Chapter 3 : Friendships Forged.
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They walk through the forest, Ally completely in her element, completely confident and at-ease, and Rose marvels at this. “She’s a completely different person!”
Teddy walks just as easily, used to this forest just as much as Ally, she had dragged him to too many animal rescue missions for him to count, and had learnt how to handle himself without tripping and sprawling across the forest floor.
Rose, however, is doing just that. “Give me a broom any day, but I’m not cut out for the forest. I can barely manage the edge of the forbidden forest, let alone the middle of this one, which seems just as bad as the one back at Hogwarts.” She grumbles whilst picking herself up, brushing down wayward blades of grass from her summer dress.
Albus laughs at his graceless cousin. He wasn’t as skilled in manoeuvring himself across the forest as Teddy and Ally, but he managed, being a seeker gives him excellent balance.
And a fair bit of muscle too. Ally blushes slightly at her observation and tries not to stare and the boy who walked beside her.
“So? Presents?” she asks, turnoing her attention towards Teddy.
“They’re with Vic. She's using them as an incentive for you to visit her and Dom.”
The blonde laughs at this and rolls her eyes, “That girl should’ve been a Slytherin, honestly.”
“Oi! What's that supposed to mean?” comes Albus’ indignant question.
“I didn’t mean anything by it Albus.” She responds slowly, as if talking to a particularly dim child, “I have nothing against Slytherins, I'm just saying that Vic has some Slytherin traits, is all.”
“Sorry, it’s just that my house gets a lot of crap because of ol’ Voldy.” His tone is apologetic, and a faint blush graces his cheeks. “And call me Al, everyone does.”
She smiles in response to his, “Okay Al.” She says his name softly and he returns her smile almost instantly.
“SO?” he says rather loudly “What did you get in your O.W.Ls Allia?”
“It’s Ally.” She corrects hastily, “And I got all Os and Es, except in DADA, got an A in that.” She sighs, “Hope I can do it for N.E.W.Ts”
“You’ll be fine Ally, you were ill on the day of the exam, I’m sure Professor Vane will let you back in her class.” Rose’s voice sounds completely certain, but her expression turns from confidence to bewilderment as Teddy’s raucous laughter fills their ears.
“Sorry- its- just-so-funny!” he wheezes.
Ally rolls her eyes and walks on ahead, smiling as one of the forest birds chirps a hello at her. Teddy would tell her soon enough, he couldn’t keep a secret from her to save his life.
As soon as the cottage is in sight, she runs ahead leaving the others behind. Al and Rose make to run after her but Teddy holds them back, shaking his head. The two obviously don’t understand but comply anyway; it’s none of their concern and soon let it go.
She reaches the door and flings it open, searching for her adoptive aunt in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, finally, reaching the library, which rivals Hogwarts’ library itself with its towering bookcases and small nooks and crannies and the three window seats covered in plush red cushions. (Despite being headmistress, with her Hogwarts days years behind her, Aunt Minnie still had a deep-set Gryffindor pride.) Sitting in a plush armchair by one of the windows, is the woman that Ally is looking for, dozing slightly with a big chunky book lying open in her lap. She smiles fondly at the aging woman and carefully removes the book- Fire Mages, Earth Mages, Water Mages, Air Mages: The Dangers of Society by Rita Skeeter- and places it on one of the antique tables that were dotted about. Ally covers her with a light quilt and hurries out of the room not before casting an angry look at the book that had been on Aunt Minnie’s lap.
“That stupid woman doesn’t know anything,” she mutters to herself, “Ever since that fire mage blew up half a town in Mexico, she keeps going on about them. It’s like Dumbledore all over again! This is why I don’t tell people, they’re either scared, give me bad press, too much good press or try to exploit my power. I bloody hate her!”
She’s muttering angrily now, but Teddy is used to these sudden outbursts.
“What does she mean when she says ‘exploit my power’?” Al asks softly.
“She could uproot a whole forest or bind you with enough vines to make you choke, her powers could be used for evil, she knows that, everyone who knows about her does, and if more people know, and her secret gets out, what do you think will happen?”
“Someone will use her.” comes Rose’s horrified reply.
“Uh huh. That's basically the real reason she keeps to herself, doesn’t talk to people and is all ‘Ice-Queen-esque’, she’s scared.” He explains seriously.
“Wow Ted, way to tell the world about my biggest insecurities.” Interjects Ally, but a smile plays at her lips, showing that she really didn’t mind.
“I really like your room Ally, I love your bookshelf.” Rose gushes, quickly trying to change the subject, oblivious to the fact that Ally was not in fact irritated, but almost immediately sighs in relief when she catches sight of Ally and Teddy making silly faces at each other.
“Thanks Rose, you can browse if you want.” The red-headed beams happily, and hurries towards the bookshelves, sighing in contentment as she carries a stack of books over to the armchair and settles down, almost immediately burying her nose in one of them. The cover read Old Wives’ Tales: Remedies, Spells and Charms of the Dark Ages-by Serena Days.
Ally falls back on the bed, listening to Teddy and Al arguing over Quidditch. The energy in growing honeysuckles back at the tree-house, and aiding the farmers the night before had finally begun to take their toll on her body, and she was beginning to feel exhausted.
“Ally?” Albus’ voice floats towards her, just as sleep was about to take over, and opens her eyes.
“Yeah?” Comes her drowsy reply,
“Where’s the fireplace? I need to tell Scorp that I can’t meet him today.”
“There’s one in the living room.” She responds, “But you can just ask him to come here if you want.”
“Brilliant! Can you show me?”
“Sure” she replies with a smile.
She leads him down the stairs to the living room, where she takes the floo powder out of the small rosewood box on the mantelpiece and flings it into the fire. Green flames flare up, licking up the red bricked sides. She finds herself remembering her first time using the floo system.
“Just get into the fireplace Ally!”
”Why on earth would I do that? It’s on fire Ted!”
“It’s not going to hurt you.”
“Alright, Merlin! You’re too stubborn!”
“Why can’t you just apparate us there?”
“I’m not going to be with you all the time Ally, neither is Professor McGonagall, you need to learn to get to places by yourself.”
“Teddy what have I told you about calling me professor?” came a call from upstairs, “I don’t teach you anymore, just call me Minerva, or better yet, Aunt Minnie!”
“Will do professor.” He called back cheekily.
Ally just rolled her eyes impatiently as she waited for him to prove that she wasn’t going to actually get burnt if she stepped in.
He did as he was asked, but she was still sceptical.
“Get in Ally, or I’ll push you.”
“Fine, then what do I do?”
“Shout out where we’re going, and clearly for Merlin’s sake, I don’t want you to end up in Knockturn Alley like Harry did his first time flooing.”
She giggled slightly and stepped gingerly into the fire, waiting for the searing heat and the burning pain, but it never came.
She turned her surprised face towards Teddy who looked smug and sure of himself.
“Told you.” He sang out with a wink and his usual rakish grin that had made her heart flutter-she couldn’t help it, just because she didn’t see him romantically didn’t mean that she couldn’t find him handsome.
“Whatever loser,” she shot back “DIAGON ALLEY!”
And in a blur of green sparks she was gone.
“Ally! Earth to Ally! You in there, love? I know I’m fit, but stop staring.”
At some point she had gone back up the stairs, leaving Al behind to talk to his best mate.
A smirk plastered Teddy’s face, causing the girl in question to scowl at him in mock contempt.
“In your dreams Teddy-Bear, you’re not my type.”
“Uh huh, you like the dark haired, tall, athletic, broad shouldered type, green eyes are optional, don’t cha Ally-Bear?”
She slowly, very deliberately turns her back on him and leaps onto her bed, kicking of her shoes off in the process and flops back to gaze at the embroidered canopy above her.
“Shut up Theodore.”
“Oooh the full name.”
“He basically just described Al.”
Both Teddy and Ally turn to look in Rose direction, and then both simultaneously burst into laughter.
“Al is too soft for her.”
“And I’m not looking for anything right now so it doesn’t matter.”
“What’s this about not looking for anything?”
Al had come back up the stairs, looking very curious.
“Nothing,” Ally hastily replies. “What did Scorpius say?”
“He’ll be here soo-“
He is cut off by a blonde blur sprinting through the doorway, and leaping on the black-haired boy, sending them both crashing to the ground.
“Al mate! How wonderful to see you, thank you ever so much for deigning to give me your location.”
They are sprawled on the carpet, Al struggling for air with Scorpius Malfoy perches on his back, legs crossed. Rose looks up from her book, takes one look at the pair and snorts with laughter.
“You’re both a right pair of idiots, Scorp get off him and Al stop yelling please.” She commands, and the boys do as they’re told, pulling serious faces, but Ally noticed an identical gleam of humour in their eyes that oddly remind her of her brother Sammy, two years her senior. She smiles sadly at the memories of her and her brother causing havoc across the house whilst their younger sister, Safia, would look on, sorely wishing she could join in the fun, but had only been about three years old, six years Ally’s junior.
“Run Ally! The crazy evil demon will catch us!” her brother cried as they raced up the stairs, with their Dad hot on their heels, laughing.
The small blonde let out a high squeal as her father grabbed her around the waist and lifted her up high.
“Hello there munchkin! Time for bed!”
“No! I don’t wanna!” she cried before falling into helpless giggles.
“I’ll save you sissy!” her Sammy cries, jumping on their father, causing the large man to lose his balance and fall backwards, his two eldest children sprawled on top of him, helpless with laughter, whilst little Safia crawls from her room, gurgling adorably.
Now that she thinks about it, Ally realises that her father never openly agreed with her mother, it had been his wife who made the decision of throwing her out of the house. He had been, and most likely still was, the best father a girl could wish for, albeit a rather weak one, who easliy succumbed to his spouse's wishes.
“Ally! Oh look how much you’ve grown. It’s been so long!”
“Yeah, three days is too long.” She replies sarcastically as she clambers off the bed to sit next to Teddy on the floor.
“Wait, you guys know each other?” Rose sounds surprised, and Ally fancies he can detect a small hint of jealousy in the girl’s voice, and files it away in the back of her brain so she can look into it later.
“Oh yeah, me and Ally go way back, since we were wee babes, running around in beautiful meadows filled with glorious flowers and-”
“I tutored him in Transfiguration a few months before OWLs.” Ally interrupts his mocking account, “and he got straight Os after that. And I saw him a few days ago at Diagon Alley when I went shopping.”
“So that’s where you kept disappearing off to last year!” Albus smirks, “You told me you were off with a girl. A different one every time, might I add”
“I didn’t want to look stupid. I didn’t want to ask Rose ‘cause I knew she was busy enough with her own studies, didn’t want to bother her.” He receives a small but sweet smile from Rose at that, “And I wasn’t going to ask you, Transfiguration isn’t exactly your strong suit is it mate? And I noticed Ally is good in that class, well in all her classes really, so I asked for her help and we’ve been good friends ever since, she’s a friend who’s a girl, see?”
“So did my tutoring pay off?” Ally asks with a smirk, confident in the answer.
“Of course!” he exclaims, throwing his arms around her and spinning her around, “Thanks so much!”
She giggles dizzily as he set her down and collapses in a heap on the floor, regaining her seat beside Teddy, who can’t help but grin and thank Merlin that she is finally accepting having people close to her.
He thinks back to the times when he had to coax her gently to agree to go meet Bill and Fleur and Dominique and Victoire and Louis. How she had stayed quite as a mouse and only half smiled as Louis set a chair floating as Bill tickled him, or how she watched Dom enviously as she did her perfect hair. How she sighed happily as he and Vic had held hands under the table and how her eyes saddened as Fleur teased and chided and loved each of her children.
Now she fell right into the banter and kissed Fleur hello and good-bye, teased Louis and helped him with his school-work and allowed Dom to do her hair and let Vic completely re-do her wardrobe. These observations made him remember something else.
He turned to his little protégé, “Fleur and Bill want you over for dinner in two days.”
“Great! I haven’t seen them since...what? Easter break?”
“Yeah, that time was fun.” He smiles reminiscently.
“Fun for you! You weren’t the one covered in chocolate and chicken feathers.” He laughs loudly and ruffles her hair, but she swats him away and jumps up onto the bed to get away from him.
“Rose! You amazing child you! I owe the rest of my OWLs to your gentle tutelage and everlasting patience. Thank you! Thank you!” and the blonde boy proceeds to kiss her hand enthusiastically whilst she rolls her eyes and pulls her hand from his grasp, and smacks him gently across the back of the head before ruffling his hair slightly.
She looks up at him with a rare, but brilliant smile that seems to strike him dumb, his grey eyes widen and seem to be seeing her for the first time, and his broad shoulders seem to sag when she turns her bright blue gaze away from him.
“Hey Ally? Can I borrow some of your elemental books? It seems really interesting.”
“Sure Rose, if you want. But please, take good care of them; most of them are rare and pretty old.” comes Ally’s reply between yawns.
Tiredly, she pulls the covers over her blonde head and listens to Al and Scorpius’ banter, and Teddy’s roaring laughter accompanied by Rose’s tinkling one, and she smiles and thinks that perhaps this is exactly what she’s always wanted. To be surrounded by friends and family, even if they aren’t blood related. She slowly drifts into a deep sleep.
Ally wakes up with a start, watching the sunlight stream in through her window. She groans and rolls over, checking the time on her bedside table, she realises that she had been sleeping for an hour or so. She stumbles out of bed and heads towards the bathroom, washing her face and brushes her teeth. She returns to bedroom, so she can sort out her hair, and notices a note left on her desk.
I knew you were exhausted, so I decided to let you sleep. I’ll stop by in a day or two, Vic wants you to go over to the boutique tomorrow, and don’t forget to go to Shell Cottage on Wednesday, (That’s in two days, in case you didn’t know). Anyways, all the best and stuff, we’ll get to talk properly soon, I know you were disappointed not to get me on my own. Who wouldn’t be? With my wit and charm and extraordinarily good looks? Haha. Anyway, Rose borrowed some books, Al says that it was really nice meeting you and Scorp thinks you’re amazing - you helping with his OWLs and all.
Lots of smushy smushy luuuurve,
The best most handsomest, hottest, strongest, manliest, manly man you know,
Ally laughs and rolls her eyes. She is used to Teddy’s dramatic flair, and has seen more than enough of Victoire’s so the exuberance of the letter doesn’t faze her. She gently puts the letter back on her desk, and hurries down the stairs, her mind focused on her rumbling stomach and exactly how she could remedy that.
She smiles as she enters the kitchen, catching sight of the sandwiches and juice on the table, but it falters when she sees Aunt Minnie, looking grave and worried.
“Ally dear, maybe you should sit down, I need to tell you something...”
What do you guys think Minnie's gonna tell her? Give me your guesses and let me be amused! :))
I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Please don't kill me! I know it's been a long time, but I had exams, and I still have exams and my beta isn't paticularly one for deadlines so...uh... I'm very very sorry. Would a cyber cookie make up for it? A cyber sweet shop even? hehe >.<
The story's coming along slowly, but surely, I don't do plans, never have, so I have little to no idea where this story is going beyond the next three or so chapters. I really can't tell you when the next chapters will be up, and I make you no false promises.
Anyway, tell me what you think yeah? I absolutley (did I spell that right?) adore any kind of reviews, and of course, criticism is always great 'cause it tells me how to improve, and I've told myself I'll reply to every single one so fire away! :D Love you guys and sorry for my rambling! ;)
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