Chapter 19 : Lancelot
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Albus was a man on a mission. It would have been a little more realistic if he were dressed in black attire with a mask over his face, hiding his expression from the view of the innocent student body. It was around six on that same evening when he dashed from his Common Room and down the corridor towards Hufflepuff’s domain.
He paid a heavy resemblance to his father when he was fighting for what he wanted. He was sneakier than I could ever aspire to be. Scorpius said he would expect Al to hide behind tapestries and quietly manoeuvre himself through sticky situations and stone corridors until he reached his goal.
Yet, it seemed that Harry Potter neglected passing on his abilities of personal space, patience and a kind demeanour on to his youngest son; Al charged down the corridor as the Common Room came in to sight.
“Albus for Circe’s sake!” I hissed, trying to pull him back, using his collar as a rein. “You’re just embarrassing yourself.”
It appeared that my almighty power for being the Lady of the Lake had tarnished; I was left with no ability to be the peace keeper, merely the stirrer. I had become Guinevere. My hair was pulled messily in to a bun at the back of my head, in what I was sure looked like a nest. I almost tripped up on my shoelace as Al turned around to face me.
He gripped his wand. “Ran, he was snogging Maleficent. I hate that bitch!”
Perhaps I should have foreseen this fiasco, yet I appeared to be blinded. Marilyn had run in to Scorpius in the lower corridors of the school. In what he assumed, at the time, was a feat to make him jealous, she told him the lengths that she had gone to with Perry on this fine day. Apparently, it pursued past the closed doors of the Hufflepuff Common Room.
“Scorpius passed on what he had been told by the Evil Witch,” I tried to reason. “We don’t know if what she had said was true. It could just be to get a rise out of me … or in this case, you.”
“Well its bloody well worked hasn’t it?!” He exclaimed. He turned on his heel and made once more in the direction of my Common Room. “She’s evil Ranny, we know that, but she doesn’t usually lie, twist it a bit, yeah. She likes Perry, and I was sure that Perry liked you.”
I sighed. “Show’s how much you know.” I caught hold of his arm and jogged to keep up with his long strides. “Ally, listen to me, please.”
He stopped only when I pulled down hard on to his arm and used my foot to trip him. Regaining balance quickly, he turned back to me with a slightly betrayed expression.
“Listen to me,” I begged. “I don’t want you to do anything. If Maleficent goes down it’s because of something that I will do, not you. I’ve accepted that Perry likes her, not me. It wasn’t even serious, the way I thought of Perry, it’s just a rebound. Why is it harder for you to get your head around that? She’s horrid, I know that she’s mean to me, but you can’t exactly hex her now, can you?”
I wasn’t going to clean up his mess when he caused bloody murder. Albus had been stressed through work and pressure from his brother. I was sure that he was just looking for an expressive outlet to release the tension. For the first time, I was wishing he would take a page from Scorpius’ book and make love, not war.
Al laughed haughtily, “Perry doesn’t like her. Can’t you see that? I know that he likes you; I know that for a fact. James doesn’t talk to people, yet for you he makes an exception. Marilyn is good for one thing, something that I know the lads in the seventh year Hufflepuff dorm enjoy thoroughly.”
“But you can’t hex a girl.”
“Fine, then I’ll hex him. He’s hurt you Ran, I’m not having that!”
“Al!” I shoved him in the chest. “Don’t think that I don’t appreciate this, I honestly do. But you can’t cause trouble on my behalf. I will sort this out with Perry myself, and then – and only then – if that doesn’t work out, you can hex him.”
His expression seemed to soften for a moment. “Really?”
“Yeah,” I agreed with a small nodding motion of my head. “I don’t think that your father would be too happy with you if you committed murder at seventeen.”
Albus laughed at this as I reached forward and sorted out his collar. He hadn’t got changed since the trip to Hogsmeade; he was still in his clothes from his date. I straightened out the last crease and itched my nose.
“You looked adorable when you do that.”
I flicked his cheek and pouted. “Back off. And put your wand away Ally, you’re not hexing anyone tonight.”
He did as I asked and closed his eyes for a moment. His expression was heavy, his lips not curled in to his usual smile. His grin had always spoken leaps and bounds without ever uttering a single syllable. He was always a King, a saviour; he saved me so many times, without even trying. Just by being there, he was always my hero.
He was there one moment, and then he wasn’t. I needed someone consistent, and I wasn’t sure if Albus could fulfil that.
For that moment, he wasn’t Albus. His eyes snapped open, and his green iris’ appeared pained. My breath hitched as he nodded his head and looked the other way. It wasn’t an agreeable nod, more one of conformation.
“I’m losing it.” He muttered to himself.
I wondered momentarily if he was. My lack of agile abilities should have made it incredibly difficult for me to catch up with the boy, never mind me finding it easy. He is a seeker; he should be fast and sneaky with a keen sense for grasping what he wanted. Yet lately he seemed to be hesitating.
My brows knitted together. “Walk me back?”
“How was Olivia?” I asked casually, taking the small staircase up to the floor above. “She seemed absolutely lovely. A real Princess.”
Albus replied with a half-hearted shrug. “She was nice. But I’m not too sure if she’s the girl for me.”
“You only went out on one date.” I teased with a grin, glad that he was no longer a victim or roaring rage. Yet this defeated demeanour that he wore so suddenly confused me. “Maybe if you gave her another chance – it might be true love.”
His lips pierced together and he made a humming sound. “Yeah, maybe.”
We chatted aimlessly for a while, walking slower and slower until the pace we moved at could be only determined as a slow shuffle. I hadn’t noticed straight away when Albus’ fist clenched, I saw the tensing of his arms before the swinging of his arms and he smacked his fists together two or three times. It was a reaction movement.
I blew stray hair from my eye line and hugged my jumper tightly. My laces were undone, I pondered momentarily tying them up, to stop me from tripping. But I didn’t want to band down. I felt inferior to Albus when he switched his mood to one of stone, I didn’t need to take it to a literal feeling and affect the difference in height.
“Why do you like Perry?” Albus asked suddenly, stopping fully in the corridor.
I laughed a little. “Why do I like Perry?”
“Yeah,” he amended. “Why do you like him? He doesn’t talk much, he’s way too tall for you and well, he’s on the Quidditch Team.”
“You’re on the Quidditch Team.”
Albus crossed his arms over his chest, “No, I know that.” He thought for a moment bobbing his head side to side in a slight manner. “I mean, you can’t trust people who play Quidditch, stereotypically, they’re just bound to end up hurting you.”
“What, because you haven’t?” I asked shallowly.
He peered over my shoulder down the empty corridor. “I’m the perfect example. You trusted me more than anyone else and I hurt you the most.”
I furrowed a brow. “But Perry’s not you.”
“Oh yes,” he exclaimed, his voice heavily dripping with sarcasm. “And that’s why you like him so much is it?”
“Believe it or not, Perry is just a friend.” I felt a private satisfaction that for some reason the odd relationship I had with the quiet boy affected so many people.
Albus scraped his hands through his hair. “Ranny, please don’t lie to me. Even Scorpius thinks that there is a thing going on between the two of you. Scorpius is a bloody guru; he knows all.”
“So I had an estranged crush. It’s Perry. He’s with Marilyn. I am already over it,” I replied. “Circe knows that I have a lot personal experience in dealing with situations like this.”
“Please don’t make me feel bad.”
My cheeks rosined slightly. “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. I just … we tried it, this. We’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work.”
“One kiss, Ran, we tried one kiss!”
I snorted, despite trying to hold it back. “And it was awful. It was so weird.”
“Maybe because we haven’t practised it, we didn’t really give it a go.”
If anything, I tried to ignore the colouring in his cheeks, the slight hurt that lingered a moment too long upon his handsome features. His strong jaw was locked, his cheekbones a little too hard. It was always Scorpius that resembled a piece of Greek Architecture, yet at this moment, it was Albus that wore the expression of stone.
My teeth grazed the front of my lip. “Albus, I’m not sure if you’ve thought this through.”
“You have no idea, just quite how much I’ve thought this through Ranny. You have no idea how wrong you are.” His fingers played with the hem of my jumper as he spoke. I couldn’t bring myself to move away. He used his tongue to wet his lips. “I thought our kiss was weird, it felt like I was snogging my best friend or my sister. But when I see you with Perry, how natural and giddy you look – I don’t like it. And today when I was out with Olivia, she is lovely and kind and funny, everything I’ve ever want in a girlfriend, but it just didn’t feel right. Nothing seems to unless I’m with you. I can’t stop thinking about-“
My voice was quiet, barely a whisper. But he heard it. It was hard for him to speak about this; he wasn’t a man of emotion. He never spoke his feelings. For me to tell him to stop was enough to let him know he’d crossed a line.
“Please,” I tried again. “Let’s just, not do this.”
I felt the heavy weight that seemed to take residence in my stomach before I realised what my mind was telling me to say. My head told me to set him straight, to walk away and to return to my Common Room; act like I knew nothing – a feat I knew best. But the instrument that beat in my chest didn’t seem so useless. It seemed impossible to recover from a crush of that degree so quickly; it appeared that due to its current pace, I never had.
It wasn’t like before.
There was no staring, no shared gaze in to the others eyes, no heavy air between the two of us. The proximity of our bodies seemed simply normal for the two of us, closer than most, yet not so much we were a couple. Yet, Albus seemed to take no notice.
This is wasn’t careful; it was a touch, a tickle, a brush. His lips hit mine with a force, a rushed movement as if he were fighting for air. His hands gripped to the fabric of my jumper, pulling me closer by pushing on my lower back.
Before I had expected a fairy tale kiss. Every scenario I had imagined hadn’t compared to this. I had thought of it all, the way the heat would expand through my body and tease me from the inside out. The passion would be unknown to me.
I would fall deeper and deeper in to his hold until there was nothing left to me. I would be his, and only his. We would smile as we kissed and explore one another as if we had all the time in the world. His hands would tangle in my hair and get stuck in the knots, but he wouldn’t care, because finally I was his.
He would grasp me roughly by the shoulders as I tried to leave from worry and nerves, he would tell me it’s all okay, that I’m the only thing he’s ever wanted. I imagined the way I would pull away, the way our lips would be swollen and our minds transfixed.
But that didn’t happen. None of it did.
Yet, this time he wasn’t Robin. He wasn’t careful of what might become from this. This was the all or nothing kiss, the surprise that had been brewing in a cauldron just waiting for the right time to explode. I took a sharp break as his teeth grazed against my bottom lip.
What had begun as a shock seemed to become an action that I didn’t realise I retained. I pulled on the ends of his hair as his hands traced the skin under the hem of my jumper. His kiss was smooth, experienced. I didn’t waste a moment counting the girls he had kissed before me. I simply melted in to him like butter. The world stopped spinning, instead, stood still upon its.
I had waited for so long for the moment to feel this, a moment of ecstasy and power to flourish in my small body. I had never thought it to ever happen, especially not like this, an accident, something we would surely brush off as a mistake.
A mistake. That is all this would ever be. To Albus, I will only ever be Ranny. But to me, he will always be Robin Hood. He will always be more to me, than I ever will be him to him.
My hands found his chest and I pushed him hard. The kiss broke suddenly, my hands pushing him back to a distance I still considered dangerous. I could push him away to New Zealand and still he wouldn’t be far enough.
He made me dizzy, he made me sick. The simple taste of him would never be enough. In a single moment my heart and flipped and my stomach had turned. I lifted my wrist and examined the delicate muggle watch that hung from there, anywhere but his face, I knew that it wore a curious expression, I just didn’t want to see the others. Were they smug, angry?
As I took a moment to regain my sanity, I waited for the ounce of regret, but it didn’t come.
I heard Al’s sigh before his movement. “Fuck,” he breathed. “Tom, wait!”
My eyes clenched tighter. Albus held on to my wrist, giving it a supporting squeeze before letting go. He brushed past, leaving me to stand in the whole I had just dug myself in to.
“You really have a knack for making people fight.” Scorpius lectured in a frustrated manner. “I’m guessing that’s not the first time that’s happened.”
He didn’t’ wait for an answer as he took hold of my upper arm. He walked me the rest of the way to the Common Room. The argument between Thomas and Al seemed to ring through the halls, Dominic attempted to play peace keeper, his voice louder than his two friends.
Scorpius pulled open the tapestry and crossed the boundary. He always found it astounding that the Hufflepuff entrance required no password; our house simply relied on trust. Yet, at this moment he didn’t stop to admire the work of Helga Hufflepuff, he merely waited for me to climb through the hole in the stone before escorting me to the couches in the main room.
With a simply glare the occupied sofa was empty, the two fourth years that occupied it stood up and left. I pulled my legs to my chest and hugged my shaded flowers leggings. I knew that I looked a state; it was a rare occasion when I didn’t.
I waited for the accusing words, the cross replies Scorpius would give to my excuses. But they didn’t come. When I mustered the courage to look up through the mass of hair that covered my blushing face I noticed that his expression wasn’t one of anger, but of pity.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I pleased quietly.
“Then how?” he asked.
I brushed my hair from my face and shrugged. “Shout. I want you to be angry, to tell me off.”
He leaned forward. “Now why would you ever want me to do that?”
“I’ve ruined everything, all because I was selfish.” I found comfort in playing with the ends of the throw pillows. “If I had only kept my thoughts to myself.”
I could almost hear him laughing. “Ranny, you and Al are my best friends. I know the two of you, and by that I mean, you’re not the guilty one. You’re the kind one. You wouldn’t press for something like that to happen; that’s an Al thing to do.”
“Will get over it,” he assured. “Ranny, you’ve liked Albus for as long as I can remember. I would always see it in your eye when we would play the games, even more when you were Maid Marion. He would always assign himself as Robin Hood for a reason, love.”
Huffing in agreement, I couldn’t help but smile. “You’re lying.”
“Actually, I’m being rather blunt.” He countered. “You can think what you like Ran, but I’m telling you the truth. Albus has always had a soft spot for you. I’ve always been in the middle, unbeknownst to the two of you. What you did out there, it wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t against nature or illegal. Bad timing, maybe … but if it felt right to you. Then in no way was it a bad thing to do.”
“But I can’t help it,” I replied hopelessly. “I told Albus no but he didn’t listen. Our actions hurt Thomas; that was something that I never wanted to do.”
Scorpius shifted on the sofa. “I’m sure that Gates knows that, and to reassure you, I will pass on the message. Admittedly, Perry James seemed like a good candidate for a while, but he would have never been permanent in your affections. But Ran, if you and Al want to be together, what’s stopping you? Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”
My gaze shifted to the entrance of the boy’s dormitories unintentionally. It was the smallest of motions, yet still he caught it. Scorpius Malfoy was renowned for his ability to notice the little things. Before he could fall in to a lecture the tapestry to the Common Room was pulled aside and the youngest Gates brother came through.
He immediately scanned the Common Room and marched over to our position, locking eyes with me from across the room.
“Jack, before you say anything,” Scorpius began.
But Jack took no notice. He lifted up a hand to silence the blonde and turned towards me fully, leaning forwards over the back of the sofa. “What the fuck?”
“This doesn’t concern you,” Jack snapped, shoving Scorpius back down on to the sofa.
Scorpius sat right back up and went for Jack, his fists were clenched as he reached for his wand. Neither seemed to understand just quite what they were doing. I leant forward between the two of them, an awkward position to be sat in and put my hand on top of Scrorpius’, stopping him from reaching his want.
I shook my head. “Please don’t. And Jack, please don’t be rude.”
“Me?” he questioned. “I’m rude? You have some nerve Ranny Baker!”
Taking a deep breath, I tried to clench my eyes closed to stop them from watering. “You have every right to think that, I’m a hypocrite. What your brother is going through is horrib-“
“Tom?” he questioned through kitted brows. “Oh right, he would be upset wouldn’t he? He’s causing a bloody fuss in the corridor I’ll give him that! He always did, even as a child. When we were six he used to-“
“Jack!” Scorpius spat. “Get to the point!”
“Right, point,” he acknowledged. “How could you do this to Perry?! We were coming back from the Great Hall when we ran in to your evening escapades with Potter. How long, Ranny? Eh? How long have you lead my best friend on-“
“Oh Circe,” I sighed to myself, ignoring the dangerous look that Jack wore upon his expressions.
It unnerved me a little how much of a resemblance he paid to Thomas in moments like these. It was rare for Jack to become cross, but when he did, he was exceptionally difficult to calm down. His large eyes were narrower, darker and his cheeks were reddening with rage.
“You’re such a little-“
“Stop!” Scorpius’ face, usually nonchalant, brooding at a push, finally had flared in rage. “Don’t you dare finish that sentence?”
I clicked my tongue, easily heard over the silence of the now-empty common room. “Perry likes me?”
“Yes,” Jack said pointedly. “He’s always liked you, he talks to you doesn’t he?”
“Oh, he talks to her,” Scorpius taunted. “Well, that’s everything a girl is looking for in a man.”
The image of Marilyn, wrapping herself around Perry, and it disgusted me. It confused me that it upset me, more so, than when she was draped around Scorpius at every opportunity. And that bothered me.
I noticed the gleam in Jack’s eyes, the sudden rush of colour. I quickly jumped up from the cough, wrinkling my leggings and not bothering about the shoe that was falling off of my foot.
Standing in in front of Scorpius I turned to face Jack. “You mean a lot to me, Jack, you really do. But this isn’t your fight. If Perry is as upset as you’re making out, he can come and talk to me. Besides, I know he doesn’t care.”
Jack blinked. “Of course he cares.”
“Then why was he with Marilyn Chase?” Scorpius questioned. “I admit, I’ve treated girls badly in the past, but I wouldn’t do that to them.”
Jack scoffed lightly. “Marilyn Chase? What are you talking about?
“He was with Maleficent today,” I recalled. “They were stood by the fountain; they were all over each other. I liked him; I can admit that now, because I don’t anymore. I thought that I would feel this, sinking, in my chest when I saw him with her – like I used to feel with Nina and Al, and it was a shock yeah, but it didn’t ache.”
The blonde behind me stirred, I felt him try to move away. Scorpius took hold of my arm and tried to sit back down on to the sofa. I stayed stood up, keeping him with me. He still had his camera; it hung loosely around his neck. A badge or two on the strap that bore the names of muggle bands. It appeared his obsession had expanded.
Jack shook his head. “Don’t be too rash, Ranny. Perry would never touch filth like her.”
“Well it looks like you’re wrong about that, aren’t you?”
“Stay out of this, Malfoy!” Jack snapped. I knew that he didn’t want to be his brother in any shape or form, but the likeness was uncanny.
I took a grip hold of the cuff of Scorpius’ jumper. “I just want it all to go away. I don’t want to be noticed.” I said to him quietly.
His arms wrapped around my frame, hugging tightly around my shoulders. “Oh Ran, you certainly do know how to get yourself in to a big mess don’t you?”
Across from us, Jack’s eyes ran over the two of us. He assessed the situation. “Perry will be back in a minute, he was chatting to the rest of them.”
“And you left him?” Scorpius asked.
“He’s perfectly capable of fighting his own battles,” Jack replied. “Have you seen the size of him?”
My breath hitched. “That’s beside the point Jack, your brother has anger issues and Albus turns psychotic when he’s cross with something. And for fuck’s sake … Dom’s alone with them, Dom can’t his own shoelaces.”
“Language, Ran. Couldn’t you just get the affections of a couple of choir boys, maybe a library lad?” Scorpius asked in disbelief, looking directly in to my wide eyes. “Next one, I’m choosing! Someone I can bloody scare!”
Jack looked at her softly, his harsh gaze fading and mumbled, “Maybe we should just call it a night. It’s past curfew anyway.”
“When has that ever stopped us?” Scorpius said lamely. “Get to bed, love. We will sort everything out in the morning.”
Yet, still as I ignored Marilyn’s constant stream of bickering chat and pulled the duvet up over my head, I couldn’t help but disagree with Scorpius; I didn’t think mess could be sorted out at all.
AN; Yay! I’ve been waiting since the beginning to post this chapter! :) I hope that you all enjoyed it!
So, there are three chapters left, and that’s including the epilogue, hopefully the amount of drama makes up for the lack of it in the next couple. Honestly, I think this is enough for an entire story on it’s own.
So I just wanted to say, thank you so much to everyone who’s stuck with me this far, and even gone as far to leave reviews – all of which have been lovely. You’re all too kind. And you all liked Olivia! I'm so happy! :)
The next chapter is called ‘Wendy’, so we’re back to the ideals of Peter Pan. These stories tend to be going in circles, don’t they? Oh, the next chapter shows the return of an old character!
I would be honoured if you left a review! Even a short one!
Oh, and a disclaimer – I own NOTHING; everything goes to their respective owners!
I’m sorry about the time it’s been taking me to reply, again, I’ve been ill, but I’m on the mend, and am working on new stories, it’s got to the point now where about five ideas have been written to about nine chapters and then left for a new thing, I’m really going to have to make my mind up.
I hope that you enjoy the next chapter! Thank you for reading!
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He did, eh?