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Chapter 2 : The call
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A/N: Hello, I'm baaaack. :) I hope you enjoy reading (And maybe reviewing. Wink, wink. :P) this chapter, because it was insanely fun writing it.
Albus Potter is naive.
Quite a bit, in fact. His naivety leads to strange and foolish actions. A lot of his conducts are. One of the last is the idea to ask his cousin Lucy Weasley for help. You see, even though Albus believes everyone in his family adores him, the real situation is slightly different.
Lucy Weasley is Molly’s older sister. Both of them have sarcastic, mean natures. But Molly actually likes Albus. Lucy is angry with him for a reason Al doesn’t see yet. But is about to find out.
He knocks enthusiastically on her door, putting a huge smile on his face. He finds that this expression of his makes people mellow and relaxed. When, actually, they’re usually creeped out. But Lucy is not like most of them. She opens the door calmly, holding a strange muggle object in her left hand. And she snorts, leaving the door open for Al to enter freely. This is the point where he should have turned around and run. But of course...
„Hey, Lucy. How’s it going?“
„Do you have to do that?“
„That little intro. Just cut the crap and get to the point, already. What is it that you need?“
Albus shrugs. „Well I suppose it’s easier this way anyway. I need your help. Concerning a muggle problem.“
Lucy stops working on a strange machine placed on the small work table in the corner just enough to trow him a dirty look. But then her green eyes, which are just a shade brighter than Al’s, scan him with interest.
„What exactly are you talking about?“
„Well, I don’t know how informed you are and if Molly told you-“
„Woah, woah, hold up.“ Lucy shakes her head making her long red pony tail dance behind her. „Why would you even go there? You know Molly only speaks to you about that crap. Plus, I don’t like listening to sap stories. So... if that’s what you’re here for then-“
„Well, yes and no.“
„Wait, listen. Come on.“ Albus pleads. „Don’t you believe in love, at all?“
„You prick!“ Lucy raises her voice suddenly which makes Al take a few steps back.
People are scary when they’re angry. Especially sarcastic red headed Weasley girls.
„What?“ He’s positively confused.
„You have the nerve to ask?! I don’t know why I even let you in. Curse my curiosity.“
„What did I do?“ Al wonders.
Lucy takes her wand and points in directly to his chest, which makes Al squirm.
„Lucy, please. If I hurt you in any way, shape or form, it was probably unintentional. I know it doesn’t make it any better, but... If it means anything, whatever I did, I’m really sorry.“
Lucy studies him for a moment. Albus is smart enough to not make a single move. Which results in Lucy calming down eventually and lowering her wand.
„The closest I ever got to love...“
She trails off, as if remembering a much happier time. Not that she’s miserable, no. She’s never going to admit to it.
„I-I liked Ian.“ She finally mumbles in defeat.
Al blinks, surprised. „Ian? As in Roxy’s Ian?“
„Well, do you know of any other?“ Lucy rolls her eyes, clearly irritated. „I never said it to him or her, of course. Actually, you’re the first person I told.“
„Wow.“ Al nods.
And then the realisation of why she’s so angry finally dawns on him.
„Yup.“ Lucy agrees, going back to her machine.
„Listen. Lucy. I didn’t mean to scare Ian off. I’m just-“
„A bloody idiot?“ She offers with a forced smile.
„I was going to say accident prone around muggles. But that works too.“ He agrees.
„You’re shit prone all the time.“ Lucy corrects. „But yeah, around muggles it multiples about dozen of times.“
Al nods silently and puts his jacket slowly back on, followed by his emerald scarf and gloves.
„What are you doing?“ Lucy frowns.
„Look, I get it. I scared away the only guy you loved. I don’t expect you to help me.“
Just when he’s about to turn around to leave, he feels a hand on his shoulder.
„You’re an idiot.“ Lucy states. „But you’re a part of my family and... that’s what I believe in. Blood bonds.“
Al smiles. „You’re the best cousin-“
„Fuck that shit, I know who your favourite is. Don’t try to lie to me, Potter.“ Lucy smirks. „Now sit back. I’m gonna go and make us some tea. And then you’re going to tell me your stupid idea or whatever.“
Albus Potter is not aware that he lucked out.
Lucy Weasley was indeed feeling lonely lately. What with her sister mostly at Hogwarts, Ian gone and her only girl friend moving away the prior month. She yearned to have company. But was too proud to ask for it. And secretly, like really deep inside, she actually does adore Albus. Screw the git, he has the most warm green eyes in the universe. And he’s a nerd, just like her. They’re bound to like each other on some level, anyway. She’s also a little jealous of his and Molly’s friendship, so it’s understandable why she caved so quickly.
Albus Potter is one lucky bastard, indeed.
„So shoot.“ Lucy says while sipping her tea leaned back into her chair comfortably.
„Nyssa broke up with me.“
„You’re shitting me.“ Lucy blinks, startled.
„No, actually, she cheated on me but that’s beside the point.“
„Hold up.“ Lucy jumps in. „How can someone and by someone I mean your girlfriend of almost six fucking years cheating on you be beside the point?“
„It wasn’t that bad, really. I was planning on ending the relationship myself.“
„Yeah. I thought I didn’t love her anymore.“
„But when I saw her kissing Dax-“
„Her boyfriend. I think. Tall, dark, handsome. The cliche.“ He waves it off. „But she seemed happy to be kissing him. Which kind of broke my heart. And I realized I still care about her.“
Lucy shakes her head. „Dear Merlin. Have mercy on you idiocy.“
„I’m not an idiot, ok? I’m not going to go back to her. She clearly doesn’t want that, herself. I just need someone to listen to me whine about it.“
Lucy shifts uncomfortably. „Look, Al. I dig your whole I’m so nice it almost seems I’m stupid thing, but I’m a terrible adviser. You should know that. Plus, I think I have ADD.“
„Oh, no.“ Al laughs. „I’m flattered that you even considered being my therapist, but I think I need someone who is completely outside of this whole situation. And my life.“
„So you need a stranger?“ Lucy asks, still confused.
„Exactly!“ Al jumps with joy. „And that’s where you step into the story. I listened to a music station with the help of that muggle radio device the other night.“
„The one granddad gave you? You figured it out?“
Al nods with a self satisfied smirk.
„I’m impressed.“ Lucy admits.
„But this one other thing I can’t. I listened to a show called Stereo hearts. It’s hosted by a girl who, for some reason, doesn’t want to give her real name away but goes by Stereo girl. She’s brilliant. She chose just the right songs and said just the right words. And her voice...“ Al dozes away for a second. „I don’t know. She seems like a delightful person and one that would like to listen to someone, for a change.“
There’s a short silence before Lucy concludes. „I honestly don’t know what to say.“
„Will you help me? I need to find out where she works, at least. I know muggles have that network thing...“
„The Internet?“ Lucy supplies, on a verge to laugh.
„Yes! Can you use it to find out?“
Lucy eyes him while frowning deeply. „You know you’re acting like a stalker, right?“
„No, I’m not!“ Albus screams offended.
„Merlin, sensitive much?“ She blinks, startled by his small outburst.
Al clears his throat and goes back to his regular calm self in mere seconds. „So?“
„So...“ Lucy smiles. „Fine. But I’m doing it just so I can see you embarrass yourself completely.“
„You keep telling yourself that. We know what’s the real reason, though.“ Al winks and Lucy pretends to trow up.
And so they bond. Crazy secret plans and all.
„Albus Potter, stop being so fucking annoying! I can’t manage to do anything with you hovering above my head, you twat!“
Al shrugs. „Molly still has a dirtier mouth.“
„Should the fact offend me?“
„It depends on how you view the topic. You tell me.“
Lucy rolls her eyes. „FYI, while you were asking ridiculous and exhausting questions, I found something.“
„You did? Bless your super productive nature!“ Al kisses her on the cheek and Lucy makes a disgusted face.
She opens a tab with the name Oxford Radio on the top. Below is an article in bright letters. Stereo Hearts-the hottest thing since Donna Franco.
„Who’s Donna Franco?“ Al asks, confused by the name and bright colors of the page.
„I don’t know. Some muggle artist. She’s apparently a painter slash actress. Who cares?“
„Look at that photo! She’s bloody fit.“
„Fine. Moving on.“ He says grumpily.
„So, Oxford Radio is in the Oxford Street in muggle London. Number 59.“
„Neat. Well, that was surprisingly easy.“
„It’s because I did it.“
Lucy is now drinking hot chocolate and smirking. She is actually enjoying the day. It’s nice. Albus is entertaining, especially when he isn’t aware of the fact.
„So now I only have to get there.“ He ponders.
„I’m afraid for those poor unsuspecting people.“
„Then maybe you should come with me. To make sure I don’t accidentally hurt someone?“ Al suggests with the best intentions.
Like he always does. He’s rarely intentionally mean and nasty. One of the best qualities he possess. But Lucy is not about to reveal that to him.
„Al, please. Like I wish to get involved in your ridiculous plan.“ She waves it off, laughing.
But, somehow, she ends up doing just that.
„Why on Earth did I agree to this?!“ Lucy yells in frustration.
She’s angry with herself. She’s supposed to know better. But alas, Al persuaded her with his innocent eyes. Still, Lucy knows. She has no excuses. She’s a weakling.
They apparate to that bar she once visited with Ian. It isn’t the best place, but the only one she knows that’s casual with wizards and witches. To the point where the customers don’t even notice them popping up in the middle of the room anymore.
It stings, of course it does. Remembering their shared laughs. They hurt the most. In the end, Lucy knows it wasn’t Al’s fault. Ian just wasn’t cut out to handle their world. Never was. Doesn’t mean she’ll let her cousin slip away from the guilt that easily, though. It’s too much fun watching him eat himself up for everything. Lucy sighs contently at the prospects of her superior position.
„Now where to?“ The said cousin interrupts her thoughts.
She pulls out one of those mobile devices muggles are so fond off. She bought one for herself the last time she was visiting muggle London. Lucy finds the map application showing the whole city.
„It’s really near by. We can walk.“
„I’m sorry. I wanted to say we are going to walking.“
Why was she afraid, again? This is clearly so much fun.
This is a nightmare.
„I was just wondering, what’s her name? Can you call her for me?“
„You want to... get her number, I suppose?“ The stern looking man raises his bushy eyebrow at Albus.
Lucy is shaking her head in the corner. Maybe it’s better she stays low and pretends like this black haired man is a stranger to her, too. She does fit into the background here, anyway. Which makes he unusually giddy. But, of course, she coves it up with a superior look. She can do this. Albus is just a random lunatic.
„Lucy, would you care to explain? I’m getting lost, quite honestly.“ Albus seems nervous.
She trows him a why, Al, why stare for blowing her cover. He doesn’t get the meaning, it appears.
How can Molly hang out with him all the time, Lucy wonders. It would drive her insane.
„Let me handle this, Trevor. Go entertain Nora’s cat or something.“ A slim brunette walks towards Al, carrying an intrigued smile on her plump lips.
Lucy smells a no good attitude.
„Well, well, well...“ She plays with Albus’ collar. „Not bad.“
„I’m sorry. I’m not sure I comprehend what the meaning behind your statement is.“
The girl’s eyes twinkle even more. „Smart, too, I’d say. I like you.“
Lucy rolls her eyes. The lady’s just flirting, then. Poorly so.
„You do?“ Al is confused.
Lucy doesn’t know why. Is he really that blind? The woman is practically drooling on him. Yes, in their world, Al is foremost considered a nerd and not that many witches dig it, his whole persona. So he is not wildly accustomed to this type of attention. But here, he’s still just a pretty face. Lucy can see it. Maybe it’s weird for her to acknowledge it, that, yes, Albus is handsome. But, come on! He has to realize the woman’s intentions! She is not subtle, at all.
Then, all that disappears in an instant and the lady smiles sweetly. „Let me guess, you’d like to get Stereo girl’s number. Am I right?“
Lucy sighs in relief. Good. So far not so horrible.
„I’m confused. What is the meaning of the word number in your sentence?“
Lucy’s danger senses kick in and she joins in, standing by Al’s right side. „My cousin is a big, albeit a terrible, joker. To sum it up, yes, he would like her number, if that is possible.“
The brunette sends winks her way and disappears in the office near by.
„Just let me talk, ok?“
The lady returns looking around herself, like she’s being a bit sneaky. She calls them to gather around her and lowers her voice before speaking.
„All right, I promised her I wouldn’t do this any more, but your cousin is crazily cute and just doesn’t seem like a creeper at all, so...“ She hands Lucy a piece of paper with a line of numbers written on it in black ink.
Lucy smiles in gratitude, completely forgetting that she isn’t supposed to be pro this whole idea. „Thanks so much. And I swear, he’s not a creeper. Well, besides having some quirky traits like being space obsessed.“
The woman’s eyes suddenly light up. „That is... perfect. But listen, As-I mean, Stereo girl has had some bad experiences with fans and she made me promise not to give her number to anyone. So just don’t tell her I did. Act like-like it was a wrong number and strike up a conversation before she gets the chance to hang up. It’s the only solution, I think.“
Lucy nods in agreement.
„Come on.“ She tells Al and they walk toward the door.
„Hey!“ The woman calls, looking at Al with a warm grin. „By the way, what’s your name, honey?“
„I’m Albus Potter. You?“
She makes a funny face, probably caused by his unusual name, to say the least. „Elena. Just wanted to wish you luck, Albus. She could use someone like you.“
Elena turns around cheerfully and heads back to the office almost skipping to an imaginary song. Or maybe she does hum it silently to herself. They can’t tell.
That night Lucy explains the concept of phone calling and talking to her cousin. She then lets him be and goes back to her apartment.
Albus is now alone.
He is still aware of all the photos of Nyssa in his flat. And her books, her clothes. He is ashamed of the action, but the other night he sneaked her pyjamas into bed. They smell like her, still. Nyssa hasn’t come around to collect her belongings to this day. The more she waits, the more Al feels depressed. Well, almost. He has never actually been that far gone. He just likes to over react.
Albus Potter is a bit of a dramatist, one can say.
Al makes himself a cup of hot chocolate, he’s actually becoming slightly addicted, and sits into his favourite chair. He stares at the phone Lucy got him on short notice. It’s strange. That’s all he can conclude. Albus finally types the number into the device and calls. The annoying sound keeps going until...
„Er, St-I mean, James, where are you? I’m waiting for you.“
There’s a short silence. Al hopes this works.
„I’m sorry, you’ve obviously got the wrong number.“
„And I’m a girl. I hope I sound like one, too. So I don’t know how you mistook me for some... James bloke.“
„Oh, I just... I’m sorry, I kind of over heard your voice the first time you spoke.“
„Oh, great. Ok, I’ll let you go and you can call your James mate then.“
„No, wait! I-I’m sorry. Can I be completely honest? Between us, I... I’m a bit intoxicated.“
„Drunk. I’m... drunk.“
„Oh, perfect. Well, I’m happy for you. Now-“
„And you know why? Because of my girlfriend. Well, ex girlfriend, to be precise. She cheated on me with a tall, athletic guy.“
„Oh, wow. Listen...“
„Albus. I’m Albus. If your pause was to ask about my name. If not, well... it’s still Albus.“
„Ok. Um, I’m sorry about your girlfriend, I really am. But you’re a stranger. And I don’t feel like being a therapist to one.“
„Oh, yeah, right. I’ll just... Call my idiot brother. He’ll probably ignore me, though. So I’ll stare at the photos of Nyssa in my flat. Nyssa, she’s-“
„Your ex, yeah. That much I got.“
„I’m just, uh... I’m miserable. Well, no. Mostly dissatisfied. I thought she was it, for quite some time, you know. Even though I didn’t feel it in the last year... It’s hard getting used to... reality and the fact that she isn’t anymore.“
This is not a lie. Actually it hits so close to home that Al feels like choking up. Which he does, but discreetly. He’s not about to embarrass himself... too much.
There’s another pause. It feels more heavy this time. Albus reckons it’s due to Stereo girl taking it all in. Or just thinking up a plan how to hang up without being too rude and blunt.
„It is hard.“
The voice responds, sounding smaller than before. More fragile.
„Look... whoever you are-“
„I’m Albus Potter.“ He blurts.
Well, maybe it’s for the best to be frank and honest. Except for the little detail that this was all planned. But that’s not relevant right now.
„Yeah... Albus... I’m really busy and... Well...“
„Are you truly? ’Cause that’s the most common excuse people use to get rid of unwanted attention.“
„I’m just a voice, you know. We’ll never see each other. Maybe this is your only chance to talk to me. And who knows, maybe you’ll find that you enjoy the occurrence.“
„You’re strangely articulate for a drunk.“
„I’m actually not that drunk. I just-I need someone to talk to. And this accidental call seems appropriate at the moment. But I understand. You’re probably sick of people telling you their crap stories everyday...“
„Actually... It’s quite the opposite. I’m usually the one talking.“
Albus smirks to himself. Jackpot.
Stereo girl sighs. „All right. I may just be crazy, but... what the heck. I’ll give it a try. I’ll listen to your whinnying. But only for tonight. After this, you’ll erase my number from the dialled ones and will never think of me again. Deal?“
„Call me Al. What’s your name again?“
He hopes this will work.
„I didn’t say it in the first place.“
Just when he’s about to ask another question that is supposed to urge her to tell him, she does it by herself.
„It’s Asis.“ She whispers.
„Sun.“ Al whispers back.
Albus Potter is not a big fan of the whole fate ordeal. But sometimes, he likes to close his eyes and think it’s real. Life appears less random that way.
„Yeah, my mum’s family is from Africa and so...“
„Thanks. But back to you and...“
„Nyssa. Yeah, well. It’s a long story.“
„I was lying prior. I have a day off tomorrow so... shoot. I’ll listen. For however long you need.“
„Brace yourself ’cause it’s not going to be a very pleasant ride.“
She snorts. Even that sound of hers is magical.
„Well, I met Nyssa when I was about 18. And a half. I’d say.“
„Are you always so picky?“
„I see what you mean by the fact that it’s usually you talking.“
„Oh, shut up.“
„If I do, this won’t exactly work.“
„Darn it. You’re witty.“
„Isn’t that a good thing?“
„Usually... But with you... I haven’t decided yet.“
„Go on. I’ll try to keep my talking to a minimum.“
„So I met Nyssa. She was like a vision, really. Beautiful, fun, sweet. She liked me in spite of my family and social history.“
„Let me guess. Your parents are divorced. And that caused you to be bitter and awkward with people. That’s quite common these days.“
„That was... quite offensive. But no. It’s more like... My parents are... slightly famous where I live.“
„Where do you live?“ She doesn’t sound apologetic.
Albus figures he likes that about her.
„If I’m going to stay a stranger... I need to keep that to myself.“
„Did you forget you gave me your full name and surname? If you don’t, the Internet will certainly tell me.“
„I thought this was supposed to be a one night thing. A stranger thing.“
„Fine. Move on.“ She agrees.
„Having famous parents caused me more problems than benefits, to be honest. I’d never tell that to them, of course. It’s not that I’m bitter, though. Just... It was hard knowing who was there for me and not them.“
„I-I get that.“
„I’m not saying anything. Move on.“ She orders again.
„Then Nyssa came along. And she was nice. Genuinely so. She didn’t seek anything more than a true connection. So we bonded over our mutual love of sweets and hate of sports. It was perfect. I even almost proposed to her.“
„Wow. That’s serious.“
„Yeah. It was. I did love her. But then... I think I know now the exact moment everything went spiralling down. It was my cousin’s wedding. Rose. She married her Hog-I mean, school sweetheart. Some bloke named Elijah. Nyssa was one of the bridesmaids. They got along. When she stood there, near the altar... She looked beautiful, of course. But... I couldn’t imagine myself standing up there beside her, ever. I couldn’t even imagine our future together anymore. That’s when I knew... It was over. The last year was just me struggling with that realization and not being able to truly let go. So she did that for me.“
„And that’s when you realized you want her back? That’s bad, mate.“
„No. I just realized I did care about her. She’s important to me. And it hurts. But I still don’t see a future with her. That’ll never change.“
„Well... Al. You sound pretty mature to me. I’m not sure you need my help at all. How old are you?“
„Twenty three. Have a birthday coming up in a few months. But you’re wrong, Asis. I need someone to listen to me. I need support to get over this sooner rather than later. It’s not a coincidence I stayed with Nyssa for a whole year after I realized I don’t want to spent my life with her. I have issues with letting go and moving on.“
„Maybe you’re just scared of being alone after all this time.“
Albus Potter understands that it was a lucky guess.
But he can’t help but feel like Asis is reading his mind with more care and thought than he ever did himself. And it exalts him to the bones.
„Maybe.“ He responds quietly.
„Al, I’m not sure I can tell you the right words. I’m supposed to make you feel better and inspire you to move on in just this one night, right? That’s hard. Impossible, I’d say.“
„I’m sure you’ll figure something out.“
She sighs and stays silent for a few moments. Albus savours it. The fact that she’s here for him. It isn’t strange, he thinks, seeking her out. On the contrary, it makes perfect sense in a way.
„I think... I think you should just let life run its course.“
„Well that wasn’t generic at all.“
„Seriously. Just, don’t force your moving on. Take as much time as you require. That way you’ll be sure everything progresses naturally. The way it should.“
Albus ponders at her words. Yes, they’re all too generalized. But also very true.
„Thanks, Asis. I’m sorry for bothering you for this long.“
„No, I... It’s fine, really.“
„Have a nice life.“
„Yeah... you, too.“
Albus hangs up for the first time in his life time. And he concludes that... it sucks. He wishes he never has to do this. So the conversation can go on forever.
Yes, Albus Potter is cheesy.
Something Molly Weasley finds rather hard to get over when spending time with her cousin.
Al showers, eats his dinner and lays in his bed. The space beside him is far too empty. Hollow. Like the way he feels right now. The colorful picture on his night stand taunts him with Nyssa’s happy face. He remembers the exact time he took it, too. He doesn’t want to. He turns his back to it, annoyed. Shutting his eyes with all his force. Asis’ words come back to haunt him, though. Let it run its course... So he stops fighting.
That’s exactly when his phone rings. He stares at it. He doesn’t remember if Lucy taught him how to answer. Is it similar to the calling process? He picks up the device from his night stand and looks at the buttons. Panicking, he presses almost all of them at the same time. A faint voice fills his room. He puts the phone to his ear.
„I can’t sleep.“
„Yup, your accidental phone pal.“
„I’m too nosy for my own good, that’s what.“
„I’m sorry if I disturbed your sleep. And how did you know my number?“
„You’re hilarious, Potter. Here’s what we’re going to do. I may like listening to your voice...“
„Whatever. And I will be a good human and offer my support to you, until you really get through this. I’ll call you every night. If that’s fine with you.“
„More than fine, actually.“
„Good. Listen... Don’t think anything of this. I don’t usually talk to strangers. Nor do I usually act like a therapist. I need one myself. But let’s just say that you sound nice. And real. And my world could use someone of your kind.“
„I wasn’t planning to make any assumptions, anyway. Thank you, Asis.“
„Yeah, well. I’m stupid like that.“
Albus lays in his bed with a smile on his features this time around. They talk for a long time. Until he falls asleep with his phone loosely hanging in his palm.
And so, Albus Potter becomes a little more than just content with his life.
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