Chapter 3 : Snubbed
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“Albus can we talk?”
“Huh?” Albus looked up from his plate of sausages and eggs to see that it was Charlotte Wood. She gave an uncomfortable smile to Rose who was sitting across from him, studying her NEWT level charms book carefully.
“Can we talk?” Charlotte repeated.
“Oh yeah, sure,” Albus agreed and clumsily got to his feet. Following Charlotte they moved out of ear shot of the Gryffindor table. Albus hadn’t spoken to Charlotte since the party, not that he even remembered what exactly had happened between them. He wouldn’t be surprised if he had asked her out or professed his love for her. They had dated shortly in fifth year until she started dating Andrew Davies in Ravenclaw at the same time. Annoyed Albus made her choose who she wanted to be with, and she picked Andrew. He had since gotten over it, but he had a feeling that whatever he said that night was coming back to haunt him.
“Look I get it, you still like me. But I love Andrew and I made that choice a long time ago. And I thought you understood that. Can’t we just be friends?” Charlotte gave him a concerned look, and touched his arm.
Glancing down at her hand, for a moment he had to fight the urge to laugh. Instead, he decided to go along with it and gave Charlotte a pained expression. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said those things or tried to kiss you. I was a little drunk, you know. It’s fine now, I’m over it. Friends is perfect.”
“Great,” Charlotte smiled in relief. “I’m really glad we could have this talk. I sort of felt really awkward after the party, and then Andrew found out – well you know how he can be. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Yeah I’m perfect, let’s forget that night ever happened.” Albus decided.
Charlotte smiled and walked towards the Ravenclaw table to where Andrew was sitting. He gave Albus a smug smile as Charlotte sat down next to him and he put his arm around her. “Prat,” Albus muttered going back to sit with Rose.
Rose gave him a curious look but didn’t ask what had happened. After a few seconds or so however, she began to snigger into her textbook. “Shut up!” Albus said picking up a piece of toast and throwing it at his cousin.
“I’m sorry,” Rose said, the toast just missing her head by a few centimetres. “I should probably get to class, double Arithmancy first thing in the morning – even my mother thinks it’s awful.”
Albus smirked. On Monday morning’s he did not have class until after break so he had about two hours to pass time. Since it was only the first day back he didn’t have any homework to do he thought about going back to sleep but he felt that if he did that he wouldn’t even go to his first class. And he had a feeling his parents wouldn’t appreciate hearing that he had skipped his first class of seventh year and received detention. After all, that was more of James’ thing.
“Albus please tell me you don’t have class.” Lily had appeared and sat herself down where Rose had just been.
“I don’t, why?” Albus asked his sister.
Lily grinned. “Perfect, I have a letter that needs to be sent to mum and dad and I have class all day.”
“So you want me to mail it for you?”
“Would you? Oh Albus, you were always my favourite brother!” Lily exclaimed, hopping to her feet and handing him the letter. With that, she ran off to catch up with her friends who were waiting at the double doors.
Albus rolled his eyes, and glanced at the letter. Well, now he had something to do. He wasn’t surprised that Lily already had a letter written for their parents, but he wondered if she had received a letter from their parents already. He certainly hadn’t, and when he thought about it that was a rare factor. It was customary since his first year for his mother to send him a letter reminding him to do well in school and try to ignore his brother’s taunts and pranks. Perhaps this year they felt it wasn’t necessary.
Not dwelling on it any further Albus made his way out of the Great Hall and headed towards the Owlery. As he walked through the halls of Hogwarts he was greeted by various students, most of whom he had never shared more than the casual hello with. It had been like that since his first year. People just felt the need to say hello to Albus, and to his siblings. James didn’t mind, he was popular and good friends with everyone he met. Lily always found it irritating but was too nice to ignore them. Meanwhile Albus just ignored it, occasionally flashing an uncomfortable smile. But for the most part he preferred to keep his head down and ignore them.
Entering the Owlery, Albus looked up searching for the family owl, Hooty, when he discovered he wasn’t alone. Laura Smith was standing near the window, cooing at a tawny owl that belonged to the school. She looked at him when he entered.
“Er, hi.” Albus said, shifting his gaze to the owls again. As he looked up the tower he saw Hooty fly towards him, and he was grateful that he appeared so soon. Laura hadn’t responded to Albus’s greeting, and as he tied Lily’s letter to Hooty’s leg he wondered if she had heard him at all. After telling Hooty who the letter was for, the owl gave him a peck on the hand and flew out of the owlery. Turning to the door, Albus found that Laura had left in the thirty seconds he had his back to her, and she was gone. She was a strange girl to say the least.
Walking back to the castle Albus wasn’t entirely sure what to do. He still had an hour or so before class began, and seeing as it was his first of the year he didn’t have any homework to catch up on. He probably could’ve returned to the Gryffindor tower and found someone to play a game of chess, but that didn’t really appeal to him. To be honest he felt a little lost – at this point his brother had usually come up with some mental prank and was trying to convince him to join in. Albus had always played it cool, pretending to be rather detached from his brother’s antics when actually he enjoyed them.
Stopping on his heels, Albus turned to see Mathew Corner walking towards him. “Oh, hello Mathew. What can I do for you?”
Mathew wore a large smile, and clapped Albus on the back. “I just wanted to make sure that there would be no, uh, problems between us.”
“You didn’t hear? I thought she had told you.” Mathew looked uncomfortable.
Albus squared his shoulders, and took a step closer to Mathew. “I’m sorry, but you aren’t quite clearing anything up.”
“Well it’s just that, I’ve asked your sister out. We’re sort of dating.” Mathew explained.
Albus was a little frozen. He wasn’t exactly sure what he should do in the situation – he had never been the over-protective brother. He always had faith in his sister to pick the right guy to date. That being said, Mathew Corner was the last bloke he expected.
“As of now, no there are no problems.” Albus couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Great,” Mathew smiled, “I’ll see you later then.”
“Right, see you later.” Albus nodded and watched Mathew as he walked away. “Actually, Mathew, wait!”
Mathew stopped and turned to look at Albus confused. In a moment Albus began to channel James and what he knew his brother would have done. Pulling out his wand he pointed it at Mathew’s chest and came as close as possible to Mathew so that he could hear him whisper. “If you ever hurt her I will cause you more pain than you ever thought possible. And then you’ll have to deal with the rest of my family.”
Mathew looking fairly shocked, stumbled away from Albus. Nodding profusely, he actually looked a little terrified. Albus had out-done himself. “Yes, I’d never hurt her. Promise.”
“Good, run along.” Albus said, and watched feeling quite satisfied that he had done his job properly as Lily’s brother. He certainly knew James would be proud, and Lily (when she learned of it) would probably find it all quite amusing. Although it was possible she’d be incredibly angry with him. But Lily knew him well enough that her anger wouldn’t last too long. He hoped anyway.
Deciding that he would visit the Library and wander around there for a bit, he took the stairs. Not exactly his first idea of fun, but he was sure his Aunt Hermione would be proud. Perhaps he could find a book on Quidditch or amuse himself with an early biography of his father – something he and Lily found most entertaining when in History of Magic she began learning about their father in her first year of school. It seemed every year there was a new one filled with more fiction than fact as the last.
Entering the Library Madame Pince seemed to glare at Albus a little more harshly than normal, and he assumed it was because it was a little out of character for him to be visiting the library so early on the first day. In fact, as Albus looked around there wasn’t a single student present, not even an eager Ravenclaw. Feeling a little awkward, and wishing to be as far away as possible from Madame Pince he made his way to the back of the library, near the restricted section where the biographies were kept. For a few moments Albus simply ran his hands over the many books, hardly giving himself enough to read the titles. It wasn’t until he came to the end of the first aisle that a novel of a large size caught his eye. The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. First it was because he saw his own name but upon further inspection, he became more interested as this was a book about his namesake. Well one of them.
Sliding the book out, he wondered how he had never seen this before, why didn’t his father own it? Then again his father didn’t own many books outside of old textbooks and the ones Aunt Hermione gave each year on Quidditch or Dark Magic. And when he thought about it, Albus admitted that his father was not the type of man to be attracted by biographies on extraordinary men, perhaps because he was one of those men. Albus’s father had never fully understand the way people idolized him, only allowing his children to have that freedom. It’s normal for your children to idolize you.
Flipping through the worn copy, Albus stopped at the center where a number of old photographs were. Albus had never seen photograph’s of Dumbledore besides the portrait that hung in the Headmaster’s office. He vaguely could see the similarities between the two images, and he couldn’t help smirk at the old clothing. His father had said very little to Albus about Dumbledore, and decidedly Albus tucked the book under his arm and headed towards the front desk to borrow it. Since entering the library Albus spotted a few fellow seventh years, Ravenclaw’s of course, browsing the libraries many books.
With a dark stare Madame Pince handed Albus the novel. “This is due back September 30th, don’t be late.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” said Albus, giving her a false salute. Madame Pince sniffed and turned away, and Albus continued on his way out of the library, a little pleased that he had already annoyed the Librarian and the first day of term hadn’t even started.
Turning towards the courtyard, Albus decided he could spend the next forty minutes there reading. The book now in his bag Albus took his time, not really wanting to sit down and start reading a novel this early in the morning, but he was without anything else to do. Arriving to the almost deserted courtyard, Albus found himself a spot to sit and get comfortable. Pulling out The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore Albus skimmed the pages, not able to really take anything in.
“What are you reading?”
Albus looked up and saw that his cousin, Hugo was standing over his shoulder, an amused look on his face. “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, why?”
Hugo came around so that he was in front of Albus, and shrugged. “My mum has that book – says half of its rubbish. Isn’t it a bit early in the day to be reading?”
Albus rolled his eyes. “Shouldn’t you be in class?”
Hugo smirked, crossing his arms. “I got a pass to use the washroom.”
“Ah, so you’re skipping class. Your mum would be so proud.”
“It’s only the first day.”
“Of fifth year – if I were you I’d be in class.” Albus warned.
Hugo took a seat. “It’s only Divination, as much as I like Professor Firenze I am not continuing it after this year.”
“If he had taught third and fourth year I’d probably have taken the class. Trelawney is awful.” Albus pulled a face.
The two were silent.
“It’s weird not having James or Louis around to stir up trouble isn’t it?” Hugo finally said.
Albus agreed. “I thought it would be nice, quiet without them. But it is really odd.”
Hugo stood up. “Well I should probably get to class, see you later.”
“Right, see you later.” Albus nodded. Checking his watch he saw that there was only five minutes to when break started, and like clockwork students slowly began to trickle into the halls full of chatter of their first classes. Albus spotted Rose and Scorpius in deep discussion as they crossed the courtyard to where he sat.
“...the number charts are wrong, I’m sure of it. I don’t understand why Professor Vector insists-”
“Rosie, it’s only the first day!” Scorpius interrupted throwing a look at Albus for help.
“Hey did you know Mathew Corner asked Lily out last night?” Albus asked, wanting the answer.
“What?” Scorpius scowled looking to Rose. “She’s dating that git?”
“Apparently,” Albus looked to Rose, who wore a bemused expression.
“Of course I know, she told me this morning.” Rose informed.
“And you didn’t want to share?” Albus asked.
“I didn’t think I had to – it’s her business who she wants to date.”
“You sound like my mother,” grumbled Albus.
“It’s just a bit of fun, nothing serious.” Rose added, as she began to walk away from them.
“Lily is dating Corner for a bit of fun?” Albus repeated, following Rose – Scorpius close behind looking amused.
“She’s only in fifth year, do you think she’s going to settle down with the first person she dates?” Rose gave Albus an incredulous look.
“No,” Albus stuttered, not really sure why he was getting so worked up. He just didn’t really like Corner, he seemed a little too cocky
“They won’t last anyway.” Rose added.
“Why not?” Scorpius asked this time. However he had a more amused look on his face then the concerned one Albus wore.
Rose glanced at Scorpius for a second and then to Albus. “It’s a little weird, isn’t it? I mean his parents used to date your parents.”
“Really?” Albus didn’t know that.
“You didn’t know? Albus do you ever listen to your parents?” asked Rose.
“Well I know dad dated Cho Chang – mum told me that. But I didn’t know about mum dating Corner’s dad – she always said dad was the only one for her...” Albus trailed off when he saw Rose expression.
“Really Albus? My dad says Aunt Ginny dated a lot of boys before Uncle Harry finally asked her out.” Rose told him.
Albus stared. “Whatever. That’s beside the point; Mathew is a year ahead of her-”
“There is only nine months different between them, hardly anything to be concerned about,” reminded Rose.
“Mate, I think you’re over-reacting,” said Scorpius. “In fact you’re kind of acting like James.”
Albus glared at him.
“Please don’t start a fight, I have to spend the next two hours with you two.” Rose warned just as they turned the corridor and arrived at the charms classroom.
Albus, despite his feelings decided that Scorpius and Rose were right. There was no need for him to get worked up – he was being a little over-dramatic. Still, he didn’t like Mathew Corner, and he hoped Rose was right in that it wouldn’t last long. Swallowing hard, Albus leaned against the wall and waited for Professor Flitwick to allow entrance.
“My father said he was thinking of attending the next Quidditch game,” said Scorpius. He had directed the news to both Albus and Rose, but when Albus showed little interest in discussion he simply focused on Rose who seemed more interested.
“Really?” exclaimed Rose. Draco Malfoy had taken very little interest in attending any of Scorpius’s games since he had joined the Slytherin team as a chaser in his fifth year.
“It’s probably because someone’s father won’t be around,” Scorpius explained glancing at Albus who remained partial to the conversation.
“What if Lily makes the team?” Rose reminded.
Scorpius shrugged. “He doesn’t need to know that.”
“Smart mate, I’ll definitely be watching for that reaction.” Albus laughed, finally taking an interest.
Rose glared at the two of them. “You both are terrible.”
Albus rolled his eyes. “The two of them are terrible – it’s been how many years since they went to Hogwarts together? It’s just old rivalry – and it’s ridiculous. How is it fair that Scorpius’s father never attends his games to avoid my father?”
“I didn’t say it was fair! I agree it is completely silly, but you should still warn your parents. They won’t be happier to arrive unprepared. At least this way they will prepared to be cordial.” Rose said.
Scorpius considered this, but Albus turned away from his friends. He was in a foul mood all of sudden, and really just wanted the class to start to distract him. Facing away from his friends, Albus saw that the rest of the class had gathered in front of the classroom doors while he and his friends had been arguing.
Charms was perhaps Albus’s largest NEWT class: besides Albus and Rose there were four other Gryffindor’s, six Ravenclaw’s, four Slytherin’s, and four Hufflepuff’s. The students, for the most part were all chatting in their various groups, but Albus noticed how Laura Smith stood away from the others. Leaning against the stone wall, she seemed to be having an intense staring contest with the floor. Her hair was pulled into two French braids, and it seemed as if she was wearing an unnatural amount of make-up. Albus saw her cousin, Eliza steal looks every second or so as she talked amongst her friends. But Laura did not notice these, and it wasn’t until the doors to the charms classroom opened that Laura looked up from the floor.
Entering the classroom, Albus took his seat in the middle of the classroom, and waited for Rose and Scorpius to sit. They both sat to the right of him, leaving the chair to his left free. Albus watched as the other students filed in wondering who he would sit next to for the next year, and was shocked when Laura Smith sat down. In front of them her fellow Hufflepuff’s sat down along with Albert MacDougal of Ravenclaw. It seemed he was dating Meredith MacMillan, whom Albus was sure, was Laura’s best mate. Laura was unconcerned by this, even when Meredith turned around and offered an apologetic smile, and took out her textbook and parchment. Albus followed her actions.
At first he was unsure if he should say anything, especially after last night. She seemed to be more together, her hair immaculate and her make-up done. She had a serious look on her face, and seemed very focused on preparing for class. Albus was aware that Scorpius had noticed where his attention was, and gave Scorpius a look that read ‘what?’
Finally deciding that he should say something he turned to Laura and said, “Hi.”
Laura looked bewildered. “Hi,” she returned.
Albus swallowed. “Did you make it to your dormitory all right-”
Professor Flitwick then decided to begin the class, climbing onto his podium at the front of the class, and silenced Albus and all other chatter. Albus found this a perfect excuse to ignore Scorpius’s questioning gaze, and he quickly began to jot down notes as fast as he could. Aunt Hermione would be proud. The two hours passed slowly, and when Flitwick had finished his lesson on the Fidelius charm, Albus was pleased to be able to finish his sentence. Turning to Laura, he was a little disappointed to have already packed her things and just about to leave.
“As I was saying-”
“Sorry I’ve got to go,” said Laura as she pulled on her book bag and left promptly after. Albus was so stunned he simply gaped at the spot she had been standing. His stomach gave a loud rumble.
“Mate, if you don’t mind but I’d like to the Great Hall before lunch is finished.” Scorpius nudged Albus hard in the back.
Scrambling to his feet Albus threw his things into his bag and followed Rose and Scorpius to the Great Hall.
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