Chapter 1 : Something Unforseen
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There is no time of the year that I enjoy more than the few days after we have finished our Hogwarts exams and have a couple of lazy days at the Hogwarts grounds before boarding the train back home. That is exactly how life is supposed to be: everyone is relaxed, the weather is usually fine and we have time to spend with our friends before going our separate ways for the summer. I usually meet up with some of my friends during the summer of course. Quite a few of my friends, like Rose, Hugo and Louis are not only friends, but cousins of mine too, and we meet a lot. I usually meet my friend Tim Flint in Diagon Alley a few times during the summer, and my best friend Scorpius Malfoy has visited me for two weeks every summer since we were twelve.
Some people think it is strange that I, Albus Potter, the youngest son of Harry Potter, and Scorpius, who is the only child of Draco Malfoy, are best friends. But we have been friends since we first started Hogwarts, and I guess most people have gotten used to it by now, even our fathers, who both were a bit taken aback at first because they didn't get along at all when they were at Hogwarts. When I was about to start Hogwarts I was terrified of being sorted into Slytherin. My brother, James, who is a year older than me, had teased me all summer about not being sorted into Gryffindor like the rest of the family. He nearly wet his pants by laughter when I actually was sorted into Slytherin. I was sad at first, because I had wanted to become a Gryffindor like my parents and my brother, but I've made great friends in Slytherin, including Scorpius. And then my sister Lily was sorted into Hufflepuff two years later, which was a bit of a surprise too, and which made it less dramatic to me to belong to another house than the rest of the family.
Tim, Scorpius and I sat under our favourite tree down by the lake one of those early summer days. We had just finished our last exams and it felt like we hadn't got a worry in the world. It was true, too, we didn't have any worries, or at least I didn't. I wasn't too worried about my results, because I usually do well on exams. The same goes for Scorpius too. I guess Tim had reason to worry about his results, but this wasn't the time for worrying. I was lazily observing the girls who were sitting under another tree not far from us. I would have loved to hear their conversation, but they were just outside earshot. Minnie Greengrass was among them, and her long brown hair looked too soft to be real. Minnie was Scorpius's cousin, and she was a year younger than us.
'Oh, stop staring at her, Albus!' Scorpius sighed, rolling his eyes.
'I wasn't looking at her,' I lied, but I knew that neither Scorpius nor Tim believed me. I'm always looking at Minnie Greengrass, even though I know that she doesn't care about me at all. I've forced Scorpius to ask her about what she thinks about me more than once. But I still look at her. I can't stop, and I don't want to stop either.
My brother James appeared and sat down between me and Scorpius. It's not every day James hangs out with us, mostly because he has his own friends in Gryffindor. But lately he has started to be with us more and more. I think it is because he has realized that he won't be here at Hogwarts after the summer. He has just finished his seventh year, and I have to admit that it will be a bit empty here without him. But at least that gives us the chance to win the Quidditch Cup next year. James and our cousin Louis are both leaving the Gryffindor team, and I'm sure Gryffindor can't beat us without them on the team.
'Hi little brother,' James said, teasingly ruffling my hair as if I was a small boy. Yes, I'm shorter than the others, and I might be a bit on the skinny side, but it's not as if I'm so much younger than him after all. I will be seventeen in a few weeks after all, and James has barley turned eighteen. He doesn't treat Tim and Scorpius that way at all. I guess nobody would say something like that to Tim, as he is taller, broader and stronger than most other guys at Hogwarts. He could hardly say anything like that to Scorpius either, because he is not more than two months older than Scorpius. When we were younger Scorpius always made a big deal of telling us about that if he had been only five days older he would have been in the year above us at Hogwarts. He was a pain sometimes back then. I guess he still is, in some ways, but he is still my best friend.
'Stop it, James,' I said and punched him.
'Oh, you're just sulking because we won the Quidditch Cup,' he stated. He always knows how to rub it in.
'Are you coming to visit us as usual, Scorpius?' he added to Scorpius, without that annoying big brother tone he used when he talked to me.
'Yeah, in about two weeks, I think,' Scorpius smiled to him.
'Good! See you then!' James said to Scorpius before he left. He didn't say anything more to me or to Tim.
I was in the kitchen there Grandma Molly and Mum had been ordering me around for the past hour. There were apparently lots of chores for me to do, and as I still had a week until my seventeenth birthday I had to do them without magic, which made it take unnecessary long time. Both James and Lily were conveniently enough away, leaving me alone with the chores. I had stayed at home because we were expecting Scorpius to arrive today for his yearly visit. Just as I had finished the last dishes and dried my hands on a towel I heard him knock at the door. Mum was faster than me and she greeted him with a hug. Grandma Molly had always had a soft spot for Scorpius and I bet she almost crushed him with her hug.
'Welcome!' she beamed to him. 'We were just about to have some tea. I'm going to set the table in the patio. You and Albus take your bags upstairs and then have some tea with us.'
Scorpius levitated his bag to my room, and I followed him upstairs. I was really unfair that I was the only one left who wasn't allowed to do magic. Well, except for Lily, but she doesn't count.
'Where's James?' Scorpius asked with a curious look at the open door that lead to James's untidy but empty room.
'He and Lily are at the beach with Rose and Hugo,' I answered. 'They would probably stay with them until tomorrow.'
'Oh,' Scorpius said, and for a moment I thought he sounded disappointed, which was a kind of strange since he has never shown any real interest in my siblings before.
We had tea with Mum and Grandma Molly, and then we spent a couple of hours discussing Quidditch in the garden while drinking pumpkin juice. In the evening we played Exploding Snap until I felt my eyelids fall close. I smiled to myself because this was exactly how a summer day with Scorpius used to be ever since we were twelve.
We slept in late the morning after, like we usually do in the summer holidays. Mum was knocking more than once telling us that it was time for breakfast. When we finally got down to the kitchen the food was stone cold. Scorpius warmed it with his wand. I was once again reminded about that everybody but I was of age.
It was a rainy day, and we spent most of it inside playing games. Both Scorpius and I love games, and we can easily spend an entire day playing. Lily and James arrived home in time for dinner. Lily was the first one to step out of the fireplace, brushing the ashes from her skirt.
'Hi Scorpius! Hi Al!' she said and disappeared up to her room. We said hello, but barely looked up from the Wizard chess game we were playing. Nothing could distract us from a game of Wizard chess, or at least that was how it usually was. James appeared from the fireplace a minute after Lily.
'Hey!' he said, and came to sit down with us.
'Hello James,' Scorpius said, smiling. 'I was wondering when you would arrive. How have you been lately?'
'Fine,' James answered. 'It's good to see you. Oh, did I tell you about that Sneakoscope I bought? Do you want to see it?' he added, standing up. Scorpius stood up too and followed him upstairs, apparently forgetting about the Wizarding chess. I remained sitting, feeling oddly left out.
We spent most the following days playing two-aside Quidditch. Lily and James were on one team, and Scorpius and I on the other. James and Lily usually won, but Scorpius and I weren't far behind. Sometimes even Mum and Dad joined us in the evenings, and when they did Mum's team always won. She has played professionally, and even if she doesn't play anymore, she is still very skilled.
After those Quidditch evenings Dad usually made us some sandwiches before we went to bed. I generally sleep very well after physical exercise. Something woke me up at one thirty one of those nights, however, and I noticed that Scorpius wasn't in his bed. One of my maybe not so noble sides is that I'm a very curious person. Some people, like Lily and James, say that I'm nosy, but I like to think of it as curiosity. I like to know the fact, and I like to have the full picture, that's all.
Anyway, when Scorpius's bed still was empty after a quarter of an hour, I got up to look for him. I went downstairs without making too much noise, and I was surprised to hear soft voices from the kitchen. Scorpius and James were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking hot cocoa.
'Hi,' I said, which made them look up in surprise when I suddenly spoke.
'Hi…' Scorpius said. 'I couldn't sleep. And I guess James couldn't either.'
'Yeah, but I think I'll be able to sleep now after the cocoa,' James said, yawning. 'I hope you will too, Scorp. Good Night!' he added and went upstairs.
'Do you want some cocoa?' Scorpius offered. 'I could warm it up again, if you want to?'
'No, thanks,' I said. 'I think I'll go back to sleep,' I said.
'Me too,' Scorpius agreed before we both went up to my room.
The summer days passed one by one until it was, finally, my birthday. I'm not usually too excited over my birthdays anymore, I mean not like I was when I was a child and I counted the days for weeks before my birthday. But this year, as I was turning seventeen, I had really been waiting for my birthday. I was congratulated by my family, and Scorpius, who was still staying with us, in the morning. Mum had made me a special breakfast with scones and clotted cream, and with Grandma Molly's homemade blackberry jam which I really love.
I got a golden watch from Mum and Dad, which wasn't very much of a surprise, as it is what all Wizards get for their seventeenth birthday. I got a subscription of my favourite Quidditch magazine from James, a silly photo frame with frogs from Lily and a really humorous book with Quidditch jokes from Scorpius. The presents were nice, but it was nothing compared to the liberating feeling of being an adult at last. I was finally able to do magic whenever I wanted, and I was allowed to make decisions for myself. Not that I had any decisions to make right then, but it still felt good.
Mum and Grandma Molly spent most of the day in the kitchen. I don't think Mum really likes cooking, but Grandma Molly does, and they were both preparing for my birthday party. We are a big family with all my uncles and aunts and cousins, so normally when we have a birthday party we only invite our relatives, but since it is special to turn seventeen we had lots of guests invited this year. A lot of them were family friends, like the Scamanders and the Longbottoms, but also some of my friends from school. Sadly, Tim was away visiting his cousins in Spain, so he couldn't come, but there were a few of the others.
We set up large tables in the garden, and it looked really nice, even if the weather wasn't really on our side. It wasn't raining, but the sky was covered by dark clouds and the wind was chilly. Dad tried to teach me a special wind stopping charm to use around the tables, but I didn't get the hang of it.
The guest arrived, and I got more presents than I've ever had before, I think. It felt good to see my friends again, and Grandma Molly's food was delicious. The awkward part of the dinner was when my father decided to make a speech. All the guests laughed at the right places, but I thought it was a bit unnecessary of him to bring up the time when I was eight and accidently got stuck in a when riding my broom. Louis and Scorpius found that story hilarious, though, and they'll probably never let me live it down.
My aunt Hermione made a speech too, but hers was more serious and I don't think anybody laughed. She talked about how the adolescence is the time when everything is brand new, and how youths should take care of that precious time, or something like that. It feels strange to hear her talking like that, because I've somehow always had trouble picturing her as a child or a youth. It would have made more sense if she was born old… Then she read a poem about green leafs and how nothing gold can stay or something like that. I saw James and Scorpius exchange a strange look during her speech, so I guess I wasn't the only one who didn't really get her point.
Heavy raindrops begun to fall just as we had finished eating, and we moved the party inside. The grown-ups went to the living room, but everybody of our age went upstairs to our attic room that really are cosier than it sounds. We got some sofas there and a large table that is great for games. Lily, Hugo, Rose. Louis and I played a game of Exploding Snap while the others flung themselves at the sofas. Both Hugo and Lily like games in the same almost obsessed way as I do, so we were soon absorbed in our game. I won the first round, but after that Hugo won every time.
'You're cheating, Hugo,' Lily said when Hugo won the fourth time.
'I'm not! I'm just good at Exploding Snap,' Hugo defended himself. Lily didn't seem too convinced though, and I was sure that they would start one of their usual fights. Those two have been best friends since they were born, but they had at least one or two fights every week. I guess that's the way their friendship work.
Anyway, they were interrupted by Mum who called that it was time for the cake.
'Where are James and Scorpius?' Rose asked as we sat down by the table.
'No idea. I didn't notice that they were missing at all,' Lily said and twirled a sling of her red hair between her fingers. 'Shall I go and find them?'
Lily didn't have to go, because just as she had said that they both appeared in the doorway.
'Where have you two been?' Rose asked, but didn't get more than a shrug from James for an answer.
'Oh, chocolate cake!' he exclaimed instead and cut himself a large bit of the cake. 'It has always been my favourite,' he added with his mouth full. Scorpius didn't say anything at all. I thought he looked a bit distressed, but I didn't want to ask him about it when every else was around.
We slept rather late the morning after the party. I don't mind to sleep all morning if I get the chance, and I was the last one to get up. The kitchen was empty when I came down, but there were lots of delicious leftovers in the cupboard, so I made myself a really good breakfast. I loaded a plate full of chicken wings, muffins and apple pie and levitated it together with a glass of pumpkin juice out to the garden.
I was going to sit at the garden table, but when I came there it was way too hot to sit there. I glanced at my new watch. It was almost noon, which had to be my record of sleeping in late this summer. I brought my food to a shadowy corner of our garden, there I figured it wouldn't be so hot. We had spent lots of hot summer days there during the years.
It turned out that I wasn't the only one who had thought about that corner of the garden this day, though. The sight that faced me made me drop both the glass and the plate I was levitating. There, at the lawn in this secluded part of our garden, I saw James and Scorpius. Their legs and arms were entangled as they lay down in the grass kissing and clinging on to each other as if their lives depended on it. They didn't notice me at first, but they quickly sat up when they heard my breakfast hitting the ground.
'Albus!' James said, and I could hear a panting in his voice that I didn't want to think about. I didn't know what to say. No one could have been more unprepared for this than I was. I turned away and was about to leave when Scorpius grapped my arm.
'Al, please listen,' he asked. 'I know what this looks like, but…'
'It is exactly what it looks like,' James interrupted, with a steady look at Scorpius. 'It is exactly what it looks like, and I suggest that you are fine with it, Al, because this is how it is going to be.'
I still didn't know what to say. I managed to whisper a 'Fine' before leaving them alone.
Sometimes life changes so fast. Something unforeseen happens that changes your understanding of the world. I had never imagined that I would find my best friend and my older brother kissing. It wasn't anything I could have guessed before it was apparent, but then I think of it now it makes sense. All the signs were there, and they had been there for a long time. Still, it is a mystery to me. I'm wondering what happened, and it feels like the world never will be the same again. But I don't have any choice but to get used to it. I will, eventually.
Author's note: The poem Hermione is reading is "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost.