Chapter 23 : Epilogue
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“I’ve really got to find out how you do that,” Jane said as she sat on her trunk, trying with all her might to get the lid to close. “I wonder if my Mum knows how.”
“It can’t be that difficult, I mean Mum taught herself how to do it when she was seventeen,” Rose said, levitating a pile of books into her ‘bigger-on-the-inside’ trunk.
“Yeah but isn’t your mum like the smartest witch that ever lived or something?” I asked.
“Something like that,” Rose giggled. “But still, I don’t think it’s that hard. I’ll look it up in the holidays.”
“I’ll be waiting on your owl,” Jane grunted. “That’s it, I’m done with doing things the muggle way! Who knows a spell to get this bad boy shut?” She pulled out her wand and pointed it at the trunk, as though waiting for inspiration to hit. We all looked at each other, every single one of us at a loss to find an appropriate spell.
“Um…Wingardium Leviosa?” Gwen suggested. We all giggled and I walked over to help Jane squeeze her trunk shut.
“I suppose you could have done what Lucy did,” Gwen suggested as she folded a pale blue cardigan and shoved in her backpack.
“What? Have a complete nervous breakdown over Albus Potter?” Jane joked. “I don’t see how that would help me with my packing.” I turned to her and made a face, though she knew I wasn’t really mad. She was probably the only person who could have gotten away with saying that however.
“Well I was referring to the cleaning out her trunk part…” Gwen smiled.
“You know I found seventeen quills,” I said as we finally heard Jane’s truck click closed beneath us. “Seventeen! I didn’t even know I owned seventeen quills!”
“It’ll be great for when you grow those fifteen extra pairs of hands,” Rose said, closing her own truck and locking it with her wand. “Done,” She added, brushing imaginary dust off her hands.
“Just in time. We’re going to miss breakfast if we stay up here much longer,” I said. “Hey where’s Molly?” I pointed to the neatly packed truck sitting at the end of our missing dorm-mates bed.
“Early prefect’s meeting,” Gwen explained. “I don’t think Justin was too impressed but it’s all part of the responsibility of the position.”
“Remind me again why my parents wanted me to be a prefect?” Rose yawned. “Ugh, having to catch the train at 9:30 is early enough for me!”
“Maybe your Dad was hoping it might wear you out so you wouldn’t have the time or energy to go chasing after Slytherin boys,” I teased.
We made our way downstairs to the Great Hall, which was buzzing with excited students all ready to make the journey home for the holidays. The second I walked into the room, I found myself searching the Gryffindor table, and it wasn’t long before I found the scruffy black hair and emerald eyes I was looking for. Albus looked up and grinned as we approached the boys, shuffling over to make room for me on the seat next to him.
“Good morning,” He said, wrapping an arm around my shoulders and kissing me on the cheek. I felt myself blush slightly as I smiled back at him.
“Morning,” I replied.
“Aw, aren’t dey just so cwute!” Fred crooned from across the table. I laughed as I reached out for the pile of toast in front of me, ignoring the knowing smiles of our friends around us.
The rest of the meal passed in a blur, and before long we were gathering our things and loading into the carriages to take us to Hogsmeade station.
There were really too many of us to fit into one compartment, so we found two of them side by side to store our luggage in. The problem was, we couldn’t work out how to split up, so Gwen, Rose, Jane, Louis, Justin, Will, Albus and myself all squished into one compartment.
“I’ll have to go patrol for a bit anyway,” Justin said once the train was moving.
“And I’ll go find Scorpius in a little while,” Rose added. Even so, it was a tight squeeze.
“I don’t mind having to sit so close,” Albus whispered in my ear as he draped an arm over my shoulder. I was tucked between him and Jane “You know,” he continued, “in the past I would have used this opportunity as an excuse just to get close to you.”
“Really?” I laughed. “And I thought I was the only one who did that!”
I leaned gently against Albus, resting my head on his shoulder. My heart skipped a beat when he leaned over to kiss the top of my head. I hadn’t been so happy all year as I had been since the night of the party, the night Albus had kissed me and told me he was falling for me as hard as I was falling for him.
“If I’d known you were going to react like this I would have kissed you months ago!” He had joked as we’d made our way back to the common room, hand in hand.
“Would have saved a lot of awkward moments,” I’d giggled.
“Oh Merlin there were a few, weren’t there? And then you kept running away!” Albus had smiled so I knew he wasn’t upset.
“Oh don’t remind me,” I’d groaned. “I’d just get so embarrassed around you!”
Of course our friends hadn’t been surprised in the slightest, the boys in particular took great pleasure teasing Albus about finally ‘manning up’; though I got my fair share of teasing.
“Lucy, you must be blind or something, not to have noticed the way he would stare at you,” Will had laughed.
“Yeah, it was a little something like this,” Louis had turned to Will with wide doe-eyes, batting his eyelids comically. The sarcastic comments and friendly teasing didn’t bother me in the slightest though, not when Albus had his arm around me.
“I tried to tell you, but you just ran off,” Rose had explained that evening as we got into bed. “I’d been suspecting something was up after the way Al reacted to the way Michael treated you, though he didn’t admit it to me until Christmas. I wanted to tell you but I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, you hadn’t shown the slightest interest in Al until this year.”
“I just don’t think either of us had bothered to look at each other properly until this year,” I had replied.
“Blimey you lot have been busy this year haven’t you?” Fred interrupted my thoughts as the forced his way into our already very cramped compartment. “Pairing off like Noah’s about to build another ark! Ah, my titchy little fifth years, all those hormones running rampant; you just couldn’t help yourself.”
“Maybe we should get someone for you Freddy,” Rose teased as he squeezed himself into an impossibly small space on the floor.
“I’m perfectly happy with the freedom of being a renowned ladies man,” Fred replied airily. “Anyway, Will here’s still single, so I’m not completely alone.”
“I don’t know,” Albus said, amusement in his voice. “He’s been getting pretty friendly with that Hufflepuff friend of Lucy’s,” He looked down at me. “The blonde one, you know? What’s her name again?”
“Oh yeah, Pippa!” I laughed as Will turned slightly pink. “You should definitely ask her out! I think I saw her a couple of compartments down.”
“You should ask her to tutor you, it worked for me,” Albus suggested.
“If by ‘work’ you mean it took you all year!” Louis joked, to which everyone laughed. Albus stretched across Jane and myself to hit Louis on the head, though it was a bit difficult with so many bodies in such a small space.
“Right, well I’m going to go find my delightful Slytherin boyfriend,” Rose announced. “I think I need a slightly more civilized pace.”
“Oh so that’s what you call civilized huh; snogging Malfoy in a broom closet?” Louis teased as he tried to weave out of the way of Albus’ hand.
“Excuse me? I have standards thank you very much; we never snogged in broom closet,” Rose said grandly as she climbed over several pairs of feet and opened the door. “I’m pretty sure Lucy and Al were the only two who got caught in a broom closet this year,” She added, before ducking down the corridor with a giggle.
“Yeah except we weren’t snogging,” Albus replied to everyone else in the room, who were now all looking rather amused.
“And my foot got stuck in a bucket!” I agreed, to which everyone laughed. Justin decided he should go and patrol for a while at that moment, and Fred jumped up to take his spot once he’d left.
“It was still pretty exciting though,” I whispered to Albus. “Getting stuck in that cupboard with you.”
“Until Filch found us that is,” He replied, and we both laughed.
“Hey, I know who we can set up!” Fred exclaimed. “Molly! A good snog would do her some good.”
“Who on earth with?” Jane laughed.
“Arthur Kennilworthy?” I suggested, to which Albus laughed and everyone else looked confused.
The journey home passed far too quickly, although it was probably due to the knowledge that once we reached London, I would be separated from Albus for goodness knows how long. We’d promised to write and Albus said he was sure our parents wouldn’t mind us organising the occasional visit, plus there was the possibility we would both be accepted for an internship at the ministry; but it just seemed so cruel that after a year of developing a wonderful friendship into something even more wonderful, we were going to be dragged apart after only two days.
Just as they had when I had left for Hogwarts at the beginning of the year, my entire family had promised to show up at Platform 9¾ to welcome me home. I watched nervously out the window as we pulled into the station, spotting Mum, Dad, Phil and Simon almost immediately. There was a bit of commotion as everyone found their luggage and made their way off the train, but eventually, I stepped on to the platform, Albus firmly grasping my hand.
“Lucy!” Mum exclaimed as soon as she saw me, and I had to let go of Albus to hug her, Dad and the boys, who were already eyeing Albus suspiciously.
“Uh, Mum, Dad, you remember Albus Potter?” I said nervously. Mum beamed at him with a knowing smile while Dad simply looked a bit bemused as to why I would be introducing someone they’d known their whole lives. “Well he and I are…um…well…he’smyboyfriend,” I rushed the last few words so it took Dad a second to work out what I’d said, though Mum and the twins seemed to have already worked it out for themselves.
“Lovely to see you again Mr and Mrs Bell,” Albus said, a nervous waver in his voice as he tentatively held his hand out to first my mother and then my father. Dad shook his hand slowly, trying to recover from his shock and look appropriately intimidating, though Phil and surprisingly Simon were looking forbidding enough for the entire family. As Albus shook their hands, trying to look confident, I turned to Mum.
“Where’s Alice? I thought she was supposed to be coming?”
“She said she might be a little bit late, she was going to come by after work, though I thought she’d be here by now.” Mum explained. I looked back at Albus, who seemed to be holding his own as my brothers sized him up, though when Albus wasn’t looking, Phil winked at me so I knew they approved. Before they could hassle him too much, James and Lily Potter appeared out of the crowd, both dragging their luggage.
“Hey Al, have you seen Mum anywhere?” James asked. “I can’t find her.”
“She’s probably down the other end with Aunt Hermione. I think I saw Rose heading that way,” Albus said, picking up his bag and turning to me sadly. We both realised the time to say goodbye was upon us and I wasn’t sure if my parents could cope with seeing us kiss right then and there on the platform. Before I could make up my mind though, we were all distracted by a voice calling through the crowd.
“James!” A female voice shouted and we all looked up, my family included because it was a voice we all recognised. Alice was dodging through the crowds, wearing a blue and white sundress and blue cardigan. She was wearing a small amount of make-up, just enough to enhance her features, and her hair flew out behind her as she jogged towards us.
“James!” She called again, and before he could react, Alice flew at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him squarely on the lips. I felt my own hand cover my mouth in surprise while Albus chuckled beside me and everyone else in a ten foot radius gawked at the display. James rocked backwards at the force of Alice’s attack on him, but reacted quickly, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her back. After a moment, they broke apart and Alice looked around sheepishly, her eyes widening in surprise when she realised Mum and Dad were standing right there.
“Oh…Er…Hi…” She said. “You guys remember James?”
Albus hung his arm across my shoulders, and I grinned up at him as he watched his brother, amused. It had been an unforgettable year and both Alice and I had managed to find love, but I had the feeling that things were far from over. I had the feeling that life was only just starting to get interesting.
AN: Ok everyone, let's just breathe shall we? It's finished! Oh. My. Merlin. I don't know whether to laugh or cry but I'm so proud that I've actually finished this and finally followed through on my writing. I won't go on too much, but I need to thank all of you, my wonderful readers, for sticking with me through this. Your reviews have just been such amazing support and have kept me so motivated. The last chapter in particular - some of those reviews had me close to tears! Some of you have been here from the start and some of you have just joined our crazy little Animal Magnetism family, but all of you are wonderful and have a special place in my heart. Thankyou also to everyone who has recommended this story to others, I love hearing that someone reads this because someone suggested it. I'll stop gushing, but I just want to say a massive THANK YOU!!!
Ok, so announcement time. The first one is something I've been planning for a while. When I'm writing stories, particularly stories in the first person, I tend to write little scraps and scenes from other characters perspectives to help me develop and understand those characters better. I have a lot of these scraps from Al's perspective so a while ago I decided to use them as the basis for a new story, which will basically be Animal Magnetism from Al's POV. But whilst it's the same story and some of the events will be the same, there will be a lot of moments, scenes and events that are new, so it should still be interesting. The working title for this story is 'Man vs Wild' because I wanted it to have that sort of animal vibe to it, but I'm not 100% sold on it, so please let me know if you have a better idea. I've written about a third of this story so I plan to start posting soon, probably in the next week.
Now that was originally my only future plan for the Lucy Bell franchise, but recently an idea just came crashing into my brain, an idea about something that happens in Lucy's sixth year and suddenly I was obsessed with what happens to Lucy, so I've decided that I am going to write a sequel! I'm pretty excited, but please keep in mind that this is a really new idea so this story has no title, no chapters and only the barest beginnins of a plan, so it might be a while before it gets posted, but I'll do my best. I can say that I really want to included Pippa more because I know a lot of you really loved her and wanted to see more, so I'm hoping to develop her character a fair bit. Now whislt the sequel is a little way off yet, I know how you guys love those sneak peeks, so I've written a little blurb for you:
In her fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Lucy Bell leart to live without her siblings, faced her O.W.L’s and found love with Albus Potter. Now, fresh out of a Ministry of Magic internship, she’s set to begin her sixth year at Hogwarts with a determination and passion for her future and a Gryffindor superstar seeker boyfriend. But Lucy soon finds out that N.E.W.T level subjects are a challenge she may not be ready for, and the appearance of a new friend may cause problems for the Hogwarts power couple.
A sequel to ‘Animal Magnetism’, that follows Lucy, Albus, all their old friends and a few new ones too.
So there we have it! I'm off to change this story status to 'complete' but if you guys have any questions or ideas, please stop by my Meet The Author page in the forums, there's a link on my author page.
Thankyou all for a great journey. Big squishy hugs, mountains of toast and a crup puppy for you all!