Sorry this chapter image is so boring! ^_^;
Diagon Alley used to be one of my favorite places to be. James and I would spend a lot of time at the ice cream shop buying cones for cute witches that walked in. It wasn’t the same as buying a drink, but it was close enough for boys our age. Whenever their fathers or worse, boyfriends of the girls showed up, we got our sorry arses outta there and to Dad’s shop.
Across the street, I could see Dad walking around the store. I didn’t know if he could sense someone watching him. At this point, I didn't have much of a plan, but I was already opening the door.
“Dad!” I cried out for him. The store was empty as I heard my voice clearly ring out through the store. I headed behind the counter to Dad’s office where he mostly does work before opening or after closing. Sure enough, he was sitting there tinkering with his latest product to the line. “Dad?” I said once more.
He didn’t look up. “Have you come to finally tell me what you couldn’t say before?”
“Dad, those drugs weren’t mine. I just need you to believe me.”
“I already told you why I’m having a hard time doing so,” he sighed, putting down his wand and the product and finally looking at me. “Why would you let something like that happen to you? I didn’t raise you to let someone do that to you, regardless of if he is your cousin.”
“I know, and I’m going to set things right. I don’t know how, but I’m going to take care things myself.”
Dad paused, looking in my eyes. I gulped. He stood up and walked up to me and placed his hand on my head, drawing me into a hug.
“Our family has been in shambles since your expulsion. Percy and Mum keep telling me that this was my fault; that I wasn’t much of a strong parental figure for you or your sister. But I figured you two didn’t need a ‘strong parental figure’ to scare you into intimidation. If I did that, I can only imagine how weak you two would’ve been.”
“I know, Molly and Lucy are total -“
“Aah, I know how they are. You don’t need to remind me,” Dad cut me off and patted me on the shoulder. His hand moved from my shoulder up to my face as he moved me better into the light. “Fucking hell, Fred; did you really get into a fight?”
“Yes,” I was still wincing at his touch.
“Did you get your arse kicked?”
I sighed. “Yes.”
“Did you kick anyone else’s arse?”
I smiled. “Yes.”
Dad gave me a slight push away as he let me go.
“I’ll see you around, Dad.”
“Where are you going?”
“To get my shit together.”
I was standing in front of Aiden’s front door deciding what my next move was going to be. The talk with Dad made things feel a lot better for me, but the fact that I was now homeless was a problem. I didn’t even consider going to Teddy's knowing Victoire was in the same flat.
His apartment complex was I was at a better part of town than I expected. But a lot of things about him surprised me. My hand was already raised to the door, but it wasn’t going to be knocking.
I muttered a mild curse and turned around and headed back down the stairs of the complex. Reaching the last step, I sat down taking my time to think things through.
“What the fuck
are you doing?”
I looked behind me and saw a small figure standing at the top of the stairs with a can in his hands. The sun was behind him, casting a shadow on his face and standing up didn’t help.
He began to walk down the steps and I was able to recognize him as Oliver. He had this bizarre expression on his face aimed at me.
“Oi, Aiden, where did you say you found this bloke? He sure is a strange one…” he said raising the can to his lips. Aiden appeared next to him, also with a beer in his hand.
"Hullo Fred." Aiden brought a fag to his lips and pursed his lips downward, exhaling. The smoke shot down and slowly lifted up into the air. “You need a place to stay?”
“Is it that obvious?” I chuckled, kicking my bag that was on the floor.
Aiden laughed. “You should feel special,” he said grabbing my bag and throwing it over his shoulder and walking back up the stairs. “I’m actually inviting you to stay, unlike these other tossers who just invite themselves.”
“Mate, you said I could stay the night!” Oliver cried, from behind me.
“Oliver, that was three days ago!” Aiden stopped to turn back to Oliver.
“It’s not like the offer expired,” he shrugged his shoulders and took another drink of his beer.
“Why are you drinking? It’s only just afternoon,” I commented on their choice of beverage.
“Freddie, if you're going to be questioning us like that, you can't live here,” Aiden stopped to lecture me this time. He seemed serious, as Oliver looked offend.
“Sorry,” I muttered, looking away from them. The two young men burst into laughter. I looked up to see them walking away.
“Aiden, this fucker is a riot,” Oliver said, running back up the stairs.
Aiden's flat hasn't changed since I was here last night. The sheets I slept on were still there, but the clothes I saw thrown around there last night must've been Oliver's, not Aiden's. It seemed Oliver really made this place his second home.
“Yeah mate, you were lucky I decided to get pissed with Neil, stayed with him last night.” Oliver said, sitting back on his makeshift bed. He was half naked in his mesh shorts. His tattoos on his arms didn't compare to the art on his body. Even though there was just a few of them, the design of each piece looked delicate and destroyed the tough guy image of Oliver I had. Seeing him sit there, he didn't look as tough as he was yesterday. He looked like a young man, eighteen I would say.
“Oliver, how old are you?”
He lit up a cigarette, inhaled and exhaled. “Twenty one,” his voice was gruff as smoke left his mouth.
I felt stupid.
“Did you think I was younger?”
“Yes,” I admitted, shamefully.
“I get it all the time. Some fucker thought I was sixth year. Fucking hell. Nearly jinxed that bastard.”
“You got work today, mate?” Aiden cried from another part of the house.
“Nah, not till Wednesday. I'm free all week!” Oliver stretched and took another drag.
“What do you do?” I asked him, sitting down.
“I'm an apprentice for Montgomery Events. It's a Premier League quiddictch planning business. We mostly work in Essex.”
“But when he's in town, he's always here to keep my company,” Aiden said, sarcastically coming into the room. “But for some reason, he always leaving on short notice, leaving me to clean up.”
“Last time you never cleaned up. You just left everything the way it was.” Oliver came to his defense.
“Well, I was lucky that time because you were back at my door within the next three days,” Aiden retorted, standing up. He reached for his wand, and waved at the plates and other things within the house that needed domestic care.
“Have you given thought about what you're going to do with your cousin? What's the wanker's name?” Oliver grabbed his beer and took another drink.
“James, James Potter, II,” I said, trying to avoid a plate of what looked like half finished corned beef. “I still don't know what I'm going to do actually.”
“We can go set him straight,” Oliver clenched his fists.
“No, thanks, but I think it's going to have to be some - “
There was a loud cry coming from fireplace. Aiden swished his wand and the plates stopped cleaning themselves and rested into the sink. The clothes that were waiting to be folded fell onto the couch Oliver was sitting on. Aiden walked over to the fireplace.
“Edgar, what's wrong?”
“It's Laertes! He was on his way to work this morning and he being followed by some Ace's!” I peered over Aiden's shoulder to get a better look. Edgar's face was illuminating by the fire. His face was looking agitated.
“Shit,” Aiden muttered. Oliver stood up and walked next to Aiden.
“Elizabeth called me and said his clock changed to 'mortal danger'. Bert went to his office and they said he never came in!”
“Where is he now?” Oliver asked.
“He said he's at some Muggle caff in Hertsforshire.”
“What's it called?”
“The Green something.” Edgar shook his head trying to remember. “He was able to send a patronus to Bert and I telling us that they're waiting for him outside. Bert is on his way there to help him!”
“If Bert goes alone, it's going to draw out Laertes,” Aiden said, softly thinking to himself. He turned and started to walk to the door. As soon as I stood up to go with him, he shoved me back down into the chair.
“You're staying here,” he said, putting on a coat that was resting on the chair.
“But you don't know how many guys you're going against!” I protested.
“This is Bird and Chain business. You don't belong.”
I somewhat took those words to heart.
Oliver didn't say anything. He put track jacket on his back and clapped me on the back before leaving. The door slammed shut behind them.
I wasn't going to stand for this.
I've only been to Hertsforshire once before and I was lucky the one time I did stop by we stopped at The Green Pea to use the loo. There was something different walking down the street, even the Muggles senses something was wrong when they saw seven or eight hoodlums hanging outside the cafe.
My hand was inches from the doorknob when someone grabbed me. If I didn't see Bert's face, who knows what I would've done. I was already on edge from sneaking off into dangerous territory alone.
“There you are Logan! You're the first of the tour group to arrive,” Bert said brightly, opening the door for me and ushering me into the cafe. He then directed me away from an anxious looking Laerets. He looked up at us only once and looked back down as he rubbed his head.
“What's going on?” I said slowly, sitting down.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where's Aiden?” Bert hissed, looking fairly annoyed.
“I guess I know Herstforshire better than Aiden,” I smirked, shrugging my shoulders. Bert's straight lined lips curved into a smile.
“We have to wait it out. Aiden's got a plan.”
“How'd you get in without being noticed?”
He didn't reply. He just loosened the scarf around his neck and opened up the hat that was on his head.
Out the window, the Falcon blokes didn't seem to move. If one disappeared, two more would take his place. They watched Laeretes from the window; some passing through the window, or some even came into the shop to order something. I couldn't see Laerets, but Bert was keeping a close eye on him.
Quidditch firms aren't very known to start scuffles in the middle of a Muggle crowd. It's happen once before and the Magic of Ministry came down on Quidditch hard. The rest of the European Quidditch Cup was canceled due to a duel between two firms the spilled over into a Muggle community. Several Muggles were hospitalized while others had to get their memory altered.
Then, there was the explosion.
People looked around in confusion. No one knew where it came from. Bert stood up and looked around. Some of the Muggles ran out of the cafe and into the street. There was another explosion, this time, coming from the back of the shop.
“There's a fire! Evacuate the building!” someone cried, as black fog quickly crawled into the room. People began to panic and rush the door when the fog charged at their feet. The way this fog moved, seemed all too familiar.
“Bert!” I cried, pulling him closer to be before I cast the bubble charm. The fog then circled around our feet and continued moving into the cafe. “It's the Peruvian Powder! I'd recognize it anywhere!”
“And there's no way to get rid of it right?”
I nodded, Bert muttered a curse.
“Bert! Fred! Are you there?” Laeretes cried from within the smoke.
“Mate! We're here!” Bert cried, stepping out of the bubble and reaching out for Laeretes. I was hesitant to see him reach out for him like that. Bert was then pulled out from the bubble. I tried to grab him, but it was too late.
“Bert!” I cried. I was alone and starting to panic. I didn't know what to do. The old me would consider my options, but this time, I just jumped into the fog and searched blindly for Bert or Laeretes.
I couldn't help but bump into tables and chairs, when I heard someone else doing the same. There were cries and then sounds of furniture breaking.
“You fucking mother fucker!” was followed by a loud crash and person groaning.
!” I knew this spell wouldn't work as well in normal darkness, but it was enough to give me a silhouette of a small figure.
“Who the fuck is that?” the same voice spoke.
“Fred! Is that you?”
The smoke was starting to clear, but at a slow pace. Oliver's amber eyes seemed to glow in the darkness, among the broken tables and chairs scattered around us. There was a body laying on the floor that would moan, but remained still.
“Oliver! Did you do this?”
“Bet you're arse we did!” he seemed proud of this risky feat and he clicked his tongue. “Where's Bert?”
“I dunno, I lost him in the smoke,” I shook my head.
“Alright, we gotta find the rest of the group, but be careful, there at least twelve of those -”
I'm guess the twelve of those he was referring too was the persons who knocked him clear to the floor in one smooth punch. The man had a large body that made his head look the size of a pea. His head was shaved to display tattoos of a falcon spreading it's wings – the logo of the Seven Ace's, Falmouth Falcon's firm.
The man came charging at me. I let him come to me and used his own momentum against him when I ducked and let him fall onto my back. Even though he probably weighed more than I could ever lift, I stood back up and let him roll off my back. I turned around and watched him roll back onto his feet and stand right up. I rushed myself at him knocking him back to the ground. My body weight crushing down on his forced all the air from his body. My clenched fist made contact on his jaw several times. I paced myself; taking my time with his already bloody face at two punches. He had a grip on my arm, hoping to throw me off, but I had already done enough damage for him to lose focus. I stopped at five. This guy had enough. He didn't even look the same as before.
Oliver was on his knees, checking himself.
“You alright?” I offered my good hand.
“Yeah,” he took it and stood up. His hand was slippery with blood.
Although our vision was still dim, there were faint glows of reds and yellow hexes being cast.
“If we don't get out of here soon, we are going to be fucked,” Oliver said. His spat red onto the floor and wiped his mouth.
“The smoke's starting to clear, we can just go and regroup!” I threw out.
“Yeah, alright, let's do it!” he cried without thinking about the logistics of the plan. Oliver was a young and very irrational man. He walked surreptitiously into the fading smoke, adjacent to the spells being thrown.
There was a brawl in the middle of the restaurant. Most of the Seven Ace's were along the sides, watching the fight, encircling the boys. Edgar was taunting a man to hit him and Aiden was struggling with three other guys. Laertes had been knocked to the floor. He was curled up trying to protect his head. Bert saw Laertes and pulled out his wand and cast a spell, flinging one of the tables at Laertes's attackers.
Oliver grabbed the first guy he saw and swung a hook at his side because he was too small to possibly make a hard punch at his face. I followed his lead and ran straight into someone's punch. I fell so hard to the ground, I was able to use the momentum to roll off my back and onto my feet. I pushed down on the ground and rushed the assailant. The man was probably the size of Teddy, but as old as Dad maybe.
He grabbed me at the neck and waist sending my body under his arm, keeping me in a strong lock. His left arm was constricting around my throat. My free hand was jumping around his ventral body parts, trying to do anything to loosen his grip on me. My right had still had my wand in it. I looked up to see the back of his head and parts of his face grinning at my misfortune. I lifted my wand close to his ear.
The man screamed letting me go and grabbing onto his head. I fell to the floor gasping for air.
!” I gagged. Ropes shot from my wand and wrapped themselves around the man. He continued calling me slanderous names as Edgar grabbed me and hoisted me up. He didn't let me catch my breath, but just pulled me away from the scene. There was a loud siren coming from outside.
We all ran to the back of the counter watching the Muggle police burst into the restaurant and arresting the men.
“The ancient man can speak all he want, but the Bird and Chain gives more danger than known!
We screamed the last lines of Bird and Chain's fight song before leaving the place. One last thing to irritate the Ace's even more; and to send a message out to the rest of the firms in the United Kingdom.
For those of who read this story back when it first came out in spring/early summer and are still here reading it now in mid fall, thank so much for sticking it out during my writer's block. I don't know why I was so blank on this story. Thanks so much also, for the award over at TGS. Best Story within A Novice, thanks so much! Something like that means a lot to me. And I really appriciate it! Don't forget to leave a review!