Another gorgeous Chapter Image by cast!el @ TDA
After hearing our account of the story, Professor Sprout decided I was completely innocent. Even Michael, who arrived ten minutes after us with Professor Trelawney, couldn’t deny that I had done very little in that corridor. I was relieved to not be in trouble, but I wasn’t too pleased when I was told to return to class; I wanted to stay and defend Albus, explain why he had stupefied another student in the corridor. The headmistress wasn’t having any of it though, and I was given a note and sent to History of Magic, twenty minutes late. Professor Binns barely acknowledged me when I entered and showed him the parchment. Before I had slipped into the spare seat Jane had saved for me, he was already chattering on about Goblin wars once more. My friends gave me questioning looks but I just mouthed the word ‘later’ to them and tried to ignore the whispers from the Gryffindor boys behind us, who were no doubt wondering where Albus was.
The boy in question turned up about ten minutes after me, carrying a similar note in his hand. Professor Binns looked decidedly unimpressed at being interrupted for a second time and decided that raising the volume of his usual drone was the best way to demonstrate this. I turned, with my fellow Gryffindors, to watch Albus as he sat down, and my heart fluttered when I realised it was me he had chosen to direct his gaze on. Sitting down next to Louis, he pulled out a quill and a piece of parchment and held it up as if to communicate he was going to write something down. I nodded and turned back to the front so as not to draw attention to myself; it was little use though, all of our fellow Gryffindors and even a few Ravenclaws were staring at the two of us now, all with looks that showed they were clearly dying of curiosity – well except for Molly, she just looked annoyed that everyone was being so rude and disruptive. After a few minutes, I heard a slight scuffle and then Rose was passing me a folded piece of parchment with her eyebrows raised. I ignored that and took the note, quickly unfolding it and reading.
Sprouty seemed to believe our side of the story, I just have one detention on Saturday night. She was pretty peeved about me doing magic in the corridor but she seemed even angrier at McMillan. He’s still up there getting yelled at! Talk to you after class ok?
I breathed a sigh of relief that his punishment hadn’t been very severe, although I still felt terribly guilty that he had to serve detention on a weekend. I re-read the last sentence and a shiver ran down my spine; I quickly glanced over my shoulder and gave Albus a quick smile and nod. He smiled back and I turned around again, smiling down at my unopened book, trying to ignore the stares I knew were still directed my way. The moment the bell rang, Albus and I were pounced on by the others.
“Where were you guys?”
“Why were you late?”
“Is everything ok?”
“Hey, slow down, one question at a time!” Albus laughed, holding up his hands in mock surrender.
“McMillan was hassling Bell so I may have sent him a small message to get him to back off. This message may or may not have broken a school rule.”
He stunned him,” I explained. Gwen and Jane gasped, but Louis and Rose simply laughed. “Which he probably shouldn’t have done because now he has detention on Saturday night,” I added, giving Albus a pointed look. “Especially when I could have just slapped him again,” Now it was Jane’s turn to laugh.
“As much as I would have enjoyed seeing that, I really think he deserved something a bit more severe,” Albus replied. He looked around at the others, “Let’s just say McMillan’s mother never taught him that whole if-you-can’t-say-something-nice lesson.”
I wanted to talk to Albus some more, but our friends seemed quite keen on all walking down to lunch as a group, so I decided it would have to wait.
Albus served his detention very happily, since all he had to do was go and help Hagrid with collecting fairies from the forest; it was such an easy job that we all agreed he was lucky to have gotten off pretty lightly. Rose said something about Professor Sprout having a lot of respect for ‘chivalrous behaviour’ but Albus swore that it was his winning smile that had done the trick. Michael on the other hand was given four Saturday night detentions with Filch and was given a good dressing down by Professor Sprout for his use of obscene and extremely offensive language. The fat lady (who had been told by her friend Vi, who had found out from her friend Katherine in a painting opposite the Headmistresses office, who heard from one of the paintings inside the office itself) was happy to gossip about it to any Gryffindor who asked her to let them in to the tower.
“The Headmistress scolded him quite severely for a good fifteen minutes,” She explained to me one evening after dinner. “Told him that calling a young lady such a derogatory name is simply not acceptable from any Hogwarts student and if he is caught doing it again his parents would be summoned to the school!” Normally the Fat Lady’s gossip is quite boring, but this time I had been happy to stand in the hallway and chat with her for some time.
Winter settled in and the school was soon covered in a very thick blanket of white snow. Christmas was also very soon upon us and it wasn’t long before decorations were being placed around the school. Hagrid dragged in and erected a dozen ginormous Christmas trees which were then decorated by various members of the staff. My favourite was the tree that Hagrid had decorated with the fairies Albus had helped him collect a few weeks earlier. They weren’t the cleverest of creatures, but they were happy to fly around the tree or settle on its branches and have everyone ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over their glowing forms.
"Fairies are quite vain,” I explained to Jane, Gwen and Rose one day as we sat down to breakfast. “So they’re very happy to be used for decorations. The easiest way to soothe a fairy is to tell it how beautiful it is; they’re really not very smart so that’s why Hagrid can get them to sit there all day.”
“Sounds like Caroline Pucey should have been a fairy then,” Rose said darkly, staring at something across the Great Hall; I didn’t need to look over my shoulder to guess what it might be. Rose was still nursing a crush on Scorpius, and was highly unimpressed that he had once more invited Harvey’s sister to Hogsmeade that day. “She’s as dumb as a post but tell her she’s gorgeous and she’ll be your best friend. I don’t know what he sees in her.”
Gwen and I shared a knowing look as Rose continued to grumble into her porridge. Gwen had been decidedly cheerful the last few days, since Justin had worked up the nerve to ask her to go to Hogsmeade with him.
“He’s been acting funny for ages,” She’d explained to us on Wednesday night as we were all getting ready for bed. “And then right as we were walking out of Arithmancy today, he just stops dead and asks me! I was so surprised I didn’t speak for a whole minute!”
Despite the fact she was the only girl in our dormitory with a date, nobody could begrudge Gwen for having a date; she and Justin were simply adorable together.
“He’s been crazy about her since fourth year!” Albus had explained to me the next afternoon as we were studying together during a free period. “It took him that long to ask her out! We’ve been telling him for months now to just go for it but he was worried she’d turn him down.”
“She’s liked him for a while,” I replied with a smile. “Not that she talks about it a lot but you can just tell.”
“That’s what I’ve been telling Justin,” Albus agreed. “It’s so obvious she fancies him.”
"Really?” I was surprised to hear that, I didn’t think boys picked up on that sort of thing. “How can you tell?”
“Oh well, just little things, like the way she always has this special smile just for him, or the fact that she blushes whenever he speaks to her. Just little things, you know.”
“Yeah, I suppose I do…” I let my voice drift away. I wondered how obvious I’d been around Albus and if he’d noticed anything in my behaviour that might give my feelings away. After all, he seemed to notice a lot more than I gave him credit for.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked, using his book to nudge me across the table. “You look like you’re contemplating something very serious.” Was it just me or did he look slightly anxious?
“Oh nothing,” I smiled at him, Darn it Lucy! Don’t smile so much or he’ll get suspicious! I tried to smile a little less brightly. “I just didn’t realise how much of a girl you were Potter,” I teased.
“I’m not a girl; I’m a SNAW,” Albus replied proudly.
“A SNAW?” I was utterly bemused.
“Yes, a Sensitive New Aged Wizard,” he announced and obvious or not, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“What are your plans with Justin today?” Jane asked in a teasing voice, dragging me back to the present. Gwen blushed into her scrambled eggs.
“I’m not sure yet, we’ll probably just hang out in the village,” She mumbled, clearly embarrassed.
“Well have fun while we old maids are drowning our sorrows in Butterbeer,” Rose teased, causing the rest of us to roll our eyes and giggle.
It was a cold day and light layer of snow was falling as we made our way down the road towards Hogsmeade village; but Jane, Rose and I were in high spirits. We were purposely walking about thirty feet behind Gwen and Justin, keeping an eye on them as we discussed how cute they were together.
“You girls wouldn’t happen to be spying would you?” Albus, Will and Louis popped up behind us, all rugged up in hats and scarves and looking positively mischievous.
“Yes,” Rose admitted with a laugh. “We’ve been following them all the way since the castle.”
“Anything good happen yet?” Albus squeezed into between Rose and me, casually swinging his arms over our shoulders as he bowed his head conspiratorially. I hadn’t expected the physical contact (even through five layers of clothing) and the sudden movement caught me off guard. Simultaneously, my breath caught in my throat and my knees buckled, causing me to trip and plummet face first into the snow, letting out a pathetically girlish scream as I fell. Fortunately, the fresh blanket of snow made for a very soft landing, and I rolled over on to my back, giggling at my clumsiness.
“Bloody hell Bell, way to give someone a heart attack!” Albus offered a hand to help me up as Rose, Will and Jane giggled at Louis who was giving a perfect impression of me tripping over.
“You know me, can’t quite get the hang of gravity,” At least not when you’re around. I took Albus’s hand and let him pull me to my feet, stumbling unsteadily as I straightened up. Albus held my shoulder with his other hand.
“You alright?” He gave me a careful look.
“Right as rain…or snow!” I giggled, throwing my arms in the air so he had no choice but to let go of me. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him touching me, in fact the sensation was rather wonderful, but it also made me extremely nervous and when I was nervous I tended to fall over; one tumble was enough for the day. Plus, after our discussion about obvious love-struck behaviours, I didn’t want him catching on to how much I wanted him to touch me. “Come on you lot, we’re losing them,” I indicated to where Gwen and Justin had almost reached the village and began to skip through the snow like a demented rabbit.
The two new Gryffindor lovebirds, whilst adorably cute, turned out to be the most boring subjects for spying ever. After an hour, all they had done was look in two shops, wander down the main street and talk; they weren’t even holding hands!
We eventually lost the boys to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and the three of us decided to go and warm up in Honeydukes because we saw Michael walking into the Three Broomsticks with his arm around some large chested Ravenclaw. The sickly, sweet, sugary smell that surrounded us was a welcome distraction, and I busied myself with testing samples of new sweets and stocking up on my personal sugar supply. All this looking at food was making my stomach rumble restlessly, and when Rose suggested we go and get some lunch, I agreed readily.
“They’re probably gone by now,” Jane said kindly as we crossed the street to the pub. I knew she was referring to Michael and I smiled at her.
“Even if they’re not, I’m not about to let that stupid prat stop me from eating!” I laughed, although I felt slightly awkward when we entered the large, bustling room to see the git in question cosied up in a corner with his date.
“Hey, there are the boys,” Rose announced cheerfully and bounced off towards a small table where Albus, Will and Louis were sitting with Fred, having picked up the older boy somewhere along the way (probably in the Joke shop asking his dad for money). They seemed happy to see us and managed to scrounge together a few more chairs, although the table really wasn’t big enough for seven people so it was a tight squeeze. Somehow or other, I ended up between Albus and Rose, with a perfect view of my previous date and his new ‘friend’.
“Can’t half tell he’s got a one track mind, can you?” Rose mused rhetorically, following my gaze to where Michael had an arm around Busty St. Ravenclaw or whatever her name was. “And he had the nerve to call you all those nasty names! What a hypocrite!” I appreciated the support from my friends and forced myself to avoid looking at the couple as Louis and Will delivered a round of drinks to the table. “Ooh, and look who just came in!” We all followed the gaze of Rose’s sparkling eyes to see Justin helping Gwen out of her cloak in the doorway to the pub. They seemed completely oblivious that we were there and settled at a table just behind a large potted plant, though Rose and Jane could see them quite clearly and were happy to give a running commentary on the progress of the date.
It turned out to be quite an enjoyable afternoon (despite octopus-hands-McMillan and his over-endowed friend), which was made even more enjoyable by my proximity to Albus. We were all sitting so close together that my leg was pressed against his and our arms continually brushed against each other as one of us took a swig of butterbeer or bite of food. I was grateful for the excuse of the small space, because surely he couldn’t be suspicious of my actions when I had no choice. Anyway, he was touching me as much as I was touching him, and even amused himself by playfully kicking my foot under the table when the observations of Gwen and Justin became somewhat mundane. Careful, this sort of thing is dangerous, a voice in my head warned, but it was hard to listen to any sort of reason when he was so close to me. I wasn’t sure if Michael had noticed my presence when we arrived, but sometime after we had eaten, he looked up, caught my eye and gave me a self-satisfied smirk before whispering something to his date. I assumed it was something rather suggestive due to the way she blushed bright red and then looked at him bashfully from underneath her lashes.
“Smarmy git,” Albus muttered under his breath, but loud enough for me to hear. “I’ve got half a mind to go and hex him.”
“Ease up sunshine,” I smiled, patting him reassuringly on the hand. Albus looked at me in surprise at the touch, and I quickly pulled my hand back, mentally kicking myself for doing something so stupidly transparent. “I appreciate the help but don’t go picking any fights on my account, I can look after myself.”
Quite possibly the most interesting part of the afternoon was not long before we decided to leave the pub when I excused myself to go to the toilet. Rose had ducked off to do the same sometime earlier and hadn’t yet returned, though we’d all simply assumed she had stopped to talk with Gwen or had bumped into Hugo. I was leaving the small bathroom when I spotted that familiar mess of flaming hair in a corner just near the stairs to the upper levels of the building. Rose was leaning against the wall coyly; her cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling. Rose Weasley was flirting unashamedly with none other than Scorpius Malfoy! I gawked at them, wondering vaguely what had happened to Caroline Pucey, although Scorpius seemed quite besotted with his latest companion. I glanced back in the direction of our table, saw that our friends were starting to get to their feet and made a quick decision; if Albus, Louis, Fred or pretty much any Weasley or Potter saw what I was seeing, Scorpius was going to end up hexed and Rose was going to be furious. Slipping through the crowd, I sidled up to my dorm mate and smiled politely at Malfoy, something I had never done in my entire life.
“Sorry to interrupt guys, but Rose, we were about to leave now,” I gave her a pointed look and jerked my head in the direction of Albus, who was wrapping a scarf around his neck. Rose’s mouth formed a small ‘o’ but she caught on almost immediately, flashing Scorpius a brilliant smile that many boys have not been able to resist.
“Sorry, must dash; see you later,” She purred and allowed me to slip an arm through her own and pull her towards the others, her face still glowing with excitement. “Oh Lucy, isn’t he just gorgeous? I can’t believe we talked for so long!” She gushed in a rather loud whisper.
“Shhhh!” I warned her as we neared the others, gratefully accepting my hat and scarf from Jane and hoping nobody noticed anything too out of the ordinary. “I want a full account later on tonight!” I whispered, causing us both to giggle hysterically.
If Rose seemed slightly interested in Scorpius before the Hogsmeade weekend, it was pretty obvious that she now fancied the pants off the bloke. That evening, in the privacy of our dormitory (Molly was in the shower), Rose told us how she had bumped into Scorpius at the bar; some half-drunk wizard had spilt firewhisky on her robes and he had kindly helped her clean it off.
“I didn’t realise Malfoy had manners,” Jane mused. “I guess you learn something new every day!”
“Well guys tend to be very accommodating when it means getting the attention of a rather attractive young lady,” I laughed, causing Rose to blush.
“He was really nice,” She murmured, ducking her head sheepishly, “He even knew who I was – I wasn’t sure he knew my name, but he does!”
“Of course he knows your name silly, your parents and his parents are mortal enemies or something aren’t they?” I couldn’t remember the exact details – history never has been my strong point – but there was definitely some reason why Rose’s father hated Malfoy’s father so much. “He’s probably been taught to hate you as much as you’ve been taught to hate him.”
“Ooh that’s it; you’re the forbidden fruit!” Jane and I squealed with laughter and even Gwen smiled, although Rose looked slightly worried about this theory.
“You don’t think that’s why he talked to me is it?” She chewed nervously on her bottom lip. “You know just to get at his Dad or my cousins or something?” The truth was, I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t put it past Malfoy to do something like that, he was a Slytherin after all, but then again I didn’t really know the guy.
“Rose, he talked to you because you’re absolutely gorgeous and no guy can resist you,” Gwen spoke up, fulfilling her best-friend duties beautifully. Jane and I nodded our agreement. Rose was definitely a stunner, and super-crazy-intelligent and positively charming like all the Weasley/Potter kids. It was entirely possible that Scorpius was as besotted with her as she was with him, though I highly doubt he’s sitting cross-legged on a bed in his dormitory, giggling about it with his mates.
“What are you smiling about?” Rose cocked her head to the side and looked at me curiously.
“Nothing,” I replied a little too quickly. Fortunately, Molly came back from the bathroom at that very moment, saving me from any further explanation.
Rose’s crush meant that I had another secret to keep from Albus and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a teensy bit nervous. I’d seen how angry he had become at Michael, when he was just having a go at me – his study partner; I didn’t want to think about the impact of his wrath if he discovered his favourite cousin was falling for Malfoy. Problem was, I kept getting lost in my own thoughts and ended up saying and doing really stupid things.
“Lucy? Anyone home?” Albus waved a hand in front of my face to get my attention.
“I wasn’t going to say anything!” I said, jumping slightly. I blushed slightly as Albus scrutinised me for a minute. Stupid girl, get a grip!
"You alright? You’ve been off with the fairies a fair bit lately,” He said, making me blush again, it always made me turn to jelly when he said things like that, perceptive things. It reminded me just how much he didn’t notice and just how careful I needed to be in case he worked out my feelings. I was sure if he knew how much I fancied him, he’d distance himself from me as quickly as possible. He wouldn’t be so mean as to outright reject me, but he would make it clear there wasn’t going to be anything between us.
“I’m ok,” I yawned, rubbing my eyes; it was getting late and we’d been in the library for nearly two hours.
“Yeah, it’s probably about time that the two of us went to bed anyway,” Albus suggested.
“Oh, no I meant…you know, go back to Gryffindor tower and go to sleep. In our own beds. In our own dormitories. Separately.” It was Albus’s turn to blush now, though I’m pretty sure our faces matched quite nicely. Well he made that pretty clear didn’t he? I tried not to sigh out loud as we packed our books away and headed back to the common room. As we walked, Albus tried to diffuse the tension by asking me about my Christmas plans. I was in the middle of explaining my upcoming visit with Alice at her flat in Diagon Alley when we heard a wheezy voice coming from nearby. Albus stopped me at the top of a flight of stairs and listened carefully.
“Nasty little brats Mrs. Norris. If I had my way I’d be stringing them up in the dungeons by their toenails!”
"Merlin’s pants, it’s Filch!” Albus hissed; he looked positively panicked.
“But it’s not curfew yet, we’re allowed to be out,” I argued. Albus wasn’t listening though, and before I could say anything else, he’d seized my hand and dragged me back down the stairs, around a corner and down another corridor.
“Why are you running away from Filch?” I asked when we stopped for a moment to catch our breath. “I know he’s a pain but we weren’t doing anything wrong.”
“It’s not what I’m doing now, it’s what I did earlier today,” Albus explained. When I gave him a confused stare, he continued with his explanation. “I stole one of Hagrid’s Nifflers and locked it up in Filch’s office with a few pieces of leprechaun gold. I thought it would just be funny but it actually tore his office apart.” I could have told you that was going to happen you moron! I thought to myself. Out loud I just let out a bit of a groan; there were so many things I wanted to say but I was slightly distracted by the fact that Albus was still holding my hand.
"Where on earth did you get leprechaun gold?” I started with.
"It’s a long story,” Albus gave me a cheeky, heart-melting smile that made my knees wobbly. I opened my mouth to speak when we heard scraping footsteps coming down the stairs and that familiar old, raspy voice.
“Come along Mrs. Norris, just down this way,” He was saying. Albus and I looked at each other and then bolted down the passageway. We rounded another corner and once again I was yanked to a stop.
“Quick, in here!” Albus hissed, wrenching open the door of a small broom cupboard. I say cupboard, but it was really just a small hole for cleaning products with a door stuck on the front. Albus and I barely managed to squeeze in and he pulled the door shut tight, leaving us shrouded in near-darkness; I could just make out the shape of Albus’s face. We were wedged in tightly together and I wondered if I would faint from the close proximity. It was the most bizarre situation: only ten minutes ago I’d been walking back to my dormitory after a study session and now I was packed into a tiny cupboard with Albus Potter. And to top it off, something was making me extremely uncomfortable.
“Albus?” I whispered.
“What?” He replied, his voice so close that I felt his breath on my cheek when he spoke.
“I’m standing in a bucket.”
“My foot, it’s caught in a bucket and there’s something wet in there,” I hissed.
“Oh, wow, I’m sorry. Here, let me help you,” Albus said. He tried to bob down and free my foot but there wasn’t enough room. He grasped my leg above the knee and attempted to pull it out but I began to giggle.
"Don’t! That tickles,” I laughed.
"Shhh!” Albus said, and abandoning my leg, he straightened up and pressed his hand against my mouth. He was leaning against me now, one hand on my face and the other one around my waist. His face was so close that if his hand hadn’t been between us, our lips would have been almost touching. My heart was crashing around in my chest so loudly that I was sure Albus could hear it. In the dim light of the broom cupboard I could just make out his eyes, which were staring into mine. I was balancing on one foot, since the other one was still lodged in the bucket, and I was holding on to Albus for balance and support, my fists grasping his robes at his shoulders. The air felt like it was charged with some powerful spell and I began to feel quite weak.
Suddenly, the door was flung open and harsh light spilled in on us from the corridor. Filch was standing there, a mop in one hand and Mrs. Norris at his feet. His face registered a look of shock which soon morphed into a nasty, twisted smile.”
“Oh ho Mrs. Norris, what have we here,” He said gleefully. “Two naughty little Gryffindor’s caught canoodling in my broom cupboard.”
Oh Sweet Merlin, kill me know.
AN: So Firsty, sorry this update has taken a while, life is just insane at the moment. At the last second I decided to audition for a musical and spent four weeks in intensive rehearsals before performances so I've been absolutely crazy busy, plus I have a new job and new apartment which I'm trying to deal with, so writing kind of went out the window. I hope you liked this chapter though. I know it's a bit jumpy but I hope you all managed to follow it. And as always, here's a quick snippet of the next chapter!
The second my feet hit the carpeted floor of the common room, I was swarmed by people.
“Oh my Merlin, what happened?” Rose was at the front of the swarm and they all seemed to want to get very close. Startled, I took a step back and bumped right into Albus. I felt his hand press gently against my back to steady me and almost melted into the floor. Rose was continuing with her questions though, the unofficial swarm spokesperson. “Peeves was zooming up and down corridors saying Filch found you two snogging in a broom cupboard!”
I simultaneously heard Albus groan under his breath and felt his hand drop away from my back; my heart sunk. He was embarrassed by this, humiliated by the fact that other people now knew. I suddenly realised what this must mean for him as I remembered the other girl (whoever she was); it was obvious that he was worried about her hearing about it. Well it wasn’t fair on him to have everyone believe that we have been having it off in a cupboard, and I didn’t want him to think I was promoting that story, so I looked around at everyone and laughed.
“Oh come on, since when was Peeves a reliable source of information around here?” I asked with a hint of incredulity in my voice. Every pair of eyes was on me and I realised that I had never felt so visible in my whole time at Hogwarts.
"So Filch didn't catch you in a broom cupboard then?"