classes, which he readily agreed to. Who doesn’t like a little R and R in their room?
During meal time Al and I stuffed our faces with Rose at the Gryffindor table. To our surprise, even though he was a Slytherin, Scorpius waved to his friends, Sara Zabini and Mark Phillips, who looked shocked when he plopped down next to Rose at the Gryffindor table during breakfast and kissed her on the cheek.
“Wow, Scorp,” said Rose, surprised. “When did you renounce your cunning ways and become a Gryffindor?”
“Ha ha, Rose. What? You don’t want to sit with me? That’s fine. I’ll leave.” He shuffled off of the bench, but Rose pulled him back down.
“Sit, Scorpius,” she ordered. He sat. Rose laughed and said jokingly, “Good boy! Who’s a good dog? Scorpius is!”
Al and I, who watched the whole thing from where we sat across from them, chuckled. Before we could comment further, Professor McGonagall stood at the podium and got the attention of everyone in the Great Hall.
“Excuse me, students. I have a few announcements to make. Firstly, I want to inform you that though there were many injured in yesterday’s attack on Hogwarts, no lives were lost. We do have three students in St. Mungo’s, but they are expected to make a full recovery. Secondly, we do not have any information on why Hogsmeade was attacked. This brings me to my third and final announcement. From now until we catch the people behind this, we will have Aurors guarding the entrances of the school and there will be no more Hogsmeade trips.”
There was uproar from the students, minus the first and second years who couldn’t care less, as they weren’t allowed to go. Professors stood from their seats, trying to calm everyone down, but the arguments continued.
Then, startling everyone, McGonagall’s voice boomed out and filled the room.
“Silence, students!” she said, using sonorous to amplify the volume of her voice. “The aurors that are guarding our school are the best in the Ministry. Not only will they be guarding you from harm, they will be investigating the who’s and why’s of this attack and if it’s in connection to the others.” Her voice softened as she removed the spell.
“I never wanted to shut down Hogsmeade, students, but I’m afraid it’s too dangerous until we can stop the culprits. I have decided just now, in spite of everything, that classes for today are cancelled. That is all. Continue your meal,” she finished and sat back down in her chair.
The normal cheers that this would have caused didn’t come. The combination of yesterday’s events and today’s announcement left the students scared and disappointed.
Predictably, when everyone was done with breakfast, they did one of two things. Either they went straight to visit someone in the hospital wing, or, like us (Wotter and Co.) went back to the common room and discussed everything that had happened and what was going on now.
So there we sat. Every single Potter, Weasley, and friend, including ones from other houses sat in the Gryffindor common room by the fire and talked about the attack. The only person who was missing was James, who mysteriously vanished, but no one gave much thought to it at that moment.
“What do you think they wanted?” asked little Lucy, who was the youngest, even at thirteen. She wrapped a blanked around her shoulders, looking so innocent at that moment that I wanted to hug her and make her feel better. Most of everybody just shrugged, but Dom spoke up.
“I don’t know, Luce,” she said as she sat beside Lucy and hugged her around the shoulders. “But whatever they want, we’ll find out. They won’t win.”
We sat there, thinking in silence, but I couldn’t. Al kept fidgeting beside me.
“What’s wrong, Al?” I whispered in his ear.
“James isn’t here. Where is he?” Al sounded worried. “I haven’t seen him since last night. He just left. I checked the map this morning and he’s not even in Hogwarts. When I found him yesterday to go see Rose, he looked like a wreck. I just want to know if he’s okay.”
I stood up and grabbed Al’s hand, pulling him up beside me.
“Let’s go find him, then,” I whispered to him. Then I addressed the rest of everybody.
“We’re going to go see if we can find James. We’ll be right back.” When I finished talking, Al practically dragged me out of common room with a look of pure determination on his face.
“Okay,” I started as we rushed down the corridor, Al practically yanking my arm off. “Al, slow down for one moment.” He kept going.
“Albus Severus Potter, slow down!” I shouted. Al stopped in his place, but didn’t turn and look at me.
“Al, I know you’re worried, but you don’t even know where you’re going. You won’t find James if you just run aimlessly through the halls.” He turned around and nodded.
“You’re right. Sorry, Allie.”
“Of course I’m right. I always am,” I joked. Al broke into a small grin. “Now where did you see him last?”
“In the hospital wing, right after I told him off for the Rose and Scorpius thing. That’s why I’m worried. He wasn’t happy about it. He carries dad’s childhood prejudices. Even though dad’s let it go, James hasn’t. I don’t want him to end up hurting Rose or Scorpius by doing something rash that he’ll regret in the future.” I nodded, understanding.
“We’ll go there first. We can ask Madame Pomfrey if she saw where he went. If not, we can go to McGonagall and ask her. She’ll know if anyone is off school grounds.”
We reached the hospital wing in minutes because Al was pretty much dragging me there. Bloody hell, he runs fast. I was panting loudly when we got there.
Madame Pomfrey was on the far side of the room, making her way around to each of the students and checking their conditions.
“Excuse me,” Al said politely. “Madame Pomfrey?”
“Make it quick, Mr. Potter. I’m extremely busy,” she said sternly.
“Right. Sorry. Have you seen James since yesterday? Do you know where he went? I haven’t been able to find him.” Pomfrey looked at him confusedly.
“He didn’t tell you? That’s odd. He went to visit Ms. Corner at St. Mungo’s. He left right after coming here.” I was perplexed, but understanding dawned on Al’s face.
“Thank you, Madame Pomfrey,” he said and dragged me out of the hospital wing, sprinting to Merlin knows where. I struggled to keep up with him and didn’t have the breath to ask him where we were going.
I needed to work out more.
After what seemed like forever, we ended up at the Headmistresses office. We quickly said the password and ran up the spiral stair case. Well, Al sprinted. I walked. Very slowly. Merlin, I was out of shape.
Professor McGonagall looked at us inquiringly.
“Mr. Potter. Ms. Longbottom. I can’t say I’m surprised to see you two together. Again,”she said, looking amused at her joke. I swore I saw her trying not to laugh, but she was good, so I couldn’t tell for sure.
“What do you two need?”
“We need to go see James at St. Mungo’s,” he said quickly and urgently.
“Why would you need to do that, Mr. Potter?”
“You let James go. We just need to make sure he’s okay over there.”
“I let the other Mr. Potter go because he is the one who saved Ms. Corner,” she explained. “I cannot let students leave the grounds willy nilly, Potter, it is against school policy. Plus, if I let one person go, then I have to let everyone go. So, while I visit the hospital wing, I expect both of you to not use the floo network.” She got up, gave us a knowing look, and walked the down the stairs.
Al and I looked at each other in disbelief.
“Is she really implying that we go?” I asked.
“Who cares? Let’s just leave before she decides to change her mind.” He stepped into her fireplace and yelled out “St. Mungo’s.” I followed him after he disappeared in green flames.
The floo sensation was a little unsettling. Flames were all around me, as I shot up the chimney, and it looked as if I was burning, but I felt no extra warmth.
I landed on my feet in the fireplace at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Inuries. I brushed the soot off of my school uniform and stepped out of the fireplace. Al was waiting for me expectantly. When I was done cleaning my clothes off, we walked up to the elevator and checked the floors.
First floor was dubbed “Creature Induced Injuries” and the second was “Magical Bugs and Diseases”. The third was “Potions and Plant Poisoning”, but the fourth was the one we were looking for; “Spell Damage”. We stepped into the elevator, grabbed hold of the grips that hung from the ceiling for stability and pressed button four.
We shot up at top speed, shaking and occasionally hitting each other in the turbulence. Finally, we reached our floor. The pair of us walked up to the reception desk to speak with the lady behind the desk.
“Excuse me,” I said courteously. The receptionist was too busy to notice me. She was furiously scribbling something on to a piece of paper and there were three other quills doing the same next to her. She mumbled her words as she wrote them down and kept pushing her black hair behind her ear every time it fell onto her parchment.
“Excuse me,” I said louder. “Ma’am?” I poked her on the top of the head. She stopped writing and the self-scribbling quills stopped as well.
“Oh, sorry,” she apologized, sounding exhausted and stressed. “I’ve just had so much paperwork since all the attacks recently.” Al and I were both perplexed.
“I thought there were only three,” inquired Al. “The two in the papers and the one at Hogsmeade.” The receptionist looked horrified and her brown eyes widened.
“Oh, Merlin’s pants. Bloody hell,” she cursed. “I wasn’t supposed to say anything. The ministry didn’t want to panic people. Please don’t say anything. I could lose my job.” She looked at us desperately.
“Of course we won’t,” I said reassuringly and Al nodded in agreement. “We just want to know where Claire Corner’s room is.” Relief was plain on her face.
“Thank you so much. It is the first door on your right, down that hall. You guys are life savers.”
With one last wave at the lady behind the desk, we headed for Claire’s room. Quietly, we walked inside. James was sitting by Claire’s bedside and he didn’t even notice us. Claire, on the other hand, couldn’t notice us as she was sleeping soundly.
Al cleared his throat and James looked over at us in surprise.
“What are you doing here?” he asked us.
“Well, no one has seen you since yesterday and I got worried, James. I thought you might do something to break up Scorp and Rose,” Al answered.
“No. Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Al. I don’t like ‘Scorp’, as you call him, but I see that Rosey is happy. I wouldn’t do that. Especially when I know how it feels to love someone like she does.” He looked down at Claire’s sleeping face.
“What happened to her?” I asked James, sitting in the chair on the other side of Claire’s bed. James’s face hardened.
“She was hit with the Crutiatus Curse. The healers say that she was tortured for too long. Her body couldn’t handle the pain and she went unconscious to block it out. For a while she was touch and go, but she woke up about an hour ago and ate a little food before going back to sleep. I wasn’t there, but a nurse told me about it. The healers say she just needs to sleep and regain her strength.” I nodded, smiling slightly.
“If she already woke up, then she’ll be just fine. You don’t need to worry about her, James,” I said, trying to ease his concern. He nodded, but still looked worried. “Where are her parents?” I asked, just noticing their absence.
“They went on vacation to some island somewhere. I don’t remember the details and I don’t have the letter they sent me anymore. When I sent them the letter about their daughter... it was like they didn’t care. They could have apparated back, but they didn’t. ‘Wanted to finish their vacation’ they said.” James looked disgusted.
“Hey,” I said, grabbing his hand. “You’re here for her. She has you and that’s all that matters.” He brushed some hair off of her face, and then the corners of his lips lifted up.
“Thanks, Allie. I can see why Al cares about you.” I blushed, but remained silent as Al pulled up another chair next to his brother. We all sat around her in silence, waiting for her to wake up again.
Chapter 12: Ordinary Miracle
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Thanks to VeeKAY for the awesome image :)
James was a complete and total wreck.
I mean it.
His normal hazel eyes that were so full of life and mischief had bags under them. His jet black hair was messier than usual, hair flying every which way as if he rubbed a balloon on his head. It looked as though it needed to be washed as it was greasier than oil. Al told me that he suffered in quidditch practice and with schoolwork, playing with less determination and his grades were slipping.
When he wasn’t in the hospital he would try and do both those things, but without success, as he was worried about Claire and just ended up thinking about being with her. He spent every waking minute that he could by her side. If he had the option, he would be there day and night, without sleep until his body was too exhausted to keep him awake, but Professor McGonagall and the healers wouldn’t let him. He was self-destructive.
He had to be forced out of St. Mungo’s when visiting hours were over every day and he only slept a few hours per night. Every day he usually grabbed a cup of coffee or tea to wake him up and a piece of toast, but that was all he ate or drank. He was suffering because Claire hadn’t woken up since the day we arrived to see him weeks earlier and the healers weren’t sure how this would affect her recovery.
It was now the last day before the holidays and we were to be leaving from Hogwarts to King’s Cross tomorrow morning after packing up. This just proceeded to make James even more stressed and worried. He didn’t want to leave her alone for the holidays for fear that she would wake up with no one familiar to care for her, seeing as her parents weren’t going to visit. He adamantly wouldn’t pack until she woke up from her slumber.
Al was worried, too, but not as much about Claire as he was his brother. James hardly ate, slept, or smiled and he never laughed. In the weeks that Claire Corner was hurt, he didn’t do anything, but sit by her side until the healers forced him to leave; sometimes they had to drag him out of St. Mungo’s. Whenever it came time for visiting hours to be over, the healers and some guards came in with pitying looks on their faces and requested he leave. Most times he put up a fight.
Because of this, Al and I requested permission from McGonagall to go with him to see Claire for his health and sanity. After class each day, we went with him to St. Mungo’s and did our homework while we sat by the two ill people.
Today both Al and I sat on the left of Claire’s bed, frantically trying to finish a two foot long essay for Transfiguration, and James on the right. He was clutching her hand and never taking his eyes off of her face, desperately hoping she would wake. Occasionally he would squeeze her hand or touch her face or speak her name, just to see if she would stir, but so far it was unsuccessful.
“Okay, James,” said Al. “I’m getting tired of watching you sit here and neglect yourself. We’re getting you something to eat and then you’re going to take a nap.” James looked up from Claire to glare at his little brother, but his hand never left hers.
“Al, not only am I your older brother, but I’m of age. You can’t just tell me what to do. You’re not mum,” he said agitatedly.
“Mum would say the same thing, mate,” Al reasoned. “You’re torturing yourself being here, just waiting for her, James. You need to take your mind off of Claire. She will wake up and when she does, the healers will let you know. You aren’t helping in the least. In fact you’re making the healer’s jobs harder every time you fight back to stay here. You can’t just neglect your health and your hygiene and your sanity just to see her wake up. You can see her when the healers say that it’s okay.”
“I’m fine, Al. Let it go and sod off,” James warned.
“You are not fine, James. I mean yesterday, at quidditch practice, you called me Cole. He’s black! How could we look anything alike? And you really smell. It’s bloody awful. Claire would have a heart attack if she woke up seeing you and smelling you like this.” James faced me. The last statement got his attention.
“Do I really smell?” he asked worriedly. I nodded sheepishly.
“And your hair looks really greasy, James. You need a break,” I backed Al. James sniffed his clothing and shuddered.
“Okay, I get your point, but I have to be there when she wakes, Al. I just have to. I can’t leave her alone during the holidays. At a time where she is supposed to be with people who love her. When she awakes, I’ll ask her to join us at the burrow and then, I’ll leave and shower and eat right after I ask her that and make sure she’s alright. You have to understand, Al. How would you feel if this was Allie, huh? You’d do the same thing as me, yeah?” he interrogated. Al hesitated for a moment.
“Well... I guess you’re right, James,” Al admitted and James went back to staring at Claire. Al wasn’t finished though.
“But, James, face it, you’d be doing the same thing as me,” he stated, a little smugly I might add, as he knew he was right. His big brother cared about him.
James hesitated, but eventually nodded and admitted defeat. The two brothers walked out of the room to the St. Mungo’s cafeteria to grab a bite and then would head to Hogwarts so that James could catch a wink of sleep. Before he left, James paused and turned to me.
“Look after her while I rest, okay, Allie?” I nodded and smiled to perk up his mood.
“Of course, James. I was already planning on it.” He looked relieved as he headed out the door.
When they were both gone, I set aside my schoolwork that I was doing and grabbed Claire’s hand as James had done and kept watch on her.
I sat like this for a few hours, tentatively watching her when her hand stirred. She gripped mine tightly and her eyes fluttered open.
“Claire? Claire Corner?” She turned her head to me at the sound of her name.
“Who’re you?” she asked groggily. “Can I have some water?” As I grabbed her some water, I answered her question.
“I’m Alice Longbottom. I was watching over you in the hospital along with Al and James Potter. You’re in St. Mungo’s.”
“Oh. You’re Professor Longbottom’s daughter and Al’s girlfriend. I know you,” she stated, bring a blush to my cheeks.
“Oh, no. We’re not... I mean... We...” I stammered.
“Sorry, I just assumed. The way you two look at each other, even when you were fighting. I was sure you were in love.” My eyes widened and I changed the subject.
“Do you remember what happened?” I asked. Claire nodded and looked at me curiously, noticing my obvious change of topic, but she went with it.
“I was in Hogsmeade with my friends when Death Eaters attacked the village. My friends ran, but I tripped over something. A Death Eater got to me and used the Crutiatus Curse on me. It was so painful. I couldn’t stop him,” she said, fighting back tears. “I blacked out and ended up here. I fell asleep again. How long have I been unconscious?”
“Well, the first time you were asleep for a little over a day, but you’ve been sleeping for weeks since then. James hasn’t left your side since then either,” I informed her.
“Why was James Potter here?”
“If anybody is in love, it’s you two.” I said with a smile.
“Never would I ever. James is an arrogant prat that flaunts his quidditch skills in my face, which are mediocre at best. He always brags every time he wins and makes me want to kill him. He’s just so... so... ugh!” I smiled at her sympathetically.
“You know what? I used to think the same of Al Potter. Every word that came out of his mouth was irritating and grated on my nerves. He was the devil reincarnated and was born to make me want to commit murder, but this year, something changed. He acted more mature, not that he will ever be fully mature, but he was different. At first he still irritated me because I couldn’t get passed old prejudices, but now, I really like him, and even if we aren’t officially dating, I want to be with him.” Claire looked deep in thought, but said nothing so I continued.
“James has matured, too. The whole time that you were here, he’s been at your side. In fact, he was the one that rescued you. James even sent a letter to your parents when you--” She interrupted me.
“Ha. My parents would never come visit me in the hospital on one of their many vacations. He shouldn’t be so stupid.”
“James isn’t stupid. He cares for you, Claire, and if you’re too bloody ignorant and dense to see how amazing he is, then he shouldn’t waste his time with you.” She looked shocked, but I wasn’t finished.
“He was pissed when your parents declined to come and he vowed that if you woke before our break that he would invite you to the Burrow for Christmas so that you wouldn’t be alone. If you didn’t wake, I’m positive he would have stayed in the hospital for the holidays.” Tears glistened in Claire’s eyes.
“He really said that?” she whispered, looking ashamed. I nodded seriously. We didn’t get a chance to discuss if further because James and Al walked back in, James looking clean and much more refreshed than he had previously. He also had a huge smile on his face when he saw Claire, but it quickly turned to concern when tears rolled down her cheeks.
“What’s wrong, Claire?” he asked and sat at her side.
“I’m so sorry,” she blubbered and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him in for a tight hug. “Thank you for everything, James. And I would love to come to the Burrow with you.” James looked stunned, but childishly happy as he hugged her gently in return.
“It was nothing, Claire. I’m happy to have you over. I didn’t want you to be alone during the holidays.” While they hugged Al and I slowly crept out of the room.
As we walked down the hall, arm in arm, Al asked me a question.
“Did you mean what you said in there?”
“Mean what?” I asked, genuinely confused.
“James and I heard your whole speech. James wanted to thank you for what you said about him. It was very nice of you and he’ll thank you when he’s done in there with Claire.”
“Oh. Well of course I meant that. He’s a great guy.”
“No,” Al said. “Did you mean what you said about me? That you want to be with me?”
I blushed crimson and looked down at my shoes, my blond locks hiding my face.
“Well, yes,” I mumbled, but then looked at his face and his warm green eyes. “Of course I do, Al. You should already know that.” Didn’t he see how obviously I lov— I mean liked him?
“But, I didn’t, Allie. I didn’t know what you wanted. Did you still want to just snog or did you really like me for me? I asked myself that daily. For all I knew, you thought of me as a friend who was around for a good snog.” I laughed.
“The famous Al Potter is insecure? Where did your ego go? I know I can find it somewhere,” I joked looking around the room intensely as if searching for it. “You’re everything I want. You’re a fit, famous bloke. What else could I ask for?” I teased him.
“Oh I see,” he said. “That’s why you went on a date with me.” I laughed again.
“No. I was just taking the mickey out of you. I love you because you’re brilliant, make me laugh, you’re sensitive when I need it, and you get me. You’re not perfect by a long shot. Your ego is enormous, but that’s okay. Perfect is boring.” Al got a strange look on his face.
“Why are you looking at me like that, Al? Don’t go getting a bigger head because I complimented you because it--” he stopped me by putting a hand over my mouth.
“You love me?” he asked, a half smug, half giddy smile appeared. My eyes widened and his hand left my lips.
“What did I say?”
Oh, that was intelligent, Alice. Bloody genius, you are.
Chapter 13: Happy Holidays
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Thanks to MagicalInk @ TDA for the chapter image :)
“You said you loved me,” Al reminded me after my brilliant question. I’m using extreme sarcasm.
“I… I… I must be tired, Al. I didn’t know what I was saying,” I said, using an exceptionally dumb excuse. I actually slept quite well. In fact, I felt really great. Wow, I hope I sleep like that more often.
“You don’t look tired to me, Allie,” Al observed, pulling me out of my reveries, looking a little amused, but also annoyed.
“Oh, well, I am,” I said and faked a yawn. “See? Look at that. I just yawned.” Al looked at me in disbelief.
“Really, Allie? That was so phony. Why are you so scared to admit that you love me? Is it so hard to say? Am I really that bad that you don’t want to love me?”
“No, Al that’s not—,” I tried, but got cut off.
“So did you lie when you said that you wanted to be with me? Was that all some little ploy to get James and Claire together? Maybe I should apologize for listening in. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry I told you how I feel about you and have felt about you since so long. Don’t play with my feelings. I can’t take it,” he said, hurt in his eyes.
“Al, I don’t think that. I would never—“
“You know what? I’m going to leave. I can’t be around you right now. You can stay here and when you figure out how you feel, let me know. Bye, Alice.” He stepped into the elevator and was gone.
I stood there, not moving, realizing how much of an idiot I was. Why was this so hard for me to admit to him and even myself?
I strode over to a bench across the hall and slumped down upon it. I laid my head in my hands and then brushed them through my hair. Even now that I was thinking about it, the idea of loving Al scared me. Something about it just seemed so unsafe and dangerous. Maybe it was his previous relationships or maybe it was how fast this was all happening, especially after how we acted toward each other previously.
I continued to sit in self-reflection. Why would his and our past scare me? I trusted Al, so neither of those reasons could be true. Before I could rationalize this out, James sat next to me.
“Hey, Allie,” he greeted me. “I just wanted to thank you for defending me and those nice things you said about me. It was really great of you and you didn’t have to, so again, thanks.” I flushed red.
“Oh, it was nothing, James. I just spoke the truth. You’re a great guy. She should know that,” I said. James beamed.
“Well, I hope she thinks that. Where’s Al? Did he leave already?” I looked at my feet guiltily.
“Yes, he left about ten minutes ago,” I answered him. James looked concerned.
“Okay, what happened? Tell me all about it. I figure that since you helped me, maybe I can help you.” I smiled at him appreciatively and launched into my ridiculous tale. I told him about my idiotic excuses and my inexplicable fear of saying those three words; I love you. When I finished, James looked at me perceptively.
“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” he said simply. I was very confused. How could he see the explanation that quickly?
“How is it obvious?” I asked incredulously.
“You’re scared. You’re afraid of messing your relationship up. Now that you’ve developed feelings for him, you don’t want to let yourself fall for him because if something happens and you break up, you don’t want to get hurt. But by building yourself this defense, you are not only hurting yourself, but you are causing Al to feel pain, too.” My eyes widened and I felt like an idiot. How could I not see something that was so obvious? James kept going.
“Allie, you’ve got to take a risk. You won’t gain a thing if you don’t tell Al exactly how you feel about him and, quite frankly, you’ll lose him. He’s already waited so long for you, but he won’t wait forever.”
“Shit. How could I have been so dense?” I asked, rubbing my temples.
“Oh you know, love is blind and all that stuff,” James said very wisely. He’s like Dumbledore, but without the beard… I’m kidding.
I stood up from the bench and hugged love guru James quickly.
“Thanks, James. I’m going to leave and find Al. Say bye to Claire for me and tell her I’ll see her at holiday.” And with that I jogged to the elevator and then flooed to Hogwarts.
I arrived in the Headmistress’s office, where Professor McGonagall sat at her desk, doing paperwork. Without looking up at me, she pointed to the door.
“He went out the door and to his dorm.”
“Who went out the door and to his dorm?” I asked puzzled.
“You are searching for the younger Mr. Potter, aren’t you?” she asked, still not looking at me and continuing to write whatever it is that she was writing. I nodded and left her office, blushing slightly.
Nothing seemed to be a secret where McGonagall was involved.
When I finally appeared in the Gryffindor common room, Eric Wood was coming down the stairs of the boy’s dorm. He stopped when he saw me and his face went devoid of expression.
“He’s pretty upset, Alice,” Eric said.
“I know,” I replied, feeling uncomfortable.
“You’re going to talk to him, yeah?” I nodded slightly.
“Good. Just don’t hurt him. If you don’t love him, then just let him be. Don’t play around with Al. He’s one of my best friends and you’re hurting him.”
“Eric, I wasn’t planning on hurting him or letting him be. I love Al.” And with that, I pushed past him on the stairs without letting him get in another word.
I found Al lying on his bed, one hand behind his head and the other throwing a ball up in the air and catching it. He didn’t notice that I had walked in, so I cleared my throat to get his attention.
Once he saw I was there, he looked at me with mild curiosity as he dropped the ball onto his nightstand.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” I repeated. We both awkwardly stared at each other before I decided that I should speak up.
“Al, I’m sorry for everything. I just… I guess that I’m just afraid of this; you and me. I want it to work so badly, but I don’t want to get my heart broken, Al—“
“I would never—,” he tried to interrupt, but I cut him off, also.
“I know, just listen for a second, yeah? As I was saying, I don’t want to get my heart broken, but I realized that being without you would be worse than taking a risk. I want to take a chance on you, Al. I love you.” I walked over to Al and kissed him. He pulled me onto his lap, his hands on the small of my back. I could feel him smiling against my lips and I smiled back… and then Eric came in.
“Oh, get a room,” he said, with a mock-disgusted look on his face.
“Technically, we had one. You just walked into it,” I corrected him amusedly.
“Touché,” said Eric. “So, are you guys all packed for the holidays?” I jumped up.
“No! Oh, shit. Bye!” I ran out of the room waving to both of them as they laughed at me.
After my quick packing up (which mostly consisted of me shoving my stuff into my trunk), I was sitting on the Hogwarts Express with Al beside me and Rose, Lily, Scorpius, Hugo, and Louis all sitting in our compartment.
Hugo and Louis sat next to each other, across from us, playing a rousing game of wizard’s chess, though Hugo was winning, as always. While they played, Rose was watching intently, quietly cheering for her brother, though giving the occasional tip to her underdog cousin.
Scorpius and Al were talking about quidditch strategies, seeing as they were both on quidditch teams; Al as seeker and Scorpius was Slytherin’s chaser.
Finally, Lily sat to the left of me and we were discussing Christmas and the presents we bought/ had to buy for everyone.
“So, I have gifts for Rose, Mum, Dad, Uncle George and Ron, Nan, Hugo, James, Al, and Dom, but I still have so many people to go. This is the down side of having a large family; you have to buy them all gifts,” Lily said with a dramatic sigh. I chuckled.
“It’s also the down side of being friends with a large family. I bought gifts for everyone except Al and Rose, because their presents I want to buy in Diagon Alley, and Scorpius because he was unexpected,” I told Lily happily.
“You have everybody done? Both of our families?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes, I sure do. I buy everybody’s presents throughout the year. I don’t have Al’s because we weren’t on the best of terms for a while and like I said Scorpius was a last minute friend.” I lowered my voice. “As for Rose, I knew I wanted to buy her Hogwarts: A History: Revised Edition, but it didn’t come out until a week ago, so I had to wait.”
“Wow. You are so good. I’m jealous. I have so many presents to get. And Rose is going to love it,” Lily whispered loudly.
“Did someone say my name?” Rose asked.
“No!” Lily and I shouted at the same time. Rose looked skeptical, but slightly bemused and the two of us burst into laughter.
The train ride went on like this for a while until we finally reached King’s Cross.
A whole herd of Wotters shuffled off the train with the people from our compartment. Our huge group of family and friends plowed through the train station, trying to find their parents.
My mum would be waiting for me at the platform and dad would arrive at Rose’s house, where we were staying, tomorrow, as he had some last minute work to do at Hogwarts.
I finally saw mum standing right by the barrier. I jogged over there and gave her a breath-taking hug, literally.
“Allie, honey, I can’t breathe,” my mum gasped.
“Oops. Sorry,” I apologized.
“So how has your year been going?” she asked with her arm around my shoulders and her hand stroking my hair.
“It’s been good. Classes are going well. I have A’s or higher, though mostly my marks are E’s.”
“Anything else you want to tell me?” I looked at her face with a confused expression. Was I in trouble? Oh, no. She learned about my detention!
“Well, mum, that one detention was nothing. It wasn’t even my fault. It’s not a big—,” I rambled, but mum cut me off.
“I wasn’t talking about your detention…,” she said frowning. “But what is that all about?” I laughed nervously.
“Well, it’s a long story, mum. I’ll tell you all about it later. It’s really quite funny. What were you talking about?” I said quickly, nervously giggling again. She looked at me with a half amused, half suspicious expression, but let the topic of my detention drop, though knowing Mum she would bring it up later.
“I was talking about your close relationship with a Mr. Al Potter. What’s that all about?” Mum said with a faux innocent look on her face. I saw right through it.
“Yes, we’re dating, Mum. Al Potter is my boyfriend. You could have just asked about it outright.” Mum smiled sheepishly.
“You know me too well. And congratulations; he seems like a nice boy. I’ve been waiting for you to get together for a while now,” she stated. I was in disbelief.
“You too? Why does everyone think that? Was there some sort of secret matchmaking plot going on to get us together? Merlin’s beard.” Mum laughed.
“No, no devious plot. Everyone just thought you’d be good together. And, well, you are now, so we were right and you were wrong. Ha,” she mocked.
“Thanks a lot, Mum,” I said sarcastically.
The two of us went to find Rose and the others, as we were staying with her. She stood with Scorpius and the majority of her family (including Al and James, who I noticed, was holding hands with a grinning, happy, healthy Claire). When we joined the group, Al put his arms around me and my mum gave me a knowing and giddy smile.
“I’m so excited that you’re staying with us for the Christmas holidays!” Rose squealed. “We’re going to have so much fun! We’ll go shopping first; I still have presents to buy.”
“I do, too.” Rose just kept going as if I hadn’t said a word.
“Then we can go ice-skating and have snowball fights and go sledding and make snow angels and—“
“Whoa there, Rose. Don’t overwhelm her,” said Scorpius, looking extremely entertained. “She hasn’t even left the train station and you’re already bombarding her with stuff. Slow down, Rosey.” Rose pouted, but relented.
“Don’t pout, Rose. We’ll do all of that stuff; just later.”
“What do you mean ‘we’?”
“Well, I’ve decided that once you let your parents know about this, we’ll get together,” said Scorpius confidently.
“What about your parents?”
“I’ve already told them. I told them about you the exact day that you agreed to tell yours.”
“And they were okay with it?” she asked looking very stunned.
“Yeah, they’re okay. My father isn’t entirely happy, but he just wants me to be happy. Your family will feel the same. We’ll get through this.”
Rose smiled cheerily and stood up on her tip-toes to kiss him.
Just then I heard the voice of Ron Weasley yell out.
“Rose! Rose Weasley! What are you doing kissing that boy?”
Bloody hell. Happy holidays start now.
Chapter 14: Lonely
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Thanks, saturday, for the beautiful chapter image.
I spent the next few days in Ottery St. Catchpole with a sulking, cranky, and outright nasty Rose Weasley.
Upon her father seeing her and Scorpius, he grabbed her arm, shoved Scorpius away from her and side-along apparated her back to their house. He, then, very rudely and wrongly proceeded to ground her to her. Apparently, she’s grounded forever. Ron’s words, not mine.
Hermione, Mum, and I arrived a few minutes after they left. Hermione was furious and sent a horde of birds at her husband, telling him that he was being an idiot, but he wouldn’t relent. Mum and I stood awkwardly in the kitchen until we both decided to go to our rooms. This is where I found Rose dealing with her sentence.
So, taking it like a champ, Rose sat in her room, saying some very colorful words about her father and, on occasion, trying to sneak out, but getting caught and having her sentence extended to eternity (What is even the difference between eternity and forever?). The only reason that she wasn’t locked in her room was because of her mum, who thought the whole fight was ridiculous and refused to let her husband bar their daughter in. Hermione wasn’t thrilled about Scorpius, but she was willing to give him the chance that Ron was not. Unfortunately, that was all she could do for Rose, as Ron pigheadedly stood by his conviction. Though she wasn’t officially staying only in her room, Ron glared at her during the rare times that she came downstairs.
This grounding resulted in me trying to comfort my friend and being trapped in her bedroom with her. Though she wasn’t confined to her room, she wouldn’t go downstairs because her dad was there. Every time I tried to leave, she’d either start yelling about me being a horrible friend, or Rose would cry, saying she missed Scorpius and, even, her father, though every time I tried to talk about it, she denied it. Both instances left me feeling guilty and I stayed with her, even though I knew deep down that she was just being petty and shouldn’t make me feel that way.
I knew that she was being absolutely barmy, but I let her act childishly if it made her feel better to do so. Rose was a smart girl and would soon learn that she needed to stop and fight against her dad’s over-protective, prejudiced nonsense.
“Rose, come on. Just talk to your dad. Your mum can’t make him see sense, so it’s up to you. If anyone is as pigheaded as him, it’s you. No offense, Rosey. Everyone else is on your side. Just tell him how much it hurts you that he did this,” I tried to reason with her.
“It didn’t hurt. It’s annoying and infuriating. I’m never speaking to that man ever again. You can’t make me,” she said childishly, shaking her head furiously from side to side, her face smothered in her pillow. Her words were muffled.
“Well, Rose, if you’re going to just continue pouting in your room, then I’m going to leave. You’re both being ridiculous; you and your father. Stop sulking and standup for your relationship; for your love.”
“Fine, then, Alice!” she yelled from where she was curled up on her bed, obviously and immaturely ignoring my advice. “Just leave me when I’m upset. What a friend you are. If you can’t take me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best. We’re not even friends anymore.” I sighed exasperatedly.
Normally this would hurt me, but considering she said this multiple times every day, I didn’t take it to face value. The first time I sat by her side and apologized until she said it was okay, but it happened the next day and the next and the next. It got to the point of ridiculousness.
After lunch, my talk with the ever stubborn Ronald Weasley went the same as his daughter. Well, except the threats of revoked friendship. He really did throw a pillow, too, although I think he saw a spider.
“My daughter won’t date that slimy, filthy git,” he said and then screeched like a girl grabbing the pillow from behind his back and chucking it at the wall behind me, so you can see why I assumed he saw a spider.
I rapped on the door of the slate blue house in Godric’s Hollow.
“Come in!” I heard Ginny yell from inside. I opened the door and walked into the homey living room. A broom was sweeping up the floor on its own and a feather duster was getting the dust off of the rectangular coffee table in the middle of the room, surrounded by plush sage green couches and matching side tables. There was a chiming clock on the far wall that had pictures of all Wotter family on spoon handles and where each person was at present.
To the right was the kitchen, where dishes were washing themselves and Ginny was standing over a cookbook, pointing her wand at a bowl full of ingredients and muttering directions and curse words to herself. A skinny wooden spoon was mixing a gooey batter.
“Need any help?” I asked. Ginny whirled around in surprise, as if she forgot that she let me in.
“Oh, wotcher, Allie?” she asked turning back to her baking challenge.
“Well, I was just going to see Al. Rose is throwing a fit and her father is being ridiculous, so I thought I could use a break, but if you want an assistant, I’d be willing to give you a hand.” Ginny smiled.
“Oh, you are just so polite. You know, I told my children that they should get manners like yours, but just look at how that turned out. Anyway, no thanks, dear. I’m just trying out one of Mum’s recipes for bread pudding, but I can’t get it right. I might just have to send an owl to ask her for help,” she said frowning in frustration. Then, she began smiling again. “Your boyfriend is upstairs with Fred, Louis, Cole, Eric, and Lysander in his room.”
“H… how did you… you k… know?” I spluttered, blushing immensely.
“Oh, Alice, don’t be dense. Al won’t shut up about you. No offense, but it gets kind of annoying. Allie is so this and she’s so that. I can’t handle any more of your perfections, dear,” she said smirking at my blushing face. She continued on. “Plus, a mother just knows these things. Like I also know that James and Claire aren’t going on an “outing” as he called it. It’s so a date. Merlin knows how he achieved that. I love my son, but he is such a braggart. Anyways, go upstairs and mingle.” I snorted loudly and wiped tears from my eyes that appeared because I laughed so hard at Ginny’s rant. I waved to her as I hopped up the stairs and headed to Al’s bedroom.
I held my fist up to knock on the door, because I don’t know what’s going on in there, when I heard the boys talking. It was wrong of me to eavesdrop, but it was like I was frozen in place. I had to hear what they had to say, especially because I realized they were gabbing about me.
“…do you think she knows?” asked Louis, with a slight French accent that he picked up from his mother.
“Of course she doesn’t. Allie is bloody brilliant, but sometimes she doesn’t see what is right in front of her,” replied Al confidently. My attention was captured. What didn’t I know that was right in front of me?
“There’s just one problem…” Al trailed off. It was silent for a few minutes, except for the annoying croak of a toad somewhere outside, and I had stopped breathing, afraid that the blokes would hear me.
"Oh, that's easy, Al,” boomed Fred’s deep voice. “Just break if off. She’ll understand.” Break it off? Were they talking about what I think they’re talking about?
“It’s not that simple, mate. What if she gets upset? I can’t deal with that.”
“She won’t be upset, Al. It’s not even a big deal. You’re making mountains out of molehills. Mum proving the existence of the Gernumblies special powered saliva was a huge deal; not something like this.”
“She did not prove it!” exclaimed Cole, sounding hysterical.
"You’ll believe soon enough, Cole. Dom believes me,” Lysander disputed. Eric snorted obnoxiously.
“Please, Lysander. Dom just has a huge crush on you and would do anything to get your attention.”
“I don’t think so…” Lysander sounded unsure. “I talked to Lorcan and he thinks that she may just be infested with Nargles—”
“There are no Nargles!” cried out Cole.
“Mate, he would know. He’s very smart. That’s how he made it into Ravenclaw. But I don’t think Dom likes me that way, mates. She’s just very nice. And brilliant and hilarious and beautiful and understanding and perfect.”
“Merlin, you have it bad,” said Fred, sounding disgusted. “And Dom’s not perfect. You should see her when she wakes up. Yow! Am I right, Al?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty true. She has morning breath that could kill a troll, but can we get back to the matter at hand? What in the name of Merlin should I do? I need to do this, but it’s hard. She doesn’t deserve any of this.”
“Just break it off. Do it like a band aid; fast and painless,” answered Louis assertively. A chorus of yeah’s and I agree’s followed him.
I bit my tongue to keep the tears from flowing. Speedily and silently, I stepped down the stairs.
“Did you forget something, dear?” Ginny asked, looking at me curiously. She must have seen my stricken face.
“Oh, no, I… er… have an errand for Mum that I forgot to do. I have to get it done right now. See you later, Ginny. Good luck with the bread pudding!” I barely made it out of the door, ignoring Ginny’s protests and questions. She knew I was lying.
Once out of her sight, I ran back to Rose’s house and into the red and black colored guest bedroom that my parents were staying in. Mum and Dad were out Christmas shopping for Mum’s muggle relatives and I took this opportunity to grab Al’s present from under their bed. I had hid it there just in case he visited Rose and I in her room. After retrieving it, I curled up in bed and wrote a letter.
When I was finished, I felt hollow. The note was strangely final, but my heart felt as if it was ripped out of my chest. I looked over the letter one last time, hoping that something or someone would stop me from sending it.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t be enough for you. I hope you find someone that is better for you. I think it’s best if we stop this whole relationship and break if off.
P.S. Here is your Christmas present. I figured you should have it.
I laid on my Gryffindor colored bed holding a black velvet jewelry box that held Allie’s present in it. My cousin, Fred sat in my red bean bag and Louis sat in the chair of my desk that was in the corner of my red and gold room. My friends, Eric, Cole, and Lysander, were sprawled out in random places on the floor.
“So why did you want advice on Allie’s present? You’re her boyfriend,” questioned Eric. I opened the box to show a charm bracelet. Each charm was animated. The owl that represented Tilly flapped its wings, a mug filled up with sterling silver liquid to represent her mum because she own the Leaky Cauldron, a plant had leaves that grew and shrank to show her father, then there was the broom that flied because I wanted her to remember me, too (Too sappy?), and lastly, a toad to memorialize Trevor II that croaked irritatingly.
Irritating wasn’t even the word that covered the shiny toad charm. It croaked every minute and was loud, obnoxious, and infuriating. It made me want to scream every time the silver figure opened its mouth.
“Oh, wow,” said Louis sounding impressed. “She’ll love it.”
The toad croaked.
“Bloody hell, mate. What is that?” asked Fred.
“My problem,” I stated. “The toad croaks like this all the time. It’s so annoying, but she’d love to have a figure of Trevor II on her bracelet.”
“That’s bloody awful, but do you think she knows?” asked Louis, wincing as the toad squawked again.
“Of course she doesn’t,” I scoffed. “Allie is bloody brilliant, but sometimes she doesn’t see what is right in front of her. There’s just one problem…” The guys all nodded understandingly and the toad crowed a third time.
“Oh, it’s easy,” reassured Fred. “Just break it off. She’ll understand.”
“It’s not that simple, mate. What if she gets upset? I can’t deal with that,” I said, thinking of when I actually killed her toad. She really did love that toad.
“She won’t be upset, Al. It’s not even a big deal. You’re making mountains out of molehills. Mum proving the existence of the Gernumblies special powered saliva was a huge deal; not something like this,” Lysander tried console me in his own special way.
“She did not prove it!” yelled out Cole, who looked like he was going to burst a blood vessel in his forehead.
“You’ll believe me soon enough, Cole. Dom believes me,” Lysander said confidently. I suppressed a snicker. My cousin’s crush on Lysander was known to everybody, but the recipient of her affection. Eric snorted loudly.
“Please, Lysander. Dom just has a huge crush on you and would do anything to get your attention,” he said, still guffawing. Lysander shook his head adamantly.
“I don’t think so…” he replied, but I could hear a little doubt and a tad bit of hope in his voice. “I talked to Lorcan and he thinks she may just be infested with Nargles—“
“There are no Nargles!” exclaimed Cole, for the millionth time since he and Lysander met.
“Mate, he would know. He’s very smart. That’s how he made it into Ravenclaw. But I don’t think Dom likes me that way, mates. She’s just very nice. And brilliant and hilarious and beautiful and understanding and perfect,” said Lysander dreamily. I was frankly pretty disgusted. He thought that about my cousin, who I saw eat fifteen treacle tarts in under two minutes and then belch loudly? If that’s perfection, I don’t want to be perfect. Fred was just as disturbed.
“Merlin, you have it bad,” said Fred, shaking his head and looking at Lysander pityingly. “And Dom’s not perfect. You should see her when she wakes up. Yow! Am I right, Al?” I nodded my head.
“Yeah, it’s pretty true. She has morning breath that could kill a troll, but can we get back to the matter at hand? What in the name of Merlin should I do? I need to do this, but it’s hard. She doesn’t deserve any of this,” I said, feeling agitated.
“Just break it off. Do it like a band aid; fast and painless,” advised Louis with his mild French accent.
“Okay. I’ll do it and then this whole thing will be over,” I said. Wow, that was a relief. Why was I so worried anyway?
I took me about five minutes to twist and turn the charm off, but eventually with the help of some pliers and Fred’s teeth, I got the toad off the bracelet. The second it was plied off, it stopped croaking and we enjoyed sweet liberation from the annoyance that is the toad charm.
“There it is!” I held up the bracelet for all to see. “Now, that is perfection. I don’t know what you were saying about Dom.” Lysander glared at me.
“I agree with Al,” Eric said suddenly. “I like a girl with long brown hair and blue eyes and ivory skin and long legs and bright smile and—“
“And named Aileen Finnegan,” added in Fred.
“Yes, and named Aileen Finnegan,” agreed Eric, not realizing at the moment what he admitted. Then, a second later realization dawned on his face.
“No way! I was kidding about that. You guys know that?” he pleaded desperately.
“Sure,” Cole said patronizingly. “Of course, Eric, though that description is a lot like her, don’t you think?” Eric’s ears turned bright red.
“Psh… no. Not even close. And you shouldn’t say anything about it since you’re dating my twin sister. How weird is that?”
“Not weird. More like hot. Yesterday we were in an abandoned corridor and—“
“Ah!” screamed Eric. “La la la la la la. I can’t hear you.” He put his fingers in his ears as the rest of us just laughed our arses off.
An owl pecked at my window as we snorted and I regained composure to go see who it was from. I recognized Allie’s owl, Tilly, and untied a letter and a parcel from her leg.
I was extremely curious about the package. It was about half a foot long and was oddly shaped. I unwrapped the brown paper and started in complete awe.
In the midst of the wrapping paper was a pair of seeker gloves. Made of black dragon hide leather, they were water proof and fire proof (Though, who needs fire proof gloves?). The stitching was gold and scarlet, so they were obviously customized, but that wasn’t the best part. Stitched into the wrist of the gloves was Merry Christmas, Al and on the second glove Love Always, Allie. It warmed my heart and I felt like cheering, but all the guys were staring at me, so I settled for a beaming smile.
“What is it?” asked Louis, craning his neck to get a better view. I tossed them to him and let him examine them and pass them around.
My next order of business was to open the letter.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t be enough for you. I hope you find someone that is better for you. I think it’s best if we stop this whole relationship and break if off.
P.S. Here is your Christmas present. I figured you should have it.
My happiness at her gift faded. No, not even faded, it plummeted. It dove off of a cliff and went splat on the ground. I crumpled the parchment in my hand and threw it in the waste basket with a yell.
What happened to Love Always, Allie?
Chapter 15: White Christmas
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Thanks to RosieQueen @ TDA for the lovely image :)
For the next long week, I cooped myself up in Rose’s house, only keeping contact with my mum, dad, and the immediate family that lived here. I split my time between sitting in silence with Rose in her room and playing hopeless games of chess with Hugo. And by hopeless, I mean that I would never ever win. Ever. The only person that could beat Hugo was his dad, Ron, and he would only win half the time. At fifteen, he had equal skill as his father.
That was where I sat right now; hopelessly losing. I would learn something new only to suffer defeat because Hugo was better, but I didn’t mind. It helped pass the time and ease my nerves while I waited to go to the Burrow with the whole Wotter family and company, which included Al.
I hadn’t seen or spoken to him since I sent that letter. I also hadn’t cried since then. I haven’t felt anything in a whole week. I basically just tried to keep my mind off of him until I could get over him and move on. I played the part; acting the way I should, even though I didn’t feel anything. Until I moved on and got over this, I would bolt into the bathroom every time someone knocked at the door, fearing that it might be Al and I couldn’t face him just yet.
After losing five more games, each lasting about five minutes (my record was seven minutes and seventeen seconds), Hermione came down the stairs with a grumpy Rose in a tow.
“Come on, Hugo, Allie. We’re going to the Burrow,” she said with Mum and Dad right behind her. I walked over and stood by them. My parents were the only people who could see through my mask of normality. Rose could if she paid any attention to her surroundings.
She turned to her husband. “Oh, Ronald, stop writing your letters. You work too hard. It’s Christmas; the auror department can wait.”
“It’s not the auror department. Just go, ‘Mione. I’ll catch up.” He continued to scribble on the parchment with his quill, not bothering to look up at his wife. Hermione sighed and looked exasperated.
He had been working excessively hard since his daughter stopped talking to him, though recently he had taken to writing letters. You could tell that they both missed each other. Though Rose hadn’t said more than two words to him since the holidays started, she would smile when he said something funny or stupid and I could tell she was trying to stifle a laugh. When she thought no one was looking, she would look sadly at her dad. Ron tried to talk to her; to “reason with her about that git”, but to no avail. She would just get angry and say something rude and colorful to him.
Hermione was extremely stressed. She had stopped trying to help them out a few days ago when it became obvious that they had to work this out on their own. Now, she was just a mediator. She would listen to both of them, but never took sides. It was a huge strain on her; having a moody teenage daughter and an overworked husband.
“Ronald, your mum is going to want to see you and she’ll box your ears if you don’t show up. Come now, we’re going to be late.” Ron just shook his head.
“I’ll be there in a minute. Tell her that I have some last minute Christmas plans. Just go, ‘Mione.”
Hermione gave him one last tired look, but then relented.
I swallowed when we reached the door and walked into the warm, homey dwelling. I breathed and then put on my happy mask. It was time to put on my show.
The living room and kitchen were stuffed with people. Hundreds of cousins and friends filled the humble house. Along with the Wotters were their friends; Luna and Rolf with their twins, Dean Thomas with his wife, Emily, Seamus Finnegan and his better half, Sarah Finnegan, and Viktor Krum with his Bulgarian wife, Ana, and their fourteen year old son, Nikolai. Oliver Wood and his wife, who both played quidditch couldn’t make it, but Sophie and Eric were here.
“Okay, everyone, attention!” announced Molly Weasley from the kitchen where she was basting a turkey and preparing dinner with the help of Percy and Audrey. “Everyone gather into the living room for presents!” There were numerous whoops and hollers and shuffling of feet before everyone packed into the magically expanded living room.
Teddy and a very pregnant Victoire sat side by side on the couch whilst Harry and Ginny stood beside them and chatted, most likely about the baby. Hermione was glancing anxiously at the door until Ron came in with no time to spare. Hermione obviously scolded him, but he must have said something sweet because she smiled and looked placated then turned to talk to Angelina and Mum while Ron went to Viktor Krum and shook his hand. It’s funny how he likes Viktor now, but wasn’t a fan in their school years. Go figure.
Fleur had to physically hold back her husband as he glowered at Dom and Lysander flirting beside the Christmas tree that stood in front of the window, or at least Dom was flirting; Lysander looked oblivious. Dad made it his duty to give some fatherly advice to Bill about daughters and their boyfriends. James and Fred were putting something in the punch with a guffawing Charlie watching them, but doing nothing about it. I rolled my eyes. How predictable could you get? Though, it looked like Claire had seen them, because she marched over to James and said something to make him have a guilty look on his face. He replied back to her, probably and apology and she smiled, and then kissed him. I knew they’d get together.
Lucy and her sister Molly were eyeing the tree hungrily, wanting their gifts. Lily, George, and Hugo were nowhere to be seen, but I was sure that we would all hear from them before the night was over. Lorcan sat next to Rose and they seemed to be discussing something in a book while Nikolai tried to add in comments, but it was hard to understand his thick accent. I was happy about this; it was the most interaction Rose had shown during our holiday vacation. Last, but certainly not least, I found Al with Eric, Soph, Aileen, Roxy, and Cole.
I glanced over at them quickly, but not quick enough. Al’s eyes met mine and I turned away, avoiding looking at that vicinity. I wanted to go talk to all of them, but I knew how awkward it would be, so I took a seat by Molly and Lucy and watched them shake their wrapped presents.
“Dinner will be ready in about an hour, everybody,” yelled Molly. “So, now, grab your presents.”
It was a mad dash to the tree. Everybody raided the tree, passing the presents to their appropriate owners. I was pushed out of the way and decided to settle on the couch by a tired looking Victoire, who appeared highly amused at the childlike display from her family and friends.
As I waited for my gifts to be passed to me, I made small talk with her.
“Is it a boy or a girl?” I asked her. She smiled conspiratorially.
“I’m not telling anyone. Teddy and I want it to be a surprise.” I pouted.
“Aw, come on, Vic. I won’t tell. I pinky promise.” I held up my dainty pinky. She laughed and shook her head.
“You’ll find out with everyone else, Alice. Don’t worry. I only have a month to go now. It’s not long to wait.” I wrinkled my nose and put my lip out.
“I hate waiting.” She shook her head again. “Fine,” I said. “What names have you picked out?”
“Well,” she said thoughtfully. “If it’s a boy, Ted and I was Remus John after his father. It means so much to him to have his son named after him. Unfortunately, his mum was named Nymphadora and neither Ted nor I nor even his mum liked that name, so we were thinking Adrienne Dora. It’s kind of a mix of my French heritage and his mum’s name.”
I nodded enthusiastically.
“Those names are great. I almost hope you have twins.” Victoire laughed prettily.
“They would definitely be a handful, especially if they’re like Ted, so I hope not. Unless you wanted to babysit…,”she suggested. I shook my head and put my hands up.
“No, I’m good. I had to babysit mum’s muggle relatives and they were a nightmare. Can you imagine a magical kid?” I shuddered and Vic threw her head back and laughed, her golden blonde hair flew back and she clutched her bulbous belly.
We talked for a few more minutes before someone handed me my presents. I looked up to see Al, with all of my gifts in his arms. He looked wary and tired, but his face gave away no other emotions. He was a mask of emotionlessness. He laid them down at my feet and then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black velvet box and put it on top of my pile.
“Happy Christmas,” he told me, but he didn’t sound happy. I didn’t respond. My tongue was tied and all rational thought left my head. When I didn’t say anything, he left looking disappointed.
“Happy Christmas,” I whispered after he left when I found my voice.
I pushed all thoughts of Al out of my mind and ignored Victoire’s puzzled looks and my friends questioning glances from across the room.
Setting aside the soft, jet black box, I ripped open the wrapping paper to my first present.
I spent about an hour slowly unwrapping and savoring all of my presents and in the middle of gift unwrapping, George, Hugo and Lily decided to make an appearance with suspicious innocent looks on their faces.
I had gotten a sneakoscope from Lily and various sickly candies from Hugo. Rose had bought me a journal that would only open to me. Roxy gifted me pair of super cute faux fur boots. My parents had bought me a new cage for Tilly and some new clothes. Aileen and Soph had pooled their money together to buy me a winter accessories set. It was a compilation of ear muffs, a hat, a scarf, gloves, and some fuzzy socks. The rest of everybody else had gotten me the odd Weasley Wizard Wheeze’s product or just money so I could shop myself. Even Claire had gotten me a miniature basket of candy with a card, thanking me.
The whole room was in a buzz about their presents when the doorbell rang. Silence filled the room, which was extremely rare for this family.
“I wonder who that could be,” said Ron. He sounded like he was lying. He dashed to the door and opened it dramatically and slowly.
A very nervous looking Scorpius arrived in the doorway. Ron turned to face Rose.
“Happy Christmas, Rosy,” he said, smiling timidly. Rose’s face lit up and she ran to hug Scorpius. I could see tears falling down her face as she kissed him chastely (after all we were in the presence of family). Then she turned to Ron.
“Thank you, Daddy.” They embraced and I swore I saw a tear in Ron’s eyes, but he turned his head away from the crowd.
“I was being prejudiced and proud. I’m sorry, Rose. Even if his father hasn’t changed, which he could very well have, Scorpius is his own person. I wrote him yesterday to come over for dinner. If he makes you happy, he’s welcome in our house.”
Rose wiped the glistening tears from her eyes and went back to Scorpius and led him into the living room. While all this happened, I snuck out of the Burrow and into the cold with the little velvet box.
I grabbed my coat on the way out and put it on, then wrapped my new purple scarf around my neck. I used the new fluffy purple gloves and hat, as well. Feeling very warm and comfortable, I trudged out into the freezing cold.
I walked a little ways, before finding a field of foot tall grass. I plopped down on my arse and sat alone in my bitterness.
I wanted to be happy for Rose and a part of me was, but it was a small part. I was bitter and alone and numb. I couldn’t cry; I couldn’t feel anything right now.
It had started to snow. The sky was crying for me. I almost smiled at the thought. I could act fine around everybody, but being alone, I couldn’t fool myself.
I fiddled with the box for a few minutes, hesitating to open it. I didn’t want to know what was in the box, but at the same time curiosity was burning inside me. My curiosity won out.
Flipping up the lid, I found a silver bracelet inside. It was a charm bracelet with an owl that flew around and hooted. I guessed that it must be Tilly. The next charm was mug. It filled up with fizzy liquid and then drained and repeated. I followed Al’s thought process and knew it must be Mum. Third was a vine like plant that had leaves that grew and shrank. That one was Dad. Lastly was a broomstick that flew, its twigs rustled as it zoomed around. It was Al.
I immediately felt. I could feel sadness, happiness, relief, nervousness, confusion, anger.
I felt a drop in my finger. A wet trail ran down my cheek, but it wasn’t because I was hurt; I was relieved that I could feel something, even if it wasn’t pleasant, I had emotions. I wasn’t hollow.
I could cry. I could feel and I could get over him.
Chapter 16: Talk That Talk
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Thanks to smarticl398 @ TDA for another beautiful chapter image.
The day after Christmas was especially unusual for me. Every single time on the day after Christmas, I would wear my new clothes, play with my new toys (when I was younger), eat my delicious holiday chocolates giving me another few pounds, and use every new thing in sight.
Normally, I couldn’t help myself. It was new and exciting and for the next two weeks, all of my presents would be my pride and joy until I got bored of them and never thought of them again. It got a little better with age, but still my new clothes got pushed to the back of the closet and my left over candy stood in a bowl in the pantry. It’s just how Christmas went for me. Does it sound spoiled? Maybe, but that was just me.
Right now, I didn’t bother with any of it. My candy sat unopened, the new clothes, with the exception of my winter gear, which was hung up on a hat stand, was in a pile on Rose’s floor. The only thing I wore was the charm bracelet, which I hid under the extra-long sleeves of my jumper. I didn’t want Al to see how much this was hurting me. If he could get over it, so could I.
Everyone knew something was wrong. I could see the way that they tip-toed around me, but I didn’t feel like talking about it. I just wanted to forget. That’s why I was glad when everyone left the house and I was all alone.
Rose and Scorpius went out together, while Rose’s parents went to meet Draco and Astoria Malfoy. The parents wanted to get all of the school rivalries and differences out of the way. Maybe they wouldn’t be friends, but at least they could be in the same room together.
Mum had to go back and man the Leaky Cauldron. Her vacation time was over and she said goodbye to me, hugged me, and gave me a concerned look that I pretended not to see before heading back to work. Dad had to do the same. He had to prepare his lesson plans and get everything ready for school to be back in session after the break.
Lastly, Hugo went over to the Potter’s house to plan a little prank with Lily. Though, after they had gotten in trouble over Christmas, I don’t know why they’re plotting right now. Apparently, while I was taking my walk in the cold, winter snow, the roasted turkey had jumped off the plate and started dancing the salsa on the long wooden table. Everyone knew it was Lily and Hugo and both severely scolded and sent straight to bed, which was a pretty light punishment, but I guess it was Christmas.
Now that I was finally alone, I curled up on the light green sofa in the living room and grabbed the newspaper on top of the coffee table. The front page news had changed dramatically since break started.
Instead of murder and torture, it was regular, everyday news. Today’s headline was “Chudley Cannons Break Streak”. The Chudley Cannons had tied against the Appleby Arrows, who were having a very bad year, so it seems. Ron was thrilled.
After reading through the first article, I got bored. I laid the Daily Prophet down and looked around the room for something else to do. As I surveyed the room, and the entire house for that matter, I realized that I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to be with someone. I was tired of separating myself from everybody just because of mine and Al’s break up. I also didn’t want there to be a rift between us. So I made a choice; I was going to offer friendship to him. If we couldn’t be anything else, I wanted to be friends.
Eric, James, and I all lazed around James’s room. We were very unsuccessfully trying to figure out what to do. Fred, our usual master planner, had to go to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to help Uncle George out. Even after Christmas was over, the shop was still booming. They were so popular that my uncle was going to have a second shop built in Diagon Alley and was considering finding a spot for another one. The shop in Hogsmeade was getting extremely crowded.
We also normally had Cole and Lysander with us as well, but they were both out on dates, even if Lysander thought he wasn’t on one. Even though they were away, James decided to grace us with his presence because Claire was invited to go shopping with Lucy, Molly, Roxy, and Aileen.
“We could… erm… play wizard’s chess,” suggested Eric. James propped himself up on his elbows.
“No, we already did that. Seven times. I’m done,” replied James.
“How about we get a game of Gobstones going?” I proposed, half-heartedly. Neither of them replied. Gobstones was out.
“Do you think Lils and Hu want help with their prank?” asked Eric. I shook my head and laughed.
“Nah, they don’t need our help. If they did, they would ask. Plus, after last night, I want to be surprised. Seeing that turkey dance made my day,” I said, still chuckling. The guys laughed in rememberance, but then we got back to business.
“We could…,” James started to say, but stopped talking. He stared at the door uncomfortably. I rolled over on James’s bed and saw Allie standing in the doorway.
“Erm… hi,” she greeted us, waving at us quickly. She looked specifically at me. “Can I talk to you?” I nodded and she shifted from foot to foot.
“Alone?” she asked. I hesitated. I still loved Allie and her rejection hurt me, especially because of the way she broke it off. Thinking of that note still felt like someone stabbed me with a knife in the chest and being alone with her wasn’t going to help me any.
“I don’t think so,” I said. Allie sighed and a blonde strand of hair fell onto her face. As she tucked her hair in behind her ear, I noticed a silver gleam on her wrist. It was the bracelet I gifted to her for Christmas. Truthfully, when I set it on her pile of presents, I never thought she’d even open it. To see it on her dainty wrist made me feel confused. I had only given it to her as a sign of forgiveness and peace. I just wanted her to know that there were no hard feelings.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered and strode out of James’s bedroom. All three of us blokes sat there in silence, until James decided to blurt out.
“Just go, Al.” I whipped around to look at him.
“Did I stutter, bro? Go. I know you want to.” Eric nodded in agreement with him.
“Go on, mate. Shoo,” Eric dismissed me. I rolled my eyes, but went after her. Though I couldn’t tell if I wanted to or not. I had mixed feelings about the whole situation, but then the advice that someone told me recently made up my mind. I wanted to go.
I caught Allie just as she strolled out of the house.
“Wait!” I yelled, but she didn’t appear to hear me. “Wait! Alice!” She stopped and turned around, looking a little astonished. She probably didn’t expect me to run after her.
“I’m ready to hear you out,” I said to her. “What did you want to say?” Allie didn’t say anything for a few minutes. She bit her lip and concentrated, trying to figure out what she was going to say.
“Well, I… erm… well, I figured that even though we, you know, we could still be friends,” she suggested. Then, she added very formally, “I value your friendship and I don’t want to lose you completely.”
“You don’t want to lose me?” I asked and laughed humorlessly. It made me sound crazed, but I didn’t care. “You don’t want to lose me?” I repeated.
“Well, yes—,” she said, but I ignored her and went on.
“How is it that you, the one who broke up with me, don’t want to lose me, the one who got broken up with? How is it that you just can’t leave me alone? I just want this to stop. Stop messing with my head, yeah? Either you love me or you don’t and since you seem to not, then just leave me be!”
“I don’t love you? I didn’t even want to do that. That letter meant nothing. You’re the one who wanted to break it off!” she yelled at me.
“What are you talking about? Since I last checked, it was still you that said we should break up!” I shouted back, getting angrier by the minute. Partly because of Allie, but half because I could see Mum, Eric, and James peeking at us through the windows with extendable ears for better clarity.
“Do you mind?” I growled at the window. The trio looked embarrassed and ashamed, even Mum, although I knew she would scold me later for my tone. They disappeared from the window and I saw Mum go back to the couch and James and Eric stomped upstairs.
Now we could continue our fight in peace. Well, as peaceful as a fight could be.
“Yes, but I wasn’t the one that wanted to! That was you! I heard you say it!” she continued as if nothing happened, not missing a beat.
“Say what? That I wanted to break up? When did I say that?” I asked her, feeling exceedingly puzzled by the second.
“You don’t remember? I heard you! You said that I didn’t deserve this and that you wanted to break it off!” She was crying now. The sight and sound of her crying broke me down. I felt my rage melt away.
“No, I don’t remember. I didn’t say it, Allie. I never wanted to break it off. Do you know how I’ve felt the whole time that we’ve been separated?”
So, I told her.
Flashback of the past several days:
The week following our break up was probably the worst I’ve had in a long time. My friends surrounded me like a protective cocoon, and, yet, it was almost as if they weren’t even there. For the first few days I didn’t talk to them at all. If they asked me a direct question that didn’t require a head nod or shake, then I would reply robotically, as if all the answers were programmed into my head.
James mostly stayed with me, which meant that Claire was also by my side. Surprisingly, she helped a lot. I found that I really liked her. Not only was she brilliant (obviously, as she’s a Ravenclaw) but she was a laugh riot and was able to get a smile out of me one time or another. Fred also tried to help, though he didn’t have much tact or sensitivity, so when I wanted to talk, I didn’t go to him.
My top choice when I had issues was to get advice from Rose, but she had been indisposed with all the drama involving her father and Scorpius. I hadn’t talked to her since the blow up at King’s Cross, but I really missed my cousin and friend.
Soon, I got tired of keeping everything bottled up, so I went out into the frigid winter cold to play a little game of “Catch the Snitch”. I let my own personal snitch into the air and waited one minute before going to search for it.
Whizzing through the air at top speed, the freezing air hit my face, sending a wave of chills through my body. I kept my eyes peeled through my goggles as I searched for the snitch.
A gleam of gold flashed to my right and I whirred to the side. It zoomed right in front of me and then sped forward. I increased my speed and thrust my hand forward; my finger-tips were less than an inch away from the flying golden ball. I slid forward on my broom and reached out as far as I can. I caught the snitch and then dove down to the ground.
When I hit the snow covered ground, I saw Claire waiting for me on the steps of my house. I dragged my broom through the snow and sat on the steps beside her.
“So,” she started. “You’re just going to sulk around the whole time, yeah?”
“No, I’m not sulking,” I denied. Claire didn’t believe me one bit.
“Yes, you are.”
“Okay, fine. I am,” I said, accepting defeat. As they say; acceptance is the first step.
“Well, stop it,” Claire ordered. I chuckled softly.
“You make it sound so easy, Claire. But do you really understand what it’s like? James has always loved you.”
“Yes, he has, but my parents haven’t. And at first, I was like you. I was bitter and pouty and felt that no one could understand what it was like because no one had gone through exactly what I had. I was wrong.” She paused and her face was hard. “My friend, Abigail Parker, was the one who set me straight. One day while I was brooding in my bed, she came up to me and told me to get over myself. That the whole world, the whole universe, didn’t revolve around me and that I needed to get my head out of my arse.” Claire chuckled.
“Needless to say, I was shocked speechless. I told her that I didn’t think that. I tried to explain to her that I just wanted my mum and dad to love me more than vacations or their money and leisure. And you know what she said to me? That I shouldn’t care about their love. If two people in my life didn’t love me, then why should I be upset? They weren’t worth my time.”
I sat there and pondered this.
“But, Claire, she is worth my time. You don’t give up on people you love,” I replied to her.
“I know. That’s what I told my friend. At that moment, I realized that maybe my parents didn’t love me and maybe they didn’t want to be a part of my life, but by lying in my bed and doing nothing, I wasn’t going to earn or deserve their love. I was just a couch potato that was sad and lonely. Now, just because I don’t have a relationship with my parents, doesn’t mean that you should give up on her. I’ve seen her, Al, and she is faring like you.” Claire stood up and brushed the snow off of her. With one last look, she walked into the warm house.
Back to the present:
It was that conversation that made me give Allie her present for Christmas and the one that made me run to her when she wanted to talk.
“I… I… Al, I just wanted to say that I—.” Mum’s scream cut her off. Both of us ran into the house and found her staring at the living room family clock.
Unlike most of the spoons, which were on the work section or the date section, Dad’s spoon was in the mortal peril section.
Chapter 17: Here It Goes Again
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Ginny whipped her wand out of her pocket and cast a shimmering, silvery horse patronus. Giving it a message, it galloped out of an open window in the direction of Ottery St. Catchpole. Al sent a panicked look my way, mirroring exactly what I felt, before going to his mum. She was struggling to put her shoes on, her hands shaking. He helped them onto her feet and she spoke to him in a pained voice.
“Stay here, Al. Let James know what’s happening and tell him to meet us at Mum’s. Keep Lily safe. I love you, sweetheart.” She caressed his face with her hand and then apparated. Al slumped down on the kitchen chair and sat there with his hand on his cheek, looking dazed and afraid.
“Al,” I spoke softly. “Al, look at me, please.” He just stared into the distance with a blank face. I grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him.
“Al, look at me! You heard your mum. You have to tell James and Lily needs you. Are you just going to sit here or are you going to help your dad?” He finally turned to face me and nodded almost imperceptibly. Without a word, he got up and walked up the stairs like a zombie. Moments later James scrambled down the stairs with Claire following at a frantic pace. James wrote a hasty message that his owl took away, and left, vanishing into thin air with Claire right behind him.
I sat down at the round wooden table in the kitchen and tried to steady my breath. Panic was seeping into my veins. My heart pounded and I had a sick feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. My hands had started to shake. How could someone want to kill Harry?
Just then, Tilly flew through the open kitchen window. She dropped a note on the table -and then nudged her head against my hand. I stroked her feathers absent-mindedly as I struggled to open the letter.
I was so focused on the note that I didn’t notice that Al had come up behind me. He snatched the letter from my hands, opened the seal and shoved it back into my shaking hand.
“Thanks,” I whispered to him before reading the letter.
The Order has gone to the ministry. Harry has been captured in the Ministry. Ouroboros over the roof. Stay safe. We love you.
-Mum and Dad
I passed the message to Al, who read it with no emotions. He looked numb.
The formerly defunct Order of the Phoenix had now gotten back together to save Harry; the wizarding world savior that was now being held hostage in the Ministry. And there was nothing we could do.
After Mum disappeared from our house, I slouched in the wooden chair, feeling exhausted. The whole event had zapped my energy. I was vaguely aware of Allie speaking my name, pleading with me to look at her, but my body wouldn’t cooperate enough to do it. She started yelling.
“Al, look at me! You heard your mum. You have to tell James and Lily needs you. Are you just going to sit here or are you going to help your dad?” My body seemed to go into autopilot. I nodded slightly and walked up the stairs to James.
He was flirting with Claire as she giggled and kissed him. They both looked up when I entered his room. Seeing my face, his grew grave and Claire looked from my face to his repeatedly.
“What happened?” he asked. I opened my mouth several times, but I couldn’t manage to get the words out. He shot up onto his feet and stood about a foot away from me.
“What happened, Al? Dammit, tell me!”
“Something happened. Dad is in mortal danger. Mum went to Uncle Ron’s and Aunt Hermione’s. The Order is meeting. I don’t know more than that.” James’s eyes widened and he pushed past me to go to the meeting. Claire gave me a quick hug before dashing after him.
After he left, I stood in his room and thought about what was happening. My dad might die. He could die. I repeated it over and over in my head unable to stop the thought from going through my mind. I wanted the thoughts to stop.
As I yelled in complete frustration and helplessness, I slammed my hand down on James’s dresser. It throbbed and the pain took over my mind, but this I could deal with. It was better than thinking about my dad dying.
Soon, I got used to the throbbing and aching of my hand and I started to think about Lily. How could I tell my sister? How could I tell Lily, who even at fifteen, was Daddy’s little girl? I couldn’t face it right now.
I slowly stepped down the stairs to find a shaking Allie, struggling to open a letter as Tilly hooted under her hand. I walked up behind her and pulled it from her trembling hands. I opened it with my right hand, my good hand, and gave it back to her.
“Thanks,” she said quietly. Her blue eyes scanned the paper. She paled and handed it to me without meeting my eyes. I took it and my heart dropped at the news.
The Order has gone to the ministry. Harry has been captured in the Ministry. Ouroboros over the roof. Stay safe. We love you.
-Mum and Dad
Dad was being held up in the Ministry of Magic. The same people that had killed muggles and wizards alike had my father held hostage.
I stood there for a moment, not knowing what to do. Finally I crumpled up the note and threw it across the kitchen. In my fit of rage and agony, I slammed my hands on the table. Allie stared at me in shock and… fear?
I sat in the chair next to her and put my head in my hands.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just feel so helpless,” I said and then looked her in the eyes. “I should be out there. I want to help, but they won’t let me because I’m not of age yet.”
Alice put her hands on my arms and rubbed them up and down, comforting me.
“Everything will be okay. It’ll all turn out alright. You may not be able to be in the fight, but you can start helping by telling Lily and being there for her. You’re not useless,” she said, smiling a small grin at me. I nodded as she put her hands down on the table.
Before I went to break the news to Lils, I took hold of Allie’s hand and gave it a squeeze. She was the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.
I made it up to Lily’s room and I gave her door a small knock.
“Come on in!” she said cheerily. It sounded foreign to hear a happy tone, but then again, she didn’t know. I walked in slowly and saw Lily sitting on her floor, going through all of her Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products. She had everything from Nosebleed Nougats to Extendable Ears to a pair of prototype duck feet boots (which didn’t have a name yet).
Lily smiled at me when she saw me, but it faltered. I must have looked like a wreck. My smile was painful. I took a seat by her on the floor and started to fiddle with a Reusable Hangman.
“Lily, sis, I have some bad news.” She looked concerned.
“What’s wrong Al? Are you okay?” I chuckled humorlessly.
“I’m fine, Lils,” I said, but went back to serious mode. “Dad… Dad has been… well, he’s been captured. He’s being held hostage in the Ministry of Magic. It’s by the same people that have been committing the mass murders lately. I’m so sorry, Lily.”
She looked horrified. Tears started to stream down her face and I hugged my sister close as her wet cheeks soaked into my plain white tee shirt.
Within minutes she calmed herself and put on a game face.
“So, what do we do? Are we going to meet up with the rescue party?” I looked away from her. “Tell me, Al. Damn you, Al, tell me what we are going to bloody do!”
“Lily!” chastised her. She was still my little sister, even at fifteen. “We can’t do anything. They won’t let us. Mum told me to take care of you and that’s what I’ll do.” Then a voice from behind me spoke out.
“Actually, we can,” said Allie. I whirled around to see Allie standing with a small, smug smile on her face. Behind her were all of my cousins and friends, wands at the ready with a fiery determination on their faces.
Once Al went to break it to Lily, a badger patronus flitted through the window. My dad’s voice rang out.
“Ministry is being overrun. We’re out-numbered. Stay where you are. We love you, Allie.”
Holding in a sob, I went to work. A combination of my dad giving up and seeing Al’s hopeless face gave me drive; a need to fix this.
Not one for very good patronuses, I was extremely worried about my plan. I pulled my wand out and breathed deeply, trying to focus on my happiest memory.
I thought through countless happy days and good times, but the one memory that I kept coming back to was when Al said he loved me.
Admittedly, it wasn’t the happiest at that moment, but he had come to mean everything to me since then and thinking about it now filled me with love and joy. It was powerful.
“Expecto Patronum,” I spoke clearly and sternly. For the first time an animal shot out of my wand. A silvery, shining dove soared around the room in large figure-eight rotations. I laughed in glee at my patronus which flied beautifully.
I held out my arm and the shimmering bird perched atop it as I spoke my message.
“Everybody, if you don’t know by now, Harry has been captured inside the Ministry and is in extreme danger. Anyone who is interested in helping out with the battle, come to Harry’s house.” The bird flew out the window to the other under-aged family and friends who I knew would want to fight.
Within minutes Rose had shown up with Hugo and after them followed Roxy, and then the rest of the gang arrived. All in all there were about ten people give or take. I herded them up to Lily’s room where Al was comforting her.
“We can’t do anything,” I heard Al say, sounding very frustrated. “They won’t let us. Mum told me to take care of you and that’s what I’ll do.”
“Actually, we can,” I said. Al and Lily looked at us in complete shock. “I figured if we leave now, we’ll be able to reach the ministry in the middle of the fight and slip past everybody in the ruckus. Once we do that, we can grab your dad and go.” Lily was the first to respond.
“Thank you. Thank you, Allie,” she said and hugged me. “You don’t know what it means to me to be able to be a part of the fight. Come on, Al, let’s go.” He still sat there, stunned. Once he seemed to grasp that we were leaving, he hopped up and ushered us out of the room and towards the door.
When everybody had left, he pulled me back and into a bear hug.
“Thank you, Allie.” I hugged him tightly and tears fell onto his shoulder.
“They’re being overrun, Al. The Order is out-numbered. I don’t know if they’ll make it.”
Al started rubbing circles on my back.
“They’ll make it, Alice. They will because of you. We’ll help them, but we have to do it now. We can’t wait.” I nodded and wiped my eyes. We needed to go now.
Once we all apparated to the visitor entrance to the Ministry, we devised a plan; we were going to go in there and wing it. Our goal: to kick some death eater arse.
Our group stepped into the telephone booth one by one and each pressed 62442. We all magically (forgive the pun) appeared in the visitors section of the ministry.
The entire area was so empty and barren that I expected tumbleweeds to roll through my line of sight. Though it looked deserted, I could hear a fight in the distance. The sound of Order members and death eaters alike shouting incantations and of spells blasting out of wands. Occasionally there was a loud moan or a boom that told us of an intense battle.
All of us under-age duelers ran in the direction of the chaos. We found the main fight was right in the Ministry lobby and we were most definitely out-numbered. Every single Order member was dueling at least two masked figures, sometimes more.
Our whole crowd separated and tried to help out the struggling people. I quickly found my mum dueling with a large, bulky man with flowing black hair and a woman without her mask and a cruel look in her eyes. I aimed at the man and mentally shouted stupefy. It hit him in the shoulder, but he only looked a little fazed. While the woman continued to battle my mum, I took on the buff death eater with girly hair.
He sent a stream of green jets at me that I can only assume were Avada Kedavra spells. Narrowly dodging them, I sent back a conjunctivitis curse at his face. He leapt out of the way and I sent another stunning spell at him, which hit his left arm, though he still wouldn’t go down.
Then, Mum appeared behind him. She pointed her wand at him and a burst of white hit him in the back making him fall unconscious. I had to remember to ask her what that spell was later.
Upon macho death eater’s fall, Mum ran over to me and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug.
“Oh, Sweetheart, I’m so glad you’re okay. Why are you here, Alice? You should go. It’s not safe here. The majority of the aurors were dispatched to protect Hogwarts and we’re all that’s defending the Ministry until they can get here. The floo network is down and they can’t apparate until they can get off school grounds. Plus, all of the civilians fled from here in fear.”
“That’s why we came. After I got Dad’s message, I called the rest of us here. I can’t just let you die here, Mum.” She looked pained.
“And I can’t let you die here, Sweetheart.” I gave her a reassuring smile.
“I won’t. I promise that I’ll be alive for you to ground me as you assuredly will when this is over.” Mum tried to hide a grin, but she failed miserably.
“You bet you will be, Alice. We’ll discuss it later. Now, we have some business to take care of,” she said to me and kissed me on the forehead before running to Dad and helping him take on three death eaters.
Everyone looked preoccupied with fighting. In fact, no one noticed that I was just standing there, so I decided to take advantage of the situation. With one last look at the fight that I was leaving, I sprinted to the auror department.
Though I was wary, it appeared that I didn’t need to be. The halls had the same abandoned look as the visitor center. Every single worker had departed from here in fright and all of the death eaters were battling in the lobby.
Slowly, I crept through the halls to the Head Auror’s Office, trying not to make a sound as my shoes tapped on the black tile floor. Tap. Tap. Tap.
When I got to the end of the black-tiled hall, I saw a black door with an old brass plate with “Head Auror’s Office” on it. In newer, shiny brass “Harry Potter” was engraved under the first name plate. I stood in place, careful not to make a move or a noise. There were no guards posted in the halls, but I heard muffled voices from behind the door. I cursed myself for not grabbing Extendable Ears.
Carefully, I knelt by the door and looked in the key hole. Harry was sitting in his desk chair. His legs and torso had chains wrapped around them, but he sat still. His chair was swiveled to the side and he was facing a lanky man who was holding two wands to Harry; his and Harry’s, I surmised.
I reached my hand slowly up to the handle to open it up. I felt the cool metal on my palm before someone grabbed me from behind. The person’s hand went to my mouth so that I couldn’t scream and the other held my waist as he/she pulled me backwards and away from the door. I kicked and thrashed, but my captor held me tightly, dragging me back down the hall. Finally, after we got to the entrance of the hall, the person let me go.
I reeled around and found myself face to face with a very angry Al.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing? Were you just going to go in there alone? Fight off the death eaters and save the day? It’s not that simple, Alice. How could you be so stupid?” he spat in a harsh whisper.
“What am I doing? What am I doing? What are you doing? I could have gone in there and taken him. There’s just one man and he wouldn’t have been expecting it,” I hissed back.
“Oh yes, you could definitely take some guy that held my dad hostage. Great thinking. Go on ahead. I’m sorry that I interrupted you,” he said sarcastically.
“Well, what else am I supposed to do? Just let him stay there and get killed?”
“Shut up! He is not going to die!” he almost yelled, but caught himself. “He’s not,” he whispered to himself. In that instant I saw that all the frustration and anger that he was taking out on me was actually just his worry and concern for his father and family. I calmed down. Getting angry back at him wasn’t going to help the situation.
“Look, I’m sorry, but we have to do something, yeah? We can’t just sit here. I looked in the key hole. They’re talking and the string bean death eater has two wands pointed at your dad. He could go in for the kill any time. We have to strike now.”
Al just stood there, thinking. Finally he nodded.
“Okay. We need a plan,” he said.
“We can’t. We have no time. We’ve wasted enough of it.” Al reluctantly relented and we decided to wing it. I know what you’re thinking; dumb move, but if we wasted anymore time, Harry could be dead.
The two of us crept forward quietly hearing only our own breath and the battle in the lobby. We were on opposite sides of the door. Al held up three fingers. We were going in three seconds.
Chapter 18: Impossible
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We burst into the room and were immediately grabbed by death eaters on either side of the door that we couldn’t see from the brass doorknob’s keyhole. A wand was jabbed at my throat, poking into my skin.
“Drop your wands,” said the lanky captor, his wands still pointed at Harry. Harry nodded his head from where he sat in his chair, silently communicating to us to drop them.
I opened my sweaty palm and shook my wand from my sticky hand. Seconds later I heard Al’s fall to the floor.
The two of us were pushed against the wall next to the door where we came in. The two silver-masked death eaters still shoved their wands into our throats.
“Are there more of you?” interrogated the kidnapper. I shook my head vigorously at the same time as Al snarled “No”.
“So why are you here? Did you possibly think that you two children could save ‘the chosen one’?” he mocked, looking amused. His two cronies chuckled. He was patronizing us. I felt ridiculous, stupid. How could I possibly think that we could do this?
“You won’t get away with this,” said Al with complete confidence. “Everyone knows we’re here and when they don’t see us in the lobby, they’ll search for us. You’ll go to Azkaban and get the dementor’s kiss.”
“Al!” scolded Harry. “Don’t provoke them.” He turned to his abductor. “Please, they’re just kids. Let them go. They shouldn’t be here. If you let them go, I’ll do whatever you want.”
He just laughed. It was then that I realized we had given this man leverage. We gave him the upper hand. He could use Harry's hero complex to his advantage.
“Do you really think me that dense, Potter? I can see the obvious resemblance. He’s your son and she’s the daughter of that bumbling professor. They are valuable hostages, second only to you. So you’ll do what I want anyway, because I have them.”
“Fine. What in the bloody hell do you want, Nott?”
“What do I want? I just want you dead; simple as that. You destroyed my family. My dad’s in Azkaban, waiting in line for the kiss. Mum is on her death bed from the stress and agony. I’ve imagined this moment for years. First, you’re going to free my dad, and then I’m going to kill you. If you want them to stay alive, then cooperate with me.” Harry just nodded without a second thought. Always the hero, he was.
“Why did you do this?” I yelled. “You know your father deserved Azkaban. He killed hundreds of innocent people. I’m sorry about your mum, but don’t take this out on people who didn’t do anything. You’re going to be exactly like your father, rotting in Azkaban with him. Don’t do this.”
“Don’t you dare say anything about him! I did this for him. I created the Order of the Ouroboros with the sole purpose of killing Harry Potter. First, we just killed mudblood, muggles, and blood traitors to stir up a panic. Then, I moved on to step two; attacking Hogsmeade. By doing that, I forced the aurors to guard the school, leaving the Ministry unprotected. Finally, I could make my move and, now, I’m going to finish what I started.”
“The fight won’t last forever, Mr. Nott. You can’t keep stalling. Do you want to know what I think?” I asked him rhetorically. I kept going before he could answer. “You don’t want to do this. You keep hesitating, hoping that your plan will be foiled because you’re not a killer. You may have ordered the other killings, but you, yourself, can’t get your hands dirty and now that you’re here, you can’t do it. Mr. Nott, you don’t know what to do.”
Nott’s face grew a frightening shade of red and he looked like a child about to throw a temper tantrum. He lifted one of the wands in his hands (his own) and pointed it at me.
I fell to the floor in agony. My whole body was burning. The only thought that was in my head was of dying. I wanted to die. I wanted anything that would take away the pain that made me seize on the floor. I screamed out loud and I could vaguely detect Al struggling against the two death eaters to get to me.
The torture seemed to last for hours on end, although it was probably closer to minutes, the torture never ending, never pausing even a minute. My mind wouldn’t rest. It begged me to stop the pain, but I was helpless. All I could do was cry out in distress, hoping that I wouldn’t lose my mind as my grandparents did.
Finally, it stopped. I gasped, air filling my lungs. I hadn’t realized that I had been holding my breath. I lay there on the floor with the memory of my torture engraved into my brain.
“Allie! Alice!” Al yelled. He elbowed one death eater in the stomach and pushed the other off of him before dropping to his knees at my side.
“Are you okay?” I nodded weakly, still in a daze. When I regained my ability to speak I said, “I’m fine.”
The death eaters closed in on us, wands pointed at our chests. They nudged us roughly with their feet and attempted to get us back on our feet.
Al stood and grabbed my arm, trying to pull me up, but I still felt too weak and clumsy. My legs felt like jello and wouldn’t cooperate with me, as if my body thought I would feel pain again if I were to stand. Despite Al’s help, I kept falling down like a baby learning to walk.
The death eaters were not sympathetic to my plight. The masked villains were only getting angrier by the minute and Nott’s face looked about ready to explode.
“Just kill them and get it over with. If those kids won’t cooperate, then they won’t live,” ordered Nott without any remorse in his voice. My palms began to sweat with the nervousness and fear. I went into overdrive, trying to stand on my two shaky feet, but even with Al’s support, they wouldn’t support me.
The two cronies moved towards us and readied their spells.
“No! No! I’ll sign the pardon! Don’t kill them! Your dad will be free!” Harry yelled desperately. Nott thought for a minute, stroking his scruffy, prickly chin.
“And you will not resist in any way, shape, or form?” Theodore Nott eyed Harry suspiciously.
“I will not,” vowed Harry solemnly.
“No! Dad, he’ll kill you! Don’t do it, please,” Al pleaded with his dad, but Harry avoided his eyes with a pained look on his bespectacled face. I could see tears springing to Al’s eyes as he tried to fight them back.
The death eaters and their leader ignored us and surrounded Harry at his desk. The two goons broke the chains from his hands, but only his hands. With a silvery masked thug at each side of him and Nott across the desk from him, Harry picked up his white-feathered quill and wrote the pardon.
I sat there for a minute, afraid to make a sound. It was almost as if we didn’t exist. The longer they forgot about us, the better. I could feel the strength coming back to my legs. I moved my legs slowly and moved into a crouch position without the kidnappers noticing.
Al watched me as I tested my strength before sitting back down to keep up the guise of weakness. Quietly, I surveyed the room, looking for anything that would help us.
Finally I saw our escape and I formulated the biggest cliché of a plan.
I stood beside Allie while she tested out her leg strength. Seeing her in complete agony almost killed me and watching my dad, right at this moment, prepared to die, put me over the edge.
Tears were starting to spill over onto my cheeks, but I held them in, trying not to let them show. My anger was breaking down into something even more dangerous; desperation. I would do anything to save the people that I loved; the people in this room who were in danger, but I couldn’t. I felt completely helpless.
Interrupting my reveries was Allie. She had tried to pull herself to her feet with a small side table and she’d fallen. The round, wooden table had fallen over sideways, as did Alice, and the lamp atop it had broken and shattered into several shards of glass.
All of the people at Dad’s desk either stared or glared at her before resuming writing the pardon.
I noticed that Allie was up to something. She had a look of pure determination on her face; a mischievous gleam in her eye, and as she stood up, she wasn’t clumsy in the least. Allie had feigned weakness, which was hard for someone as strong as her to do. She had a plan. As she glanced at the death eaters nervously, I saw a glimmer of glass grasped loosely in her hand, as to not cut herself.
One of the death eaters was eyeing her suspiciously, so I walked over to her and grabbed the glass out of her hand stealthily.
“You’re going to get us killed,” I hissed, checking to see if the death eater was still looking, which he wasn’t. “I know we need to get out of here, but you can’t just go up and stab them.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
“I wasn’t going to,” she said, sounding exasperated and annoyed, like her plan was completely obvious. When I still had a puzzled look on my face, she nodded her head in the direction of the ceiling.
Hanging directly over the desk where my dad and the captors were, was a glimmering crystal chandelier. Each crystal attached to it sparkled in the light of the room and swayed whenever someone moved too much. It was hung the old-fashioned way; by a rope that was tied to a wooden fixture on the wall a few feet away from where Allie and I were standing.
My eyes widened in recognition and surprise.
“Oh,” I responded lamely, wondering how I hadn’t thought of that. It seemed so obvious and cliché.
“Yeah, that would be the plan,” she said impatiently. “Now can I have the glass back?”
“No,” I said shaking my head and looking nervously at the table before whispering again. “We need to figure out how to get dad out of the way.”
Allie nodded seriously and fiddled with her blond hair, twirling it in her fingers with her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth. I knew that look; she was thinking intensely. She had the same face when she did potions homework.
Then, I could almost see the light bulb above her head when she thrust the glass (very scarily, I might add) into my hand, almost cutting me.
“Be careful wi—,” I said, but she ignored me.
“You cut the rope and I’ll lunge for him,” she whispered, watching the conspirators out of the corner of her eye. I did the same.
“No. You’ll get killed. I’ll do it,” I told her worriedly. She shook her head.
“If the death eaters and Nott escape, they’re going to go for the one who cut the rope. We both know that you have a better chance of survival while I cut Harry free. Then, we can take them down.”
It was crazy. The plan was not just improbable, but impossible, and yet…
And yet, it was the only plan we had. It was a way to save the day and it was the only hope I had left to grasp onto.
I nodded, confirming the plan. She started to move towards the desk, but I grabbed her hand.
“Be careful, yeah?” I said to her. Her eyes softened and she wore a sad smile.
“You, too,” she replied and then turned away from me.
Slowly, but swiftly, I snuck over to the rope on the wall, taking cursory glances at both the death eaters and Allie, to make sure she was in position. She gave an almost imperceptible nod and I dug the shard into the already fraying rope.
Allie flew into action, literally, as she tackled my father to the ground. He fell backwards in his chair, out of the way of the falling death trap.
The kidnappers were not so lucky. Caught under a heap of metal and shattered crystal, they looked to be unconscious, if not dead. Cuts and gashes covered their bodies and blood seeped onto the floor. I was horrified.
Even though they were certified killers, I felt extreme guilt because of my actions. Pushing those thoughts out of my mind for now, I knelt at the rubble to find my wand and release my dad.
I pulled away bits of twisted metal and sorted through pokey crystals and found my wand stuck under a metal piece by a person’s hand. There was just one problem with that; it was Allie’s hand.
Chapter 19: Confessions
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Thanks to Green for the splendid chapter image.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t talk. The only thing I was able to do was hear muffled sounds and feel enormous pain. My body felt bruised and broken.
Though, not like my previous agony, it was still pretty bad. I tried to shut my brain off and focus on nothing, but my mind kept going back to my battered body. Finally, I tuned my mind to the noises around me. They were muffled, but I could catch a little bit of what they were saying. It sounded like an old-fashioned radio; always cutting out and then tuning back in.
A loud BAM! entered my ears. This was followed by gasps and sobbing.
“What happened?” asked a man’s voice. I couldn’t tell who it was.
“Allie was going… and she didn’t…,” I heard another say, though I couldn’t quite make out what it was. The other bloke was talking too softly and something was messing with his speech.
“My baby,” said a woman. Mum?
I tried to talk to her. I wanted her to know that I was here, but I couldn’t make a sound. I wasn’t able to reach out to her either. I could only listen as I heard her pleas for me to wake and as I made out her crying.
I kept trying to say something; anything, but my mouth refused to form the words. The task was exhausting for me and I started feeling really sleepy.
Wanting to stay awake, I tried to occupy my mind. I even tried to focus on my pain, but the blackness overcame me and I went unconscious.
I woke up sometime later. I don’t know exactly how much time has passed. Everything was as before. I can’t see, talk, move. Well, there is one improvement; I can’t feel any pain. I feel peaceful. I’m sleepy again.
I hadn’t moved from Allie’s bedside for a minute since she was hurt two days ago. The healers at St. Mungo’s had said that she had been hit in the head with the chandelier and her brain was taking time to heal while she slept. They said she would be fine, but I was still worried.
I was exhausted and guilt-ridden and scared for her. Why had I let her do something so likely to go wrong?
Flashback to the Ministry:
I grabbed her wrist, checking for a pulse. Relief flowed through me for a second before I started digging through the rubble to find Allie. Pieces of crystal and sharp shrapnel cut into my hands, but I kept going.
While Dad took care of the three villains, I took care of Alice. She was breathing and her heart was beating, but she wouldn’t wake.
“Dad! Dad! Help me. She’s not waking up.” I was starting to get frantic. He walked behind me and I felt his hand on my shoulder.
“Albus, there’s nothing you can do for her right now. We need to end this fight. Afterwards, we can get her to St. Mungo’s. Stay calm. She’s going to be fine, son,” he reassured me. I nodded numbly and we set off for the lobby.
As soon as Dad and I were in the sights of the dueling wizards and witches, two things happened. First, the death eaters panicked and started to apparate away. Though, we captured some of them, others got away. Secondly, while Mum snogged the living day lights out of Dad (yuck), Hannah and Neville asked where Alice was. This was the moment I dreaded; the moment that I had to tell them that I almost killed their daughter.
I hesitated in telling them. I could see in their eyes that they knew something was wrong. Hannah was about to cry and Professor Longbottom was rubbing her arms, trying to calm her down.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, but she just wanted to help. She’s hurt. She’s unconscious and won’t wake up. I’m sorry.”
“Where’s our daughter?” asked Allie’s mum. I beckoned them to follow me, and then I led them to the room where Allie was lying on the floor, injured and deep in involuntary sleep. I wasn't thinking and accidentally slammed open the door.
“What happened?” asked Neville stiffly. He’d never spoken to me like that before, not even when I had gotten in trouble. He really hated me, but I didn’t blame him. I hated me right now, too.
“Allie was going… and she didn’t…,” I stuttered. I was so afraid for her and I felt guilt crashing down on me constantly. It was entirely my fault. Neville didn’t question me any further, but just looked at me pityingly before going over to his wife.
“My baby,” she sobbed, putting her hands over her face and her blonde hair fell over her shoulders in long strands. It didn’t help that she looked so much like Allie. A new wave of guilt hit me.
I left the room to get someone to help with Allie and to give the Longbottoms some space.
Dad spotted me right away and got right to business.
"I sent a patronus message to St. Mungo’s. They’ll be here soon,” he told me. I nodded with relief, but I still felt like shit. “It’s not your fault, Al, you know that right?”
I shook my head.
“No, I don’t know that. It is my fault. She wouldn‘t have jumped in front of that chandelier if I hadn’t let her. We could have found another way. I should have jumped instead or I should have—,” Dad cut me off.
“We can’t worry about the could-have’s and the should-have’s, son. What happened, happened and we can’t change the past… well, at least not legally. Besides, do you think that you could really stop Alice from doing what she wanted to do? Al, she would have done that with or without you and you know it. She is strong-willed, which is one of the things I know you love about her. Why change her?”
I nodded, understanding.
“I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She’s perfect the way she is.”
Dad smiled and then pulled me into a hug.
“I’m so relieved that you’re okay. And thanks, for saving my life. I love you, Al,” he told me and then went over to James, who was checking up on Claire.
I stood there in the lobby and thought about what my dad said. Was it really my fault? She definitely is determined to do what she wants and will go about doing it with or without people’s approval.
I didn’t get longer to think about it because the healers arrived. Two men in bright lime green robes with a bone and wand “X” on them strolled towards me.
“Excuse me, sir,” one of them asked me. “Where is the injured girl?” I showed them the way and in a few minutes, I began my sit at her bedside while she slept.
Back to the present:
I grabbed Allie’s hand and talked to her every once in a while, hoping that she would wake up. Her parents wanted to be there, too, but they had lives to get on with. Unfortunately, I didn’t. My life laid on the bed in a deep comatose state and a potion stop her pain digesting in her.
Someone sat in the uncomfortable hospital chair beside me.
“You told me before, in this same situation, to get out of the room because I smelled bad. Bro, you reek,” said my brother, James.
“This is different, James,” I argued, not looking at him, although, I really did stink.
“How is this different? She’ll still be here when we get back. Just let me take you to get something to eat and then you can shower and come back here. It will only take half an hour tops, knowing the way you eat.” I gave him a look, but my heart wasn’t in it.
“James, how can I leave when this is my fault?”
“It’s not your fault,” said Lily. She put her arms around my shoulders, hugging me from behind. I didn’t even hear her enter the room. “Come on, Al. I miss my big brother. Just take a little break. Hannah and Neville will be here soon, anyway.”
I nodded and slowly got up from my chair, never taking my eyes off of Allie as if she would wake when she heard that I was leaving. She didn’t.
“Okay,” I relented. “I’ll take half an hour to rest and eat and shower, but no more than forty-five minutes,” I told my siblings. To Allie, I said, “I’ll be back soon.” I left the room.
I was back again. I could still hear everything and there was slight pressure on my right hand. Someone must be holding it. The throbbing was gone still. I could hear people talking.
“James, how can I leave when this is my fault?” asked a person I recognized as Al. I tried to speak out.
“No,” I wanted to say. “Don’t feel guilty. It’s alright. Everything is fine.” My mouth wouldn’t cooperate with me.
“It’s not your fault,” said a girl. It was Lily. I silently thanked her for mirroring my thoughts. “Come on, Al. I miss my big brother. Just take a little break. Hannah and Neville will be here soon, anyway.” Mum and Dad would be here? I felt so happy and sad at the same time. I wanted to see them, but my heart broke because I couldn’t.
I desperately wanted to sit upright and tell everyone that I was fine; that they could stop worrying about me as I’m sure my parents were. I didn’t want to cause them any grief. With all my might, I tried to grip Al’s hand and let him know that I heard him, but my hand stubbornly refused.
“Okay, I’ll take half an hour to rest and eat and shower, but no more than forty-five minutes,” Al said to his siblings. Then, he said softly to me, “I’ll be back soon.”
I was frustrated. I needed to say “okay” or nod in agreement. I desired to let everyone know that I was fine, but nothing would work. I felt broken.
I guess that I wasn’t fine. I was broken. I wasn’t working, that’s for sure.
The next few minutes were spent trying to move my muscles. There were times when I felt that this would be it; that I would wake up and start walking around, but it never happened. I was torn between wanting to try again or giving up and throwing a temper tantrum like a child. This helplessness that I was feeling wasn’t me. I didn’t like it.
Another hand gripped mine again. It was warm and soft with a ring on the finger.
“Alice, sweetheart, please wake up. Mummy’s here. Please, darling,” Mum begged. Her hand stroked mine.
Dad spoke. “Hannah, she’ll wake up on her own time. You know how stubborn our daughter is.” He chuckled quietly. I could almost feel them smiling at each other despite their worry. “Besides, the healers said she just needs time to heal and she’s doing great.”
“You’re right, Neville. But, she’s our little girl and I can’t imagine if she…,” Mum said with a quiet hiccup.
“I know, I know. Why don’t we leave now? You need to take your mind off of this right now. I told you; she’s stubborn. Plus, Al’s watching over her constantly. If anyone can get her to awaken, it’s him. He’s a good kid.”
I listened to their footsteps as they walked out of the door. I was happy that they were leaving. Don’t get me wrong; I love my parents, but they can’t just wait here for days. Who knows when I’ll open my eyes? I felt calmed when they left. Mum and Dad were doing alright and that’s all I wanted.
The door opened again.
“Alice,” said Rosy. I heard more than just her footsteps.
“Don’t wake her up, yet, Rose,” scolded Sophie. “She needs to rest.” She made a “shh” sound.
“Sorry,” whispered Rose. I wanted to laugh at them. I was already awake partly. I could hear them all.
“I can’t believe she did that,” I heard Aileen say. “She’s so brave. I could never jump in front of a falling chandelier. Is she mental?” All the girls laughed and I heard some blokes chuckling, as well.
“You’re plenty brave, Lee,” said Eric. “You are in Gryffindor, after all.” Aileen giggled.
“Aren’t you just a flatterer?”
“Well, I’m just saying the truth about my girlfriend.” I heard some snogging noises and some sounds of disgust. Personally, I thought they were sweet. It was about bloody time for that.
“Can you believe that everyone’s together now? It’s kind of weird, but in a good way,” mused Lysander.
“Well, not Al and Al. They’re still being bloody idiots,” said Rose. Thanks a lot, Rose, although, the nickname didn’t irritate me anymore.
“They’ll work it out sometime. Don’t worry about it, Rosy,” Dom dismissed cheerfully. “I just know it.”
“Oh, so it’s like a sixth sense, Dom?” said Scorpius sarcastically.
“Actually, yes. I’m just special that way.”
“Special sure is the word for you, Dom,” joked Fred, who cried out in pain afterwards. “Violence isn’t the answer. Especially with your cousins.”
“You’re right. It’s the question and the answer is yes.” Everyone laughed for a second before it halted abruptly.
“What is everyone doing here?” asked Al. He must have come back already. It didn’t even feel like thirty minutes.
“We were just seeing our friend. Is that a problem?” asked Louis. I felt a new respect for him.
“Well, no, but you’re being really loud. Can you shut it so she can heal faster?” He sounded very annoyed and cranky. He really needed some sleep. At least he didn’t smell anymore. Yuck.
“We were just trying to—,” Roxy said defensively, but Rose stopped her.
“Sorry, Al. I know this is hard on you, but don’t take it out on us,” she told him. To everyone else she said, “Come on, let’s leave him alone for a while.” A herd of footsteps left the room and faded away into the distance.
Al’s hand slipped into mine again.
“I’m so sorry, Allie. I never meant to hurt you. Not physically or emotionally. I never wanted us to end. Whatever I did to cause you pain, I’m sorry. I just wish you would tell me why you broke up with me.” He sighed loudly and then went on talking again. “I meant what I said when I told you I loved you. I still love you. I even kept those gloves. Thanks for those, by the way. I never knew if you liked your present. I saw you wearing it, but you never said anything. Maybe I shouldn’t have broken the frog off. Why did I listen to Fred when he told me to? It wasn’t that annoying… okay, it was.”
Broken the frog off? What did that mean? But I thought back to when I eavesdropped on him and the other blokes.
Flashback to that night:
“There’s just one problem…” Al trailed off. It was silent for a few minutes, except for the annoying croak of a toad somewhere outside, and I had stopped breathing, afraid that the blokes would hear me.
“Oh, it’s easy, Al,” boomed Fred’s deep voice. “Just break if off. She’ll understand.”
Back to the present:
I never stopped to realize that he may not have meant break it off with me, but breaking off something else. He said that he broke the frog off… A frog charm? All of the charms moved… maybe it moved too much or something was wrong with the silver frog and he broke it off.
“Shit. How could I be so stupid?”
“Allie?” I was confused. He heard me?
“How did you hear me?” Al looked slightly amused.
“Well, that’s what happens when you talk; people hear you,” he told me in a mocking voice. I didn’t expend the energy to glare at him.
“Wait, so I’m talking? Holy Merlin! I’m talking, which means I’m awake!” He laughed at me.
“You didn’t notice?”
“Well, no. I was too busy trying to figure out what was wrong with the frog charm,” I told him. He looked confused.
“How do you know about that?”
“Oh, I could hear you, but I couldn’t say anything. What was wrong with it? I’m really curious now,” I said, sounding like a little kid.
“It croaked loudly and obnoxiously repeatedly. It was horrible. Erm… does that mean you heard everything I said?” he asked, looking slightly embarrassed. The tips of his ears turned red.
“Yes, and you did smell. I’m really glad you showered,” I joked. He didn’t look amused. “Not the time?” I asked. He shook his head. I felt like a child being scolded, but I was strangely giddy.
“You really heard everything?” he asked again.
“Yes, I did. And you know what?” I questioned him.
“I love you, too.”
Chapter 20: Epilogue
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Thanks to autumn.shades for the cute chapter image :)
Two or so years later:
I held onto Allie’s hand as we ran through the pouring rain to our house in a muggle suburb. Though it was evening, we apparated obscurely behind some trees after getting back from the Longbottom residence. Officially, we went there for dinner, but off the record, I had another motive.
She laughed as our feet splashed through the puddles and watered down our already soaked feet. Our clothes were cold and completely drenched as I grabbed my slipper keys from my pocket and unlocked the door.
We rushed inside at the same time, both of us squeezing through the door. The carpet beneath our feet was damp from the dripping water.
“Help me get this off,” Allie said, struggling with her jacket. She turned around and I pulled off the coat and tossed the wet garment onto the floor.
“Do you need help to get this off, too?” I asked teasingly, playing with the hem of her shirt. Allie laughed and smacked my searching hands away. I pretended to pout, sticking my lower lip out.
“Don’t stick your lip out like that, Al. You look like a fish,” she joked with a small smirk on her face that mirrored my own. When I continued to pout, she kissed me, hands grasping my wet, shaggy hair. She bit my lower lip lightly and skipped away before I could wrap my arms around her. Allie giggled and went towards down the hall towards our bedroom.
“Are you coming, Al?” she asked. “I’m cold.” I could see her shirt fly across the hall and hit the floor by the hall entrance.
“Yeah. Just a minute,” I called out. I needed a moment to collect my thoughts. Reaching into my coat pocket, I fiddled with the box inside it. The velvet was slightly damp. I pulled the black box out and opened it. Though the outside had gotten a taste of the rain, the inside was perfectly dry. White silk covered the inside of the box and surrounded a silvery ring.
I had bought it a few weeks ago, although I had been searching for the perfect ring for months. It was silver with three diamonds in the band on either side of the middle one. At two karats, the diamond flashed in the light and shone brilliantly, as it was supposed to, since I cleaned it every day.
I closed the box and shoved it back in my pocket.
I needed one more moment to collect my nerves.
How did I ever get so lucky? Allie was absolutely amazing and she decided to date me. How that happened, I have no idea. For a long time I thought about exactly what I wanted to say, but even now, words escaped me.
The rational part of me knew she would say yes. After all, we’d been dating for a little over two years (if you don’t count our break up period). The irrational part of me worried that I would be rejected; she was Alice Longbottom. I pushed those thoughts away and focused on what I was going to say.
When I talked to her father tonight and asked for her hand, I assured him that I had it all worked out. That was a bit of a lie. I had no idea what to say to her because nothing seemed perfect enough. Nothing expressed just exactly how I felt. What could I possibly say to show her that she was the most important person to me?
What the hell. I’m just going to wing it.
I wiggled out of Al’s grasp and darted for the hallway leading to our bedroom, giggling all the way. I stripped out of my wet shirt while I waited for Al.
“Are you coming, Al?” I asked him seductively. “I’m cold.” Then, I threw my shirt into the hallway where he could see it. After taking off my soaked and heavy jeans, I crawled under the covers in my damp undergarments.
Minutes later, Al came in looking a little paler than usual. I figured that he must be cold because his expression displayed no outward discomfort. He had his signature smirk on his face, though it was mixed with genuine happiness, not just arrogance.
I gave him a “come hither” gesture with two fingers. His grin got broader and he slipped off his jacket as he stood by the bed. It fell to the floor right by the right side; his side. I could see his abs through his wet, light green, button-down shirt and seconds later there was no shirt at all. When he was in just his boxers, he slid in next to me and draped his arm over my waist.
He kissed me lightly before pulling back and tucking my soaking, tangled hair behind my ear.
“Beautiful,” he whispered. I still blushed and smiled stupidly every time he said that.
“You’re pretty good looking yourself,” I said. Al just rolled his eyes.
“I was being serious. You’re beautiful and brilliant and hilarious and fun and fiery and brave. You’re amazing, Allie,” he said sincerely, looking straight into my eyes. I blushed some more.
“Allie,” he said.
“Al,” I said back, mocking his seriousness. He raised an eyebrow, but other than that, he ignored my teasing.
"These past couple years with you have been the best of my life, you know that, right?”
“Even with the whole kidnapping thing and the break up and the deaths and—,” he put his hand over my mouth.
“Okay, it hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns, but it’s been great, okay? Just stop talking. You’re making this difficult,” he said. I agreed to stay quiet, seeing the silent plea on his face.
“You don’t know how bloody lucky I feel that you chose to be with me. You could have any guy you wanted, I’m sure,” he started. I rolled my eyes at that last part. “It’s true. Don’t roll your eyes. You could, yet you chose to love me and for that, I’m grateful. We’ve been together for a long time and, well…,” he trailed off and maneuvered to grab something on the floor.
Al pulled a small, black, velvet box from behind his back. I stared at it with wide eyes, unable to say a word.
“Allie, will you make me the happiest person on Earth? Will you marry me?”
I kept opening and closing my mouth, not able to think of the word that I need to say. It was on the tip of my tongue, but my brain couldn’t think. Tears of joy travelled down my face and onto the sheets.
Finally, my mind figured out the word “yes”.
I wrapped my arms around Al.
“Yes,” I said. “Yes. Yes. Yes.” Each time my voice got a little louder and a little higher.
I stopped hugging Al so I could see his face. He looking at me with a surprised grin, as if he didn’t think I would say yes.
He may have thought that he was the lucky one; that he was the one who won the lottery, but Al was wrong. I was the winner. I found the love of my life and was ready to spend the rest of my life with him. I was the happiest person on Earth.
A/N: It's finally over! I know it's not long, but I wanted it short, sweet and to the point (emphasis on the sweet). Also I just want to thank everybody who read it and reviewed it. You guys are amazing.