Chapter 10 : The Dangers Of Weasley-Potter (And Malfoy) Gatherings
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A/N: This has some interesting memories and a funny part. Well, it seems funny to me, at least. I hope you enjoy it. :)
The Dangers of Weasley-Potter (And Malfoy) Gatherings
I find it extremely hard to fall asleep that night, what with the fact that Emma is staying at Al’s place, spending time with him, cozying up to his fit body...
Ok, brain. That is going too far. They’re just friends. Right?
Old friends... who used to spend every waking hour with each other, that is.
So, what? Al and I did, as well. That doesn’t mean we have some sort of a romantic chemistry. A pure guy-girl friendship can indeed exist.
Can it, though?
I get up and proceed to the kitchen to stuff myself with Ash’s muffins. I swear, she’s put some sort of spell on them so that you can’t possibly stop with the eating.
„Jill?“ I hear a familiar voice, only to find Willow staring at me in horror upon lifting my head from the muffin-filled bowl.
„Did I wake you up with my twisting all over the bed? Sorry ’bout that.“ I mumble with my mouth full of these delicious, addictive sweets.
As a (poor) substitute for a response, Willow points her wand at the muffins, transfiguring them into bird feathers. I nearly choke and then proceed to cough violently, since some of them are still stuck in my throat. This, however, doesn’t seem to agitate my friend in the slightest.
„What was that fooor?“ I whine.
„I could ask you the same question.“ She crosses her arms, a slightly disgusted expression on her face.
„I wanted to eat.“ I shrug, hoping Will will let it go.
Unfortunately, her Ravenclaw brain detects something fishy about my behaviour. „Stop lying, Kenward.“
„Fine.“ I roll my eyes, giving up. „Remember Al’s friend Emma, who was in love with him and since he couldn’t respond to her feelings, ran away to another country?“
Willow nods. Yes, I can hardly keep anything to myself. Shut up!
„Well, she’s back.“
„I’m failing to see what’s so bad in that.“ Will is still staring at me like I’m a mad person, which, come to think of it, wouldn’t exactly be the first time.
„Oh my Merlin, how do you not realize, you’re the Ravenclaw here?!“
„Because your logic is rubbish.“
I frown. „No, it’s not. Emma is going to push me out of Al’s life, that’s what I’ve been trying to emphasize here!“
„You can’t be certain about that. Maybe Emma is a nice girl. There’s surely a reason Albus likes her so much. Just the way he does with you.“ Willow attempts to reason with me.
„Are you trying to tell me that I’m a nice girl?“ I grin.
„I give up.“ Will denies me the joy of hearing a compliment and returns to the bedroom, leaving me alone.
Instead of feeling staid after my friend’s always logical inputs, the anxiety just comes back stronger and I’m left with no other choice.
„It must be something really urgent, for you to call me at five in the morning.“ The lady with the gray eyes yawns widely.
She’s one of those lucky individuals who, even in these ungodly hours, look rested and youthful.
I sit primly opposite her, my palms resting neatly in my lap. „It is.“
She pours us some orange juice and takes her time leaning back into her chair. „Tell me, Jill, what is it that bothers you?“
I take one deep breath before I blurt it all out. „I think I’m jealous of my friend’s friend, because she’s about to steal his attention from me.“
The lady narrows her bright eyes at me. For a moment, a small smile plays on her lips as if she’s expecting to hear something else. Something that will justify her being here at five in the morning, besides the surely mental sounding rubbish I’ve just babbled.
But, since it doesn’t come, she nearly hisses at me. „Dear God, Tatum, are you joking?“
„No. Why?“ I shrug, even though I’m quite aware of the reason.
„As your psychologist, I have to say, you are borderline insane.“
„Mrs Bolt!“ I protest. „You said you never state such things about your patients!“
„There’s a first time for everything.“ She gets up and dresses back quickly in her light maroon coat. „Come back when you learn the real meaning of the word emergency.“
„Otherwise, see you in your rightful term. By then, maybe you’ll realize how ridiculous you sound, yourself.“ She opens the door for me.
I stand up and walk outside with a huff. „See you in a few days, then.“
The lady nods, her lips finally turning into a fond smile in spite of everything I make her go through. I guess it’s because of my dad, still, because even I can hardly tolerate myself.
In seconds, I’m back at the flat with no idea how to make myself sleep again. So I just... don’t. I stay awake up until the paperboy brings the weekend edition of the Daily Prophet and some of Ash’s trashy magazines.
Feeling adventurous, I go to the roof, hot cocoa in one hand and the trashy papers in another. I search for the abandoned wooden bench and move it to the edge of the roof with the help of my wand. When I sit down, I flop my feet just atop of the concrete barrier between the building and the clear sky. It feels a bit dangerous, but that’s exactly why I enjoy it so much.
Although, my joy is cut short when I spot the front page of one of Ash’s magazines: Albus and Emma, sitting in a bar of some sort and smiling at each other like there’s no tomorrow. Merlin! I mean, Al and I went to plenty of places together and no one bothered to snap a picture. But as soon as these two reunite, everyone seems to take note.
The worst part, though, is the headline.
Spotted: Albus Potter with his new-old girlfriend
They mean friend, right? It’s a typo, right?
„What are you doing, Kenward?“ A familiar face appears right above mine.
Besides being startled by the unexpected blast from the past, I also feel a little embarrassed since I’m lying on the roof surrounded by trashy papers opened just at this morning’s articles about Emma and Albus, staring at the sky like a crazy person.
...I can finally see sense in everyone’s point about me being insane.
„Um... Enjoying the morning sun?“ I try.
The guy shakes his head, but doesn’t say anything else. Instead, he offers me a cigarette.
„I don’t smoke, remember?“ I remind him.
„I thought maybe you changed your mind.“ The guy shrugs and then lays down right next to me.
We stare at the sky together in silence, before he conjures two cushions for us to put under our heads and decides to break the tranquillity.
„Funny how you tried to avoid me for years only for us to end up in the same building and on the same roof at the same day, isn’t it?“ He says slowly, between intakes of smoke.
I sigh, realizing there’s no more point in denying his presence. I turn so I’m resting on my side and gazing at his tan face and brilliant blue eyes.
„I’m sorry, Key.“
And it’s like I’m instantly transmitted to the past.
The thirty first of December, 2024/January the first, 2025
I was leaning on the bar table, barely keeping myself in a vertical position. The waiter had given up on entertaining me for the night and went back to mixing up drinks. One had a smell faintly reminding me of a love potion. Which was worrisome and would usually prompt me to question the guy’s credibility. But not today. Today I was too drunk to worry about such trifles.
Before ending up in this state, though, I tried to stay sober, I really did, but my career and love life were bumming me out the whole month, with the annoyance culminating on this particular night. I mean, I was handling it well enough for the past nineteen years of my existence, but tonight... tonight I just broke down.
I supposed it had much to do with my dreadful colleague Amanda getting engaged ten days prior and Dan being promoted into Chief’s deputy. Not that I wanted those things. I wanted much more, actually, and that was the problem. I was nowhere near achieving my goals.
„Want a smoke?“ Suddenly, a deep voice brought me back to the harsh reality and I detested that.
But my displeasure vanished as soon as I took his figure in.
„No. But I think I would enjoy you.“ I slurred.
I was pretty sure I’d jump on him then and there, until everything became too fuzzy.
The next thing I remembered, besides the stolid pounding in my head, was waking up in a strange room. It was full of posters of musical bands from the wizarding world, old, new, odd, gigantic. One was even covering up the whole ceiling. And even before I spotted a guitar in one corner and a piano in the other, I knew I stumbled into the world of a musician. The said person entered the room in pants only, showing off his fit body and levitating a cup of coffee for me.
„I see you’ve come back to the land of the conscious.“ He grinned at me playfully.
„Did I just over sleep the New Year’s party?“ I mumbled ignoring his remark, a vile feeling twisting my stomach into knots.
„I’m afraid you did.“ He offered me the hot cup, but I disregarded it.
„So it’s January the first now?“
He nodded, finally realizing that I wouldn’t drink his beverage, so he took a sip himself.
I, on the other hand, got up on my feet quickly and snatched my bag resting atop his desk.
„Where are you going?“ He set aside the coffee and stood in front of me at the door, blocking my access.
„I need to do something.“ I muttered under my breath, anger raising up in my body.
„And I need to make sure you don’t drop on your face again, so you’ll have to take me with you, I’m afraid.“ He smirked.
„Fine.“ I greeted my teeth, unnerved.
So I let him follow me to a muggle cemetery. The road was narrow and muddy, but I always went there by feet. It felt therapeutic. The smoke guy didn’t seem to think alike. He kept asking me what this was all about.
Until I dropped on my knees in front of a white stone, that is. It had the name Cornelia Kenward written on it in fine, golden letters. I kissed my palm and then pressed it against the coldness, against the date that will always mean something else to me than to the rest of the world. I could never be joyful about my New Year’s resolutions, because all I could think of was my grandmother dying on that day. It always evoked overwhelming sadness in me and that’s why I came alone every time. Because I needed to cry and I couldn’t let mum and dad, or anyone else, see me like this. So I lied to them. I made them believe I was scared of graveyards to the point of not being able to visit my grandmother. But then, in the dawn, I’d always sneak out to do so. That’s why I didn’t drink on New Year’s parties. I needed to stay sober in order to get here in those ungodly hours. And that’s why last night was a disastrous mistake.
I got up, rubbing my face to dry out the tears.
„Happy?“ I threw the remark into the guy’s direction while passing him grimly.
He just stood there, letting me go.
And so I thought that would be the end of it.
But it wasn’t.
The twenty first of January, 2025
I was trying to write my article about first love (Merlin!) but the giggling women running past my small office were making it impossible. I gave my best to ignore them, until I snapped and went outside, stopping the first one by grabbing her wrist gently.
„What is this all about?!“
„Come and see.“ She just smiled in response.
I sighed and, against any better judgement, followed them to the big glass wall in the north section. When I finally pushed through, I realized someone had removed the glass and put a safety rail, so the girls could lean on to hear and see better. What? Well...
„She’s the witch with the desolate eyes,
so hollow, so deprived of smiles,
she’s the witch living in a lonely world,
but she, she has mine unfurled...“
I gaped at the New Year’s guy playing on a piano underneath, in the middle of the square, with people surrounding him and following his tunes by clapping.
I immediately moved from the wall and went back to my office, closing the door and hoping this whole ordeal wasn’t for me.
But... I heard a knock moments later.
„Jill, someone’s here to see you.“ Said a girl through a loud giggle.
„I’m not present.“
The door opened anyway and the smoke guy was standing there, smiling at me. „Your body begs to differ.“
„The body is merely an empty shell without the spirit inside.“ I spat back.
„Come on, Jill, go out with him.“ My female colleagues pleaded in the background.
„I don’t even know his name!“ I yelled at them.
„It’s Keyon. Keyon Eggo. But you can call me Key.“
He was gazing at me with such a pure hope that I finally felt guilty enough to accept to go out with him. You know, besides the obvious fact that I was intrigued by his outlandish name.
But the whole time we were on the date I told him I couldn’t have a boyfriend since I was hung up on someone else. Keyon wouldn’t have it, though. He kept saying he would help me get over ’that arse’. There was no use in turning him down. Key wanted the challenge, he thrived on it. So we started seeing each other, but not exactly dating since I let him kiss me once or twice during the whole five months we hung out together.
And then, one morning, it just hit me-how bad it was of me to be using his company without giving much in return. Not just in the physical sense. I was barely there whenever he talked or smiled at me, too. I was an arse, because being an arse let me feel superior, just like James had to feel in our friendship. And I liked that in a very much twisted, sick way. When I told Key that I couldn’t do that to him anymore, he protested. He didn’t believe me when I told him I didn’t participate in our relationship. He wanted, he still yearned, to win me over.
So as soon as I could, I started looking into transferring to Witch Weekly in order to get away from Key, amongst other things. It was cruel, yet it was the best thing I could do for him.
The last memory I had of him was when I told him I was moving away because I got a job offer (I alternated my reality a bit to suite the needs I had.). He asked me just one favour-for us to spend a whole day and night together and, then, he would leave me alone.
I obliged. It didn’t bother me.
Until he fell asleep next to me in his old, poster-pasted room. There was still a trace of sadness visible on his tormented face and it finally got to me. I sobbed quietly to myself, because I was a jerk and everything that happened to me in my miserable existence up until that point was deserving. I put my palm on his face and muttered so silently I couldn’t even hear my own voice: „I’m sorry.“
And that was the last time we saw each other.
Until, of course, now.
„No. I’m sorry I insisted so much when, clearly, you were in no condition to be in a relationship.“
I squeeze his hand in gratefulness.
„Have you... you know, gotten over him?“ He adds.
„Yeah, I finally have.“ I chuckle.
He takes a look at the magazines surrounding me. „But you’ve fallen for another bloke now, I see.“
I rumple the papers and throw them away. „He’s just a friend.“
„Clearly.“ Key laughs.
I call him into our flat later on for a coffee and he agrees. That’s when both of my friends, Willow and Ash, start acting a bit weird.
„So, where are you from? You seem rather exotic?“ Willow smiles at him.
„Um, my father is British and my mum’s family is from Africa.“
„Such an interesting mix.“ Ash nods her head.
„And what do you do for a living?“ Willow takes his palm carefully to examine it. „Your hands look like those of an artist.“
Key laughs and nods slightly, clearly amused. „I’m a musician. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the band Dragon Puffs?“
„Oh, Merlin! I thought you looked familiar!“ Ash squeals, which is a rather rare occurrence in itself. „Desolate eyes and Dragon hunt are some of my favourite tunes, I swear!“
„Dragon hunt is yours?!“ Willow gasps. „That is me in song form, I joke you not!“
„What are you doing here? I mean, you could probably live in a far better environment.“ Ash wonders.
„Yes, but I like living in small, relatively normal neighbourhoods.“ He shrugs.
„Since Tatum is living here, too, it can’t really be normal, you should know that.“ Ash interjects with a smirk thrown my way.
„Har-har.“ I roll my eyes.
So it goes on, back and forth, until I go off to get ready for Rose’s and Scorpius’ goodbye party. I sit in my room with Will and Ash laughing in the background.
Ash then suddenly knocks on my door so loudly I jump up, startled.
„Hey. Willow sent me to inform you that we’re kidnapping Keyon for the day.“
I smile lightly, but can’t keep the tingle of sorrow away from my eyes, which Ash notices. She sits down beside me, resting her palm on top of mine, the one that’s squeezing the dress I picked out for today’s party.
„What’s wrong? I mean, besides the usual existential crap.“
I laugh a little, shaking my head. „Nothing.“
„I’m sorry. I didn’t ask you if there is something wrong, because that much is evident. I wanted to know what or… who it’s about.“ Ash persists, her firm expression back.
Dad’s approach is appreciated, but right now I think Ash’s is the only one that can break through my armour.
„It’s Keyon.“ I mutter, my voice breaking a little.
„What can you possibly have against a stud like him?“ Ash rolls her eyes at me.
I break into a short giggle, but then my features turn dim yet again. „He reminds me too much of that horrible, dark side of myself. Reminds me that, since I’m capable of causing so much pain, I’m not deserving of happiness.“
Ash stays silent for a moment, which is an unusual sight: not hearing her spat vague insults in response. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes, before replying in a straight tone.
„I’m going to tell you a story. But you have to promise you’re not going to blab it out to anyone.“ By this point she opens her eyes again and stares at me intently.
I nod my head, lost for words. Ash is a highly private person and occasions of her sharing herself with me are rare. So I understand the gravity of what’s to follow.
„When I was about five years old I started fancying a typical, normal Muggle boy from across the street. My magical nature was something no one in my family suspected of, because I hid it away, deep inside of myself. I knew, on some level, that it was out of ordinary, the things I could do. And, unlike many children who would probably enjoy such abilities, I detested my strangeness. So, liking the most uninteresting boy in my neighbourhood was a way of escaping the truth: that I was different. Just a few blocks away lived Felix Chadwick, a boy two years older than me and also quite unusual. For this reason, he felt drawn to me and sought out my attention and friendship. In turn, I broke his heart. Repeatedly. I stuck to the bland boy up until I got my Hogwarts letter and I could’t run away anymore. However, by this point Felix had moved to another part of London with his family. We were separated for two years and then suddenly reunited at the platform nine and three quarters. I was so lonely and scared that, when I recognized him, I felt relief. In a moment of sheer bliss, my mind blocked out all the terrible things I did to him when we were little. But Felix didn’t forget. He wasn’t outright rude, like me, but it was clear he didn’t enjoy my company. I took the hint and wandered about the train until I met my only Hogwarts peer, another Muggleborn witch named Poppy. But even though Poppy was the best friend I could wish for back then, I always felt something was missing. Or rather, someone. The years passed by and Felix kept avoiding me and I kept hurting. Until I… Until I admitted to myself that it wasn’t only friendship that I yearned to have with him. That didn’t change anything on his end, though. Felix finished school and went on to travel around the world, much like Willow. And I lost him for good, the only truly decent guy in my life.“
I gaze at Ash’s tormented expression and squeeze her hand back.
She grins, not adverting her eyes from the floor, until adding: „Now, I’m not saying that you’ll realize you love Keyon along the way. But maybe he’s a friend that’s been missing from your life. Maybe… if you push him away, you’ll regret it. And regret is far more painful than being reminded of the bad things you did, trust me.“
She pats my hand lightly before getting up.
She halts a bit at the door, however, her back facing me. „Besides, you never know how associating with a rock star can benefit you.“
At this point she turns quickly, winks at me and leaves me alone in a whoosh.
My lips curl into a smile on their own. Sometimes, Ash is a better Slytherin than I am and that amuses me because I attribute it to me rubbing off of her. And that makes me very happy.
When I walk out some minutes later, the living room is already deserted. Ash and Will indeed stole Key for the day and led him to who knows where. I honestly don’t even wanna know.
Suddenly, there’s a loud pop in front of the door and a string of laughter. My face immediately falls as I go to the wooden entrance to my flat.
„Miss Kenward, your room service is here.“ A female voice sings.
„Flat service.“ The male one corrects.
„It can’t be that big of a flat for it to be a mistake to call it a room, now can it?“
„Emma...“ The male voice warns with a trace of reprehension.
„What, I can’t help it that I’m rich.“
I finally open the door only to find the two of them twirl to me in surprise.
„Have you heard...?“ Albus starts.
„All of it.“ I affirm by nodding.
„Good, we won’t be obligated to paraphrase. Let us apparate to the Weasley manor then!“ Emma cheers.
„The Weasley manor?“ I try not to show how offended I am but instead concentrate on the other issue. „I thought the party was held at Rose and Scorpius’ home.“
„Yeah.. I forgot to mention that, didn’t I?“ Al scratches his forehead, embarrassed.
„I can’t go there looking like this!“ I point out my overly exposed body. „I thought this was only for the youngsters of the Weasley-Potter-Malfoy bunch!“
This is also when I notice how tame both Emma and Albus look, her in a pair of black pants and a white shirt and him in green skinny jeans and a white T-shirt.
„Don’t worry, the older ones also know how to appreciate a good view.“ Emma winks at me.
Oh, Merlin, this is not good.
„I’m sorry, Ty, but we have to go, now, or we’ll be late.“ Al says with an apologetic look on his face. „But, really, don’t fret about it, you look fine.“
„You mean fiiine.“ Emma repeats his last word with a sleazy accent.
„Emma!“ Al frowns at his other friend before taking my palm and smiling at me in reassurance.
I sigh as I lock my door and let him apparate us away.
We land in a small shielded park with willows blocking our view. It’s cold and dark and I curse myself for choosing such a small dress for this time of the year. Emma has every right to mock my stupidity. She and Al step out of the small area where we apparated and lead the way to a more green and lively surrounding. After we leave the park behind, a small street appears, lights from the street lamps giving the neighbourhood a more welcoming look. The houses are squeezed right next to each other, forming a tight succession dominated by faint yellow and red colors. One house particularly stands out, though. In every way possible: it has one floor more than the rest, the paint is fresh and bright and a sign with the words Weasley Manor is placed above the beautifully carved door.
„I suppose you can guess which one is of my uncle and aunt.“ Albus smirks at me.
I grin back at him, but the moment is interrupted when Emma pushes both of us to the entrance. She presses the button on the right and a loud sound echoes throughout the house. Then, a rumble of voices near us and Hugo, Fred and Dominique pull us in as soon as the door is opened.
„Good Godric, who is she?“ Fred wiggles his eyebrows at me.
„Um, I interviewed you at the wedding a little over a week ago?“ I try to help.
Fred squints, looking me over and over again. „Hm, red dress, up to the knees, right?“
I turn to Albus, slightly disturbed. „Is this how he remembers people? By what they wear?“
„Only girls, love. Only girls. And it’s by how little they wear.“ Fred winks at me.
I blush, because, heck, Fred Weasley is actually one handsome fellow.
„Fred, don’t make me call Trisha on you.“ Dominique warns. „Girlfriends don’t usually find such a behaviour amusing, let me tell you.“
„Urgh, Dom, why do you always wreck my fun?!“ With that Fred is off, leaving us with the other two Weasleys.
They prove to be more collected than Fred as they lead us pacifically to the big living room full of people. Almost everyone there turns to look at us, though, especially me in my mini dress. Fuck! Seriously, what was I thinking?! Even grandpa Weasley is frowning at me from the corner, lifting his head from some kind of a retro mobile phone. Great, scoring family points like a boss, ain’t I? Not that they are my family. No, I didn’t mean it like that! Double fuck!
Rose is the first one to approach us, a huge grin on her plump lips. She pulls me into a tight hug and, upon releasing me, gives a questioning look to Emma.
„Back from the dead.“ The girl smiles.
„Welcome.“ Rose embraces her as well, but with evidently less enthusiasm.
If she noticed this, Emma keeps it to herself, which I have to admire.
Rose, on the other hand, leads me immediately to her parents and my legs start to turn into jelly, right on cue. Did someone perform that silly spell on me or am I just star struck? It could be both, though, considering where I’m at. Not that I didn’t meet them at the wedding, of course, but it was rather brief and, well, I was busy with other... things.
„Mum, dad, this is Tatum Jillian Kenward, who prefers to be called Jill (She winks in my direction, proud of herself for not forgetting to mention my hate toward the name Tatum.), I don’t know if you’ve met her at the wedding, but she’s the one who pushed me to think about my feelings toward Scorpius.“ Rose tattles on.
„So you’re the one who actually forced me to associate with the Malfoys.“ Mr Weasley frowns at me.
My face goes pale in an instant.
„Dad!“ Rose giggles at her father. „She’ll think you’re being serious.“
„Oh, she knows I’m only joking. Right, Jill?“ Mr Ronald bumps my shoulder.
„Heh, right.“ I force a grin.
Mrs Weasley, however, rolls her eyes at her husband. „Ron, you’re scaring the poor girl!“
„It was a mere waggery!“ He protests.
„Err.“ Rose takes my hand and pulls me away. „Maybe we should come back in a couple of minutes. It usually takes some times until they’re back to adoring each other.“
„Or not. We could not come back.“ I murmur.
I notice Al, Emma and Lucy chatting in the corner on my way to wherever Rose is leading me next. I wave to him faintly and he motions back, a small smile tugged onto his lips, which instantly makes me feel better.
I remember talking to their grandmother next, about her life and many memories, and how Rose was one temperamental baby. So I tease her that her children will be even worse, because that’s how the universe pays back. Rose pretends to get angry but it’s clear she’s enjoying my antics. Even though I still don’t understand why she’s taken such a liking to me.
Then, we’re chatting with Bill, who’s sharing the most insane stories from his trips around the world.
„Have you ever come across a girl named Willow Lynch, possibly?“ I ask, just to see how the odds are of him remembering her, because Will claims they crossed paths somewhere in Poland.
„Of course, she’s your mate, right?“
„I can’t believe you recall her!“ I exclaim, excited.
„Well, she tried to explain to me how we’re connected through James being your old friend and her being your mate for almost an hour. Trust me, I can’t forget it.“ He chuckles and so do I.
„No, seriously now, she’s a great expert in her field, she has a bright future ahead of her.“
I smile at that, because there was a time when Willow was on a brink of giving up of ever becoming a curse breaker.
September of 2024
I was just back from an awful day at Daisy’s when, upon opening the door to my tiny flat, noticed that it was empty. Even though the apartment was quite small, it had one advantage over my other settlements: a rather charming balcony. Since the door was left unlocked it was clear that my room mate was somewhere in here and I knew exactly where to search for her. I set my bag down in the middle of the room, at the floor, even though the table was inches away from me (That’s just the sort of unexplained things I liked to do.) and wandered to the said balcony. Sure enough, my brunette friend was sitting there and eating a whole cake by herself. I knocked on the glass door lightly, to what she twirled apprehensively, but sighed with relief when she took in my exhausted figure. She pointed her wand to the door, I could see her muttering Alohomora, and it opened with a loud screech.
„Hello, roomy.“ I smiled as I sat next to her, conjuring a fork to join her in the eating.
Willow scoffed at the action, clearly having a plan to finish the cake alone.
We ate in silence for about five minutes, before Will sighed heavily like she always did before confessing something embarrassing or hard for her. I casted a curious glance her way.
„I don’t know if I can do it, Jill.“ She mumbled.
I knew exactly what she was referring to. Willow was still on her training to become a certified curse breaker. It took a toll on her, sometimes she was so tired after it, she’d sleep through the whole day. Soon, she was supposed to go to Japan to finish her preparation there, since their school for studying curses was the most estimated one in the world. And, going into her career, at the start, Willow knew she wanted the best education. Plus, she was from a rather wealthy family, she could afford it. She only lived in this crappy flat, because I refused she paid more than exactly half the rent, so this was the best I could afford. And Will didn’t want to leave me, not when she would be off into the world in a matter of days anyway.
I took her hand, to what she adverted her gaze form the cake to my eyes. „If you can’t, who can?“
She chuckled to herself a little and got back to eating. She let me hold her hand a bit longer, though. She knew, deep down, that her doubts were only that-doubts. And she would not give up this far into the game. But it was nice having someone reassure you, anyway. It always was.
„Jill!“ Rose startles me, which causes me to end the recalling of one of my last days with Willow, before she left for Japan. „Come on, I have to show you something!“
The girl pulls me away from Bill, to whom I wave apologetically. He nods in return, a knowing grin on his mature face. Bill is a good looking lad, too. The scars only make him appear more wicked in a very cool way. This family has too many good genes, I swear. But then you have Rose, who is clearly beautiful, but so hard to keep up with. In seconds we’re out on a large terrace, which gives a full view of the backyard that’s only accessible through the house. It’s gigantic, though, with a swimming pool right in the middle, the water glimmering with lights I’m not sure are achievable without the use of magic. Around it, lined up in straight sequences, are threes that I’m witnessing for the first time in my life. They have almost purple leafs that glow celestially in the dark, adding to the steep play of lights.
„Wow.“ An impressed breath leaves my mouth.
Rose giggles delightfully. „Mum loves to experiment with magic back here. There’s a protection shield around so it’s not in the field of view of their Muggle neighbours. So basically, she can do whatever she wants with their yard.“
„And your dad?“
„He’s usually too lazy to participate, so he just chills by the pool, while mum comes up with new charms.“
I grin. „I can see that happening, all too clearly.“
„Those are my parents for you.“ She nods.
I walk to the rail, leaning on it with the lower half of my arms, gazing at the shimmering water. „It’s beautiful. But how come they’re living in a Muggle neighbourhood?“
„Because mum expressed a wish to. While Hugo and I were little and all up to our graduation, we lived next to our uncle Harry and aunt Ginny. But then mum said it was time she came back to her roots for awhile and when she sets her mind to something, dad always loses the argument.“
I smile, completely understanding it because of what I’ve read about the pair. „So they may move back at some point?“
Rose nods. „I think she already misses my aunt and uncle not being around constantly. I know dad does.“
She then Accios two stools for us, offering one for me to sit on. I do, but make sure to still be able to watch the lights bounce of the pool and trees.
„Jill, I have to talk to you.“ She flicks her wand silently but from many personal uses, I know it’s the Muffliato charm.
„All right.“ I turn to her.
Rose sighs deeply before continuing, which frightens me a little, to be honest. „About Albus.“
Dear Salazar, no.
„And Emma, too, while I’m at it.“ She adds, annoyance dripping from her voice.
„What about them?“ I mutter, wishing I could escape from this conversation.
„Look, I like you. Now, you don’t have to necessary understand why, but I do. A lot, actually.“ She rattles on, as if she can read my mind. „I can try to explain it, though.“
Rose giggles. „See, even that gesture of yours is likable. You’re so very... you. Awkward, weird around the edges, not able to understand the human sort quite well, but at the core... There’s this ambitious person, full of adoration for writing and a clear need to be loved and accepted. You’re vulnerable. And I can relate to that, quite a lot actually. We’re more similar than you think. Maybe if I had a little less of family members and fame attached to my name, I’d be almost exactly like you. You’re like a twisted, edgier version of the person that I am, as well, deep down. Why do you think I was so aggressive at school? It was my way of dealing with the world that I couldn’t fully grasp. I still can’t, but I’ve learnt to let loose a little. And I see there’s a more joyous girl inside of you, too, you’re just so used to horrible things happening to you to let her out, completely. And I understand that, trust me, I do.“
I gape at the young Weasley, well Malfoy, woman in admiration. „Can you replace my shrink ’cause this would be so much cheaper for me?“
She laughs, patting me on the back with a little too much force. „See, there it is, that spunk, humour, spark. And that’s why I like that you’re hanging out with Al. He’s... he’s a good chap, but he’s been obsessed with one single girl for far too long. And Emma...“
„What do you have against Emma?“ I wonder.
„Nothing much, in general.“ Rose highlights the general part. „She could be a good friend, but it’s obvious that’s not what she wants. It has been, from the start. I’m afraid that’s the only reason she befriended him-to dig her way up to his heart. I mean, she left as soon as he rejected her. Which means that, since she couldn’t get what she wanted, she had no use of him anymore. Now she’s back and I can bet you she hopes he’s over Alice, so she can try her luck again. And, seeing you, how you want to be there for him, genuinely, with no ulterior motive, has made me open my eyes to how much better of a company for him you are.“
„Why do I get the feeling that you want to set me up with him, then?“ I frown.
Rose chuckles at my failed serious expression. „Well, that’s exactly the reason, don’t you see? You have no ulterior motive. You just care about him, in the most sincere, innocent way.“
I look away to the marvellous performance of lights dancing over the grand yard. I feel free, suddenly, like a big weight has been lifted from my chest, like I can breath again. And Rose hasn’t even stopped pairing me up with her cousin. It doesn’t matter anymore, though, because I understand her now. And I adore her for seeing me for, well, me, not who I’m at the surface. Al or no Al, I’m starting to love his family, however crazy they may be. Or... just because of that. We’re unlikely kindred spirits, and in an inexplicable way, I feel I belong here.
Rose rejoins Scorpius at some point later on, but she doesn’t miss the opportunity to wink my way at all times. I smile and shake my head in amusement, whenever she does so. I, too, want to go back to Albus, but it’s as if the never ending members of the Weasley-Potter-Malfoy family are determined to keep me away from him.
Right now, for example, I’m trying to escape Louis, who’s taken it upon himself to court me, as he proclaims. After trying to escape him in the living room, I end up against a wall in the deserted kitchen with his hands on each side of it, right next to my head.
„Why do you protest so much, Jill? I mean, you’re single, I’m hot. We’d make beautiful Kenward-Weasley babies.“
„That right there is the reason, the fact that you just said that.“ I crease my nose in disgust.
„Oh, come on. I’m a good snogger, at least?“ He winks at me, a questioning look on his handsome face, no malice in his voice. It’s obvious that this chase around the house is merely a way for him to get me to like him.
But I can’t. Not in that way, anyway.
Why is that, though? The guy’s like sculptured, for Merlin’s sake! And the last time someone kissed me... Was when his cousin saw his lost love at the wedding of his other cousin. Maybe that’s why.
I crouch down and, just when I’m about to escape him, I hear a weird splitting sound. I stop dead in my tracks.
„Nice underwear.“ I hear Louis remark, amusement dripping from his voice.
I twirl around to find my dress stuck to a nail sticking out of the wall where I just stood.
No, no, no!
„Hey, guys have you seen-“
And of course, my luck just keeps getting suckier by the second.
I veer to the voice I already know the owner of, but I can’t hide, nor can I repair the damage quickly enough in order to get rid of the guilty expression on my stunned face.
Mind you, the scene is the following: my dress, previously hanging off a nail, has fallen to the ground, so it appears as though I’ve taken it off willingly; I, on the other hand, am standing dangerously close to Louis Weasley, in my care-bear underwear (Yeah, I have a thing for care-bears. Shut up!), while he’s resting his arm on my waist (Wait, when did that happen?!).
I open my mouth in horror but no words come out.
„Oh.“ Is all Albus says, before slowly backing off out of the kitchen.
Well, fuck my life.
I take back the notion that I love this family, because they will clearly be the death of me.
A/N: Giggles. I’m sorry, I had way too much fun writing this chapter, especially the ending part. :D Thoughts?
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