“So,” James said, throwing himself down on my desk with a hideous grin that made me want to tear his eyeballs out and throw my useless revision notes into the air and scream loudly. “Rose said you were stressed about exams,” he said helpfully, staring at my desk which was strewn with ridiculous numbers of pieces of parchment, some of which were covered in yellow nail varnish which Jan had spilt everywhere, with a dubious expression. I had all my text books out too, piled up – two of them open so I could cross reference them and write more detailed and better notes. Given fifty percent of them had gone awol.
I had the slight suspicion that James had something to do with it. The prat.
“Woah, James.” Jan said sitting down on the table opposite James and raising an eyebrow. “I really would not piss Albus off today. I’m pretty sure he’s got a tampon stuck up his –”
“Managed to paint your nails then?” I asked her harshly. “You didn’t spill all of it on the notes that took me three months to complete?”
“It was an everlasting bottle that you brought me, stop being such a bitch.”
“Stop insinuating I’m a woman!”
“Stop acting like a woman, you PMSing tart.”
“Like you can talk.” I muttered irritably.
“I am a PMSing tart!” She exclaimed. “At least I have an excuse. Piss off and grow a pair. They were just notes.” Jan snorted, rolling her eyes and glancing over my notes without saying anything else. She hunched her shoulders forward and scrunched her face up into an irritated mess that made me feel bad. I stared at her with a concerned expression that made my head hurt. I probably shouldn’t have pissed her off.
“Woah, sexual tension much.” James grinned, glancing between us with a confused expression all over his stupid face. “Either that or just a regular argument. Personally, I’m going for the sexual tension thing because I can look on and find it more amusing. Nice nail varnish, by the way, good choice Al.”
“You picked it.” I muttered. “By breaking into her room and working out which colour she didn’t have.”Jan raised an eyebrow at me. “I was worried about getting something you already had; it wasn’t for creepy reasons or anything.”
“That’s almost cute,” Jan smiled. “I might put aside the fact that you’re acting like a sexually frustrated lesbian for the time being... it would have been better if you’d done it yourself though.”
“I was going to.” I said. “But James insisted. I think he stole some of your underwear.”
She called him something her mother wouldn’t like and threw one of my quills at his head.
“That was a joke,” I quantified. “James isn’t that creepy.”
“I know,” Jan said. “But he’s a right sod, so... any excuse.”
“Stop bonding over your hatred of me!” James whined. “It’s not fair. The sexual tension was so much funnier. I miss it. Anyway, I wanted to show you something. Probably the best thing you’ll ever see.”
“James,” I said slowly. “Is this going to stress me out beyond my already extreme level? Because I’m not sure how many more moods swing I can take before I become a woman. Just ask Jan. You don’t want another sister. Especially when Lily’s turning into a right scarlet woman. Think about it.”
“Oh fuck off Al,” Jan said. “Lily has a boyfriend, just because you two are singletons doesn’t mean she’s a slut.”
“Words like that should not be associated with our sister, keep that mouth under control Janet Harper,” James said warily. “My sister does not have a boyfriend.”
“Just get on with it James.”
“I got a tattoo!” He declared, grinning his face off.
“Oh dear lord.”
“Ginny is going to Avada Kedavra your arse. I mean, seriously.” Jan said.
“You’re mad at that part?” James said worryingly.
“James,” I said warningly. “I refuse to help with this or so help me you can kiss your sorry arse goodbye -”
“Hey,” James grinned. “At least she’ll kill you too when I tell her you encouraged it.”
“You get me involved I swear that – ”
“Stop being a girl,” James said. “And become a man like me,” Then he pulled up the shirt of his sleeve to reveal...
“A dark mark!?!”
“You are fucked.” Jan said her eyes as wide as sauces. I stared at James considering the possibility that this was the best prank that James Potter had ever pulled. The build up had been so realistic I’d almost believe it, still – not even James could be so stupid.
I laughed for a full minute, unable to breathe, and was genuinely rocking back and forward with this hysterical laughter. God, for once James had actually done something to help me – he made me laugh when I was stuck in the worst possible mood.
“Al,” Jan said lightly, touching my arm gentle with a grim smile.
“What?” He asked, staring at me with a blank expression. There was a small part of my brain that was beginning to consider the fact that this could actually be a tattoo and not some sick joke that James was trying to pull to stress me out even more than normal.
“Please tell me that you drew that on,” I said weakly.
“No,” James said, shaking his head.
I stared at him. All the laughter was gone. I was genuinely closer to tears now.
We were both a little in awe of James’s ridiculous stupidity and the shocking levels of insanity that must have infested his singular brain cell. I was silent for a long moment before my own brain managed to comprehend it.
“That’s real?” James nodded. “You..?”
“Albus,” Jan said lightly, running a hand over my shoulder as I stared at him.
“How could you be such an idiot!?!” I yelled suddenly. The words bursting out my lips in a rush of hot anger.
“It’s cool, “James shrugged. I stared at him for a very long moment.
“Oh god,” I said bringing a hand up to my head and feeling it spin in circles. James had finally done it. He’d driven me insane. He was going to die, we all were. Hell, Mum would become the next Voldemort if she ever saw that monstrosity. “Oh god,” I wailed, Merlin’s grubby over worn y-fronts, we were gonners. “I can’t think of a member of our family who isn’t going to murder you.” I said blinking stupidly.
“Freddie?” James suggested.
“His dad’s twin!” I exclaimed, gesturing wildly. I could no long form long sentences it seemed.
“She’s more anal than Hermione.” Jan said
“Hugo? Come on, Hugo will find it funny.” James said. Sadly, he was probably right.
“JAMES!” I yelled, suddenly getting to my feet and taking an accidental step in his direction. “I really would not piss me off any further right now.”
“You’re not going to kill me, though. Right?” He grinned. “I’m your brother!”
“You think that’s going to stop Lily! Or stop mum! For fucks sake James! Could you have done anything more ridiculous?”
“It’s not ridiculous!” James said defensively. “I specifically told the artist to make it as realistic as possible so that...”
“You’re so thick.” Jan said shaking her head. “I... honestly never thought that...” She stopped. Completely lost for words.
“Oh god!” I exclaimed. “What are we going to do? You’re just going to have to wear long sleeves forever, no... That would never work. What if...? Concealer? Disillusionment?”
“I don’t really see the issue.”
“How much do you object to wearing the invisibility cloak for the rest of your life?” I asked. I was so close to tears it was unreal. My mother was about to come a murderer – the Potter family torn to shreds by the extreme stupidity and everyone would think, why didn’t his brother stop him? There was no way to back out of this one. Nothing I could do.
“It’s cool!” James said, running a hand lovingly over it. It was black and vivid. There wasn’t a chance in hell that mum just wouldn’t notice it...
“It’s a dark mark!” I half yelled, pointing at the monstrosity. My eyes were genuinely welling up. My whole life – messed up. RUINED.
“Well, not really,” James said. “The death eaters had it branded onto their skin and...”
“James!” I yelled. “This is VOLDEMORTS mark, and I don’t think I’m good enough at defence to block the curses that mum sends at me for this...”
“You should probably get revising then,” James said tapping my notebook. “Can you imagine how ashamed everyone would be if you failed Defence? I mean, come on Al – you’re a son of the saviour of the wizarding world.”
“You really can’t lecture me about this you fuckwit! You’re the most ridiculous... you, you stupid bastard I mean... Jesus Christ!” I blinked at him for a few long moments. “Your dad is Harry fucking Potter, James.”
“Our,” He corrected.
“He won’t be anybodies father if he sees that!” I exclaimed. “He’ll turn his wand on himself. Fuck, I’m tempted.”
“Stop being so prissy!” James complained. “You’re such a girl.”
“Woah,” Jan said. “I like calling Al a girl as much as anybody, but seriously James – he is right. I honestly don’t think you’re going to last the week you stupid bastard.”
“James!” I exclaimed. “That mark is the reason why we don’t have any grandparents!” I hissed. “That mark is the reason why everyone in the wizarding world loves us! That mark is the reason why Dad has those funky dreams that we’re not allowed to talk about!” I risked a glance at Jan for this, I’d never mentioned the dreams to her before – she looked slightly taken a back. “Our parents watched people die because of that sodding mark, James! Our Dad did die!”
“Yeah, but he was resurrected and shit.” James shrugged.
“TEDDY IS AN ORPHAN BECAUSE OF THAT!” I yelled, jerking my thumb at it angrily. “UNCLE GEORGE IS TWINLESS! YOUR NAME SAKES WERE BOTH KILLED BECUSE OF THAT!”
James paled slightly. I think he began to realise just what he’d done.
“And mine,” I added, pointing furiously at my chest. “Albus, Severus! Do you think our parents went through the effort of naming after these people, people who they loved, on some stupid whim? No, it’s because they wanted to remember them... and the fact that you... you have tattoo the symbol of all their suffering – of a war – onto your arm undermines everything they ever worked for! All their fear and all the people who died. For fucks sake James!” I yelled.
He’d paled quite a lot now.
“How could you ever think this was a good idea?”
“Because I’m rash and impulse like Sirius was?” James suggested quietly.
“Even Sirius Black would never do something so ridiculous and idiotic. I can’t be related to you. I can’t. It’s impossible. You’re just some kind of deformed potato with no brains... this isn’t real. This is a nightmare. This is... this is hell! Or if not, kill me already for fucks sake!”
“Al,” Jan said again, trying to put her arm around me in a feeble attempt to calm me down. I would not be calmed.
“You’ll have to get it surgically removed. You can do that for wizard tattoos, can’t you? I mean, can’t you.”
“Yeah,” Jan said quietly. “My mum made my sister have hers removed when she found out, she went mental. Total apeshit.”
“What was it?” James asked lightly.
“A heart. Smaller than my fingernail. It cost forty galleons to have it removed.”
“I can’t afford that!” James said wildly. “I’ll have to wait till after summer, I’ll get a job...”
“If you wait till after summer you’ll be getting it surgically removed from your dead corpse.” I said. “No, you have to get it done now. This weekend. No one can see it. Not Lily, not Freddie – not a single teacher. Put it away James!” I exclaimed, roughly pulling down his shirt, not caring how much it hurt and ignoring James’s proclamations that it was ‘tender’.
“But, the money?” James said weakly.
“I’m going to have to sodding pay for it, aren’t I?” I said weakly. “I’ve got... a bank account. I mean, James... how much money do you have.”
“Four sickles?” James said. “I’ll pay you back. I promise. I’ll pay you back.”
“Al,” Jan said. “It’ll be all your savings for a tattoo that size.”
“Would it be cheaper to pay for him to be assassinated?” I asked shakily. I sat down and stared at the floor. “You can’t... I mean, you can’t ask me for anything else till every single galleon is paid back. Okay James, I’m serious. I don’t care what it is – homework, NEWT’s, girlfriends, Lily. I am out. Next time, you’re on your own.”
“Just... just one other thing?” James began. “You will come with me, won’t you?” I stared at him incredulously. “It... it just hurt like a bitch you see, and I... I’m scared. I wouldn’t ask Al, you know I wouldn’t, but... I’m not allowed to tell anyone else, am I?”
“If I survive my whole Hogwarts education, it will be a miracle.”
“I love you man,” James said as he gritted his teeth and looked resolutely in the other direction. Personally, I was slightly transfixed by the whole process. “It was such a good idea of Jan’s... just to get part of it removed, and then like... altered to avoid my murder.” He said conversationally.
“Violent murder,” I corrected him. “I’m sure you’ll still be killed. Anyway, if this actually works then...”
“It’s even better than just a dark mark tattoo,” James grinned. “I mean, this is a lion, swallowing a snake – it actually goes with everyone’s views.”
“But if you have a kid and he’s in Slytherin it’s going to be relatively embarrassing.”
“Right,” James laughed. “Me, with a kid in Slytherin. Anyway, who says I’ll have the tattoo by that point?”
“Erm, well... they’re permanent soo...”
“Oh don’t be a crapbag,”
“A crapbag? What sort of insult is that, you sensational fuck-up.” James face screwed up as that tattoo began work on the lion’s main, detailing the fur around its roaring face with rather beautiful swirls and intricate details...
“You know,” James said, “I might get a tattoo of the locket on my chest,” I ignored that. The only way James Potter was ever entering a tattoo place after the finishing of the bad boy that was currently becoming more and more vivid across his arm, was when I was dead. Although, chances were, if I died first I’d come back as a ghost to prevent James from accident killing someone innocent. “You know, Regulus’s locket, hey... I could get a tattoo of each one of the seven horcruxes.”
“And where would you tattoo Dad’s face?” I snorted.
“On my arse.”
“I’m definitely not coming with you for that,” I said darkly. “Really. There are some things I don’t want to see in my lifetime.”
“Or I could get each one of the deathly hallows. Or just the cloak and the stone. I already have a deathstick.”
“James!” I complained. Putting a hand to my head and groaning. “Never, ever say that again.” James grinned.
“So...” James said. “You haven’t had a girlfriend in a while,”
“Neither have you,” I returned sharply, slumping down on my seat and surveying him with a mild interest.
“Neither has Jan...” James said with a slightly eyebrow raise.
“Oh sod off,” I said. “Why does everyone with we’re dating?”
“Because,” Jan said, her voice muffled by the wall separating us and the waiting room. “Neither of us wanted to face the embarrassment of being single for Valentine’s Day, and went out, as friends, which – by the way – you suggested. If it really bothers you so much that everyone thinks...” The she walked in, hand on hip, and examined James classic ‘I’m in pain face.’
“You need to man up, Potter,” Jan said, and I was reminded of all the reasons why Janet Harper is so damn great. “And you Potter,” She said to me with her eyebrows raised. “Need to remove that wand from up your arse and lighten up, I swear – you’ve been so... whiny recently.”
“Just tell me,” Lily demanded – having just broken up with her male companion (why this was better than the term ‘boyfriend’ I didn’t know, but this is what James had deemed an acceptable term. So I’d just gone with it), she’d taken refuge by sitting with us on the train home. Why she didn’t go piss off and talk to her own friends I didn’t know.
“No,” I said, stretching out my legs and glancing up at the ceiling.
“Tell me Al,” She said, narrowing her eyes – her hand hovering dangerously close to her pocket (wand alert!!!).
“I can’t tell you and I don’t want to, so go away and leave me alone.”
“Yeah, piss of Lils,” James said.
“And you James, go back to your own friends. Why do we have to sit here and play happy families?”
“Oh, right,” Lily said hotly. “So you don’t mind Rose being here, but your own siblings?”
“Difference being,” Rose said, lazily flicking through her book. “We’re in the same year and we’re friends.” Rose and Lily hadn’t really gotten in since Rose started going out with Malfoy... Lily seemed to think it was some kind of betrayal just because she’d had a blatant crush on him for like a week, or something, and ever since then they bickered like... Godzilla brides fighting over their dream wedding dress.
“Go snog your boyfriend,” Lily spat back, tossing her red hair out of her face.
“Maybe I will.” Rose said, eyes narrowing. “Since he is, you know, my boyfriend.”
“Who you are only dating because it saved James arse,” I added in. Jan snorted at that and sent me a ‘really?’ look which I choose to ignore. Rose couldn’t really fancy the bloke, could she? He was pale and creepy. Very creepy. Practically albino, too, not that there was anything wrong with that. Jan had informed me on several occasions that he had ‘grey eyes you could fall into and drown’ which couldn’t be a good thing. He was dangerous. Not good enough for Rosie.
“Well,” Rose said coolly. “That is the reason why I finally gave into his pleading.”
Lily huffed in the corner. They were so going to end up duelling at some point during the summer. Hopefully, at least. There was nothing like a secret midnight duel at the burrow. They were always the best (except that time James kicked my ass and dumped me in pound, before remembering I couldn’t swim – I was five, just saying – and then had to jump in and save me. Then he kicked my ass all over again and took my teddy. Prat).
“He’ll get bored soon enough...” Lily said in her superior tone – a feature of all Weasley/Potter woman that, unfortunately, didn’t really affect any of the males in the Weasley clan. It was true that Lily’s superior tone was much less effective than Roses but...
“Who do you reckon would win in a fight?” James grinned.
“I would, of course.” Rose said indignantly. “I’m two years older,”
“Well sure,” I said, “But then Lily has got this crazy spontaneous streak. She’d get in a good few hits, I reckon.”
“Rose has the height advantage.”
“Too true,” I agreed. “Lily has speed.”
“I’m fast!” Rose complained loudly. “I can be spontaneous!”
“Who has the biggest temper?” I questioned, glancing between the two of them and considering it.
“Oh, toughie,” James said carefully, mirroring my action.
“Well, Lily’s more the immediate fly-off-the-handle type,” I said. “One minute she’s fine, the next she’s screaming bloody murder. There’s more of a built up with Rose... but she can sustain it for longer. I reckon Roses temper is more dangerous – like a great big storm. Lily’s is a brief hurricane.”
“Good call,” James nodded. “But... Lily can sulk for England.”
“That’s hardly going to help in a fight. My money’s on Rose.”
“Lily,” James said. “She’s got that... spark. I dunno. I reckon she’d pull something out the bag.”
“I’ve got a spark!” Rose exclaimed, standing up to her full and impressive height and glaring at all of us. “You know what; I’ll leave you to your family reunion. I’m going to find my boyfriend.”
“Soon to be ex-boyfriend,” Lily said lightly. “What?” She asked sweetly when Rose fixed her glare on her. “I mean... there’s no way you’ll be allowed to date him once Uncle Ron finds out.” Rose paled slightly. “And then... he’s mine.”
“Okaay,” Jan said interrupting loudly. “Firstly, Rose – Scoripius asked you out twice before you said yes, that’s not pleading. Second, your dad can’t make you do anything. Third, did you see when Lily beat up James last year? Losing to Lily Potter is not shameful. Lily, you are too young for Scorpius Malfoy by about three decades, Rose is better at magic than you and your Dad won’t let you date anyone so really... you should both just shut up and stop filling up my eardrums with your insolent and annoying crap before I beat seven shades of shit out of both of you.”
“I love you.” I told Jan seriously, as both of them finally shut up. “In a fight, I’ll always back you.”
“Snap,” James said. “You’re feisty.”
Jan flushed slightly and glanced downwards. I thought she said she didn’t have a crush on James? God damn it the woman should make up her mind. I stared at the floor in irritation.
“Whatever,” Rose said, sitting back down abruptly.
“You still haven’t told me what you spent the money on!” Lily whined. Another reason why I’d back Rose. “Why aren’t you telling me?”
“Because it’s none of your business,” James said, rolling his eyes. “What Al chooses to get surgically enlarged is of no consequence to anyone in this room,” He grinned and looked at Jan. “Well...”
“Watch it James.” I said. “I wouldn’t push me if I were you.”
“So James knows?”
“Oh come on,” Jan complained. “You’re really annoying me now! Just give it up. It’s personal.”
“Personal?” Lily asked. “Why won’t you tell me?”
“Because I won’t, now shut it before I tell Dad that you let Brandon touch your leg.”
“What?”James demanded, looking scandalised. “But you broke up?”
“Before that you douche bag,” Jan said irritable. “Why can’t everyone just get along?”
“Yet, get along... out of the compartment and leaving me in peace.” I said. Lily’s eyes narrowed into tiny terrifying slits. She stood up, pulling her bag up with and walked towards the door.
“Just so you know, mum owled me and asked me when she got your bank statement. So I told her that you used the money to pay for Jan to have an abortion.”
I gapped at her as she stalked out.
“Wounded, mate,” James laughed.
“Why would Jan be pregnant?” I asked my mouth still wide open in shock. “And why would I be paying, I mean...?”
“I think she’s insinuating that you did the impregnating,” Rose said primly. “What?” She asked when Jan glared at her. “I’m just saying.”
“Hey,” James said, clapping me on the shoulder as he stood up and made for the door too. “Look on the bright side, at least that’ll provide a distraction from my tattoo!” Then he sauntered out of the compartment, not bothering to shut the door, and disappeared out of sight.
A/N: Next time: one 'I love you' , Albus Potter's summer of lurrvveeee and lots of bras. Excited? Reviews, reviews, reviews...
Write a Review The sporadic suffering and tiresome torments of Albus Potter: The one with the tattoo.