Chapter 2 : Chapter 2
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“Lily?” I asked, kneeling before her. “Lily!” I touched her chilly hand, but she did not move.
“Lily.” Extending a finger, I poked between her ribs, noting the softness of her flowered dress.
“James!” A giggle erupted between her lips, and she quickly repositioned to sit on the grass. “Don’t poke my ribs!”
“It’s time for dinner, Mum’ll kill you if you get a grass stain on your dress.” Already leggy at ten years old, she scoffed at my attempts to be an over protective big brother and punched my leg before standing up. I was thirteen years old that summer, fresh from my third year at Hogwarts. Albus, my younger brother, had been sorted into Slytherin at the beginning of his first year, segregating me from him. I had always tried in the beginning to reach out to him, mostly because Mum and Dad would have had my neck if I hadn’t. At first he reciprocated, but then he suddenly started to fold into himself, spending time studying in the library and hanging out with his Slytherin friends.
As far as I was concerned, it didn’t really matter to me that Albus was a Slytherin, at least not deep down. On the surface, I pretended to be embarrassed, I complained to my friends, and I largely mocked him just to get under his skin. It was no different than any other older brother might have done.
I don’t think that my superficial cruelty contributed to the darkness that had settled into his soul, but that first summer back from Hogwarts, something seemed a little off about him. He had continued his trend of keeping to himself, much to the chagrin of Mum. She’d try to coax him out of his room with promises of sunny days at the market or a special day at the quidditch pitch.
On the day that I found Lily playing in the grass, my mother had forced Albus from his room, damn near kicking and screaming. My father had been working the entire day, and she had dragged him out of bed to go to the shops. I was in charge of Lily, and we spent the day playing in the forest outside our house, searching for butterflies and climbing trees. When Mum had returned with Al, she seemed extremely uptight and a little upset, and I didn’t think it was my place to ask her what was bothering her. So I chased Lily around a little bit more before dinner.
“James, what’s wrong with Al? He used to come outside and play with me, just like you did today. But when I tried to get him to come outside, he just wouldn’t talk to me. And then there was that whole thing this morning with Mum pulling him out of his room today. What do you think is wrong with him?”
“I dunno, Lils,” I said as I regarded her face. Her bright eyes were scrunched with confusion as she pensively chewed her bottom lip. “We should give him some space though, maybe he is just going through a rough time. It’s hard to say. Now come on, Dad’s just arrived home.”
A quick smile melted away the tension of her countenance, and she scampered away toward the door, her worries blissfully forgotten.
That night we ate without Albus at the table, and my parents said little about his absence. Instead, they cheerfully chatted about their day as though earlier that day I hadn’t seen his flushed cheeks, slick with tears, as he screamed an obscenity at my mother and begged to be left alone. And I in turn played to the charade, laughing with Lily at our trysts throughout the day, ignoring the meaningful looks Mum and Dad were shooting at each other.
And that night, when Lily was safe and sound in her bed, I crept from my own darkened room to ask my mother what had happened, but instead I could hear her and my father arguing through their closed bed room door.
“I don’t understand, Ginny. What has changed, why is he like this? You said you actually physically dragged him from his room?”
“I don’t know, I don’t understand what is going on with him. He was crying, he was screaming. He won’t go out and see his friends, it’s like he’s completely changed. I mean, he’s always been quiet and studious, not at all like James or Lily but I never thought…I never thought he would turn into this.”
“And what exactly is this, Gin? He’s just going through a hard time. We shouldn’t try to force him to do things he doesn’t want to do. He’s only twelve! He isn’t even a teenager yet. If you just stopped trying to force him to do things—”
“—you did not see him, Harry! If you would have seen him, you would know something was wrong with him! I think we need to get him checked out, I think there’s something wrong.”
“It’s a phase. Just hang in there. Don’t try to push anything.”
“Don’t bullshit me Harry. You try talking to him then, I can’t handle it. I don’t ever want to see my son act like that again, I can’t. When you see him like that, then you can judge. I’m going to bed.”
I stood on the outside of the door, completely transfixed by this argument. I wanted to burst in, screaming at my Dad, trying to make him see that what was happening to Albus was not something normal.
The next day, Albus came out of his room and pretended like nothing was wrong. But I knew. I always knew that one day, the darkness in him would come back.
I just wanted to say thank you so much to my first reviewers, adluvshp, FredWeasleyIsMyKing and scarleteye158. I am so glad you reviewed my story! I know the first chapter was intense, and this one kind of back tracked a bit but it’s important to see the events that lead up to that first chapter so I hope you weren’t too bored! Review please!
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