Chapter 2 : Feelings
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Ryan was not allowed in until that was possible, it was too dangerous for the two year old. He was staying with Andromeda while they worked.
It was days before they saw an improvement; every day, whenever family had time after work, people came and eventually the rubbish found its way into the skip. The house was bare apart from dust.
According to Albus, that was the worst part.
Every time they moved one thing or cleaned another, a cloud of dust formed around their heads and Albus always ended up breathing it in and choking. He was sick of it and had threatened to leave more times than anyone could count. But they knew he wouldn't; Teddy and Vic were family and he'd promised them.
It didn't mean he couldn't moan about it, though.
"Oh, my God! How dirty is this place?" he cried, just about managing to jump over a small hole in the floor. He twisted his ankle as he landed and limped over to Scorpius Malfoy, who'd been tasked to sort through what was going to be Ted and Vic's bedroom with him. "Great, now I'm choking and in a great deal of pain."
"It's an old house, Al," Scorpius sighed for what felt like the millionth time. He grimaced as he picked up a cloth, but quietly got to work cleaning the windows. Slowly but surely, the summer sun started to shine through, lighting up the bedroom. "And you were warned about being careful."
Albus muttered a 'so what' and picked up the mop and bucket from outside the room. He paused briefly to listen to Lily argue with James and Roxanne, to Hugo demand to know why they couldn't use magic to clean, then went back to work. The house was empty of rubbish, but everyone had now been given rooms to clean - there was still a lot of work to do before Teddy could call the builders.
"Remind me again why I'm here," Lexi Nott's voice called over to him from the doorway. Albus stopped mopping and let it lean against the wall, making his way over to her. Her hair, which was usually styled to fall down her shoulders in waves, was pulled back into a bun, a few loose strands framing her face. Instead of heels, she was wearing sneakers, along with ripped jeans and one of Albus' old t-shirts; she stopped at his nose rather than being eye-to-eye and Lexi had to look up at little. Albus ducked down and kissed her lightly. "I'm not sure that's why, but thank you."
"How about because Teddy is Scorpius' cousin and you are Scorpius', therefore you are obligated to be here?" Albus suggested with a grin, ignoring Scopius' scoff. Lexi shook her head, her look making it clear that he had to try again. "How about because you're my girlfriend and you love me, so you want to be here?"
"Maybe," she shrugged. "I haven't decided if I'm there yet."
Albus raised an eye-brow and stepped back. "Really? Well, you said you loved me last night when we -"
"Hey, hey, hey," Scorpius interrupted, shocked and horrified and looking a little pale. "We are this close to needing a sign on the door, reading 'too much information'."
"Sorry," Albus replied, his eyes still on his girlfriend.
"I'm not. This is a private conversation; he shouldn't be listening," she said, grinning. Lexi took Albus' hand and let herself be pulled closer to him. "Kieron and I just got here, Teddy said you were here. He said to see if you needed any help. The house is looking good. A little rocky, but good. Ted thinks he can call the builders in a couple of days, make this house stable. Turn it into a house."
"You're frowning," Albus murmured, copying the action. "Why are you frowning?"
"He sounds very unsure about this place," she answered, shaking her head as if that would shake away the frown. "It's probably nothing, it was just his tone of voice - it made me think that he didn't want this place. And Nicky refuses to set foot inside, he hates this place. It's like the house freaks him out."
"Everything freaks Nicky out, he's a nutter with physic powers," Scorpius said.
Albus shushed him. "I'll talk to Nick, it's probably because the house is so old. He probably senses old energy. He hates that, he says it feels like a weight is crushing him."
"Yeah, maybe." As quickly as Lexi's frown had appeared, it was gone, leaving a sort of half smile, half pout. "So, what first?"
"Hey, look at this," Scorpius said before Albus could point to the extra mop.
He pulled a small box out from underneath the dresser, wiped the dust off the lid and opened it up. Inside was a stack of old black and white photographs, all of a child. Often the young boy would be with a woman. The similarity was noticed immediately - they were of a mother and son.
Cautiously, Lexi picked up a photograph, turning it over to read the back. "Victoria and Ryan, 1856. The names are uncanny, don't you think?"
"Creepy," Albus muttered. "Isn't that date around the time the house was built? These must be the first ever owners. What should we do with all of this?"
Scorpius shrugged. "Give it to Teddy. It can't stay in the house because it's going to be renovated and we can't give them back to the owners because they're long dead."
"Teddy it is," Lexi said, dropping the photograph back inside and shutting the lid with a loud bang.
Nick Weasley sat on the car's bonnet and stared at the house, absolutely refusing to go inside. No one truly understood what was going on inside Nick's head, the things he dealt with every day, but they no longer bothered him about it. Instead they left him alone to sit and stare.
The house was cold, so cold, and definitely not empty. He could feel the spirits around him. They followed him everywhere, spoke to him whenever he allowed them to, and there were so many crowding his head. But only one was strong, connected to the place he was in, to the house.
The presence was dark, malevolent, but Nick had no idea why and he was too afraid to ask. His sister Victoire didn't believe him when he tried to tell her and Teddy loved his wife too much to not side with her when she wanted something. So Nick kept quiet, but his mind was open. He was just waiting for her to come back.
"Eerie, isn't it?" Teddy said from his side, looking as uneasy about the house as he had since they bought it. "It's just old, Dom. Once we've fixed it up, it'll be good as new and not as scary."
"Sure," was all he said.
Teddy watched him for a minute, then rolled his eyes and walked inside. He wasn't alone for very long, but the second presence was more comforting. Kieron Nott slid over the bonnet and took a seat next to Nick, squeezing his hand to stop the slight shaking.
"It's alright, Nicky," he promised. "Just tell them what you can feel."
Nick shook his head, his friend's voice calming him down considerably, and he felt as though he was able to breath again. The spirits were everywhere, had been ever since he was a baby and was brought back after his heart had stopped. It probably wasn't the house, the feeling may not have anything to do with it. The house was just old, he was feeling old energy and it would go away in time.
"I'm fine," he said softly. "It'll pass."
They both hoped that was true.
"You called, Nicky."
Nick didn't turn to look at her, he knew eactly what he'd see - the sickly pale face, the red tint in her eyes. She was a spirit, a trapped soul who couldn't move on, and she was the only one Nick could consider an ally. She didn't scare him as much.
He gestured to the house, the sudden movement making Kieron jump, but his friend knew, his friend understood. "Find out what you can?"
He turned to see her nod. "I'm on it." Then she was gone and Nick pretended that he was alone, that his head was his own.
But he was never alone. And his head was driving him crazy.
A/N: Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I'm sorry. But I have plans now, meaning this will be marked complete very soon. It'll only be eight chapters.
I hope you enjoyed this, please let me know what you think. :)
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