The Beautiful Banner by johnlocked @ TDA
Fuck. My. Life.
I don’t know how life can on like this, it’s not even healthy. I’m not healthy. I’m a bloody messed up bloke with no fucking life to speak of and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die in the next three years.
Yeah, I’m quite the optimist.
‘Albus, can I get you anything else,’ Aunty Hannah ruffled my hair fondly and placed a steaming cup of coffee in my hands.
‘Firewhiskey,’ I groaned pathetically. Hannah gave me a sceptical look. ‘Well you know what they say; the best way to kill a hangover is to stay drunk.’ I argued for my own benefit with a small smile.
‘Tough night sweetie?’ she patted my arm sympathetically while clearing the table next to mine.
‘Every night is,’ I muttered, flicking a speck of dust on the table. Somehow it didn’t look like I’d be getting that Firewhiskey.
‘And then second best way to cure a hangover is this beauty,’ Uncle Neville set down a little vile of blue liquid on the table, ‘Morning Albus.’
‘Hey Uncle Nev,’ I grumbled, stirring another lump of sugar into my coffee.
Uncle Neville and Aunty Hannah aren’t really my family, but they’re the only ones that don’t treat me like the fucked up kid I am. Nope, these two respect that I ruined my life and I’m trying to fix it. They’ve actually been amazing, letting me stay at the Inn and all, though I guess Hannah gets lonely when Nev goes off to Hogwarts for all his teaching lark.
Aunty Hannah was rushing round now, trying to get the place cleaned up before the morning stream of customers travelling to work in Diagon Alley stopped off for breakfast. Nev was taking an order from a grumpy looking git in the corner.
I was thinking about my sob story.
It was all because of that bloody reporter yesterday, he would not
leave me alone! I mean, why would anyone want to know the bloody sob story of Albus Severus Bloody Potter, when you could be interviewing James Potter; who led everyone to believe he was a prat until he graduated, got signed with the Tornadoes, got himself a fucking amazing girlfriend and is currently living his own bloody cliché... or Lily who is the most amazing, beautiful, talented witch in seventh year.
Why? When you could interview those two? Would you bother with Albus Fucking Potter? I am a failure, I’m not a talented bloke, I’m not a signed quidditch player, I don’t have a girlfriend... or a friend. I’m just a kid who has screwed around the past year and not done anything and now broke, with no job, no home and a fucking useless name! I mean Albus? Really? It’s worse than Scorpius...
No. I take that back. Nothing is worse than Scorpius.
‘Hello,’ the bell rang lightly as the door to the Leaky Cauldron swung open. A short-ish girl with long blonde hair than curled at the ends stepped in. She was wearing a clean, summery dress. Unlike me still dressed in last night’s stripy shirt and jeans. She had a pretty face and a nice figure and a bright smile... and a slightly French accent. ‘Hello,’ she repeated, ‘I’m looking for Hannah Longbottom?’
‘Oh that would be me,’ Hannah beamed and shook the girls hand, ‘you must be Belinda.’
Hannah led the girl to the kitchen, they were talking in quickly and sounded very friendly to each other. For a moment I wondered who she was and then went back to sipping my coffee and downing the little blue potion Uncle Neville had brought for me.
It took me the next ten minutes to finish my morning drink... not that I wasn’t still looking forward to that Firewhiskey... but it was probably inappropriate to drink before lunch.
Oh damn... lunch.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like lunch. I like food. It’s good stuff. It’s when I have to go and spend the day with my family pretending like I’m actually putting effort into fixing my life rather than just being a bum on Nev and Hannah’s sofa.
‘Ooph,’ something person-sized and soft tripped and fell against my shoulder. Hard.
‘What the f-‘
‘Oh my Merlin, I’m so sorry,’ the girl I’d seen enter earlier picked herself up and started rattling out an apology, ‘I’m such a clutz, shoot I’m so sorry, I didn’t spill anything did I, Merlin I’m sorry!’
Normally I would have been pissed off... and probably would have yelled a bit, but something about the poor girls sheepish expression and sincere apology cut my words off, ‘hey, hey, don’t worry about it,’ I jumped to my feet, checking her over to see if she was okay. She was damn pretty... ‘sorry, you’re okay right.’
‘Yeah, shoot I’m so sorry, I’m so clumsy!’ she sighed, I reached for her bag that was strewn across the floor and pushed the little mirror and some make-up back inside before handing it back to her.
‘Don’t worry about it, honestly its fine,’ I reassured her, raising my hand up to run it through my hair, realising what a mess I must look. I was wearing last night’s clothes that I’d been completely sloshed (and probably thrown up) in, and hadn’t shaved in a while...
I squinted at her dress, looking at it, it seemed familiar. Probably because the designs were strewn all over Vic and Ted’s home.
‘You’re wearing one of my cousin’s dresses,’ I said, realising only after the words had left my mouth how ridiculously random it was.
Damn this was why I was so pathetic; I couldn’t even talk to one pretty girl. Not that she would want to talk to me. I was a bloody screw up.
‘Oh, this is something by Victoire Weasley,’ the girl beamed cheerfully, it was hard to feel as bad as I normally did in her presence, which probably meant she was someone I should avoid. She’d only end up hurt. ‘She’s your cousin?’
‘Yes, actually I’ve got to go meet her,’ I snapped my head around, making an excuse to run away. As I headed out into the cobbled street of Diagon Alley, leaving the girl dumbstruck, I scolded myself for being so rude.
I guess I was just like that... I’m useless with girls.
I headed back a few shops down and took the side alley up to where my- sorry, Aunty Hannah’s flat was, so I could clean up before I had to head out to the oh-so-fantastic family lunch.
I took a shower and pondered on the guilty feeling of leaving the poor girl on her own; I felt like a bastard.
No, Albus, you are a bastard.
I told myself strictly, stepping out of the warm heat of the shower and pulling on fresh clothes. You’re a bigger bastard than James ever was.
I brushed my teeth, and shaved, and even took the effort to spray deo so I didn’t reek like the homeless guy that lived on the doorstep of Mr Next-Door’s house. Then locked up the flat and stowed the keys in my pocket, and Apparating the distance to the Burrow.
I arrived in an already full house, with cousins and fiancés and aunts and uncles and godsiblings and Merlin knows what else we had in here. My arrival was immediately noticed by a squealing four year old, my niece (sort of) Sophia, Victoire and Teddy’s daughter.
‘Uncle Albie,’ she cried, reaching up her podgy arms for me to pick her up. And no one could say no to those pretty curls and sweet smile, no matter what situation.
‘Hey Soph, how are you darling,’ I pressed a kiss to her cheek, murmuring a greeting. As it turned out, my arrival, once announced by Sophia, did not go unnoticed for much longer.
Numerous greetings were called out to me as I wandered aimlessly through the house, looking for my mother. She would never forgive me if I didn’t go to say hello to her.
I spotted Rose playing chess against Uncle Ron, her head leaning on Scorpius’s shoulder. She was winning. Obviously. I felt a pang of guilt for a distance memory. Scorpius was in discussion with Dominique’s boyfriend, Ed – short for Frederic – whilst Dom was probably somewhere chancing after Isabelle, her two year old monster of a daughter.
‘Hey, how you doing Al,’ Granddad Arthur stopped me as I went, touching my shoulder. His eyebrows were raised, as though he saw right through my ominously fake smiles.
‘Great thanks Grandpa,’ I brought up a grin, ‘what about you.’
‘I’m alright, just been working on the parts from the Muggle boat I found, did you want to see?’ he asked eagerly.
‘I’d love to later, but I really have to find mum, have you seen her?’ It was a lie; finding my mother was the last thing I wanted. But she would be unhappy if she knew what a screw up I was, so no matter how many lies I told I’d keep them up.
‘Yes son, she’s with your father, outside there.’ Granddad pointed out the open door to where even more family members were mingling around outside.
I sighed silently, ‘thanks, I’ll see you later.’
I was stopped by Roxy and Fred who arrived through the garden gate, and Uncle Bill and Aunty Hermione... all asking the same thing; “how you holding up?”
I’d like to say for now they believed me when I said I was fine.
‘Surprise,’ I said quietly, arriving at my mother’s side, finally, snapping her out of her conversation with Louis’s girlfriend Ella.
‘Oh Albus,’ she beamed and pulled me in automatically for a hug, ‘it’s been too long Al, you never visit me like your brother does.’ I had to resist the temptation to remind her James was the perfect son, not me. ‘Al how have you been, you look peaky.’
‘You’re beginning to sound like Nana,’ I joked, kissing her cheek, ‘I’m great mum, really, don’t worry about me.’ I turned to my dad who was surveying the conversation silently, ‘hey Dad.’
‘Hey Al,’ he smiled, ‘it’s good to see you.’ I got a hug from him too, probably because I hadn’t seen my family in so such a long time, and not a moment later I felt myself being tackled from behind.
‘Albie I missed you!’ Lily shrieked, jumping into my arms. I swung her round like I used to when she was a kid and buried my face in her hair, she smelt nice, like home.
‘Hey Lillers!’ I grinned sheepishly. She placed a sloppy kiss on my cheek and wrapped her arms around me again. I was soon pulled off into the house to tell her everything
about my life the past few months.
I couldn’t help thinking, just as I left the Burrow sometime late that evening, about the girl I’d run into today at the Leaky, and as I let myself into my flat and picked up my messy washing that was left on the floor, I couldn’t help wondering if I would see her again.
So here you go, chapter 2. Yes Albus is not the perfect Son we all expected him to be but I think it’s more interesting this way. Anyways as usual I own nothing but reading and reviewing is very much appreciated.