Chapter 3 : Problem Number Three
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After Albus slammed the door shut, I didn’t know what I to do. It was already late and Albus was supposed to be the last person I would be seeing for today. According to timing, he should have left fifteen minutes later.
I didn’t however leave. My legs wouldn’t move. Instead I collapsed onto one of the wooden chairs placed at the edge of the old, brown dusty classroom and groaned.
I felt awfully bad for snapping at Albus. He didn’t deserve my anger. No matter however rude he was to me. The kid was going through a rough time and people were already ignoring him and jeering at him and my anger was the last thing that he needed.
I needed to apologize. What I did was out of line.
And what he did wasn’t?
Shut up brain. No one asked you.
* * *
After twenty minutes of replaying my session with Albus in my head and deciding how to apologize to him, I headed back towards the common room.
I entered the girl’s dormitory and found Kenny, Rose and Nell sitting on my bed all huddled up.
Kenny, who noticed me coming into the room, called out. “Finally!” She exclaimed. “We’ve been waiting for you for ages!”
I gave them a small smile, “Sorry.”
I walked towards my bed and sat down next to Rose, who scooted towards Nell making space for me to sit.
“Can’t believe you’re late for Confession Night!” Nell said, shaking her head.
Crap! I had completely forgotten! I never forgot CN night!
You’re probably wondering what Confession Night is. Yes? Of course you are. I can practically see you drooling curiosity. Well, confession night happens once a month when all of us girls reveal our secrets.
It’s kind of silly really since we talk about it whenever we want, but this has been happening since we were eleven, when all of us weren’t that close to each other. Kenny came up with the idea. She always believed that roommates were supposed to be best friends. The rest of us just went along with it.
“So!” Rose exclaimed, clapping her hands together. “Who’s first?”
“I slept with Louis yesterday.” Nell blurted out.
“We guessed, thanks to your empty bed.” Kenny pointed out drily.
Nell blushed. “It wasn’t the first time.”
“WHAT?!” The three of us cried together.
“We kind of did it during the summer too.” Nell said, looking embarrassed.
Rose looked appalled, while Kenny looked worried.
“Nell, this isn’t good for you.” Kenny said softly. “You’re falling for him harder and harder everyday while he doesn’t give a shit.”
I told you, Kenny is a real sweetheart. No matter how much she yells, or tries to show how tough she is – she’s a real softie.
I wanted to so badly tell them that Louis actually did like her, but I promised him that I wouldn’t.
Yeugh. Stupid promise.
“I know. I know.” Nell sighed. “But I can’t help it. He just makes me so happy you know?”
“But all you guys do is snog.” Rose said, stiffly.
I frowned. I don’t know why Rose had become so cold towards Nell all of a sudden.
“We talk too!” Nell defended her relationship.
Rose shrugged. “As long as you know what you’re doing.”
I gave Rose the stink eye. She looked back and mouthed “later”.
Well, at least she had a reason for her behavior.
“Well, as long as you’re happy, you can er do whatever you guys are doing.” I said.
Nell’s face broke out into a smile. “I’m happy.”
“Yay. She’s happy. Now, Nell your turn is over! Ro – you’re next!” Kenny said, pointing her finger towards Rose.
“Well. Um. You know. I sort of, like really - really like…scoppp.” Rose mumbled the last part.
“Sorry who?” Kenny asked, bringing her ear forward eagerly.
“Scorpius.” Rose said, louder this time.
This time there was no reaction. We all just stared at Rose.
“What?” She asked nervously. “Why are you all staring at me?”
“You like Scorpius.” Nell said, pointing her finger at Rose in an accusing manner. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“Holy shits Ro. You’re screwed.” Kenny breathed.
Now let me tell you something, before you start thinking that my friends are a bunch of unsupportive loons – Scorpius doesn’t date. At all. He’s never had one girlfriend since he’s arrived at Hogwarts. Not even one. Not that he isn’t a good-looking bloke. In fact he’s incredibly handsome with his messy blonde hair and stormy gray eyes. Honestly if I didn’t see him as a brother I would have grabbed him and snogged him senseless.
Excuse me. My hormones are a bit demented right now.
Point is - liking Scorpius is like asking for your heart to be broken. It’s a death wish.
I’m exaggerating here but you get my point.
Last year, Jake even gave him the whole ‘it’s okay if you’re gay’ talk over dinner. I remember all of us sitting our eyes glued to Scorpius waiting for him to blow up or confess. Personally, I was hoping for the latter. I’d always wanted a gay best friend.
However, Scorpius only looked at all of us in mild shock and broke out into laughter. Legit. There even tears flowing down his cheeks.
“I’m not gay. Just haven’t found the right girl yet.”
That was the end of the conversation. I thought he’d get a girlfriend after that to prove he’s straight, but he didn’t.
Do you now see why we’re so worried about Rose here?
“Shit Ro.” I breathed. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know!” Rose buried her face in her hands for a few seconds. Then she looked up hopefully. “Maybe he’ll like me back?”
All three of us mumbled out our rather incoherent lies, knowing full well that the chance of Scorpius liking her back was minimal.
“You know,” Rose said, looking slightly amused. “You guys have been my best friends for six years now. You can tell me the truth.”
“I don’t think Scorpius will like you back.” Nell blurted, and then immediately put her hands to her mouth.
Wow Nell. Ever heard of the gentle approach? Though I shouldn’t be talking since I am one of those brutally honest people.
Rose sighed, looking dejected. “I guess he won’t.”
“No, that’s not what Nell meant to say!” Kenny amended hastily, looking at me pleadingly for help.
“What she meant to say is,” I said, coming to Kenny’s rescue, “- that erm, well, Scorpius…well…he well um.” Kenny stared at me incredulously, which clearly stated ‘what the fuck Rocky’.
I truly wonder how the brain is considered the boss of our body if it spews out shit like this. I mean, forming intelligible words would be helpful you know.
I lost it then. “What I’m trying to say is that you’re better off liking someone else!” Then, I had an epiphany. “Although…” I said thoughtfully, “We can always get Scorpius to like you back.”
Rose perked up. “Really?” Then she reached over and gave me a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!”
Nell and Kenny were frowning at me for giving it Rose false hope. But I wasn’t! I swear. I mean now that I think of it, those two would look really cute together!
Now, I just had to devise a really good plan to get them together.
“You’re welcome.” I choked out. “Could you let go? You’re strangling me.”
“Oops. Sorry!” Rose finally stopped choking my neck.
“Kenny. Your turn.” I said, weakly. I swear that bitch was trying to kill me.
Kenny shrugged. “I don’t have any secrets.”
“No interesting guys?” Rose asked.
“Nope.” Kenny said, popping her lips at the p.
“No one?” Nell looked disappointed.
Maybe this would be a good time to help out Seth. I have to do this carefully. Subtly. Like a ninja.
“What do you think about Seth?” I blurted.
What the hell. That was not ninja-y at all. It was just desperate.
Kenny looked at me suspiciously. “He’s fine.”
“No!” I say desperately. “I mean as more than a friend!”
“Nah. He’s like a brother to me.” Oh shit. My brother just got bro-zoned.
“Oh. Okay.” Meet me, queen of poignant replies.
“Your turn, Rocky.” Kenny said lazily, leaning back on the headboard.
I sighed. After today’s session with Albus, I had to talk to somebody about it. I couldn’t keep it to myself.
“I’m seeing Albus.” I said quietly.
There was a moment of silence and then,
“YOU’RE DATING MY COUSIN?” Rose screeched. “WHAT THE HELL ROCKY? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?” And then she proceeded to whack me with a pillow.
“What?” I yelped. “No! I meant as a counselor!”
Rose calmed down, looking slightly ashamed. “Oh. Sorry.”
“How come?” Kenny asked curiously.
“I couldn’t say no to Harry Potter, when he specially asked me to help me deal with his ‘issues’.” I replied.
“Uncle Harry came to visit you?” Rose asked.
Did I not just say that.
“Not me specifically. But yeah. Apparently he’d been really withdrawn the entire summer and had been getting into loads of fights and the fight with Dean was the last straw. So, McGonagall called me in and asked me if I could help out and I said yes.”
Nell whistled. “Damn.”
“That’s why Al didn’t come to the big summer party that Fred hosted.” Rose said softly, comprehension drawing on her face. “He must’ve been grounded.”
“Probably.” I shrugged.
I felt good about telling them. I hated hiding things from those three.
“Why didn’t you tell us this before?” Nell asked.
“McGonagall told me not too. But I couldn’t keep it from you guys any longer. Especially after the session I had with him today.” I confessed.
“How did it go?”
“Well,” I sighed. “He basically told me to fuck off.”
Rose looked surprised while Nell and Kenny looked angry.
“How dare he,” Kenny growled. “He had no right!”
“Not in those words.” I assured them. “But that was the message.”
“That doesn’t sound like him.” Rose said softly, looking worried.
“Just telling you what I heard.” I say.
Rose didn’t seem to believe me, but she nodded anyway. I didn’t hold it against her. Her disbelief was understandable. I knew how Albus had been like before this. Not by speaking to him, but observing. It’s funny how much one can learn about someone by simply observing. But even then, what would you say; Albus had this aura around him. I could never figure what it meant. Behind his niceness, his every good quality, there was some sort of fire.
Truth is, Albus Potter wasn’t really what he portrayed himself to be.
* * *
“JAMES MOTHERFUCKING SIRIUS MOTHERFUCKING POTTER. I’M GOING TO FUCKING KLL YOU.” Kenny yelled, panting.
Well someone has a dirty mouth.
But I didn’t disagree with her. I was going to fucking kill that twat.
You want to know why?
Well, James so wonderfully decided that instead of practicing Quidditch in the air, we would build up our stamina.
By running fifteen rounds around the pitch, doing an hour crunches and now finally doing backbreaking motherfucking yoga exercises.
Who the hell does yoga exercises on the bloody Quidditch pitch? James said it was necessary because it would help calm the mind, which would help us play better.
Mind you, it wasn’t working. Everyone except James was either grunting in pain or exhibiting their rather colourful vocabulary.
James was currently doing a headstand on the blue yoga mat that he’d brought along, with his eyes closed and a peaceful expression on his face.
Without opening his eyes, he said, “Hush. Close your eyes and calm your mind, child.”
“How about I close your mouth forever?” Scorpius, who played beater muttered, his face scrunched up in pain from the odd position he was in.
I don’t even know where what is. Is that his leg? No wait. His toes are too long. I think those are the hands.
“James, can we please stop this nonsense and call it a day?” Lily, James younger sister and chaser, asked.
I groaned in pain from the swan position I was doing. Or attempting rather. I pulled my legs up and slumped back down.
This is ridiculous.
“I’m not doing this anymore!” I said, getting up and heading towards the changing room. “This is completely unnecessary.”
“I agree.” A bunch of voiced piped up and the rest of the team stood up as well.
James didn’t move.
“You know,” He said conversationally. “I was going to cancel practice tomorrow morning because these exercises were so tiring. But since you all are leaving, I guess there’s no need to cancel at all.”
No practice at five in the morning? That sounds amazing.
But I really, really, really don’t want to do yoga.
I don’t want to wake up five in the morning either.
Yoga it is.
James seemed to be watching all of our internal conflict with amusement.
“Fine.” Cathy Moore, a fifth year that played chaser along with Kenny and Lily grumbled.
Everybody got back into their arduous positions and started groaning with pain.
James smiled at all of us, still upside down. “Isn’t this the life?”
“You won’t have any fucking life left after I’m done with you.” I muttered. Scorpius, Lily and Fred all gave me thumbs up as a sign of agreement.
“Well, well. What do we have here?” I heard an arrogant voice.
James’s eyes flew open and we all turned our heads to the direction of the voice.
It was Abacus Goyle.
I'm not even joking. His name is actually Abacus.
I would pity him, but the guy’s such a bastard. Abacus was one of the biggest bullies of Hogwarts.
James got up from his yoga position and glared. “What do you want Goyle?”
“We’re here for practice actually. So we’d appreciate if you’d clear the pitch.” Albus came up from behind with his Firebolt, and looked at his brother expressionlessly.
“We booked the pitch! I have the pitch for another two hours!” James said, rather ticked off.
We were going to do these Yoga exercises for another two hours?
Bless the Slytherin team.
“Not any more.” Albus spoke coolly.
“Al! I booked the pitch!”
“I have a note, Potter.” He said, thrusting a crumpled piece of parchment in James’s hands.
I was shocked. How could you call your own brother by their last name? James too, was astonished at his brother. He stared wordlessly at Albus.
“Potter?” He asked quietly.
Albus didn’t show any emotion. “Clear off.”
Lily spoke up angrily. “What the fuck Al? What the hell happened to you?”
“Clear off.” He repeated. He turned his head towards his team. “In the air everyone.”
The Slytherin team mounted their broomsticks and flew in the air while Albus stayed on the pitch waiting for us to leave.
We all looked at James waiting for him to pick a fight and tell him that it was our time to practice. But he didn’t. He just stood there looking lost.
“This isn’t fair.” Fred hissed at Albus. “You can’t just walk in here like own the bloody pitch.”
“I have a note.” He shrugged.
Fred advanced towards Albus when James stopped him. “Let it be.” He muttered. “Practice is over.” He collected his yoga mat and walked off towards the changing rooms.
Everyone stared perplexed. James never gave in to anyone when he wanted something. Never. And here, he just gave up. That wasn’t like James at all.
“I get you have problems Al. But doing that to your own brother was disgusting.” Lily spat at him and ran towards the changing rooms.
Everyone followed glaring at Albus. I too made a move behind them. I looked behind and saw pain flickering across his face.
That’s when I knew that it hurt him. It hurt him to speak to his brother the way he did. With that cold mask of indifference. Pretending that he didn’t care.
I gave him a small smile (which he didn’t return) and walked back towards the changing rooms.
* * *
“Potter! He called me Potter? I mean, who calls their own brother by their last name?” The entire Quidditch team, along with Rose, Louis and my brother Seth were sitting by the fire in Gryffindor common room while James recounted the story.
James was upset. Upset was an understatement. James was nearly in tears.
James Potter in tears? I know what you’re thinking. As tough as he may pretend to be, like Kenny, he’s a real softie.
Don’t tell him I told you. He likes to pretend being manly for the ladies.
(His words, not mine.)
“I know James.” Lily rubbed his arm soothingly. “I was there, remember?”
“But I don’t understand why, Lily!” James wailed, running his hands through his raven black disheveled hair, which was still slightly wet from the shower he’d taken. “He’s been like this since the beginning of summer! I mean, what happened to him?”
Everyone pondered silently.
“Maybe he joined a bunch of thugs?” Fred suggested.
We all stared at him incredulously.
“What?” Fred said defensively.
Lily smacked him at the upside of his head. “My brother is not living a thug life! Al isn’t like that.”
“You don’t choose the thug life.” Fred said mysteriously. “The thug life chooses you.”
“Any more comments that are not related to thugs?” Louis asked, rolling his eyes.
Rose, on the other hand, unlike her cousin looked thoughtful. “What happened to Aimee and Nathan?” She asked slowly.
Aimee Hendricks and Nathan Root were Albus’s best friends. As far as I remember, Aimee was even dating Albus.
Now that I think of it, I hadn’t seen those two around him at all. Not during meal times nor during classes.
“What do you mean?” James asked.
“I mean,” Rose said, rather impatiently. “I haven’t seen those two at all near Albus! Aren’t they his best friends?”
Everyone looked at her, taking her words in. You could literally see the ideas that were forming in their head.
“Wasn’t Aimee his girlfriend?” I asked for confirmation.
“She was.” Rose nodded.
“I think he’s upset because they probably broke up.” Scorpius said, thoughtfully.
Rose smiled blazingly at him, her blue eyes sparkling with pride, as though he had made a breakthrough discovery.
Kenny and I shared a look and smirked. Rose had it bad.
“But that doesn’t explain why Nathan doesn’t hang out with Al anymore.” James said. “And a bad break wouldn’t have such a big effect on him!” He added, as an afterthought.
“He loved her!” Rose argued. “Of course it would!”
I, personally, agreed with James. A bad break up would definitely take a toll on him, but this was different. It wouldn’t cause him to just shut everyone out.
“What do you think Coco?” James asked.
All heads turned towards me looking at me expectantly.
Wow. Feel the pressure.
“Well,” I began slowly. “A bad break up could be one of the factors, but I think there’s more to the story.”
Everyone looked worried. As unrealistic as it may seem, but everyone in room liked Al. Either as family or just generally as a person.
James was quietly looking at the fire his eyes raging. It was creepy how alike James and Albus looked. Both had the classic Potter gene - the inky black hair. You could never tell them apart if it weren’t for the eyes. James had a beautiful hazel while Albus had sparkling bright green.
“You have to help him.” James looked up and stared at me. “You have to. Please. Help my brother.”
I smiled at him. No matter how much James annoyed me at times, he was like a brother to me. And I would do anything for him.
“Don’t worry. I plan to.”
A/N: Helloooo :) So what did you guys think of this chapter? let me know what you guys think through a review! And a big thank you to all of those you who've reviewed and favoutite-d my story so far! It means so much :)
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