Chapter 4 : Fact Number Four:
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There are only three things wrong with this:
1) Bestfriendom isn't a word, no matter how many times he insists otherwise.
2) The rule only really applies when dating the bestfriend's sister, not cousin.
and 3) Both Scorpius and Rose are completely oblivious to the fact that Albus hates them dating.
"Mornin' Aves," Albus is on time for once as he slides the compartment door of the Hogwarts Express closed behind him and plonks himself down on the seat opposite me.
Glancing up, I smile at him before returning to fliping through the stack of newly developed photographs that I have resting on my lap.
Nosily, Albus leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees and balances his chin on his fist. "Are they the pictures from the party?" He questions, gaze fully focused on the pile infront of me.
"The very ones," I respond, digging through them to find a few to show to him. I find the one where he posed, drunk, for the camera and hold it up for him to see.
He groans loudly and drops his face into his hands. Giggling, I place the photo back into the stack.
"Please tell me that no-one else has seen those pictures? Please. Especially not Abbie." He begs, seeming genuinely scared that I might of shown someone.
I stare at him, refusing to answer. Albus knows me too well to think that I would possibly try to publicly humiliate him like that. Besides, who the hell is Abbie? I voice this.
"Well, I know that but I was just making sure," he amends, clearly relieved that this Abbie person hasn't seen them. He hesistates before telling me about her. "She's this girl that I met. I took your advice and didn't get with either of those girls that I told you about. Instead, I went to Diagon Alley with Lysander and Lorcan during Christmas and we ended up bumping into some of the Ravenclaw team who were hanging around outside waiting for some people. We got chatting and it turned out that they were waiting for a group of girls. Jenny started to get really flirty-"
"Hold up a second, who's Jenny?" I'm confused now.
"I was just about to explain that," he tells me before launching back into his story, "so Jenny then started giggling with her friends and Samantha comes over and gives me her number," who the hell is Samantha? "but then later on-"
The story continued on for ages after that, during which time I put my stack of photographs away, and a part of me wished that I had never even asked. The other part of me wanted to punch Albus in the face out of anger and, oddly, jealousy.
The compartment door is opened and Rose dances in, smiling happily to herself.
I mentally thank her for interupting the incredibly dull story.
"Hello," her smile brightens as she sits down beside me.
Silently, I stare at her.
Glancing sideways at me, she shoots me a confused look. "You're staring at me."
Rose blinks. "Why?"
"Because i'm confused," I shrug as if it's just that simple.
"Well," she delicately crosses one leg over the other, "that makes two of us."
"Pssht," I kick the chair beside Albus, "you aren't confused, check out your smile."
"Is that what this is all about?" Rose looks at Albus for confirmation.
Albus grins at her. "Pretty much," he says, "you look like, well, luminous."
I give Albus a blank look. "Your English skills never cease to amaze me," I comment dryly, "I'm astounded by the way that you can so horribly string words together to form some kind of a sentance."
Knowing that i'm only teasing him, he flashes me the finger.
I fake a shocked expression.
Rose seems genuinely shocked.
Of course, I laugh at this.
The compartment door slides open again to reveal Scorpius standing there in all his blonde pretty-ness, smiling like a complete dork at Rose.
I once asked Rose if it was his blonde pretty-ness that drew her to him in the first place. Her response had been to tell me, in a clipped sharp tone, that to call a "man" "pretty" was de-manning. As predicted, I laughed at her use of the word "de-manning" and asked if it was a real word or if she had just made it up. She had glared, shrugged and told me to check the dictionary.
As it turns out, it is a real word.
"Rosie, I thought you said that you were going to find a compartment where we, uh," he clears his throat as if slightly embarressed, "could, um, talk?"
Talk, in this situation, is quite obviously code for "extreme make-out session".
Rose rolls her eyes. "I found one but then I didn't know where you had gone so I came here to wait," she explains, hopping up from her seat as she does so, "but now that you're here, let's go."
Grinning at each other, they hold hands and stroll from the compartment.
Noticing that Albus has gritted his teeth together, I kick him gently in the shin. "Stop it," I demand, "you'll hurt your jaw."
Albus visibly relaxes once the couple are completely out of sight and the door slides closed once again.
"You could always say something, you know?" I tell him, watching carefully for his reaction.
"No, I couldn't do that. They're too happy together. The fact that he broke the rules of bestfriendom doesn't mean that i'm going to ruin their relationship," his voice comes out normal but I know him well enough to spot the slight grimace as he talks.
I tilt my head sideways. "Those rules don't apply to cousin's. Although, I find that sometimes they can be sickenly sweet together."
Albus knows that i'm trying to draw the tension out of him by having a friendly bitching session and smiles at me. "Let's not go there, Aves."
I grin at him, kicking my feet up to rest on the seat beside him. "Come on, Alby. Lighten up."
"Lighten up, she says," he mocks me by kicking his own feet up and placing them into my lap.
I push his feet off of me with a laugh, quickly forgetting my earlier annoyance with him.
"C'mon Aves," he teases, "lighten up, let me put my feet on your lap."
He slings his legs up to that his feet rest on my lap again. I giggle and untie one of his shoelaces. Before he has time to register what i'm about to do, i'm wrestling to get his shoe off.
Finally catching on, he moves his feet and awkwardly tries to pull away from me, laughing as he does so. Grabbing hold of his shoe, I yank it off of his foot and hold it high above my head.
"Now who needs to lighten up?" I taunt, waving the shoe around.
Once again, the compartment door slides open, this time revealing Kat.
Albus jumps out of his seat and lunges at me in his attempt to get the shoe back. In a state of panic, I chuck the shoe out of the open compartment door, narrowly missing Kat as she ducks to avoid being hit.
I have the decency to look sheepish as I apologise with a weak, "sorry, Kat."
Kat smiles and shakes her head as Albus storms past her to collect his shoe. I can't help but laugh as he hops back into the compartment as he tries to walk and put his shoe back on at the same time.
"That wasn't funny," he glares playfully at me.
"It was an accident," I retort innocently, grinning.
"Like hell it was," Kat chimes in as she takes a seat beside me.
I smile sweetly at her, "I would never intentionally try to injure my bestfriend."
Kat snorts, surprising both me and Albus. "Except during holidays when I refuse to wake up."
"Except then," I agree.
Obviously feeling brave, Albus places his feet back on my lap and this time I let him without fuss. His lips pull up slightly in the corners, revealing a small dimple in one cheek.
"Do neither of you care about where i've been?" Kat asks suddenly.
"No," I joke.
Kat frowns at me and silently waits for me to give in.
I cave quickly. "Fine, where were you?"
Kat smiles and folds her arms over her chest, "I was talking to Fred."
Me and Albus both stare at her for a moment, trying to figure out where her new confidence has come from.
Albus is the first to break the silence. "Were you two, uh, alone?"
Shaking her head, Kat seems to lose some of her confident appearance. "Well, no. Not exactly. There were some other people there."
"Like who?" I can't help but ask.
"Lorcan and Lysander were there and I spotted Scorpius and Rose at one point, I think," then, under her breath, she added, "and Dominique."
I am stunned into silence.
"Dominique?" Albus repeats, "as in, my cousin?"
Kat nods, nearly unseen by me.
"The same Dominique who hates your guts? and who has picked on you since second year for being in love with Fred?"
"Dominique," Albus seems to be mulling the concept over in his head.
My silence shatters. "Are you two friends now?"
"Not friends," Kat replies, "just, uh, friendly?"
"Friendly?" I question, clearly doubtful. "That bitch doesn't do friendly, Kat."
Stubbornly, Kat quickly responds with a sharp, "she isn't a bitch and she was friendly."
"That's probably only because she wants something from you!" I can't help but raise my voice in my anoyance.
Kat glares at me. "Not everyone is out to use me, Evelyn."
I know that Kat only uses full names when she's seriously pissed.
Two can play at that game.
"I never said everyone did, Kathryn," I add emphasis to her full name which she hates, "I only said that Domin-ick will."
"It's Dominique," she corrects, already sounding like one of Dominique's brain-dead followers, "and she won't."
I sit back in my seat and fold my arms stubbornly across my chest. "You keep telling yourself that."
Standing up, Kat scowls at me. "She's changed, something that I wouldn't expect you to understand."
I raise an eyebrow at her. "Let's just see how well this works out for you then, shall we?"
With that said, Kat turns on her heel and storms from the compartment, slamming the door closed behind her as she goes.
"What the fuck was that about?" Albus demands once she's gone.
"I don't know, Alby. I honestly don't know."
I take my usual seat beside Albus at the Gryffindor table with Fred taking the seat opposite Albus and next to Fred and Queenie taking the seat opposite me. Under normal situations, Kat would have usually been sitting beside me. However, today is different. Kat has taken her new place next to Dominique further down the table.
I can't help but feel a little bit hurt by this.
Noticing that neither Rose or Scorpius are sitting with us, I scan the hall for them only to find that they aren't here.
Glancing sideways at Albus, I realise that i'm not the only one to have noticed our friend's absence as his jaw is clenched and he's gripping the edge of the table tightly causing his knuckles to turn white.
"Alby?" I place a hand on his thigh and lower my voice so that I don't interupt the speeches.
Gradually, Albus releases his vice like grip on the table and breaths out, relaxing slightly.
"He is seriously breaking the rules of bestfriendom," Albus grits out, annoyance laced in every word.
Albus and Rose grew up together as cousins but their closeness in age has always kept them closer than most family members, adding to the protectiveness that Albus feels for her.
I sigh. "Alby," I explain gently, "those rules only work for sisters, not cousins. Besides, bestfriendom isn't even a word."
Albus shakes his head, still stiff. I squeeze his thigh for comfort and smile to reassure him. "Rose is a big girl, she knows what she's getting into. And Scorpius is one of your bestfriends, you know and trust that he'll do the right thing. Have a little faith."
Turning to look at me, I see that Albus is biting the inside of his cheek. Something that i've noticed he does when he gets worried, nervous or worked up over something.
"He's still breaking the rules," he complains after a seconds hesistation, "besides, I don't want him to hurt her."
"There aren't any rules against someone dating their bestfriend's cousin. I mean, would the rule still stand if, theoretically, I started dating Freddy?" I say, "And he won't hurt her. He really likes her, Alby. Seriously, they're happy together."
Albus narrows his eyes. "Yes, the rules would still stand."
"I'm slightly offended by that," I comment, joking, "what's so bad about me?"
"Nothing," Albus responds quickly, "I just wouldn't want him to date you."
"Am I really that terrible of a person that you wouldn't want your cousin to date me?" I actually am getting slightly offended now.
Albus shakes his head. No. "That's not what i'm saying. I wouldn't want you to date anyone."
I blink at him, confused.
"Just, nevermind." Albus looks down at his empty plate and begins to pile it up with food.
I watch him for a moment, curious about what he meant, before leaning across and hugging him.
Without saying anything, Albus hugs me back. "You're easily confused, you know that right?" he says quietly. I can sense him smiling.
I nod and lean back. "Yeah, I know."
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