“Lily!” You call out, taking the stairs two at a time to the next level, intending to prod your young daughter along, “Lily, honey, you need to move faster; we’re leaving soon!”
You stride past your own room, past Albus’ room on your way to Lily’s, then you stop and back up because something caught the corner of your eye.
He’s seated on the foot of his bed, small legs dangling, hands gripping the duvet. His trunk is packed and locked up tight, his clothes are clean and pressed and his room is neater than it’s been in eleven years. Only two things are out of place: one untied shoe, and the uncertain frown on his face.
You step into the room with a concerned look and a quiet, “Al?”
The question brings his head up, and when he just looks at you with those troubled green eyes, you try again, “What’s up, champ?”
He looks down again before mumbling, “Maybe I should stay home one more year, Dad.”
Your heart constricts a little bit and you’re amazed all over again at the depth of this child, at the uncertainty in him. You see yourself in his face, in his image, but have to remind yourself that he’s had a loving home all his life. It’s understandable that he wouldn’t necessarily be as willing as you were to go traipsing off to live at school.
Smiling at the memory, you crouch down in front of him, resting your arms on his knees. Green eyes meet green eyes, and you say gently, “Your mum and I would love to keep you here forever, but there’s so much more to life than this room, these walls.”
“But you always say that love is the most powerful magic, and if you have it, nothing else matters.”
You can’t help laughing now, and when the lower lip begins to protrude, you quickly stifle it. Unable to stop the smile, however, you reply, “You’re absolutely right, I do say that. But learning to use the rest of your abilities is important because one day you’ll have your own family to teach to love.”
This concept is clearly a foreign one, and you begin laughing again when his response comes, “Does that mean I have to get married?”
You tug him into a hug, still laughing as you reply, “Not until you’re ready, champ, and not for a long time.” You scrub your hand through his hair a few times, amused at the fact that there’s no change in its appearance, then straighten up after tying his shoe for him.
“Dad,” his exasperated voice groans out, “I can tie my own shoes.”
You step back to the doorway, and he’s looking at you curiously as you grin at him. You know your eyes are a little too bright as you say, “I know you can. You can do anything, Al.”
He smiles at you, and you know that for that drawn-out space of breath, he understands exactly what you mean. Your heart skips a beat, and the moment is over. Al’s up off the bed, straightening his jumper and making sure his wand is tucked in his sleeve.
“Head on downstairs, champ, tell your mum I’ll bring your trunk down.”
And with one last smile, you head back down the hall, calling out for your youngest once again, “Lily! Why aren’t you ready yet?”
She appears in the hall, dressed in blue jeans, a turtleneck and a tutu, and you can’t help but laugh again. One more year, you think, one more to hold them close. Good. You’ll take what you can get.
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So there it is - thanks for reading! And please, let me know what you liked and what you didn't! XD.
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