AN: Chapter six is here since the queue is open! This chapter is now the longest so far at 4,343 words.
I hope you enjoy it. This story has been very well-received so far and I am thrilled. The only thing I want to know is what you really think about it. So, please, read AND review. Thanks!
beautiful image by hullo @ TDA
Chapter Six: Ready
It was finally Saturday. The train would be leaving at nine a.m. exactly. Hundreds of Hogwarts students were to board the train to return home for the spring holiday.
Rose and Cecelia were dragging their half-filled trunks behind them at eight-something in the morning, hoping desperately that the train ride would be a long one.
“I’m so tired, Cece. Atti and I had to patrol last night.”
“When was your shift?” Cecelia asked as they stopped in the Great Hall.
“It was from eleven to one. McGonagall calls it the “Head Boy and Girl” shift. It’s twice a month and only on Fridays.”
“That’s possibly the worst shift ever. Leave it to McGonagall to enforce it.”
“You know she’s retiring finally? Professor Longbottom is going to become Headmaster next year.”
“Well then, with McGonagall leaving, that shift will also be going.”
“I know, right? I suppose my saving grace is that I'll get to sleep on the train ride home. It should be somewhat relaxing. That is until I see my parents.”
Rose sat down very unhappily at the table closest to her. Her back was ram-rod straight and any observer of the scene would have thought she was being defiant. The only clue that she wasn’t was the absentminded tugging at the bottom of her blue cotton shirt. It was a clear sign that she was worried.
“Oh, Rose, don’t worry about that now,” Cecelia told her quickly. Cecelia could practically read Rose’s mind sometimes. “We’ve got hours, at least five of them, before we should even begin
to think about that. So don’t dwell on it!”
Rose sighed, defeated. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
“Of course I am!” Cecelia chirped.
Rose gave her best friend a small smile and a ghost of a laugh.
Cecelia soon swept Rose up in an animated conversation about her oldest sister, Claire’s, engagement to her longtime boyfriend Robert and how she had just owled with all of the details.
“She and Robert have finally set a date. It’s for March 19.”
“But that’s so far away!” Rose exclaimed. “It’s the end of April now. Does she really want to wait that long? She’ll have to wait eleven months.”
“Well, you know Claire; she’s been dating Robert for six years. It took her four years to move in with him and she told me that Robert had her engagement ring for a year, just waiting
for the right moment to propose. You’d have to know that her engagement would be somewhat extended.”
“Claire is very…slow, for lack of a better word. But nearly a year? That’s just too long.”
“Wait until they’re married. She’ll insist that they wait six years before having children.”
Rose stiffened at those words. Children. That involved pregnancy. The mere mention of it still sent her reeling, but she willed herself to let it go. She couldn’t change the fact that she was pregnant, nor would it change, since she simply refused to have an abortion. She mentally shook the thought away and prodded Cecelia to tell her about her other siblings.
Cecelia had four older siblings. The oldest was Caleb, at thirty-one. He was married to Cailyn and they had two children, Chloe, who was almost five, and Cameron who was two and a half. Claire was the next oldest at twenty-eight, followed by Cecelia’s twenty-five year old, dragon-tamer brother Cedric, and her twenty year old journalist sister Charlotte. Cecelia, since the age of eight, and her other siblings had been raised by Caleb after her parents’ tragic death.
“Well, Charlotte says that Magical Witch
is going to start a new magazine aimed towards teenage, and slightly older, wizards. I think it’s about time. Magical Witch
has been in print for nearly thirty years. Anyway, she says that even though she’s only twenty and been there not even two years, they’re going to give her a large promotion and move her over to the new magazine, which she has to help name. Needless to say, she’s searching for a new, bigger flat.
“Cedric had told me that the Reserve is frantically getting ready for their first dragon birth in twelve years. He’s obviously very excited since he’s overseeing it all. The Reserve is his life. Caleb, however, is all eager for my return so I can watch his kids. At least for the summer. He said Chloe and Cameron are getting to be too spoiled and that they need their favourite aunt to deal with them properly since Cailyn enjoys spoiling them to no end when he’s at work.
Rose nodded in response. Caleb was a great brother and very responsible, which was clearly evident when he took care of his four younger siblings at the age of twenty one when their parents died; yet, he wasn’t the greatest father to his kids. He was always working at the Ministry so his family could live comfortably. His son and daughter had their mother to take care of them, seeing that she worked from home, but she had difficulty disciplining her babies.
“Are you excited to see them all?”
“Of course. I love seeing them. Cedric even told me in his letter that he’d Floo over one day just to see me before graduation.”
“Really? He’d leave the Reserve before graduation?” Rose was shocked. Cedric loved the dragon Reserve. He probably would marry it if he could.
“I know! I’m really excited to see him since I see him maybe three times a year. And I can’t wait to see my niece and nephew either.”
“Chloe and Cameron do love you,” Rose told her friend truthfully.
“Who loves you, Cecelia?” a voice said.
“My niece and nephew,” Cecelia automatically answered.
“Of course they would. What’s not to love about you?” Albus Severus Potter asked as he sidled up to Cecelia, snaking an arm around her waist.
Cecelia blushed a pale pink colour and Scorpius smirked at Al’s antics.
Scorpius knew very well that Al fancied the pants off Cecelia, yet she shoed very few, if any, signs that she wanted a relationship with him. But from what Rose had told him, Cecelia fancied the pants off Al, too.
Scorpius dutifully kissed Rose and offered to take care of her trunk.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I'll pull it myself,” she told him as she got up. “Ready to get on the train?”
“Yes. I want to get a good compartment.”
“Of course Albus,” Cecelia said, completely disregarding the slight embarrassment she had just endured. “Lead the way.”
“Al, Rose and I are going to be there in a few, so you make sure to find a good one.”
“And make sure it’s not near any first and second years. They’re so rambunctious and I want to sleep,” Rose added.
Albus nodded and began pulling Cecelia with him.
“I'll make sure it’s quiet,” Cecelia called over her shoulder to Rose.
Scorpius and Rose watched Cecelia and Albus exit the Great Hall along with dozens of other Hogwarts students.
As the flow of people trickled down to a few people here and there, Scorpius and Rose finally made their way out of the Great Hall.
As the couple walked on the grounds hand in hand, their trunks trailing behind them, they said nothing.
It wasn’t until they sat in the carriage taking them to the station that they spoke.
“Rose,” Scorpius said softly.
“We’ll be fine.”
Rose gazed into Scorpius’ eyes, her face blank and emotionless. Scorpius closely observed that the corner of her mouth twitched and that her eyes smiled.
“No Scorpius, we’ll be better than fine.”
She kissed him slowly as she savored his taste and locked away the memory of feeling his lips move against hers.
She tentatively pulled her lips from his.
“Much better,” she amended.
Rose gently pressed her lips to Scorpius’ before he tightened his hold on her.
“I love you,” she said, leaning intently into his embrace.
“I love you, too,” he whispered into her hair.
As they reached the train station, they were eager to find the compartment their friends had stumbled upon, but first they had to search throughout the entire train for them.
Cecelia and Albus were having some difficulty though.
“Cece, the only compartments left are near first and second years. Rose will be pissed if she doesn’t get her beauty sleep.”
“Al, are you or are you not free to use magic legally?”
Albus looked at Cecelia perplexed.
“Al,” Cecelia laughed, “are you at least seventeen years old?”
With those words, it dawned on him what she was trying to tell him.
“Why, yes! Indeed I am. In fact, I am eighteen
and considered a legal adult in both wizarding and Muggle society. And today, I shall exercise these rights by casting the perfect silencing charm upon the compartment of your choice!” Al told Cecelia, his voice channeling a mock-authoritative tone.
Cecelia gave Al a dazzling smile before glancing up and down the train aisle.
She walked down three doors and pointed to compartment number 571L.
“This one,” she told Albus.
“Certainly, miss,” Albus answered, bowing extravagantly as he slid open the door.
Immediately, Albus grabbed Cecelia’s trunk and secured it in the overhead compartment, as well as his own.
“Thank you,” Cecelia told Albus almost shyly.
“It’s not a problem,” he replied. “Now I owe you a spectacle, my silencing charm!”
!” he cried as he brandished his wand with a short jab.
“Now, I want you to go out of the compartment and yell as loudly as you can. I stay in here to confirm whether or not my charm worked.”
Al pushed Cecelia out of the compartment, leaving the door wide open. He signaled to Cecelia to yell. She nodded before opening her mouth and letting out a scream.
It reverberated in the train, causing heads to pop out of surrounding compartments, but Al didn’t hear a thing.
Al brought Cecelia back into the compartment ecstatic. “Well, it worked! I haven’t done that charm successfully before.”
“Really?” Cecelia said, unbelieving. “Well you did it wonderfully.”
Al smiled proudly. “Why, thank you. Coming from you that means a lot. But I don’t think I could have done it without you. You must be my lucky charm.”
As much as Cecelia didn’t want to blush, she did. It was possibly the worst blush she had experienced ever, and in the presence of Albus Potter, no less.
“Oh, please, Al,” she uttered softly, diverting her attention to her trainers.
“Cecelia, it’s true,” Al admitted, closing the space between them. “I don’t lie about anything that involves luck.”
Cecelia could feel the heat that was radiating off of Albus’ body. She refused to look at him and acknowledge the fact he was so close to her.
But then, she did the unthinkable: she looked up.
Cecelia found herself gazing into Albus’ emerald eyes and realized that he was gazing back into hers.
Their faces gravitated to each others’ as if they were magnetized. Their lips were so incredibly close, they could nearly touch.
Cecelia’s breath caught in her throat and she hoped that Albus couldn’t hear her heart hammering inside her ribcage.
Without even thinking, Cecelia found her left hand to be holding on to Albus’ neck, as if she needed him to hold her up, and the other resting delicately on his chest. She also noticed that Albus’ fingers were holding her face and he had his other hand placed firmly on her waist.
Ever so discreetly, Albus lifted Cecelia’s head and his lips descended upon hers.
Any thoughts Cecelia had prior to this moment had disappeared. Albus’ kiss consumed her.
She had waited years
for something like this to happen, and so, she took great advantage of the situation.
Her hand tightened at his neck and her other hand slid up his chest, gripping his shoulder. His hold on her waist tensed as he pulled her closer.
Albus’ lips travelled away from her lips and up toward her ear.
“Gods,” Cecelia moaned, “you have no idea how long I have wanted you to do that!”
“Let me guess,” Albus said, his lips tickling her ear.
“Go right ahead,” Cecelia told him as she kissed the side of his face.
Al’s arms encompassed Cecelia’s body, his hands pressing into her lower back.
“Since our fourth year. The Halloween Ball.”
Cecelia dragged her lips away from his neck. How did he know?
She took his face away from her ear and made him look at her.
“How did you know that?”
“It was a lucky guess and I happen to have a fair bit of luck on my side,” Al answered, smirking.
Cecelia tried to hide her laugh, but she couldn’t do it. She laughed out loud.
She kissed him hastily, greatly amused that he believed that she as the reason for his luck.
Then she came back to reality.
“I don’t want to sound…I don’t know, whatever I may sound like, but am I dreaming? Did you really kiss me
Albus brushed a lock of hair out of Cecelia’s face and smiled. “Of course I did kiss you and you’re not dreaming, just to clarify. I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time and I’ve actually wanted you
for a really long time. Too long probably. The funny thing is that I didn’t chase after you at all, which I should have done instead of going through dozens of girls. I knew that you’d be difficult, seeing that you did nothing when I had those flings. Your ignorance of my dating habits only made me want you more. But once Rose and Scorpius started disappearing and you and I started hanging out together, I knew I absolutely had to do something about my attraction to you.”
Cecelia smiled slowly. “Really?” she asked hopefully.
“Merlin, I feel like a complete sap, but yeah,” Al told her. “I want you.”
Cecelia was still having a hard time swallowing it. Was Albus being serious, or was he being the suave Albus Potter most girls knew and loved?
To prove to her that he was serious, he got down on one knee.
“Cecelia Grafton, I want you. Will you take a chance with me?”
Cecelia was dumbfounded. It was like he was proposing
to her. But what did she expect? This was Albus Severus Potter, one of the most surprising people you could ever meet.
“Yes. I'll take a chance with you.”
Al jumped up enthusiastically and picked Cecelia up, planted a kiss on her lips.
She wrapped her legs around his waist, soaking in the moment.
When he put her down, she took a deep breath. “Al, can we take this slow? Maybe we can keep this to ourselves for a few days. I just want to have you to myself for a short while, and then we can begin to tell people.”
“Whatever you wish, but I hope you don’t want to keep this for a long time. Think of –”
“Rose and Scorpius, I know. I don’t plan on keeping a secret longer than a week. Just until the holiday is over, and no later. Maybe we can tell Rose and Scorpius this week even.”
“Perfect,” Al conceded before giving Cecelia a quick kiss. “Want to play a game or two of chess while we wait for Rose and Scorp?”
She smiled broadly, glad they came to a conclusion so easily. “Sure.”
About ten minutes later, Rose and Scorpius found Al and Cecelia deep in a game of wizard’s chess.
As Scorpius dealt with their trunks, Rose complained to Al and Cecelia.
“I thought you were going to find a compartment away
from first and second years? We are surrounded by them.”
“Rose, be quiet for two seconds in here, then I want you to step out of the compartment before coming back in and telling me what you hear,” Al asked her without even looking up from the chessboard.
Rose took a deep breath, trying not to yell at him.
She listened in the compartment for a short time before stepping out.
“Al, what are you doing?” Scorpius asked, scared a little for his best mate’s life. Rosie had an infamous temper.
Al looked up from the chessboard and so did Cecelia.
“Shh!” Cecelia scolded him. “Just watch.”
So, Scorpius watched Rose intently.
Her face had been set in a very ugly frown when it suddenly changed. Now plastered on her face was a look of bewilderment.
She stepped back inside, sliding the door behind her.
With her thumb, she motioned back to ‘beyond the compartment.’
“It’s so loud
out there! I can’t hear anything in here but you three.”
“I know,” Al told her. “It’s because of a silencing charm.”
Rose’s face broke out into a smile. “Of course! That’s brilliant Al.”
“Thank Cecelia for reminding me I’m a wizard.”
For a brief moment, Rose was puzzled, wondering if Albus was referring to an innuendo, rather than just the literal meaning of his statement. She glanced at Cecelia, noting nothing suspicious and quickly accepted that it didn’t.
Rose smiled at Cecelia. “Well then, I thank you for being the brains in the operation.”
“My pleasure,” Cecelia quipped before returning to her game of wizard’s chess.
Rose quickly found herself comfortable in Scorpius’ arms. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep, especially after her late night patrol the previous night.
Scorpius, too, fell asleep in an instant, somewhat sympathizing with Rose’s tiredness.
Miraculously, a mere few minutes after both Rose and Scorpius had fallen asleep, the train whistle blew, marking the beginning of the train ride.
Al and Cecelia managed to keep relatively quiet, talking in hushed tones and occasionally sneaking off to snog, in order not to wake up their friends.
Around two, Rose woke up to find that Al and Cecelia were nowhere to be seen.
“That’s funny,” she commented to herself, sitting up slowly, hoping not to wake Scorpius up.
“What’s funny?” she heard a groggy voice ask.
Turning, she saw Scorpius squinting, trying to adjust his eyes to the lighted compartment.
“Oh, Al and Cecelia are missing.”
Rose said this so matter-o’-factly, Scorpius couldn’t help but laugh.
“What are you laughing at?” she asked him, still a little disoriented from her nap.
Scorpius pushed himself up into a sitting position and ran a hand through his untamable hair. He couldn’t help but be amused.
“Al and Cecelia are missing. They probably went missing together
. He fancies the pants off her.”
Rose’s mouth dropped. “He hasn’t done anything has he? I mean, I’ve known for a long time that he fancies her, and that she fancies him, but I never thought either of them would do anything about it.”
“I don’t know for sure, but Al was getting a little anxious about it all. Cecelia has been pretty unresponsive while he’s been dating all of those girls.”
“Well, Cece isn’t daring in the least. Plus she believes that the guy should take the initiative. She’s old fashioned like that, but she was getting desperate herself. I almost fully convinced her to go for him.”
“Rosie, I’m pretty sure that Al was going to do something about it.”
“Alright. That’s good because I was beginning to think that Cecelia was going to do something rash, like jump his bones or something.”
“Who is going to jump whose bones?” a voice said as it entered the compartment.
The young couple’s eyes wandered to the door where they saw their friends, Albus and Cecelia.
“No one,” Rose and Scorpius answered simultaneously.
Al and Cecelia looked at each other and shrugged. Obviously, it wasn’t that important. Instead they sat opposite of Rose and Scorpius.
Rose got up from her seat beside Scorpius and looked to Cecelia.
“Come to the loo with me?” she asked.
Now, Rose Aurora Weasley was not one for going to the loo in gaggles, but she had a few things she wanted to ask Cecelia, and she couldn’t possibly ask her these things in front of Al and Scorpius.
Cecelia gave her a curious look and Rose returned with a commanding glare.
“But we just saw the trolley heading towards us!” Al cried.
“Well, then, you can order some for us, yeah?” Rose suggested. “We’ll make sure to pay you back.”
Al agreed and the girls made their way to the loo.
Rose didn’t really want to beat around the bush, so she asked Cecelia outright.
“Did anything happen between you and Al?”
Cecelia’s only response was shock, and a lot of stuttering.
“Cece, please tell me! I’m dying to know!” Rose pleaded.
“Um…” Cecelia said. “He kissed me.”
Rose squealed happily. “Finally! So are you a couple?”
Cecelia smiled slowly as she pushed open the door to the loo, finding that it was empty.
“Sort of. We came to the conclusion that we’re going to take it slow. And that we weren’t going to tell anybody just yet, but I’ve just broken that small rule. No doubt he’ll be telling Scorpius right now anyway.”
Rose pulled Cecelia into a hug.
“I’m so happy for you! It’s about time too. You can tell me all the details later, but right now I really do need to use the toilet. Being pregnant is not fun for your bladder,” Rose told Cecelia.
Cecelia laughed once she saw Rose’s carefree smile. She was finally getting used to the idea of being pregnant. She wasn’t completely there yet, but she certainly was one step closer.
Both girls returned to their compartment laughing and overjoyed at how everything was turning out.
They were welcomed back into the compartment with a wonderful feast consisting of nearly every candy imaginable found on the trolley. There were chocolate frogs and acid pops and Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans and even pepper imps. They were in heaven.
They observed the rest of their train ride in easy spirits, glad for each others’ company. Other friends and family occasionally visited the four friends and added to the festivities. But soon enough the train ride had to come to an end.
The train halted at five forty-nine exactly and students all about the train pulled their trunks from the overhead holdings and said goodbyes to the friends they would see later in the week, if not back at Hogwarts.
“Here we are at King’s Cross,” Al said, looking out the compartment window. “Time to go see the family.”
“Yes. Thank god my mum always picks me up at the station. Dad’s constantly working and never has the time, plus every time I see him he practically gives me an interrogation,” Scorpius said.
“I wish my dad didn’t pick me up at King’s Cross.”
“Oh, Rose, no you don’t,” Cecelia reprimanded. “I would love it if my parents were still alive and coming to pick me up, no matter what.”
Rose deeply regretted her callous words as soon as she had said them. Pf course she should be happy to have parents that were still alive.
To show Cecelia he cared, Al hugged her briefly, lingering just a bit.
“I’m sorry Cece. That was horrible of me to say,” Rose apologized whole-heartedly.
Cecelia took her hand and gave it a small squeeze.
“Don’t worry about it. I have my brothers and sisters and niece and nephew.” She smiled sadly. “Good luck with everything. I'll probably see you in the middle of the week. We can catch up then.”
Cecelia winked as Rose embraced her.
“Owl me too. I will as soon as I get back from the Burrow tonight.”
Cecelia gave Rose another quick hug before calling to Al. “Al, let’s leave Rose and Scorpius alone for a bit.”
Al nodded in agreement.
“I'll see you tonight, okay Rose. And Scorp, keep yourself out of trouble. I'll be owling about a party or something at my house later this week.”
“Alright, Al. See you, Cece.”
“Bye Scorpius,” Cecelia said as she dragged Albus out of the compartment.
As they disappeared from sight, Rose flung herself into Scorpius’ arms.
“I’m scared,” she whispered in his ear.
“I know. So am I,” he told her, soothingly running his fingers through her hair. “I’m scared shitless actually, but it’s the right thing to do. We’ll tell them on Monday and you know you can owl me whenever. Even as soon as you get home.”
Rose pressed her lips to Scorpius’. “We can do this, I know, but I still can’t get over the idea of telling my parents.”
“Just keep in mind that our parents can be unpredictable and that they love us and truly want us to be happy.”
“When did you get so philosophical and all?” Rose teased.
Scorpius smiled and kissed her nose. “I blame you.”
“Well, I suppose that’s true,” Rose reasoned, smiling up at him. “And I know that you’re right.”
Rose sighed deeply and grabber her trunk handle. “Let’s go then.”
Scorpius reached for his trunk with one hand and for Rose’s hand with the other.
Slowly and painfully, they made their way down the train aisle.
Just before stepping off the train, Scorpius swung around and swept Rose into a passionate kiss.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They disentangled themselves, knowing very well how wonderfully it would go if their families saw them holding hands, let alone touching: It wouldn’t go at all.
Rose stepped out first, mentally unprepared for this. Then she heard Scorpius’ voice gently urging her on. It calmed her down a bit, but her knuckles were white from gripping the handle of her trunk so tightly.
She immediately saw a blob of red hair and knew that they were waiting for her.
She also saw Scorpius scouring the crown for his mum; only his mum was nowhere to be seen.
Draco Malfoy was there though.
Rose looked at Scorpius and he looked at her, and the only thing that crossed both their minds that they were definitely not ready, by any means, to tell their parents.
AN: Review please!