Chapter 4 : James Discovers That Everyone Has Issues
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“So, wait a minute,” Roxanne said slowly, casting a cautious eye around the rest of the room. It wasn’t crowded, and they were seated at a table well-removed from what activity there was, but when you were discussing attacks on Ministry officials, it always paid to be cautious. “You’re telling me that acromantulas managed to be patient enough to set a trap?”
“Potentially,” Albus said. He looked thoughtful. “It’s a bit odd, though, isn’t it? It really did sound like that, but acromantulas aren’t exactly known for their patience.”
“He could just be wrong,” Roxanne pointed out, shifting slightly in her seat and drumming her fingers on her Potions book. “He was being attacked, so he probably wasn’t thinking clearly.” James glanced across the table at Rose and Albus; the skepticism he felt was reflected on their faces. Roxanne plowed on, anyway. “He said himself that he wasn’t all that sure.”
Rose shook her head immediately. “No, that doesn’t track. He clearly didn’t lose his head if he held them off, and I’ve heard V talk about Van; from what she said, he’s got good instincts.”
Roxanne looked troubled. “So, what, then? The acromantulas are suddenly getting smarter?”
Rose shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe there’s some other explanation. I don’t know.”
They sat there in silence for a few minutes, trying to puzzle it out. James cast an eye around the room; the only real activity was from some second-years chatting in front of the fireplace and Bridget and Julian playing a game of exploding snap with Damien Bell and Colleen Macmillan at a table on the other side of the room.
Everyone seemed to be giving the table James, Albus, Roxanne, and Rose were sitting at a wide berth. He supposed he couldn’t really blame them; the other three looked had distinctly brooding expressions on their faces, and he was sure his was no different. Their housemates probably thought that they’d received bad news about Victoire and wanted to give them space.
“You know, if we’re just patient, James will probably be able to give us an answer in a couple months,” Albus pointed out.
Rose wrinkled her nose in distaste, and Roxanne said, “I’m not good at being patient. I don’t want to wait that long.”
“Neither do I,” Albus admitted. “But I can’t figure it out.”
“We could ask Victoire again,” Rose suggested, but she sounded doubtful. “She might tell us more if Hugo and Lily aren’t around.”
“She might,” James said. “But I don’t think so. Roxanne, do you think Fred would tell us?” Victoire and Fred had always been close. Even if Victoire had flat-out denied that Fred knew, James would have perfectly willing to bet his broom that she was lying.
Rose and Albus exchanged a hopeful glance, and Roxanne looked thoughtful. “He might,” she said, considering. “It’s worth a try. We’ll have to go into the village, though, he won’t tell us by owl.”
“Well, we can’t go tonight,” Albus said. When Roxanne looked ready to protest, he shook his head. “We can’t,” he repeated, a little more forcefully. “It’s already getting late. Honeydukes isn’t open at night, so we couldn’t just slip out, and we won’t all fit under the cloak, anyway. We need to plan this.”
There was entirely too much sense in what he said for James or either of their cousins to argue, and Roxanne slumped back in her seat, looking dejected.
The table descended into silence again, and then Albus muttered something. When James looked at him, he could see a crease in his brother’s forehead as he studied the sky out the window. He was clearly trying to remember something.
“What was that?” Rose asked.
“Dedworth,” Albus said, looking back at them. “Where have I heard that name before? I can’t remember, and it been bothering me.”
“Other than Victoire talking mentioning Van?” When Albus nodded, Rose said, “I don’t know. It sounds familiar, though.”
“Victoire and Fred were friends with Van’s younger brother Gallagher in school,” James said. “You’re probably thinking of him.”
Albus’s face cleared. “Yes,” he said, smacking the table. “He went off to be an Auror.”
That would be what stuck out in his brother’s mind.
“Huh.” Rose paused, and then said, “Al is right. We do need to plan this. So let’s plan it.”
“We could go in tomorrow,” Roxanne suggested. “How are your mornings? We—” she indicated herself and James “—have potions first thing and then we’re free until lunch.”
Rose shook her head. “That won’t work. We have Herbology right before lunch.” Roxanne opened her mouth, and Rose added quickly, “And we’ve got Defense Against the Dark Arts right after lunch, and don’t you have Charms later in the afternoon?”
James sighed. “Yeah. We do.”
“Well, what about after you get out of Charms?” Albus persisted.
“We have Quidditch practice,” James said, feeling unhappy about it for the first time since he’d made the team. “And we have the game Saturday, so we really can’t skip it.” Albus looked crestfallen, and the disappointment he was feeling was mirrored on Roxanne’s face.
Rose, however, looked thoughtful. “Why don’t you talk to Noah?” she suggested. “He might be willing to switch practices with us, and I think he reserved the pitch for Tuesday.”
Albus’s face brightened. “That’s a great idea!”
“It actually is,” Roxanne admitted after a moment. “You think he would?”
“Unless there’s some conflict with someone’s schedule, sure,” Albus said.
“I’ll do that first thing tomorrow, then.” James felt significantly better. “So—”
A shadow fell over their table, and James looked up. Bridget was standing a couple feet away. She tucked her hair behind her ears and cleared her throat before speaking. “Ah… do you all want to be left alone, or can I join you for a bit? It’s fine if you want to be left alone, I just thought—”
“No, it’s fine,” he said. “Don’t be stupid. Pull up a chair.”
She grabbed one from the next table and pulled it over. “Hi.” She snapped her fingers. “Oh, Albus?” Albus looked up from the table, which he had been studying with an intensity James found very strange. “I never got the chance to thank you.”
“Well, last week,” she said, looking a little confused. “I don’t know what came over me and why I got so upset, but thanks for making me feel better.”
“I didn’t do much,” Albus said, shrugging.
Bridget laughed again. “Don’t be ridiculous! Of course you did.” She cocked her head to one side, studying him. James wasn’t sure if it was just his imagination or if Albus was avoiding meeting her eyes. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a very relaxing person to be around?” she asked.
“Once or twice,” he said. James thought that his brother’s face looked a little flushed, but in the dim light, it was hard to be sure.
He looked at Rose, wondering if she thought Albus’s behavior was at all strange. Her shoulders were shaking a little with what seemed to be repressed laughter. When he looked over at Roxanne, she was studying Albus with an intensity James found almost as strange as his brother’s sudden obsession with the table.
James sighed. He would figure out what was going on later. On a whim, he glanced past Rose and caught Julian and Damien both lowering their heads quickly. “Did they put you up to this?” he asked Bridget.
She gave him a startled look. “What?” She followed his gaze, and then laughed. “Oh. No, we were just saying that you all looked really unhappy, and I decided to come see if you were okay.” She waited a moment, and then asked, “Well, are you okay?”
James frowned, considering how much he should tell her. He liked Bridget, and she had always struck him as rather discrete. At the same time, they still hadn’t discussed whether it was okay to talk about this with anyone.
Rose took the decision out of his hands. “We’re… coping. You heard that Victoire is in St. Mungo’s, right?”
Bridget nodded. “How is she? I never knew her, really, but I really loved her sister.” James saw Albus’s head snap up out of the corner of his eye.
“Do you talk to Dominique much these days?” Rose asked curiously.
Bridget shook her head. “Not really. I was just her friend’s kid sister.” She cleared her throat. “Ah…”
James suddenly realized that they hadn’t answered her question. “Victoire is all right,” he said. “She should be out soon.”
“I’m glad,” Bridget said. After a moment of silence, she said very tentatively, “The Daily Prophet said that three Ministry officials were in St. Mungo’s.”
James and Rose exchanged a quick look across the table. “There are,” James said.
“Who are the others, do you know?” She checked herself. “Well, even if you know, can you tell me?”
Roxanne grinned. “Bridge, did you come over here to grill us for information?” she teased.
Bridget groaned and put her head down on the table. “I knew you’d think that,” she said in a muffled voice. She picked her head up. “No, I did not come over to grill you for information. I was just wondering because…” her voice trailed off.
“What, are you worrying about someone specific?” Albus asked. James was now quite certain that it was not his imagination. Albus’s face was definitely flushed. “Who?”
She sighed and tucked her hair behind her ears again. “Ian. He’s one of my brother’s best friends, you know.”
Roxanne sucked in her breath. “Is that where Ian went off to?”
Bridget’s face relaxed slightly. “Yes.” She studied their faces. It seemed to James that she focused on Albus the longest. “So, does that mean…”
“We heard about Victoire and two others being taken to St. Mungo’s,” Rose said bluntly. “Neither of those others was Ian.”
The relief on Bridget’s face was apparent. “Thank you,” she said. “I really didn’t come over here to information gather, you know.”
“Not at all?” Roxanne asked, grinning at her.
Bridget looked like she was trying to hide a smile of her own. “Well. Maybe a little. But I also really was worried.” She looked at them curiously. “If Victoire’s okay, why are you all sitting here looking like a niffler just raided your vault?”
“We overheard some things that were interesting,” James said vaguely. “We’re just thinking.”
Bridget frowned, but didn’t press him. “Oh. Well, would anyone be interested in a game of exploding snap?”
“Tired of Julian and Colleen?” Rose asked as she pulled her bag up to her lap and rummaged in it for her cards.
“A bit,” Bridget admitted. “Not Damien, but Julian and Colleen can both be a bit silly sometimes.”
Rose tossed her cards on the table. “Bridget, if you were the type of person who got tired of Damien, I would wonder about you.”
After a game, Roxanne declared that they needed to get some work done. While James would have liked to argue with her, he really couldn’t, but as soon as Bridget had rejoined the other table, he turned on his brother.
“What was that about?”
Albus didn’t look up from his Herbology book, but James could swear that even his ears were getting red. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Rose was shaking again, and Albus glanced at her. “Rose, you’re not helping.”
“I don’t mean to be,” she said, unable to contain the smile spreading across her face. James raised his eyebrows at her, and the smile immediately faded. “Al, haven’t you talked to James about it at all?”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Albus said through clenched teeth.
Roxanne looked up. “Yes, there is,” she snapped. “Stop trying to be stoic. The only people stoicism looks good on are the wounded, madwomen, and men with motorcycles. So spill.”
“I get the men with motorcycles, but why does it look good on the wounded and madwomen?” Rose asked curiously. “And why not madmen?”
“Because it doesn’t do anyone any good to lay around and moan about the pain they’re in for ages, even when it’s warranted.” Roxanne shrugged. “And it makes madwomen mysterious and exotic. It just makes madmen look like they need to be locked up.”
James thought about that for a moment. “If you say so,” he said.
“What?” Rose asked. For a moment, James thought she was talking to him, but when he turned to her, she was looking at Albus.
“Is that why Scorpius has been talking about getting a motorcycle?”
Rose’s entire face went beet-red. “Maybe.”
James exchanged a look with Roxanne. Once they began to laugh, it took a long time for them to stop.
“Oh, Merlin,” Roxanne said, wiping tears from her eyes. “I might have to start liking Malfoy after all.” Albus was looking back at his book. She reached over and pulled it away. “That was a good laugh. Thank you. Now start talking.”
Albus sighed. “There really isn’t much to talk about,” he said resignedly, tossing the quill he’d been using to make notes in the margins on the table.
“Not much to talk about?” James said incredulously.
“You’ve been running around in love with our classmate for who knows how long, and there’s not much to talk about?” Roxanne demanded. “Really, Albus?”
Albus let out another sigh. “What is there to say? I’ve been making a concentrated effort to get over her.”
James stared at his brother. “What do you mean? Why? Have you already asked her out?”
“No, of course not.” Albus looked surprised, which only made James feel more lost. “I’m her friend’s little brother. She wouldn’t want to go out with me.”
James ran a hand over his face, trying to process what his brother had just said.
“Albus, there is a term for that kind of logic,” he heard Rose say carefully. “It is called insane troll logic.”
Albus crossed his arms. “See, this is why I haven’t wanted to say anything,” he said. “I knew you wouldn’t understand.”
“Al…” James tried to choose his words carefully. “There isn’t anything to understand. That doesn’t make sense. You’re a year younger than me. That’s not exactly a huge age difference.”
Albus shook his head stubbornly. “It’s not just about age difference. I’m not friends with your friends. I’m your little brother.”
James groaned, and tried to take some solace in the fact that both Roxanne and Rose looked equally confused by Albus’s logic. “Yes, and our mother is our father’s best friend’s little sister,” he said, trying to be patient.
"Victoire is two years younger than Teddy,” Rose chimed in. “Merlin, speaking of V and Dominique, how much older than Aunt Fleur is Uncle Bill?”
Albus shrugged. “It’s different,” he repeated.
“Why?” Rose sounded like she was trying to be gentle, but James could definitely detect a hint of deep irritation.
After it became clear that he wasn't going to answer, Roxanne snapped, “Albus, stop being an idiot."
“Leave me alone.” Roxanne still had his book under her arm. He eyed it, but chose not to make what he had to know would be a futile attempt to grab it.
James forced himself to be patient. “Albus, just ask her out. It’s not that hard.”
“Yes it is. I’m sure she’s not interested.” He sighed and slumped in his seat. “Anyway, she’s leaving in a month and a half. She won’t want to do some distance thing with some kid she barely knows.”
“You can’t know that unless you ask,” Rose said reasonably.
Roxanne looked thoughtful. “Personally, I think you’ve got a decent chance of getting a yes.”
Albus sighed again. “I’ll think about it, okay? Now please just leave me alone and let me do my work.”
Roxanne pushed his book back across the table. “Albus—”
“I said I’d think about it. Drop it,” he snapped, snatching the book and opening it with so much force that he ripped a page.
James looked down at his work, feeling distinctly wrong-footed. How on earth he could have missed this for years was beyond him—though now that he was thinking about it, a lot of things were making sense.
After about an hour, Albus pushed the book away. “I can’t concentrate,” he said.
“Neither can I,” James admitted.
“We could go duel,” Albus suggested. “It’s not even after curfew yet.”
James considered this for a moment, and then nodded. “Yeah, let’s do that.” He looked at the two girls, who gave him nearly identical looks of disgust.
“Some of us have work to do,” Roxanne said irritably.
“Well, you know where to find us if you get bored of it,” he said before following his brother to the portrait hole.
As they made their way to the room of requirement, Albus looked at him curiously. “What are you so bothered about?”
James stretched, trying to work the kinks out of his neck. “Oh, you know. The usual. What exactly I’m going to tell Marion.” Albus gave him a questioning look, and James sighed. “I promised I’d be honest with her." He was already regretting agreeing to it - it made talking about fun, exciting things sound far too much like a chore, and he doubted she would actually appreciate it once he started sharing.
Albus winced. “Oh.”
James thought for a minute. “And I’m a little worried about Lily,” he admitted.
“You too?” When James glanced at Albus, he looked morose. “What, did you think all of this was just about you lot bothering me about Bridget?”
James had thought that, but he had the sense not to say so. “I’m tired of her being so closed off and unhappy, and I’m really tired of not knowing what to do to help.”
“I don’t think there’s really anything we can do,” Albus said regretfully. “Short of changing our plans, but I don’t intend to do that, and I don’t think you do either.”
James shook his head. “No. I don’t.”
“I just wish she would talk about it.” They stopped in front of a nondescript wall, and Albus began to pace back and forth. “You know?”
“I know,” James said as the door materialized.
Albus opened the door, and James followed him into the room. As soon as the door had closed behind them, Albus whirled around and raised his wand. Instinctively, James mirrored him. “Impedimenta!” Albus cried.
“Come on, Al,” James said in exasperation, waving his wand to break the shield charm he’d just cast. “Can’t you do nonverbal spells yet?”
Albus lowered his wand. “I can,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “I just don’t always think of it.”
“If you’re going to be an Auror, you have to learn to think of it.” James realized a split second too late that he’d relaxed his guard; before he could bring his wand back up, a gash appeared in his shirt and his arm began to sting.
Albus smirked. “Like that?”
James sighed. “Yes. Like that.” He looked down. “Al, I like this shirt.”
“So fix it,” his brother suggested. “Though I don’t know why you wore a shirt you like to duel in.”
“I wasn’t thinking,” James said distractedly, still examining the rip in the shirt and the cut on his arm. “And I’m no good at fixing clothes.”
“Then ask Marion to do it,” Albus told him, his wand still raised. “Or I’ll do it.”
James sighed. “Fine.” He didn’t bother to heal the cut on his arm; he’d probably just acquire more during the duel, anyway. Instead, he quickly brought his wand back up and cried, “Silencio!”
Albus rolled his eyes, but did not break the charm. Instead, he pointed his wand at James, who had to jump to the side to avoid the jet of water that erupted from the end of Albus’s wand. In response, James pointed his wand at one of the bookshelves.
Ten or eleven books sped toward Albus, who managed to successfully repel and shrink most of them but was hit in the stomach by the last two. He doubled over, his eyes tearing up, and pointed his wand at the books that were now lying on the floor.
The air was suddenly filled with birds. They sped at James, chirping angrily. He took a step back and produced a strong gust of wind to force them back and give him the space he needed to vanish them. He had just vanished the last one when he felt a splash of ice-cold water hit his side. However, when James looked around, his brother was nowhere to be seen.
James took the opportunity to make himself impervious to any future water attacks; they were a specialty of Albus’s. As he glanced around the room, he saw a slight shadow peeking out from behind another bookshelf. Grinning, he pointed his wand at the bookshelf.
It promptly burst into flames. James could hear his brother curse before a burst of water dampened the flames. He had clearly tired of not having a voice. After a moment, Albus emerged from behind the bookshelf, soaking wet and with soot across his forehead.
“How did you know I was there?” he asked, looking put out.
“Your shadow,” James said, nodding at the bookshelf. “I could see your hair.”
Albus wrinkled his nose. “Damnit.” He pointed his wand toward James, but James was ready. When ropes flew out of the end of Albus’s wand and toward him, he banished them with a wave of his wand and immediately turned his wand back on his brother, who tried to block the spell a moment too late and yelled at the cut that appeared on his hand.
They circled each other warily.
“You didn’t drop your wand,” James commented.
“No,” Albus agreed. “I didn’t. That’s a good way to die.” He gave it a quick flick and James doubled over in pain, feeling as though he’d just been hit with a copy of Hogwarts: A History. As he gasped for air, he covertly pointed his wand at his brother’s feet. When Albus tried to step forward, he tripped over his feet, which had almost doubled in size. He looked down in dismay. “James!”
James straightened up. “Petrificus Totalus!” Albus went as rigid as a board, and James stepped over to him and took his wand. “Tough luck, little bro,” he said before unfreezing him and restoring his feet to their normal size.
Albus slowly got to his feet, rubbing his shoulder. “That hurt.”
James took several steps back so Albus would not be able to surprise him and take his wand back. “So did this,” he said, nodding at the gash in his arm.
Albus did not look remotely abashed. “Can I have my wand back now?” he asked.
James tossed it to him, and he caught it. “You’d have been a decent seeker, you know,” James commented.
Albus shrugged. “Lily’s better.” He gave his wand another flick, and there was a flash of white light. James felt a sharp tug on his ankle, and before he knew it, he was hanging upside down.
He made a quick decision and aimed his wand at where he thought his brother was probably still standing. There was a loud curse, and James dropped back to the floor. He spun to face Albus, who was now sporting a second cut, this one on his shoulder.
They eyed each other warily for a moment, and then Albus brought his wand up. James did the same. Suddenly, he felt his legs stick to each other like glue, and he toppled over. By the time James had unfrozen his legs, the room was silent and Albus was nowhere to be found.
He sighed. Albus had a habit of disappearing in the middle of duels. He liked to take people by surprise. James pointed his wand toward the pile of cushions. It immediately exploded. James had hoped the sudden blast would lure Albus out of his hiding space, but he had no such luck.
“A year ago that would have startled you out,” he called as cotton stuffing began to rain down from the sky.
“A year ago I was stupider than I am now,” Albus called back. James checked to make sure that Albus was nowhere in sight before kneeling down and tapping his wand to the floor. A thin layer of ice began to creep across the floor toward the general area he’d heard his brother’s voice coming from.
“True,” he said, backing away from the ice. He pointed his wand at a chair, which slid across the ice more quickly than he’d expected. When it hit the wall, it broke into several pieces, which raced back across the ice in different directions. “You going to keep hiding forever?”
Albus lunged out from behind an overturned desk. “Stupe—” Before he could finish the incantation, he slipped on the ice and fell backward. “Goddamnit!”
James pointed his wand toward his brother. Albus, however, knew what was coming and blocked James’s attempt to disarm him before countering with a confundus charm, which James dodged just in time. Albus liked to block spells, but James preferred to dodge them if he could; blocking meant that your opponent had the chance to cast another spell, while dodging meant that you could respond immediately.
“Expell—” Albus tried again, and James blocked it.
“You’re learning nonverbal spells for a reason,” he snapped.
Albus’s eyes narrowed, and he gave his wand a quick flick. James felt a sudden stinging on his leg and stumbled. “Like that?” Albus said coolly.
“Yes,” James said, waving his wand again. “Like that.” Albus’s wand went flying and clattered across the ice. Albus scrambled after it, dodging James’s attempts to jinx him. When he reached his wand. He was turning and had it raised when the jet of red light hit him square in the chest. His eyes widened, and he collapsed.
James made his way over to his brother and pointed his wand at him. “Rennervate.”
Albus groaned. “My shoulder is killing me,” he said, sitting up and rubbing it.
James sat down on the floor to examine his leg, which was slightly swollen below the knee and had an angry welt on it. “Stinging hex?” he asked, waving his wand over it. The pain vanished. He sat back to wait for the swelling to subside.
“Yeah,” Albus said, getting to his feet gingerly. He almost slipped on the ice again, but managed to catch himself in time. When he sank into a chair, James noticed that while there was still a little blood on the back of his hand, the skin beneath it was smooth. When he saw James looking, Albus shrugged. “I healed it,” he said. “It hurt too much to ignore.”
As Albus waved his wand over his knees, which he’d scraped when he’d gone after his wand, James examined the cut on his arm. Healing it was easy; he wasn’t sure how he was going to mend the fabric or get the blood out.
Albus snorted. “Isn’t it about time you learned to mend your own clothes?” he asked. When James turned to look at him, he was grinning.
“I’m no good at it,” James said irritably. “I’ve tried. I just can’t do it.”
Albus got to his feet and stretched. “Give it to me tomorrow and I’ll take care of it. I’m too tired tonight.”
“Thanks,” James said, and took the hand his brother offered him to pull himself up. He made his way toward his bag. He reached inside and pulled out the map.
“Feeling better?” Albus asked as James tapped the map with his wand and began to survey it for teachers.
“Yeah.” James picked up his bag. “Let’s go.” As they walked along the deserted corridor, checking the map occasionally for teachers, he added, “Good suggestion on your part. How are you feeling?”
Albus thought about it for a minute. “Better than I did two hours ago,” he admitted.
When they got back to the common room, the only people still in it were Rose and Roxanne, who were sitting on the couch directly in front of the fireplace. They looked up when the two boys climbed through the portrait hole.
“Feeling better?” Rose asked.
James and Albus both collapsed into two of the armchairs by the fireplace. “Why are you still awake?” Albus asked.
“Because we still have work to do,” Roxanne said irritably. She had a book balanced on the arm of the chair and was making notations in the margins with her quill. “I have seven N.E.W.T.s to pass.”
“At least you already have a couple offers from Quidditch teams,” Albus pointed out. “And you’ve got the joke shop.”
Roxanne jerked her head up and scowled at him. “And what do you think I’m going to do afterwards?” she snapped. “I can’t get hit with bludgers forever, and I might decide I don’t want to play Quidditch or do the joke shop after all.”
“You need to calm down,” James told her, fishing a chocolate frog out of his bag and tossing it to her.
She caught the frog and slumped back. “I know,” she said unhappily. “It’s just this stupid atmosphere. Everyone’s so serious all the time. It’s contagious. And it makes me cranky.” She put the frog to the side and turned back to her book.
“Roxanne.” Rose was staring at her. “Eat the damned frog. You’ll feel better.”
Roxanne gave her a disgusted look but unwrapped the package and broke off a piece of the frog. As she chewed, she held up the card and examined it. “Merlin,” she said once she’d swallowed. “Oh well.”
As Roxanne finished her chocolate frog, James rubbed his eyes. “I should go to sleep,” he said, standing up and slinging his bag over his shoulder. “I’m exhausted.”
“See you in the morning.” Albus put his head back and closed his eyes. “I could go to sleep right here.”
“That’ll just hurt your neck,” Rose pointed out.
James heard Albus say “True,” before exiting earshot.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I'm a bit afraid that it was too slow, but I'm not sure what else I can do with it, especially since each chapter really is supposed to span about a day.
If you're interested in Albus's deeply awkward romantic history during his time at Hogwarts, you should check out my one-shot "Albus Potter and the Worst Excuses Ever."
If you're interested in Lily's issues, I have a story called "The Albatross" that takes place about two years after this in which she actually runs away to avoid dealing with her family's dangerous careers.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the chapter, if you don't mind taking a moment to leave a review. :) Most importantly, thank you for reading!
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