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Chapter 3 : An Early Morning Walk
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Albus Potter and Ruby Carmichael
I shifted in my warm, comfortable bed, my arms stretching over my head as I yawned loudly. I glanced over at the clock on my bedside table, and realized that it was only around 7 o’clock. I shook my head, and went to snuggle deeper into my blankets and fall back asleep when I felt a body next to mine. My body froze, and my instincts told me to slowly, very slowly, open my eyes and see who on Earth was sleeping next to me. So, I followed these instincts, and turned my eyes to the body—and laughed at myself as soon as I did. Snuffles, the family dog, was laying right next to me, sleeping soundly despite my movements in the bed. I vaguely remembered hearing a scratching on my door and finding Snuffles sitting in my doorway, his big, brown eyes melting my heart immediately. He seemed to have figured this out on his own, as he had went around me and jumped onto my bed, curled up and fell fast asleep.
I shook my head at the memory, and sat up in my bed, unable to fall back asleep. The sensation of having to use the bathroom—all girls should understand that feeling—rushed through me, and I swung my legs over the edge of my head. It was after I had slipped my bare feet into my slippers and snuck out of the door without waking Snuffles that I realized I had no idea where the bathroom was. I looked around the corridor, hoping to find someone who could help, but I was completely alone. Shifting anxiously, I observed the numerous doors on both sides of the corridor, and frowned. There was no way I could figure out which door could possibly lead to a bathroom. It was then that I recalled Lily telling me that Albus was in the room next to mine. Well, I thought to myself, here goes nothing. Realizing that I had no other choices, I turned to the door on my left and leaned against it, hoping to hear if he was shuffling around in his room and, in turn, awake.
Before I could raise my fist up and knock quietly on the door, it was pulled open, and I fell right into the tall, handsome boy. I was frustrated with myself as soon as I realized what I had just done. I had lost my balance again. I mean, normally I was rather clumsy, but to fall three times in less than 24 hours? That was unheard of! Then I realized Albus was not wearing a shirt, since my body was pressed up against his warm skin. My cheeks turned red as I quickly straightened up and looked blushingly up at Albus’ smirking face. “Must you always fall on top of me?” he asked now, and I grinned despite myself. His hair was even messier than normal, no doubt from sleep, and he looked even more good-looking than normal. Damn my hormones.
“I really, really am sorry,” I said finally, crossing my arms anxiously across my chest. I was wearing a set of red flannel pajamas with snowflakes all over them—an early Christmas gift from my Grandmother—which were hardly as sexy as he currently looked. “I’m normally clumsy, but for some reason it’s gotten worse since I got here.” I smiled sheepishly up at him, understanding now that he was much taller than my average height. He had to be six feet three, at least. “Could you possibly show me where the lavatory is? I’ve completely forgotten where it was now, even though Lily just showed just last night.” Before I could continue to ramble, Albus mercifully grinned and cut me off.
“Just follow me,” he said, not unkindly, and he lead me to a door at least four doors away from mine. “Here you are.”
“Thanks,” I said, giving him one last grateful smile before I closed the door. After searching for a couple of moments for the light switch, I looked around the now-lighted room. It was a lovely lavatory, really, with soft, warm colors, and there wasn’t a single spot I could find on the sink. After finishing my business, I washed my hands; glancing up in the mirror, I gasped and grimaced. My hair had what appeared to be a nest of hair in the back of it, and my skin was pale and blotchy. I tried to run my fingers through my hair, hoping to smooth it down, but it was all in vain—I looked absolutely terrible. I gave one last pained glimpse at the mirror and stepped out of the lavatory, relieved that at least Albus wouldn’t have to look at my bed-head anymore. That is, I was thinking that until I found him leaning against the wall beside the doorway with a patient expression on his face. “What are you doing?” I blurted out, confused as to why he would wait for me. I mean, I was sure he didn’t need to use the bathroom—there was bound to be another one in this huge house.
“Waiting for you,” replied Albus slowly, as if I was too stupid to understand what he was saying. “I have a feeling you’ll find some sort of trouble on the way back to your room.” At this, he smirked cockily down at me, and I frowned.
“I assure you, I can handle any sort of trouble on my own,” I snapped, probably more sharply than I was intending. It didn’t seem to perturb Albus all that much though—his smirk transformed into a wide grin. “Watch, I’ll walk right over to my bedroom without anything happening.”
And, with that, I strolled dramatically over to my door, and reached up to push it open. Only, when I did open it, Snuffles—the bloody git—bounded out of the room, taking my feet right out from under me and making me fall backwards on my bottom. Reluctantly, I looked over at Albus—he was bursting with laughter, but he managed to keep it only to a chuckle as he walked over to me and held his hand out. I gratefully took it, my face still burning. “Alright, so maybe you were right.”
Albus simply shook his head, still smiling, and glanced over at Snuffles, who was sitting a couple of feet away from us and whining quietly. “Looks like he has to go out,” he said. “Want to come with me while I walk him?”
I found myself nodding immediately, and added hastily, “Let me just put a jacket on and, you know, fix my hair.” He laughed, glancing nonchalantly at my hair, and nodded. “Just give me like five minutes.”
“Alright, I have to go, you know, put on a shirt,” said Albus, and I grinned, trying so hard not to glance at his bare chest once more. However, I couldn’t help but allow myself a peek just as I was shutting my door.
Turning around quickly, I pulled on some fresh undergarments, a pair of jeans, and a blue t-shirt. Instead of trying to frustrate myself with my hair, I pulled it up into a messy pony-tail and threw a cap over it, hoping that will keep it tamed for about an hour before I would be able to take my shower. After slipping on a pair of gray boots and a wool coat, I closed my door silently behind me and found Albus waiting once more with a patient, warm smile on his face that made my stomach knot up strangely. I grinned at him and said happily, “Okay, now I’m ready.”
We eventually left Albus’ house with Snuffles pulling on his leash, ready to go to his business; he was an adorable dog, really, and I couldn’t help but laugh at Albus trying to contain him. I was so busy watching Snuffles that I didn’t even notice his owner watching me with an odd expression on his face until I glanced over at him. “What?” I asked nervously, instantly putting a hand on my cap; had some of my crazy hair come out?
“Nothing,” said Albus quickly; before I could question him on why he was acting so strangely, he asked, “So why did you decide to come here for the holidays? Won’t your family miss you?”
I smiled sadly down at my shoes as we walked along the sidewalk; there was a slight chill in the air, and the snow banks were still full here. There had been whispers that it was going to snow on Christmas Day, which was what I was dreading—snow on Christmas Day was why I never spent the holidays with my parents anymore. “I just live with my grandmother,” I eventually said, looking back up at Albus, who was watching me curiously. “And she’s been planning on going away for a couple of weeks with her friends, so I told her to go over the holidays; I was going to stay at home when Lily invited me to come over.” I didn’t mention my parents, and I was relieved that Albus never asked me about them.
“I suppose being here is better than being by yourself,” said Albus, and I smiled weakly up at him. Snuffles went off to into some snow-capped bushes near us, and we waited patiently for him.
“Just a little bit,” I said.
Snuffles emerged from the bushes, and continued to walk forward; we followed him, ignoring the wind that swirled through the air. “Although now I’ll have Lily trying to force me to consider any of the single boys that we meet,” I added, making a face. He laughed knowingly.
I had found myself feeling more comfortable, but my stomach was still in knots for reasons that I couldn’t exactly explain.
“Well, if I catch Lily trying to force someone on you, I’ll come and rescue you,” he said, and I smiled warmly up at him.
My breath caught in my throat as I got a glimpse at his emerald eyes—they were just so memorizing. I know, how cheesy, but that was exactly how they seemed to me. He didn’t notice me looking at him for a second too long; I did, though, and looked away hastily, in case he started to feel my gaze.
“What about you? Does Lily try and set you up? It seems like something she would try,” I said thoughtfully, and allowed myself to get a glimpse of his face.
He was smiling at me once more, and shook his head once. “No, she gave up after I showed no interest in any of the girls she showed me,” he chuckled at the memory. I grinned at the sound. “Most of them were her friends, anyway, and most of her friends are people I would rather not be involved with.” Albus glanced down at me, a cheeky sparkle in his eyes, and I couldn’t help but gasp in mock offense. “Although there is one that I happen to not mind too much,” he added, shrugging nonchalantly. “Even if she can’t stay on her own two feet for more than ten seconds.”
I gawked at him and punched his shoulder playfully. He laughed at my girlish attempt at truly hurting him, and I simply rolled my eyes in response. “In case you haven’t noticed, I have not tripped at all on this walk,” I snapped. “So your assumption is completely false, in fact.”
Albus raised his eyes, and responded with that smirk that becoming all-too familiar to me, “And I applaud you for this rare feat of yours.” I scoffed at him, and shook my head at him, but could not help but laugh.
He stopped abruptly, and I had to grab onto his arm to stop myself from stumbling at his sudden halt. He sniggered, but I ignored it. “We better start heading back,” he said, and I glanced down at Snuffles, who was now walking sluggishly.
Taking pity on him, I let go of Albus’ arm and smoothed my hand over his head, and he pushed it into my hand. I grinned down at him, and looked back up at Albus, who was smiling at me with a strange emotion in his eyes.
“Poor guy’s exhausted,” I said as we began to walk towards his house.
“Yeah, he’s not very young anymore,” answered Albus fondly, watching Snuffles slowly follow us, almost reluctant to get up.
After a short silence, I found myself asking him, “So, what’s wrong with most of Lily’s friends?”
I knew all of them, and they had all seemed fine enough to me—sure, they could get loud and obnoxious sometimes, even Lily could agree on that, but they weren’t bad. Just not people I would definitely want to hang out with every day.
Albus sighed, and ran a hand through his messy, jet-black hair. “They’re all so…fake, you know? They just prattle on and on about stuff that’s unimportant. I can’t imagine carrying on a conversation with any of them,” he glanced down at my nodding head. “I love Lily, but I just don’t understand how she can handle spending so much time with any of them.”
Albus shook his head. I understood completely where he was coming from—those girls simply cared about hair and makeup and boys. I mean, I could talk to Lily about boys, but it was different—I didn’t have a list about who were the best looking boys at Hogwarts like these girls did.
“Well, I’m glad to know that you don’t see me as fake,” I joked, and it worked; Albus laughed as we began to approach his house.
“No, definitely not that,” he replied, smiling down at me, and I couldn’t help but beam at the way he said it.
If, about a week ago, you had asked me if I had taken a walk with Albus Potter and had a conversation like this one and he had smiled at me like that, I would have told you to go get yourself checked at St. Mungo’s. It truly was incredible what could happen in less than 24 hours. “No, you’re—“
“There you are!” Lily’s voice exclaimed through the winter morning chill, making Albus and I jump.
Neither of us had noticed that we were now a couple of feet away from the front door. Lily, dressed in a green pair of pajamas, had her eyebrows raised at the two of us standing together, with Snuffles nearly passed out at our feet. At the sight of the warm air, he wrenched his leash out of Albus’ grip and slowly made his way into the house. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” said Lily now, and I felt a brief guilt at not leaving a note or something about where we had gone. “But I see my dear brother has kidnapped you.”
“More like trying to save her,” I heard Albus mumbled as we walked to the front door, and I had to push my lips together to stop myself from letting out a laugh.
“Calm down, Lily,” I said, tugging on a strand of her red hair, which was going all over the place. “You really should become more of a morning person.”
She rolled her eyes at me, but her facial expression had softened. The three of us entered the house, and the warm air made me shed my coat. “Well, I suppose I shall go take a shower,” I said to the two of them and, after giving Albus one last warm smile, ascended the staircase feeling much lighter than most mornings.
As promised, there was much more Albus in this chapter :) How was he characterized, if you don't mind me asking? Did he sound like a reasonable Albus? Please review and tell me what you think!
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