Chapter 2 : The First and Awkward Encounter
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Another purty chapter image by Jannu. You can find her at TDA as cookie monster! Andrew VanWyngarden, my strange idea of Albus Potter *points at the chapter image below* belongs to me. Haha, I wish. But you still can't have him.
In what feels like ages ago...
I knew I was screwed the moment I laid my eyes on Joan Thorn.
I knew my friendship with Scorpius would also be put on test when he noticed Joan Thorn at the same time.
It happened a week before Halloween on my fifth year in Hogwarts. I finished lunch earlier that day, so I decided to visit Hagrid as Dad had encouraged me to do over and over again, though after getting to know the Care of Magical Creatures professor, it wasn’t much of an obligation than it was a nice break from all the chaos at school. Being a son of one of the greatest wizards of all time had its downsides, you know.
There I was, jogging down the slope that led to Hagrid’s hut, the small exercise pushing away the coldness brought on by autumn, when a gust of wind carried a delicate, tinkling laugh from the direction of the hut.
One thing I knew for sure: that was definitely not Hagrid.
“Whoa, that is definitely not Hagrid laughing,” an all-too-familiar voice commented from behind me. I whipped my head to face him.
Scorpius, clad in Slytherin’s green Quidditch robes with a sleek, black broomstick on his shoulder smiled smugly. “Like my new Lightzapper, Potter? It’s the fastest broomstick yet and hasn’t even been sold in stores. My father just sent it to me today.”
Rolling my eyes, I said, “Save it, Malfoy. I already own one, anyway.”
It was true. Considering my parents’ love for the sport, my dad’s name, and my mum’s field of work, we could have gotten the latest Quidditch supplies for free. It didn’t stop there, though. James, Lily, and I used to have people from Honeydukes shoving jars of sweets down our throats until our teeth ached so bad, we couldn’t chew without crying out in pain. Anything to get the product known, I suppose.
The Lightzapper almost rolled off of his shoulder when Scorpius lost his grip on it for a few seconds. The idea of someone owning something before he did always gave him a heart attack. I swear, he probably would have died if he found out he was dating someone who used to have another boyfriend. Which was why I refrained from telling him that his current girlfriend was my cousin, Hugo’s ex. It had been a backstreet relationship gone wrong.
Just for the record, I didn’t ruin their relationship by catching them snogging in an empty hallway and then was forced to tell Rose about it due to my looking suspicious, which resulted in her informing her parents, thus causing Hugo’s relationship’s demise or anything.
“Liar,” Scorpius accused after he regained his composure, narrowing his eyes.
“I can show it to you today, if you want.” This time, I was the one smiling smugly.
Before he could respond, however, that tinkling voice of a girl called out again, “Bye, Professor! Thanks for your time.”
“Oh no,” came Hagrid’s voice, followed by his jovial laugh. “I should be the one thanking yeh. And jus’ call me Hagrid.”
I felt an unexplainable sense of panic cover every fiber of my being when the footsteps grew louder as she approached us.
“Maybe we should hide,” Score whispered frantically, pushing me to a nearby bush.
“No time! Act cool!” I whispered back, just as frantic.
“Hide from what? And why do you have to act cool?”
Crap. I told you I was screwed.
“Merlin, are you alright? What happened to you?”
Was she talking to me? I couldn’t believe she was concerned about my well-being. I felt like vomiting, but I mustn’t. Not in front of this… this beauty. Victoire and Dominique were one-eighth Veelas, if that even existed, but even both of them combined weren’t as breath-taking as her. Hell, maybe a total Veela couldn’t compete with her. Maybe I was exaggerating, but my exaggeration was reasonable. I didn’t make sense, did I?
God, help me.
She had dark brown hair tied into a messy bun, framing her oval face, red streaks glinting as the afternoon sunlight shone through the almost leafless branches above us. Her eyes, shining with worry, were the clearest shade of blue and they stood out against her pale skin. She didn’t even wear any makeup as far as I could see. Well, you get my point. A striped blue and bronze scarf was wrapped around her neck to the point of suffocation, yet she seemed completely okay with it. She was a Ravenclaw.
It took a while to form the right words, and even when I did find the right thing to say, the words were stuck in my throat. What did I do now? When did I turn into a pathetic, nervous mess of a bloke? I imagined Score was undoubtedly getting a kick out of my awkwardness and silently congratulated himself for pushing me into a bush.
To my surprise, there was only silence. A glance in Scorpius’ direction showed him fumbling with his broomstick that I assumed must have fallen from his grasp earlier at the sight of the Ravenclaw girl.
So much for acting cool.
“I-I fell,” I managed to stutter dumbly.
“Come on, up we go.” She grabbed my hands, helping me up to my feet. If the electric current that passed through our hands were real, I’d possibly be fried to a crisp; it was that strong.
“You’re Albus, right? Albus Potter?” she asked, seemingly oblivious to the current running on our physical contact. Her dark brown hair turned blonde at the same time her frown turned into a smile. A Metamorphmagus too? Wicked.
Usually, if someone asked me to confirm my name, I replied with a sarcastic retort. I wasn’t arrogant or anything, but come on, everybody here knew me.
Whereas most people who asked me for name confirmation would be replied with a cynical, “You think?” I replied to her with a strangled, “Yep.”
“Nice to meet you, Albus. I’m Joan, or at least that’s what it says on my birth certificate,” she greeted, her smile widening, might I add.
The joke might not be that funny according to a sane mind, but Scorpius literally laughed his arse off at Joan’s remark. By the time he finished laughing, he was in a crouching position on the ground, clutching his stomach, trying to steady his breathing, and wiping a tear out of the corner of his eye.
“That was funny. You’re funny,” Scorpius said in a failed attempt at compliment.
Grinning nervously, she played with a strap on her guitar case then replied, “Why, thank you. I do enjoy entertaining others. But I should get to my class right now. See you later, Albus, Scorpius.”
She was only a few steps away from us when Scorpius called out, “Hey, do you like The Strokes?”
“Excuse me?” she asked back, although judging from her bewildered expression, she had already heard Score the first time.
“Do you like The Strokes? Because I do, too.”
“Are you kidding? I love them!” It sounded impossible, but her face just totally lit up, as if everybody in Hogwarts chanted Lumos Maxima outside during a bright summer day. “I personally prefer Muggle bands than wizard ones, thanks to my mom. It sucks when you’re into something but can’t talk about it with anyone else because they don’t know a single thing about it, you know?”
“Yeah, it feels that way sometimes.”
“Tell you what. Let’s meet up whenever, talk about Muggle music and stuff. It’ll be so cool.”
“Looking forward to whenever,” he said enthusiastically.
“It’s a date.” At this, my eyes popped out of their sockets. “See you later, Scorpius.”
As soon as we were out of Joan’s hearing range, Score shook my shoulders with vigor. “She knows my name! She knows my name!”
“Score, you already have a girlfriend. And stop acting like a fool. It’s embarrassing.”
His face suddenly turned serious. “Oh please, I can break up with her any time. And don’t act like you didn’t embarrass yourself too. You were staring like a candy-loving kid on his first time trip to Honeydukes!”
“Eh, whatever.” I shrugged because I had to admit, his comparison wasn’t that far off. “I didn’t know you’re into Muggle bands.”
“That’s because I’m not. The band’s name was stuck to that strangely shaped bag of hers, so I lied to her about liking The Frocks.”
“First of all, it’s The Strokes, you moron. Second, that so-called strangely shaped bag is a guitar case. You put a guitar in there. Guitar is a musical instrument, just so you know. And third, that plan of lying to her about sharing her music taste is either stupid or ingenious,” I stated matter-of-factly.
“I hope it’s the latter,” Scorpius mumbled, breaking out into a run towards the Quidditch pitch.
“Late for Quidditch practice, Malfoy?” I yelled.
“You wish, Potter!”
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