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Bright lights, sparklingly still bill boards, people dressed up to the nines. I felt like a stowaway criminal running through a town I knew next to nothing about. I dashed around corners, cleverly avoiding average Londoners, and tried, without much success, to keep up with Albus. It didn’t seem to matter that I was running and he only walked at a fast pace... within minutes I had lost him.
And lost myself.
I managed to bring myself to a halt on the corner of a set of cross roads; Londoners and Tourists alike seemed all to be out on the streets tonight, making their way to and from bars, restaurants and whatever else they were doing. The black hair of Albus Potter had slipped from my gaze for one moment and now I was lost. Lost and regretting running.
I don’t even know why I had run in the first place; of course I was chasing Albus but for what reason? We were friends yes, but not close. I guess I’d only wanted to make sure he was okay but now it seemed so irrelevant and stupid. I cared too much. I never thought these things through. I was such a stupid girl stuck in her teen years. This was why I left France, I was supposed to stop these rash decisions.
I pushed those thoughts out of my mind; I should’ve been thinking of how to get back home. I didn’t want to apparated in front of such a crowd, I just couldn’t go through explaining what had happened to the Ministry this evening for performing magic in front of Muggles.
I couldn’t see the path I’d taken to get here, nor where Albus had disappeared off to. I was completely lost.
Damn this was such a cliché, I smacked my forehead with my fist, do I never think things through before I act?
It was no use fretting about this now, I was as good as lost, and the only thing that was really worth doing was finding an alley or something nearby and Apparating home, then somehow getting the message to Scorpius and Rose that I was okay. There really was no point in looking for Albus; London was a massive city, he could be anywhere by now.
I took off straight ahead of me, crossing the road and carefully dodging the taxis that seemed intent on running me over. How I despised these Muggle transports. People pushed past me and for once I was glad I didn’t carry much around with me but my wand; pickpockets wouldn’t find much use in a wand.
The glaring lights of London seemed a little off-putting, and the people paying no attention to the fact that a witch was walking in their midst were not the friendliest, but backtracking several times, and turning down some of the less busy streets, I seemed to find a small side road beside a practically empty restaurant that was empty enough for me to apparated in.
Or so I thought, until I was ready to turn, spin and snap away when there sounded a groan. My immediate reaction was to turn and run, or apparate anyway, but now I’m glad I didn’t. Out of the shadows emerged a shaking figure that I distinctly recognised. Perhaps it was a little unrealistic to find Albus in one of the millions of side alleys in London, but I guess I was just lucky, or we were both on the same train of thought... or whichever, because there he was, in no fit state to be even holding himself up.
‘Al?’ I moved forward cautiously, remembering the way he had punched Scorpius in the face, only a short while ago, ‘Albus are you okay.’ Even in the dark, in this barely lit street, I could see his head shaking and he moaned quietly to himself.
I reached him, carefully extending my arm out to steady him, he was swaying slightly; something to do with all the alcohol he’d consumed tonight, maybe it was all catching up to him now. ‘Are you alright?’ I repeated, placing a hand on his arm, I could feel his muscle tighten below where my hand rested.
‘It’s all so fucked up,’ he groaned, his weight shifting, he leant away from me. ‘I can’t do it anymore, it has to stop, I have to stop, I need to stop, please leave me.’
I couldn’t bring myself to that. No matter how absurdly insane he sounded right now, I wouldn’t leave him alone. I needed to get him back to Scorpius, or Rose, or someone. There were more, unsteady, whimpering sounds coming from him now. He was beginning to sound relatively like a dying cat, and I was beginning to panic. ‘Where should I take you Al, where do you want to do?’ I begged for an answer.
‘Away, far away, I can’t do it anymore,’ he tried to shake himself free but I had a strong hold of his wrist. ‘Leave me Belinda, leave me alone, please.’ I couldn’t tell if his voice was returning to normal, or getting worse. His eyes flashed up to mine, something about them looked pale and uncoordinated, he looked terrified and ill, and his glasses were skew on his nose.
‘Albus, I’m going to apparate you now, please,’ I grabbed his hand firmly and was turning on the spot before he could protest. Terrified I would splinch him, I gripped both his hands fiercely and pictured Rose’s house in my mind. The little front door and the ivy creeping up the walls swam into view as both our feet slammed into the ground. Albus was still swaying but upright and in one piece. No blood.
I carefully lead Albus the short distance up to the doorway and knocked, as loudly as I could muster with a practically full grown man leaning on my shoulder. There was no reply. I knocked again and the same response. ‘They aren’t home yet,’ Albus muttered unhelpfully, with a weak smile.
‘Where should I take you now?’ I pressed, ‘home?’’
‘No,’ he shook his head forcefully. ‘Not home, not home please.’
‘Where then?’ I was beginning to feel a little exasperated, and pretty sure that he was trying to get me to leave him in the street somewhere. Not that that would happen, I wasn’t leaving him anywhere alone in this state. Though I wasn’t really even entirely sure what “this state” was.
Albus thought silently for a moment, only groaning and wincing in small intervals, then he whispered, ‘Teddy’s house, it’s called Maison De Fleurs.’
‘Good,’ I replied steadily, ‘ready?’ He nodded but didn’t reply, and I gripped his hands again, feeling that familiar feel of being dragged down a pipe that was squeezing in on us.
And then I got a lungful of clean, fresh air. Quite the contrary to the London air we’d been breathing. We were standing in a pond, with water up to our knees, and large reeds growing all around us. Over Albus’s shoulder I could see, what I assumed to be Teddy’s house. A tall house with flower and trees growing all around it.
‘Is this the right place,’ I asked Albus, letting him lean against me, he wasn’t wearing a jacket and the cold night air was making him shiver uncontrollably. He didn’t answer so I assumed it was and approached the house, supporting Albus as he walked.
I didn’t know Teddy that well... or at all really. I’d heard snippets about him from Al and Rose, but I don’t recall ever meeting him. I figured it could get a little awkward; why would a girl they barely knew turn up with a very drunk – or something – Albus, so I didn’t plan on staying long, that was until I figured out it wasn’t Teddy, or his wife, that opened the door.
‘Fuck,’ Albus staggered back, ‘no, I’m going somewhere else, no fuck,’ he shook his head vigorously, I would have toppled over if the petite figure with cropped red hair in the doorway hadn’t caught my hand. ‘Fuck, where’s Ted?’
‘Albus?’ The red head asked, squinting in the dark, ‘Al, are you okay? What’s wrong with him?’ she turned desperately to me, searching my face for answers. I couldn’t have helped seen as I didn’t know.
‘Shit, Belinda, please, please let’s go,’ he grabbed my hand, but even in this state he was sensible enough not to apparated himself anywhere. And I refused to take him.
The red head, reached out a hand, as a confused look crossed her face, ‘here, Albie, come here.’ She lead him inside and looked over her shoulder at me, ‘don’t be shy,’ she smiled boldly, ‘I don’t bite.’ I walked into the house shutting the door behind me with a light snap.
I hurried through down the corridor to where voices were sounding. In the light Albus looked a lot worse than I thought. I wasn’t entirely sure what happened to him, but he had dark circles under his eyes and he was white as a sheet. He was leaning away from the red head; desperately trying to stay out of her reach, but for the moment, she was fussing around with a little girl who was lying asleep on the sofa.
‘I’m Dominique, or Dom,’ the red head straightened up. She was quite a bit shorter than I was, and she had bright blue eyes, with a good helping of freckles over her nose. ‘Have we met?’
‘I don’t think so,’ I mumbled, watching her turn to fuss over Al, whose eyes were slowly shutting from fatigue. ‘But Rose and Al have mentioned you...’
‘Of course they have,’ she chided, carefully pouring water into Al’s open mouth, ‘I’m their favourite cousin; would you like to tell me what happened to our little Albie this evening?’ She stood up and beckoned me into the kitchen, switching off the light so Albus could sleep.
‘I don’t really know,’ I admitted, leaning against one of the kitchen counters, ‘we were out with Rose and Scorpius, and Scorpius was really drunk, and he was saying some stuff, and then Al punched him, and ran off, so I chased him, and found him in an alley, and he was-’
‘Like he is now?’ Dom confirmed. I nodded. ‘I’m sorry you had to see that, I take it you and Albie haven’t been together long?’
‘Oh we’re not together,’ my head snapped up, I brushed some hair out of my eyes, ‘no, we’re just friends... if even...’
‘Well in that case,’ Dominique smirked, ‘I’m sorry you had to see that at all,’ she looked at me with a curious expression, ‘hey I didn’t catch your name.’
‘It’s Belinda,’ I murmured.
‘Ah yes, well Belinda, sounds like you’ve had quite a night, do you want to crash here this evening?’ she asked politely, ‘I’ll move Isabelle,’ she gestured, ‘Ted and Vic won’t be home till some time tomorrow, and there are tonnes of sheets and duvets upstairs.’
It was hard to admit a little sheepishly, that I didn’t feel like going back to my flat, but Dom didn’t mind at all, she just grinned and lifted the tiny sleeping child off the sofa, and left me to sleep under a pile of blankets she’d brought down.
I fell asleep thinking about certain things, like why dark haired Potter boys ended up looking strangely mental down alley ways in London, and why said boy’s cousin acts as though there is barely anything wrong.
And perhaps Al’s problems were just a little deeper than the surface.
And there you go, the story really begins. I know this was also in Belinda’s POV, but that was the only way I could make the chapter work, I hope the new info makes up for it... Well who else is a little curious about Jess. Just to let you know I have her entire story with Albus planned out, and there is a very good reason why Al is so messed up. Are you curious? You know you are?
Okay well sorry the chapters are taking a couple of days to come through, I’m quite a busy person at the moment. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW!! I love to know whether you like it, you’re confused, and especially if you think I can improve because believe me I know I’m far from perfect.
As usual this world belongs to JK Rowling, and I own nothing.
Thanks for reading,