Disclaimer: Certainly not mine.
A/N: This is for one very loyal reader who asked me to write more about Al's (mis)adventures. I wasn't aware of you simply because I wasn't on this site for a long time. This is also for all the others who may still have or may gain some interest for this story along the way
Albus Potter is a morning person.
He gets up at six o’clock, makes himself some hot or cold beverage, depending on the season, sits in his favourite chair and gets to work. He’s writing again and so that activity takes up most of his day. In the evening, though, when it’s dark enough, he takes the best spot on the roof and looks at the stars with his new telescope. It was given to him by the best telescope maker in the world, Ilija Petrovic. A very charismatic Russian with a bushy mustache. On other days he visits the Astronomy Institute and does his research there.
So one can say that Al’s is possibly the best job in the world.
This morning starts off the same. Hot chocolate, big breakfast, the chair, a notebook and a quill.
But around noon something disturbes his routine. A loud, hard knock on his door. His first thought is Nyssa. But he dismisses it. She always apparates directly to the flat, no questions asked. But what if she’s hesitant now, what with everything that occured lately? No, again, she’s a calm, gentle person. Never gets angry. And that knock is if not angry than highly urgent.
Al finally gets around to open it.
To his utter surprise a man is standing on his doorstep.
And not just any man, but Scorpius Malfoy.
Malfoy’s and his family have a long, complicated history together which the wizarding world is aware of. Albus is not the type of person to prejudge, though. So he doesn’t have any opinion on him. Just that his hair is maybe too gelled up for his taste. It’s way too shiny.
„Can I come in, Potter?“ Scorpius asks but doesn’t wait for an answer as he storms in past Al.
Albus follows him, closing the door silently.
„Would you like to sit... maybe?“ He offers even though Scorpius has already done that too.
Albus is a little unnerved by the fact that he is occuping his favourite chair. But he doesn’t say anything. It would be rude.
„I wouldn’t want to sound harsh but how did you find my flat?“
„Please, you’re speaking to a Malfoy.“ He rolls his eyes as if this statement explains it all.
Al shakes his head in bewilderment. „Can I help you?“
„Well, that’s why I’m here, most likely. Don’t you think?“ Scorpius smirks.
Why is every person surrounding Albus somewhat a jerk, he wonders.
„Considering the fact that these are the first words we have exchanged, ever... It’s a bit odd. So forgive me for asking but I’m confused.“ He explains.
„Oh, Merlin. You’re so... proper.“ Malfoy says, his smirk turning into a smile. „Well I guess it’s kind of refreshing these days.“
Albus sits on the couch quietly, waiting for the punch line. However, it doesn’t come. Malfoy is not joking with him, it appears. And that frightens him a bit.
„I’m hoping you can, in fact, help me.“ Scorpius looks him square in the eyes.
Albus doesn’t like it. His eyes are an intimidating shade of gray.
„Don’t tell me. You decided to become a writer and now you need my connections.“ Albus supposes this is the only rational explanation.
Malfoy can be a struggling writer for all he knows.
„Not... exactly.“ Scorpius clearly fights a laugh.
„Because it would be ridiculous to asume you need girl help. And from me, out of all people.“ This can’t be it, Al tries to assure himself.
„Well...“ But Malfoy smiles, approving.
„You’re joking, right?“
„Why is it so surprising, Potter?“
„Seriously? Need I remind you of your status of the residant Hogwarts heartrobe and mine of the Astronomy nerd?“
„No.“ Malfoy shrugs, not denying Al’s words. „But the point here is, yes, I need your connections. The girl I fancy is your cosuin, after all.“
And Albus’ worst fear comes to life. He loathes the idea of his cousins’ boyfriends. The Weasley and Potter girls have awful taste in men and thus they’re usually highly annoying and complicating his life. Ian, for instance. He made Lucy and Roxy resent their own blood. Al was marely a bit clumsy. And Ian goes and makes a big deal out of it. Who does that?
All right, maybe Ian truly had the right to be that mad, when he thinks about it objectively.
But then there’s Elijah. He is flagrant as one can be. Maybe he’s the reason Al can’t seem to enjoy Rose’s company the way he used to when they were little anymore.
Probably the only boyfriend that he likes is Teddy. And that’s ’cause he’s always been a part of their family. And can do a mean Tickling Hex. You don’t want to have him against you. Especially if your name is Albus Potter.
Al’s wildly ticklish.
But then again who knows what Malfoy’s really like? Maybe he’s more of a Teddy type.
According to their conversation so far it is, however, doubtful.
„Oh, Merlin. Which one?“
And Albus Potter becomes aware of the fact that he will most likely be murdered by Molly if he so much as smiles at Scorpius after this information. But in spite of it all, his curiousity doesn’t let him rest.
„Molly?! Are we thinking of the same girl here?“
„Why? You mean ’cause she’s a bit sarcastic? But that’s exactly why I like her!“ Scorpius exclaims happily.
He must be insane, Al concludes.
„Wait a minute... how do you even know that about her? I don’t recall you two hanging out at Hogwarts.“
„Oh, so... she didn’t mention me lately, at all?“ His face visibly drops.
„I’m the new Defence teacher. Started this September.“ Scorpius explains quietly.
„Seriously? Are you sure you want that position? You’re aware of its history, aren’t you?“
„I’m not superstitious in the least.“ Malfoy waves it off. „Besides, that’s not my concern here.“
Albus sighs heavily. „Like I said, Molly didn’t mention you at all. Not even the fact that she got a new collegue.“
It’s clear Malfoy isn’t exactly thrilled by the fact. Actually, he almost seems... hurt? And for good reason, Albus thinks. It’s always better to be hated than to be ignored by a girl. Some of them have the tendency to evetually fall for guys that annoy them. But if you aren’t even ackowledged... Well... that just sucks.
„I see.“ Malfoy nods his head slowly, taking it all in. „It’s funny, you know...“
And here it comes. The story. Al is well aware of it. He’s not entirely sure if it’s a good idea, though. Especially coming from a stranger.
Malfoy doesn’t give him the benefit of choice, though.
„When we were at Hogwarts, taking classes, like you said... I-I never noticed her. The only girl I paid attention to from your whole Weasley-Potter clan was Dominique.“
Albus can understand why. His cousin Dom has clasically beautiful features. But as soon as you get past that, you realize she’s actually quite boring. Of course, some men don’t see a problem in that.
„But when I started working there this fall...“ Malfoy continues and shakes him from his thoughts. „It’s not because she’s the only person that’s aproximatelly my age among the teachers. ’Cause Sophie and Blair are, too. But Molly... She’s different. As if she’s from another world entirely.“
He finishes breathlessly, a small smile gracing his lips.
„Yeah, that describes her quite accurately.“ Al agrees.
„I thought she at least considered me a friend now. I guess I was wrong.“ Malfoy concludes sadly falling back into the chair.
That’s when he notices the framed photograph on his left. The one where Al and Nyssa are dancing at Rose’s wedding. The day left sore memories, what with Al realizing Nyssa wasn’t it for him, but that dance-it was kind of nice.
Malfoy picks the frame up carefully. „Girlfriend?“
„Ex.“ Al corrects bitterly.
Why was he bitter, though? He was sure it wasn’t because she cheated. Maybe because you have to start all over again and you hate change? A small voice nags at him. Al tries to ignore it. But when you come face to face with the truth, it’s somewhat hard.
„Oh, what a bummer. She’s beautiful.“
„Yeah, I just recently remembered how much.“ Al admits.
It’s strange, but he has a feeling he can trust Malfoy. He seems to get it.
„You’re trying to move on.“ He nods, realizing the complete situation.
„And failing.“ Albus smiles.
Malfoy inspects him thoughtfully for a moment. „Maybe I can help you. And in turn you’ll help me.“
Albus is now aware how Malfoy’s mind works. A favor for a favor. But the funny part is, it doesn’t make him like the guy any less. Isn’t that how the world mostly works, anyway? Scorpius is just being honest about it.
„How? You’ll set me up with a girl?“ Al snorts.
Malfoy shrugs. „Why not?“
„Oh, Merlin, there’re too many reasons to count.“
Malfoy shakes his head. „Listen, Potter. If you want my advice it’s this. If you can’t forget a girl, try making new, stronger memories with another one.“
„That’s... not as wrong as I thought it’d be, actually.“ Albus blinks in surprise.
„Of course it’s not. I speak from experience, after all.“ He says smuglly.
Al rolls his eyes. „Well, what would your plan be, if I were to accept the deal?“
Scorpius almost squels in delight. „This is from the top of my head, but I actually think it’s kind of brilliant.“
„You will move to Hogsmeade as soon as you can. That way you’ll be close to the school and you’ll be able to help me first hand. It’s better if you’re in the middle of the action.“
„O-k.“ Al nods slowly. „But what’s there in it for me? Why would I do such a thing?“
„Because... Not only will you be able to meet new girls, and trust me Hogsmeade girls are beyond lovely, you’ll also be near your best friend.“
„She told me. She talks about you constantly. I’m just not sure why it’s not the other way around.“ Scorpius says sadly again but quickly regains his confidence. „And I know what your life looks like, Potter. You could use some change.“
„What do you mean?“
„You’re clearly stuck in a rut. I mean, I caught you drinking hot chocolate, while scribbling down into a flowery notebook. You know who does that?“
Albus tries to jump in, but it’s clear it’s a monologue.
„Only old people and those who have nothing going on. Even other people who write for a living work in a more exciting enviroment. But you-you are like a cat lady... without the cats.“
„Well, thank you for that.“
„So?“ Scorpius asks with a hopefull smile.
Albus thinks it through for a moment. Maybe Malfoy is right. He does have a slight obsession with his routine. And that can’t be good. He’s way too young to be living like that creepy old guy from flat number 21. And right now, they’re nothing short of mirror images of each other. It’s disturbing.
And yeah, he misses Molly when she’s at school. Most of his family is near or in London, too. But he can’t talk to them like he can with Molly. And that’s when it hits Al that he doesn’t have that many friends. How did he survive without his cousin by his side all this time? He supposes thanks to Nyssa, even though they’ve been drifting apart for quite some time now.
Maybe Malfoy could prove to be a decent friend, as well. Albus eyes him. He’s sort of ridiculous, what with his hair being too gelled up and his leather jacket too tight, it’s clear that the two of them have little if nothing in common. But, isn’t it the same with Molly? Isn’t that the reason they get along so well?
And his work won’t be a problem. The stars won’t stay back here in London. And maybe it’ll be even more enjoyable to study them from a nice, warm meadow. Those can’t be found in London, as far as he’s aware. Plus, he apparates to the Institute daily, anyway. He can do the same from Hogsmeade.
When he goes through all the cons and pros, he realizes there’re little to no reasons to not listen to Malfoy. Aside from the fact that, well, the advice is coming from Malfoy. But Al is willing to give him the benefit of doubt.
„All right, Malfoy. I’ll move to Hogsmeade.“
„Oh, man, I’m this close to kissing you on the lips!“ Malfoy pats him hard on the back.
Al stumbles forward a little. „I’d appriciate it if you wouldn’t, though.“
„You’re funny.“ Malfoy grins. „Hey, who knows, maybe we’ll end up being more than family.“
„What is there more?“ Al tries to ignore the fact that Malfoy is already listing himself as a part of his family (The bloke is way too confident. It’s Molly, for Merlin’s sake! Did he already forget that she hasn’t even mentioned him once ever since she met him back in September?).
„Mates.“ Scorpius smiles sincerely.
And that’s when Albus Potter realizes that his whole social not just love life needed a make over. Maybe it’s strange he’s putting it in the hands of one Scorpius Malfoy.
But then again... why not?
It’s eight o’clock when his phone rings. He grabs it almost instantly, his heart beating fast along the way.
„I see you’re busy.“ The lovely voice mocks.
„Don’t tease me with stuff that applies to you, as well.“ Albus retorts quickly.
„Nice comeback.“ She giggles. „So... how’s it going?“
He figures it’s as good time as any to share the big news with his confident. „I’m moving away.“
„Oh?“ He swears she almost sounds sad. „Isn’t that a bit... radical?“
„It’s not really because of Nyssa (What a lie.). Even though it can’t not be helpful with that, too.“
„So what then? Got a new job?“
„No. Just... I’m moving to be close to my... friends.“
„That sounds like fun.“ Her voice gives away a trace of surprise.
Is it really that unusual of him?
„Well, then, I think I’ll miss you.“
„We haven’t even met, Asis.“
„Your point being?“
Albus smiles. „Don’t worry, if you ever wish to see me, I’ll be in front of your door in no time. As soon as you give me the permition, that is.“
„How very proper of you.“ She laughs.
„You think I should be more spontanious?“
„Maybe. Well, I don’t know you, but you sound like a very...“
„Not boring, just... accustomed to certain situations.“
„Same thing, just nicely put.“
„Sorry. But hey, you’re moving to Scotland! That’s spontanious.“
„Yeah, it is, isn’t it?“
„How will you manage work, though?“
„I have the type of job that... follows me around, so to speak.“
„Quite lucky, yes.“
There’s a small silence, before she speaks up again. „Will we stop the calls when-“
„Oh, no! Merlin, no!“ He shrieks as if that’s the one idea that scares him the most.
„Ok, I think I got it.“ She laugs and Al is thrilled to hear the sound.
„I enjoy our talks way too much.“ He explains.
„Well, I honestly don’t, but I’m too nice to leave you all sad and lonely, so...“
There’s another comforting silence and Asis is the one to break it. „How are things with Nyssa?“
„I don’t know. I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s like a ghost now. Just a shadow hidden in pictures and scattered memories.“
„Do you happen to be a writer? ’Cause if you’re not, maybe you should consider it.“
„Why? I know my way with words?“
„Something like that, but less creepy sounding.“
„Actually, yes, I am a writer. Sort of.“
„Don’t you envie my intution? But how sort of?“
„Indeed.“ He rolls his eyes at her remark. „I’ve only written one book.“
„If you’re scribbling ideas into a notebook daily, which I have a feeling you do, then my dear, you are a writer.“
„Are you spying on me?“
„Yes, on your soul.“
Al laughs. „I wish you were real.“
„Pardon me. I am as real as one can be.“
„No, I mean... I wish you’re here, so that I can enjoy your company, physically.“ As soon as the words leave his mouth, Al wants to bang his head against the wall, repeatedly, until he bleeds to death. „Oh, Merlin, that came out all wrong.“
„Mr. Potter, I’m truly appalled.“ But it’s clear that she is, in fact, amused. „What else?“
„Urgh, sorry. We could sit on my balcony and drink lemon tea...“
„Don’t you get tired of being a stereotype?“
„You mean because of my love for tea? Well, I’m sorry, but that’s one stereotype I don’t find offensive. What’s wrong with liking tea? It’s delicious.“
„And you’re ridiculous.“
„I’m sure you are as well, in some aspects.“
„You think?“ She taunts.
„But some people get bloody close to it.“
There’s another short silence before she adds in a more serious tone. „Don’t make fun of me, but... your calls... they calm my nerves when I’m stressed out. Which happens a lot these days, it appears. So, I just... Will you honestly continue calling me even when you move? I have a feeling you’ll be way more busy.“
„I will. Until the moment you tell me to stop.“
„What if that moment never comes? What if you’re old and gray and married to a lovely Scottish girl and I’m still annoying you with my calls?“
„I could live with that.“
„Even if I continue teasing you about tea?“
She appears to be considering this for a second before muttering. „Thanks.“
The word sounds strange in her shy voice. Albus has a feeling it’s not a word she says too often. Or maybe it’s just that people in her life don’t deserve it. Even the assumption makes him sad. He likes happy Asis. She’s fun and snarky. He plans to give his best to try and keep her that way.
Albus Potter loves his crazy family. But he also fears it. Sometimes, well almost every time, it gets pretty hard to handle.
Today he plans to announce that he’s moving to Hogsmeade.
His dad will likely support him, like he always does. Not in a superficial, I don’t bother to truly care, kind of way. His dad is actually heedful and quite considarate. Albus figures he wants to be present as much as he can in his children’s lives as a self healiving process for the loss of his own parents. Albus truly admires his father.
His mother will likely be a bit apprehensive and dotty. She has the tendency to treat Al as if he’s still a child. Well, sometimes he does act immature for his age, but that doesn’t mean she should worry so much. Al figures it’s just because of nana’s genes. That woman worries about everything!
James will trow in some dirty jokes, for sure. He almost always does, no matter the occasion. Then, he’ll add an old saying that he read who knows where and feel like he contributed in an essential way. Or... he’ll be in that mood again, where he mostly enjoys teasing him about everything he is and does.
Lily... well, if she even bothers to get away form the fireplace and stop chatting with her numerous friends, she’ll probably roll her eyes and decide to say nothing. In moments like these, Al appriciates her wise silence. It is better than James’ approach, by far.
All in all, Albus knows what to expect. Even though this will be a Weasley-Potter family dinner and many more of his crazy cousins will be present, Al is certain he can handle them. He has had similar situations in his life previously. It shouldn’t go that wrong.
What Albus doesn’t know is that another member of the clan has planed to drop a big announcement the same evening. So, things might just get a bit worse than he anticipated.
The door is opened by his dad who welcomes him with a generous hug.
„Hey, Al. Long time, no see. What gives?“
„Sorry. I’ve been really busy lately.“
And Al is sorry. He really should spend more time with his family. But his nature pulls him into solitude more often than he likes to admit. Al is already strugling to change that. This is also the reason why he has felt like an outsider in his own family, from time to time. It’s hard to explain, especially to people like James and Lily, who would probably die if they were to spend a day completely alone with their thoughts. Albus, on the contrary, always savours similar opportunities. But that’s the point, right? They’re all different.
„Having trouble with work?“
„Oh, no. On the contrary. It’s because I’m doing so well that I have less free time now.“ Al explains, trying not to sound like he’s bragging.
But, alas, it doesn’t work.
„I can see your self satisfied smirk all the way from here.“ James shouts from the living room and Al pouts.
So, he picks the teasing route. Figures.
Harry Potter laughs. „Don’t listen to your brother.“
„Are you aware that’s the sentence you always tell me concerning James?“
„Is it really?“
„Yeah, truly. Every single time we see each other.“
„Well, your brother hasn’t changed much, then.“
„I can still hope for a miracle someday, right?“
Mr. Potter smiles.
„Don’t hold your breath, squirt.“ James adds yet again.
Al sighs. His dad pats him on his slump shoulders and leads him in.
The living room of their house is clearly extended at the moment. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be able to take in all of his relatives. Al looks around and sees Rose crossing her arms whispering something to Lily. No. Near the kitchen Louis and Fred seem to be exchanging chocolate frog cards. Seriously? Are they twelve or what? Why does it seem so hard to find a kindred spirit in a room full of his cousins? And then Albus spots Lucy, tucked in a armchair near the window, alone. She seems to be playing with yet another one of those muggle devices. He smiles, a feeling of relief overtaking his body. So he walks over to her.
„Don’t...“ She sighs but then forces a smile and looks up at him. „Hey, Al. I forgot I do nicknames now! With you!“
„Yeah. Fun, isn’t it?“
„All right, I get it.“ He huffs. „I’ll try to tone it down.“
„You don’t have to.“ Lucy rolls her eyes. „Don’t always change to suit other people, Al.“
He nods. She is so contradicting in his company.
„Are you ok? You seem... Troubled? Not that I have noticed because of staring at you. It’s just that it’s glaringly obvious.“
„Is it?“ Al tries to smile, worried.
„Urgh, just, I’m a bit nervous how mum will react to the news.“
„I’m moving to Hogsmeade next week.“
Lucy finally stops working on the device and stares at him. „What?“
„No, I heard you. But... why? I mean... It’s weird. It’s you. You don’t do that.“
„Am I really that boring?“
„Thanks. I’m moving to be closer to Molly and... That’s about it, I guess.“
Lucy looks unnerved for a moment but regains her focus quickly. „Come on, she’s been there for quite some time and it’s only occured to you now that you need to be closer to her? I don’t buy it.“
„I had Nyssa before.“
Lucy stays silent this time around.
„I’ve realized that I’m actually really lonely here in London. I mean, yeah, Dad and Mum and Lily live just outside the city and there’s James... But he’s James and once, when I tried to pay him a surprise visit, he Alohomora-ed me. I mean, he locked the door in front of my nose. I could, of course, unlock it, but I got the message. James is in that phase, you know. When you’re utterly embarrassed of your family. I’m sure it’ll pass... someday... but until then... Lucy, I have no guy friends. And no friends outside my family either, for that matter.“
„And I reapet-you’ve only realized that now?“
„It hit me hard when Nyssa left, yes.“
Lucy studies him for a quiet moment. „All right, I believe all of that. But why do I get the feeling you didn’t get this idea by yourself?“
„I have no clue. Maybe you’re too suspicious?“
„Come on, Al. Just bloody tell me! What is there more to it?“
„All right! Malfoy wants to be Molly’s boyfriend so he suggested I move close to the castle. That way I can help him win Molly’s heart, first hand. In return, he’ll help me get over Nyssa by introducing Hogsmeade girls to me. Are you happy now?!“ He hisses into her ear, so that nobody else can hear his outburst.
„Bloody hell. I’m going to be partially deaf, thanks to you.“ She rubs her ear.
„Well, good. That’s for being too curious.“
Lucy rolls her eyes and sighs. „Anyway... Merlin, I cannot believe it. Malfoy fancies my sister?“
Al nods. „Why does that surprise you?“
„Come on, Al. You were confused when he first told you, as well, weren’t you?“
„I hate how well you and Molly read people.“ He crosses his arms.
Lucy actually grins. It’s a lovely expression on her.
„Well, now everything makes sense. I mean, in your own Albus Potter kind of way, that is.“
„Will you ever stop teasing me for my life choices?“
Lucy shakes her head, amused.
„Didn’t think so.“ He agrees. „So, what do you say?“
„I say... I think it’ll actually be good for you. You could use the change and...“
„Dinner’s served!“ Ginny Potter yells and everyone starts migrating to the dinning room.
„We’ll talk again later.“ Lucy adds and pulls him along with the crowd.
Deep into the best meal Al has had lately, and not surprising since he’s absolutely awful at cooking, Rose stands up. Everyone turns to her in surprise. Even Lucy.
„I... I have to say something. You surely noticed Elijah’s absence (Al turns to Lucy for support. Her shake and confused look confirm that he’s not the only one who’s clueless about Elijah not being there.). I know I said that he went to visit his sick mother. But that’s not entirely true. His mother is not really sick.“
„Rose?“ Hermione Wealsey throws her daughter a worried look.
„I’m sorry I lied, mum. I shouldn’t have done it. I had the intention to be completely honest from the start. But when I came in and saw you and dad, so happy, so very much in love, still... I’m sorry. I got sad and scared, at the same time. I... I... Elijah and I are divorcing.“ Rose finally spits out and burries her face into her palms.
For a moment, nobody moves.Then, Hermione and Ron rush to their daughter, pulling her into a warm hug. Al, no matter the little irrational anger he felt because Rose stole his dramatic moment, wants to comfort her as well. It has been a long time, he concludes. Maybe this means they truly did grow apart because of Elijah. Well, never is it correct to only blame one person. But, maybe he’s the main cause, if nothing.
When the Potter family is left alone, Albus approaches his mother, who’s washing the dishes using the wonders of magic.
She turns around and Al smiles. She’s still so beautiful and petite. Her build always calls for a gentle hug. So he does just that, embraces her with care.
„I have to tell you something. But don’t get overprotective, ok?“
„When have I ever?“ She jokes and Al craks up.
Then he uses his serious face to make the announcement.
„I’m moving to Hogsmeade. Next week.“
He feels her tense up, as if she’s fighting this enourmous urge to ask all kinds of questions. But, for once, she doesn’t. It may have something to do with the fact that the last time they saw each other he asked her, politely he thinks, to stop doing so.
„Are you sure that’s the right choice?“
Al thinks about everything one last time before confirming. „Yes, I think it is.“
„Then I’m happy for you, honey.“
Al kisses the top of her head sweetly.
„But don’t forget to visit from time to time, all right?“
„I won’t. And hey, you can come visit sometimes, too.“
„I would enjoy a glass of butterbeer.“ She smiles.
„Ah, you have your pririoties straight.“
„Oh, shut up, squirt.“
And now he finally knows where James got the idea of calling him like that.
Albus Potter realizes that this is it-his life’s about to change for the better.
Well, it is. But to get to that part, he’s firstly going to have to meet a very wild girl.