Al sat across from Rose on his bed. They hadn’t said more than two words since she’d arrived that morning with her parents. That was fine by Al. Most people demanded on talking about their feelings, but with Rose it was okay to sit in complete silence.
A knock sounded on the door across from them and he looked up, startled. He wasn’t used to not knowing everything that went on downstairs, but Rose didn’t like his eavesdropping sensors and he had to mute them while she was around.
Hermione peeked in through the slight crack in the door and smiled at the two teenagers. “Al? Rose? I’ve got lunch ready if you want any.” Al glanced at Rose. He didn’t feel hungry at all even though he hadn’t eaten much since Lily had disappeared and he didn’t want to keep Rose from eating if she was hungry, but he didn’t want to spend time with his Aunt. She always asked too many questions.
“No thanks, Mum,” Rose said, sensing Al’s indecision. “I think we’ll just finish up our summer work for Hogwarts.”
“But neither of you have eaten anything all day,” Hermione said. “That’s not healthy.”
Al was glad she didn’t know he hadn’t eaten anything the previous day either or she would have forced him downstairs. His stomach felt as though it was tied in a knot and the thought of food was nauseating at best. “We’ll have some later, we’re just in the middle of Juniper’s Defense Against the Dark Arts essay.”
Rose may have been working on the essay, but Al didn’t even have parchment out. It was clear to Hermione Rose was covering for him, but she was an intelligent girl. If she thought Al was better off in his room she must have had a reason.
“Gran is coming over soon. Will you at least come down and speak to her?” Hermione asked. She wouldn’t have asked if she thought Al was better on his own, but it might help him to see more people than just Rose.
“Of course, Mum,” Rose replied calmly. When Hermione nodded and left, she smiled at Al. “We don’t have to go down if you don’t want to.”
Al shook his head. “It’s okay. I’ll have to get used to it at Hogwarts.”
Rose looked at him in surprise. “Are you going back to Hogwarts?” She asked. She couldn’t imagine being there without him, but at the same time she couldn’t imagine him there without Lily.
He shrugged. “It’s either that or stay here.”
“Oh,” Rose said. She couldn’t begin to imagine what he was going through. She loved Lily and it pained her knowing she was gone, but missing a cousin, even a close one, was different than missing a sibling. She would be destroyed if anything happened to Hugo.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Al said, pleading with her. Her eyes had gone sad when she stared at him and it made him feel even worse.
“Huh?” Rose asked, startled from her thoughts. “Sorry, it’s just- you want me to help you with your essay? It’s supposed to be about the three Unforgivables.”
Al shook his head. “You go ahead and do yours. I don’t really feel like concentrating right now.” Rose gave him a sad smile and went back to writing notes on her parchment. Every few moments she would glance up to check on him, but Al seemed oblivious.
He was staring out the window with a frown on his face. “What’s wrong?” Rose asked before realizing how stupid that question was. “I mean, what’s outside?”
“Come over here,” Al said. When she did he pointed to a blond reporter on the edge of the crowd. Only a few had left so far and most were still there, but they were all milling around aimlessly. “Look at him. Is that-?”
Rose realized who he was talking about in an instant. “Oh no, that’s one of Luna’s twins, isn’t it? He writes for the Daily Prophet, doesn’t he? Uncle Harry will go mad if he sees family out there.”
Al nodded, although he wasn’t thinking about his father. “I wonder how he justifies it,” Rose mused. She noticed the look on Al’s face and closed the curtains so the Scamander twin was no longer visible.
“I want to talk to him,” Al said suddenly.
Rose’s eyes widened in surprise. “But he’s a reporter! And you haven’t wanted to talk to anyone else.”
“Well I want to see him. Go get him for me.” Rose chanced a peek out the window and immediately several flashbulbs went off. The press must have noticed the drapes closing and been prepared for more activity.
“I can’t go outside!” She protested. “Mum forbade us to set foot outside of the house.”
“Please?” Al begged. “I can’t go out.” If he tried to find even one reporter they would mob him in an instant. He’d seen the way they went after his parents that morning. He figured it would be worse for him since he was younger, they would think that made him an easier target than his father who was used to dodging the press.
Rose shook her head. Even if her mother didn’t catch her going out it was sure to be mentioned in the papers and then she would be locked up until going off to Hogwarts. “I’m sorry, Al.”
His eyes lit up and he went rummaging around in his closet. “What are you doing?” Rose demanded to know. She didn’t like the way he had seemed excited all of a sudden.
“This!” He pulled out a long, flowing silver cloak and Rose groaned. It was his invisibility cloak, the one James bequeathed to him after leaving Hogwarts the year before. He swung it around his shoulders and solemnly stared at his reflection in the mirror. “I’m going out to get him.”
“That plan is daft!” Rose said as she followed her cousin out of his room. “You can’t honestly be thinking of going out there to talk to a reporter!”
Al only shrugged off her protests and kept walking. “Lorcan isn’t a reporter, he’s practically family.”
“He’s both! And how do you expect to open the door without any of them seeing you?” Al shook his head. He hadn’t thought about that, but he doubted any of them would notice a slight opening of the Potters’ front door. No one had gone out of it since his parents had come back inside. Rose seemed to read his mind. “You know they’ll notice. They noticed when I shut your drapes.”
Al’s shoulders sagged he knew she was right, but he so desperately wanted to speak to Lorcan. He might have had more information about something, anything. Rose noticed his disappointment and her heart melted. “Give it here,” she said against her better judgment.
“Really?” Al asked as his face brightened.
“Yes. But you owe me.” Rose pulled the cloak on and smiled at her best friend. “You wait in your room, alright? I’ll see if I can get Lorcan past Mum and James.” No sooner had she spoken than the two heard footsteps in the hall. Rose pulled the hood over her head and stood very still. No matter how many times she wore the cloak she never felt completely invisible.
“Al,” Hermione said in a pleasant surprise. “What are you doing down here? Did you and Rose decide to get some lunch?”
“Er- no,” Al said awkwardly. He wanted to escape back to his room, but he wasn’t sure if he should distract his aunt so Rose could sneak out the back. She was invisible so he couldn’t see where she had gone. “I just thought I heard a noise and-” He trailed off because he didn’t know what else to say. He hadn’t had a plan of where he was going.
Hermione looked at him pityingly. “I’m so sorry, Al. This must be unbelievably hard for you without Lily. I know how close the two of you were.” Al looked at his feet. There wasn’t anything worse in the world than being the object of someone’s pity.
He started walking up the steps without another word to his aunt, but she put a hand on his shoulder. “If you ever need to talk to someone other than Rose, I’m here for you.” Al nodded and didn’t mention that he already had plans to speak with someone else, a reporter from outside. Rose was right, she and Harry would go mad if they knew what their children were up to.
Rose breathed a sigh of relief as she exited the house safely. She didn’t want to remind herself that she had just completed the easy part and everything hard was yet to come.
Her heart beat faster as she circled around behind the mob of reporters. None of them took any notice of her as she was invisible, but Rose felt that any moment one would turn around and they would all see her.
None did and she searched unimpeded for Lorcan. Finally she spotted his blonde head on the opposite side, smoking a cigarette away from the others. He alone didn’t seem to expect someone to exit the house any moment and Rose was glad for that.
She tapped him on the shoulder which surprised him so much his cigarette fell from his mouth as he looked around. “-the hell?” He said looking very much confused.
“Shh,” Rose whispered, startling him further. “It’s Rose.”
“Hermione’s girl?” He asked. They had briefly been at Hogwarts together, but since there was such a great difference in their ages and Lorcan had been in Slytherin they hadn’t known each other very well. “What are you doing out here?”
He reached out to find where she was and ended up hitting her in the side of the head. “Ow!” She said, a bit too loudly as several reporters nearby turned to stare at Lorcan, probably wondering why he had such a girlish scream. When they looked away Rose whispered, “Al wants to talk to you. Come with me.”
“I can’t even see you,” Lorcan protested. “How am I supposed to follow you?”
Rose reached through the fabric of the cloak and grabbed his arm. He jolted with surprise, but adjusted quickly. “Don’t look suspicious,” Rose murmured under her breath and Lorcan snorted.
“How exactly do you suggest I accomplish that? I’m walking all alone to the back of the house which is strictly off limits and protected by all kinds of wards. It’s going to look a little suspicious to say the least.” Rose rolled her eyes, but as she was still invisible no one could see her.
She would have pulled him under the invisibility cloak with her, but with the number of people milling around it was likely someone would have seen them. Rose ducked behind a tree with him and pulled the hood off her head. Lorcan looked relieved to be able to see her face.
“You shouldn’t be out here,” he said, glancing around the tree to see if anyone was watching them. “I’m certain your mother would murder you in several very creative ways.”
“If it were up to me I wouldn’t be out here,” Rose explained. “Al’s got it in his head that he wants to talk to you.”
“Me? He should be talking to anyone but me! I’ve got a story to write for The Prophet, he can’t go around speaking to reporters.” Rose shook her head. Personally, she agreed with Lorcan, but Al was very much like her Uncle in that when he got an idea in his head nothing would dissuade him.
“Get under here with me,” she said, opening the cloak enough for him to slip under it. Lorcan looked as though he might protest, but thought better of it and slipped in beside her.
Because Lorcan was so much larger than her, the bottoms of their feet showed when they walked too fast. They had to take calculated steps and Lorcan kept one arm on Rose to keep in step.
When they reached the backdoor Rose lifted a finger to her lips and peeked in the glass window pane. There was no one in the kitchen so she cautiously opened the door and ushered Lorcan in.
When he moved to take off the cloak, Rose shook her head. “Mum can’t see you,” she whispered and Lorcan rolled his eyes. He didn’t become a reporter to get caught up in teenage drama. He’d left all that behind when he graduated from Hogwarts nearly five years before. He didn’t enjoy getting caught up in it again.
Rose showed him up the steps and into Al’s room without further delays and ripped the cloak off the second she had the door closed. Al smiled at them. “You probably should have been a bit quieter outside,” he said. “Someone could have easily heard you.”
“How does he know how loud we were outside?” Lorcan asked in surprise. Rose only shook her head and he sighed. He’d forgotten what troublemakers all the Potter and Weasley offspring seemed to be. “Never mind.” He turned to Al with a frown on his face. “You know you’re asking for trouble bringing me in here, right? I could mention this in the Prophet. It would probably get me a front page story.”
“I just wanted to talk,” Al replied quietly. “I wanted to see if you knew anything else about Lily. They don’t tell me much of anything.” Lorcan’s eyes softened at the younger boy. It was a horrible idea to have him brought here, but he could understand where Al was coming from.
“I’m sure I know even less about the whole matter than you do,” Lorcan said with a bit of a shrug. “And all of that I heard from a thirty spiel from my boss. I’m of no use to you.”
“If you know anything at all,” Rose said, her voice pleading. “He’s been setting eavesdropping spells all around the house because they think we’re too young to know the truth.”
Lorcan sighed. He wanted to help, he really did, but he was obligated to report on anything the teenagers said to him. He was a junior reporter, for Melin’s sake. How had he already been put in a position like this?
The door was pushed opened and James entered. “Gran-” He stopped when he spotted Lorcan who hadn’t had time to slip back under the cloak. “What the fuck are you doing here?” James spat.
“James-” Lorcan started, but James’s glare made him stop.
“I can’t believe you would come here with all of them.” He gestured out the window to the reporters. “Don’t you have any respect for our family?”
Lorcan sighed, wishing he wasn’t inside and could smoke another cigarette. “I didn’t ask you come here, if that’s what you think. The boss gave me an assignment and I followed his orders, simple as that.”
“You should have said no,” James shot back.
“You don’t say no to the boss unless you have a death wish, especially as a junior reporter.” Lorcan knew arguing was futile. James would believe what he wanted to believe no matter what he said. That was how teenagers were.
“Lily was named after your mum. Is that going to make it into your little article?” Lorcan’s mouth opened and closed like a fish and James smirked at him. “Didn’t think so. Now get the hell out before I tell my father you were in here.”
Lorcan hurried out of the room, hoping he wouldn’t run into any other angry family members. He should have known better than to listen to Rose. She was a sweet girl, but so naïve.
James turned to Al with a glare. “What were you doing, holding an exclusive interview?” Al shook his head mutely, shocked to see his brother so angry. Usually James’s arguments were contained to those he had with their father. Others weren’t often involved.
“I don’t care why you brought him in here, but if I see any of those slimeballs here again I will personally ensure that Dad knows every detail.” He gave his younger brother a nasty look. “And you better hope that doesn’t show up in the Prophet tomorrow.”
James slammed the door of the bedroom and Rose stared at Al in horror. “Do you think he’d really print that?” Al asked. He looked so scared that Rose shook her head, even though she knew there was a good chance of it happening. “I’m sorry. Now you’re going to get in trouble too.”
“Don’t apologize. If anything, this was my fault,” Rose argued. “Ignore your brother. He’s not really mad at you.”
Al shot her a disbelieving look. “I don’t think you heard the way he talked to me.”
Rose gave him a small, reassuring smile. James had looked angry, downright incensed to be more precise, but she didn’t think it was entirely about Al. Even though she’d only seen James twice since Lily vanished she had noticed that he seemed a bit more tense and on edge. She’d also noticed that he absolutely reeked of firewhiskey, not that she would ever admit knowing what that smelled like.
She had enough presence of mind to lock the door securely this time so no one else could barge in unannounced, not that the two had anything more to hide. “If it doesn’t show up in the Prophet,” Al began. “Do you think James will tell Dad anyway?”
Rose looked at him and with a sigh said, “I don’t know. James can be a bit of a loose cannon.”
A/N: It took me about eight tries to get this chapter posted, so I'm glad it finally took. My internet has been iffy as I'm not at home. But it's up! Yay! And things are finally happening with Al! From now on the chapters will focus on one member of the Potter family as they separate a bit.
And just a hint, the next chapter is going to be about James. =)
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