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Chapter 6 : Albus: The Family
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Disclaimer: I am sadly not the lovely JK Rowling and I do not own anything you see except for the OCs and plot.
A/N: About two weeks? Not too shabby I hope. So in this one Aaliyah and Albus have to face... the Weasleys (and other Potters)... dun, dun, dun. Just kidding, it won't be that bad... I think. So yeah I hope you enjoy reading and I would love if you would take the time to review if you can. Thanks. :)
Oh and Forti Animo means "brave at heart."
above is the magnificent... Rose Weasley
“So when’s Aaliyah meeting the family?”
“What?!” I sputter. We–Scorpius, Blaine, and I– are currently walking out of a long session of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Students are all crowding in the hallway we are going through; some holding hands, others rushing to their next class, and most chatting with friends.
“When’s Aaliyah meeting the family?” Blaine repeats, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Well… technically, she already knows my family,” I point out. I haven’t really thought about the family yet. I mean I know they probably all want to me to ‘properly’ introduce Aaliyah to them, but I didn’t and still don’t know how to exactly do that. There’s only one girlfriend that I have had let the family meet and that is Katie, my fifth year girlfriend. That meeting wasn’t pleasant to say the least.
“Yeah,” he stretches the word like he already knew that. He then adds, “… but you still need to do it.”
Scorpius chuckles at my slightly horrified face and Blaine smirks at me.
Letting out a breath, I say, “I guess I do.”
“I would do it soon. Better to get it over it.” Scorpius nudges me with his elbow knowingly. It is relaxing to know that someone knows what is actually going on. But him knowing also means another mouth that can spill the secret. And the definite worst part of Scorpius knowing is that he is right, like always, about arranging a meeting with the Weasley-Potter bunch soon.
I had been getting looks and glances from my family all week, especially Lily who narrows her eyes every time she sees me in the hallway. Knowing her, she is most likely mad that I hadn’t told her about Aaliyah or still haven’t informed her about how it is going between the two of us. What she doesn’t know is that nothing is ‘going on’ between the two of us.
“I agree with Scorp. And what has it been …like two weeks?”
“Two and a half,” I answer automatically. Wait, have I been keeping track? How had I not noticed that?
“Someone’s been keeping count,” Blaine teases and Scorpius gives me a look that reads, ‘Really? You’ve been keeping count?’
“Shut up.” I push Blaine half-heartedly and he stumbles into Scorpius.
“Whatever you say. I’m off to Muggle Studies. See you two later.” Blaine waves a bye and heads off in the opposite direction Scorpius and I are supposed to go.
“I think you should tell him.” I turn around to Scorpius calmly. I had known he would tell me this from the beginning. Usually when you tell one close friend, they feel guilty that you told them instead of another close friend. Probably a human instinct.
“You know I can’t do that.” We are already at the Charms corridor that is near a set of stairs that leads to the dungeons. The Charms corridor is one that is older looking than the rest of the corridors. It is covered with dust and has a fair share of ancient tapestries that no one dares to touch because of one, they aren’t particularly pretty and two, who knows what touched them or what they contain.
“Why not?” No one else is here. The hallway is empty like I could have heard the little sound a pin makes when it drops.
Turning to him, I calmly voice, “Aaliyah already isn’t happy that you are in on it and that she can’t tell anyone she wants to tell. If two of my friends know, she’ll be even madder.”
Scorpius presses his fingers around his nose. “But.. I had already known before you even told her… that doesn’t count.”
I start making my way down the corridor again. Scorpius follows. “It’s better if he doesn’t know anyway.”
“Maybe. When he does find out, then what?” Scorpius contemplates like the smart person he is.
“Then-” I pause, trying to think of the right answer, “… the truth.”
He nods. The rest of the way to the dungeons is quiet. We don’t say anything. The only sound is our shoes hitting the floor. When friends are silent most think they are in a fight or something, but with Scorpius and I, things are different. We are silent because we aren’t people that like talking a lot all the time. We need silence in our lives so we can think things through. So we can be in our own heads for a second. It is better sometimes to say nothing than to say unnecessary somethings.
The winding staircase takes us to Potions as does the dark, eerie walls that are a little damp. Scorpius enters first. Looking around, I see that a lot of the seats are already taken. I motion Scorpius towards Aaliyah.
He shakes his head and whispers, “the seat next to her is already taken.”
“I can see that.” I roll my eyes, and crack a couple knuckles; a bad habit that I haven’t managed to get rid of.
“Oh and what are you going to do? Ask the person to move?” asks Scorpius off-handedly. What he doesn’t know is that I am going to do just that.
“Yeah.” I shrug at him and pass tables ‘til I get to Aaliyah’s one. A Hufflepuff girl looks up at me and I smile as sweetly as I can.
“Can I sit here?” Her eyes widen and she nods her head like a puppet. She takes no time to move away to another seat.
Aaliyah narrows her eyes at me. “I can’t believe you just did that.” Not responding, I take the now empty seat next to her.
Taking out my Potions textbook, I swivel around to face her. “It’s not like she’s your friend anyway.” Her eyes flash in what looks like annoyance.
“You don’t know that.”
“Don’t I?” I inquire smugly. She doesn’t say anything nor does she have the courage to face me. At the moment, Professor Regan decides to make an entrance. He is what fourth year girls call, “a very fit, young bloke” which is basically a nice way of saying, “I wouldn’t mind doing him.”
“Why does everyone like Regan again?” I mutter under my breath so Aaliyah can hear.
It takes her three seconds too long to answer, “Meaning, why do the girls like him?” Aaliyah smirks at me with an amused look on her face.
“Yes, Aaliyah. Why do the girls, such as yourself, like him?” A touch of sarcasm enters my voice and Aaliyah’s face contorts into something else entirely. She now has this wicked grin on her face. Well, this can’t be good.
She leans in deviously. “Because he’s hot.” She makes that one sentence of reasoning sound like a paragraph.
I lean in closer. “Last time I checked, I’m hotter.”
She chuckles like I’ve said something silly. And let me tell you... I am not silly.
“Professor Regan’s a man. And last time I checked you aren’t one.” She leans out looking pleased with herself while I feel too lazy to come up with a comeback.
Half the period goes by with Regan trying to teach us the importance of Golpalott’s Third Law and me being bored as hell. With nothing else to do, I start watching what my oh-so lovely peers are doing. Scorpius appears to be half asleep. Ryan and what’s-her-face are snogging at the back of the classroom. A handful of students are playing footsie. Two guys are even leg wrestling. I shift my attention to the girl sitting next to me. Turns out my ‘girlfriend’ is trying hard not to be bored. Her eyes are determinedly focused on Regan’s droning voice. Ugh. I really need to break that Ravenclaw habit of hers.
Grabbing a piece of parchment out of my bag, I write one word: Family. I pass it over to her. She glances at me and gives me a ‘what the hell, I am trying to pay attention’ look. Reading it, she scribbles something and slides it back.
Rolling my eyes I write, “You have to meet my family.” While Regan makes Potions class more boring than it should be I might as well and take advantage of the time by telling Aaliyah about the meeting.
She reads it in a hurry and peers over at me. She seems shocked. Writing a response, she hands it back.
I already know your family.
I reckon I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to do the family meeting. Scratching out a, “You know what I mean,” I pass it to her.
It doesn’t take long before the parchment is under my nose again.
And exactly what do you mean?
Damn, she’s stubborn. I take a quick glimpse at her. She is still looking at Regan, her hair shielding most of her face from sight. Her quill is in her hand and every couple seconds it hits the table. Maybe she is thinking? Sighing I write, “Tomorrow at lunch.” I may not be ecstatic about the idea of having lunch with my family and all but she is probably scared, nervous, and antsy. Closing my eyes briefly, I give it back.
She sees it. She blinks. She looks up at me, a mirror of plain uneasiness. And then Aaliyah does something I don’t expect: she goes back to listening to Regan. No argument, no scowl, nothing.
I guess tomorrow’s going to be quite a day.
Mornings… well they aren’t as bad as they can be but when you have an alarm that sounds like a fucking rooster, it goes from okay to bad. And when you have a chirpy, morning-loving friend like I do, it goes from bad to worse.
“Don’t you guys just love mornings?” sings Mr.Sunshine aka Scorpius. I grumble in response and Blaine lets out a low growl. You see Blaine hates mornings with a burning passion. He literally abhors them. Mixing him and mornings is like mixing Scorpius and the Giant Squid, a very bad combination.
“Did you just growl at me, Blaine?” Scorpius places his hand on his heart, faking being hurt.
“Shut up.” Blaine stops walking, half-asleep. Scorpius rolls his eyes and grabs Blaine’s arm and pulls at it. Blaine shakes awake and slaps Scorpius’s hand away. The later lets out a girly ‘ow.’ What great friends I have, don’t you think?
“Stop being such a grumpy pants, Blaine.” Did Scorpius just say ‘grumpy pants? What are we? Three years old? “You’re only in a bad mood because I woke you up when you were dreaming about your lady of love.” I chuckle in amusement. Blaine has had a crush on this Ravenclaw chic since third year. Who even knows how he manages to like a girl for that long?
Blaine smacks Scorpius hard in the ribs, his cheeks becoming a tinge of red. Scorpius laughs seeing the expression on Blaine’s face.
“You’re only mad because I’m right.” Blaine becomes even redder. These are the best times of the day... when Blaine blushes. That or when Scorpius gets caught staring at Rose. Oh, how my friends make fools of themselves on a daily basis.
I open the common room entrance and we all step out one by one. Scorpius and Blaine are still in a light argument as I come out. I’m about to tell them to drop the topic when a voice bounces of the wall.
“Albus.” All three of us whip are heads around to see… Aaliyah. Well, that’s unexpected. Scorpius averts his eyes and Blaine coughs as if it would break the awkwardness that is passing around us. A job well done guys. Not.
I get out a lame, “Hey.”
She gives me a tight-lipped smile. “Can I speak to you?”
“Um… sure,” I say clearing my throat. I motion to Blaine and Scorpius to leave and they both give me a nod and make their way to breakfast at the Great Hall.
She takes a slow step closer and all I can notice is how her right hand is fidgeting. Hmm… am I that scary?
“So,” I start off, leaning on my toes to get a closer look at her. It is a safe move since she doesn’t shrink back or run away screaming.
Her grey eyes lock onto mine and they show this emotion that I can’t put my hand on. “Uhh… I was wondering if-”
“If?” I ask, actually wanting her to continue.
She blinks once and says calmly, “If you can delay having lunch with your family.”
We stand there as if someone pushed the pause button. I note that she doesn’t seem as nervous as before. It’s like it took her only a couple seconds to assemble herself, to rearrange the emotions on her face. Interesting.
I take the time to look over my shoulder before responding. “ That’s the thing…” I grimace and then continue, “I can’t.”
She isn’t angry. Instead, she tilts her head to the side, inspecting me in away. Did she think I was lying? “Well, why not?”
“Because.” I swear I’m the worst at coming up with good reasons.
“Because?” Her lips twitch upwards and she shakes her head, glancing down at her feet like she couldn’t believe I said that. “That has got to be the worst comeback you’ve come up with.”
“Give me a break. I’m a little slow in the mornings.” I shrug it off even though she just insulted my ability to be both witty and manipulative which are the two things I am best at.
“Now that’s an excuse.” She passes by me and starts making her way down the hallway, expecting me to follow which I end up doing.
I easily match her stride. “I still can’t move the lunch thing.”
She turns to me and inquires hesitantly, “You sure you can’t move it?”
Sighing, I focus on the path ahead of me. “Sorry, Aaliyah,” I mutter, not able to face her. It is an odd characteristic I have: not being able to say “sorry” when looking at that person. I always have had to put my attention somewhere else or I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Some probably pity me that I can’t say ”sorry,” but then it can be a perk in some ways ‘cause if you don’t look at the person, they can’t look into your soul.
Aaliyah lets out a laugh. Hearing her laugh is still a new action to me, one that I will hopefully get familiar with. “Albus Potter is saying sorry to me?”
“Don’t be so shocked.” I peer at her sideways to see that she has a full smile on her face.
“So does that mean I’ll be getting more apologies from you then?” Her tone is a teasing one, one that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
“Don’t be expecting that much from me.” A smirk comes on my face on its own and Aaliyah rolls her eyes.
We continue the rest of the way together, witty banter passing back and forth. She stops right before the Great Hall entrance. “Thanks.”
“For what?” I inquire, clueless.
“For not being a total jerk so far.” With that she enters the Great Hall, leaving me to ponder on what that meant.
Boy, is this going to be a long day.
After double Herbology and Alchemy, I find myself waiting outside of Ancient Runes for my supposed girlfriend. It still feels like a change… something someone has altered in my life ‘cause in my head it’s weird to call Aaliyah my girlfriend. It’s like it hasn’t sunken in that she is infact my girlfriend, well kind of.
I’m distracted from my thoughts when suddenly students come rushing out of Charms. Aaliyah is one of the last ones out. She is talking to one of the Ravenclaw Beaters. I think his name is Isaiah. Or is it Ian?
She doesn’t spot me yet so I stay where I’m standing a bit longer than I should. I’m stalling. And I know that. But... how could I go up to her now and remind her that, “Hey, it’s time for lunch. Now your world is going to come crashing the fuck down.” I mean how do you exactly say that nicely?
Aaliyah doesn’t hate my family… I’m pretty sure of that. But not all my family likes her or gives a fuck about her really. And that is about enough to make things uncomfortable.
Cracking my stiff neck, I stride towards the two. Her back is to me, but her friend seems to get a clear view of me. He taps her on the shoulder and points in my direction. Doesn’t he know that pointing is rude? And here I thought Ravenclaws are smart.
Aaliyah looks up and gives me a failure of a smile. When I reach her, she takes a step away from me. Isaiah notices and gives a curious glance to the two of us. “Nice to see you again,” I remark politely, even though I’m clearly lying.
“Same,” he admits through a half grimace, half smile.
“Well, Aaliyah and I are heading to lunch.”
“Same here,” he repeats, craning his neck to search for someone.
“Okay then. We’ll be going,” I finish off before grabbing Aaliyah’s arm and dragging her through the mass of students heading to the Great Hall.
“Let go of me!” she snaps, prying my fingers off of her.
“Calm down,” I advise, not giving her a glance. I’m too busy scanning the students for a mane of red hair. Now where is Lily? Rose should have been here too. Maybe they are already in there.
“Who are you looking for?” she disrupts, trying to follow my line of vision.
“Who do you think I’m looking for?” I charge back. I catch a glimpse of red hair. I rotate in a circle. Hmm… maybe it was an illusion.
“Your cousins,” she states. Her voice comes out in a stale tone like the color gray compared to the rest of the rainbow. Well, isn’t she enthusiastic!
“Do you have a thing against my cousins, Aaliyah?” I inquire innocently. I check to see if she is scowling. She isn’t. Instead she has this thoughtful look drawn on her face. She watches me staring at her. The noise around us grows louder and yet she doesn’t flinch or appear bothered by it.
I keep staring, waiting for her to show some sign of unease. She doesn’t. Instead, she keeps watching.
Then, getting tired by my obvious surveying, she shrugs so I would stop observing her. Smart move.
I grasp her hand and push my way through the bustling students. I can feel her squeezing my hand tightly as if she thinks I might let go.
When we are finally at the entrance, I let go. She lets out a sigh of relief. And I breathe in the fresh smell of delicious food.
“Aggravating? Unpleasing? Loud?”
“Actually, I was going to say not as bad as it could have been,” she corrects, a smirk etched on her face. That’s when I notice how different her smirk is from the Potter smirk, and the Weasley smirk, and the Malfoy smirk. It isn’t patronizing or deviously cunning. It is just a smirk. One that is teasing and light. Maybe even sweet.
“Well, that is one of the day by day battles of Hogwarts: getting to lunch,” I announce.
“Yup. Who knew getting through hungry teenagers would be that hard?” she thinks aloud.
“Not our parents that’s for sure.”
She laughs. And I try to smile.
“Ready for this?” I look straight at the Gryffindor table. A group of tall students sit there. Half of them are muscular and can beat you easily at quidditch. Almost all of the females are sassy red-heads. And all of them have Weasley blood running through them.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
“So not at all, then?”
“Hey, looks like Alby has finally come out of hiding! Exactly what has made you change your mind, brother dearest?” my sister exclaims, a flair of drama in her voice. Lily’s brown eyes blink up at me in curiosity and humour. I roll my eyes and take a seat across from her and at the same time pull Aaliyah down with me.
Rose flashes her eyes at me in annoyance and I don’t respond. She’s right next to Fred, who’s gazing at Aaliyah intently. Aaliyah doesn’t giving him any attention though. Instead, she’s smiling at James and he’s smiling back at her.
“So…” comes a voice from next to me. I turn to Louis and he’s grinning from ear to ear. He’s always been a sweet and cheery one but not mischievous. He extends his hand at Aaliyah, stretching his arm across me. “I’m Louis. Nice to meet you.”
Aaliyah quirks an eyebrow at him in a light-hearted manner. “I already know you.”
His hand still stays in the air. He thinks about it for a moment before saying, “Well, I know you too... but I do the same introduction for every family members’ girlfriend or boyfriend.”
She smiles and shakes his hand. Lily rolls her eyes at Louis and mouths, ‘really?’ He shrugs in response.
I guess this could have been worse.
“Anyway… Aaliyah, I’m Lily which you already know since you used to come to our house like all the time, but now that you are my brother’s girlfriend, I’m your sister-in-law.” I spit the juice I was drinking out of my mouth. Did she just say sister-in-law? Like as in married?
I turn to look at Aaliyah and she does the same, her eyes wide in shock. I look around the table. Louis is glancing off, pretending he never heard that. Rose looks like someone just spit in her face. Fred has a look on his face I can’t describe. And James… James has an amused smile displayed on his face.
“Umm… why would you say that?” Aaliyah asks, trying to smile politely.
“Oh you know, Al’s never one to get girls,” insert my ‘hey’ outburst here, “and he never, I mean never, let’s anyone meet the family so… you’re probably going to end up being his wife someday.” Lily says it so casually like it is an everyday outburst, like she’s used to calling my girlfriends my wives. She takes a sip from her goblet and sets it down. She glances around at all of us before saying, “I was kidding, sheesh. What does it take for a girl to joke around here.” She shakes her head and I hear Aaliyah letting out a relieved breath.
At the moment, Aiden joins us, taking a seat next to Aaliyah.
“Where have you been mate?” James speaks up.
Aiden lets out a breath of exhaustion and replies, “Blackwell held me back to explain part of my homework.” He immediately starts piling up his plate and everyone stares at him. He takes notice of this and his eyes land on Aaliyah after some time. He grins. “Hey, Aaliyah!” He squeezes her shoulders. I wonder how well they know each other. I mean I know she has to know him since he’s one of Fred and James’ best mates. “How’s my cousin doing?”
Aaliyah’s shoulders relax a tad, tension easing with someone not from my family present. “Ellie’s doing fine.”
“Good. Has Ellie told you about how she…” I tune their conversation out and turn to see that Louis, Lily, and James are watching me expectantly.
“What?” I ask. Lily rolls her eyes, James sighs, and Louis has a concerned expression.
“Don’t give me that, Albus Potter,” Lily threatens in a hurried whisper.
This time it’s my time to roll my eyes. The three of them lean in, creating a huddle of four.
“Aaliyah, Albus!” she scolds and then looks between James and I, “Out of the two of you, I kind of expected Aaliyah and James but you and Aaliyah? What were you thinking?” A mixture of emotions crosses Lily’s face: irritation, confusion, and… worry. She smacks me on the arm.
“Lily,” James voices, “you’re not helping.” He pinches his nose in maybe frustration or anger… I’m not sure which one. “Al… why didn’t you tell us?”
Lily looks exasperated and before I can answer she adds, “..we would have understood.” Her tone is soft and sad. as if she feels betrayed that I didn’t tell her anything.
I reach out and touch her hand tentatively. “Look… I’m sorry,” as I say this I stare into my sister’s bronze eyes, “Okay? I am. And… I didn’t tell you because… because I didn’t want everyone find out so quickly. You know how it is with Weasleys. You don’t even need to tell them and the next morning they all know.” She chuckles knowingly and reaches over to hug me and I hug her back. I feel bad for not being honest with her. Not only about Aaliyah and I, but James and Gabby, and what exactly the gossip of Hogwarts can do and all the rest of the burden we all carry.
She lets go and Louis takes his turn to talk. “Have you talked to Fred yet?” Right when he says it, we all peer up to look at said person. Aaliyah’s still talking to Aiden and Fred…. Fred’s trying hard to not to look up at her, to not take notice of her. No, he’s pushing his food around on his plate.
“He came up to me during Quidditch practice.” I’m honest this time. It’s something I don’t need to hide.
“And?” Louis urges.
“And he wants me to let go of her.” James and Louis aren’t shocked by my answer but Lily is.
“He would ask that?” she whispers, confused.
We all don’t say anything for a while. They all seem to be reflecting on the information they just received. I take the time to make observations on them. Lily’s flaming ginger hair has gotten a tad longer since the end of summer. James’ frames are starting to slip down his nose. Louis’s light blonde hair is more disheveled than the usual perfect. The past year or two has taken a slight toll on them. They all care about Fred and are close to him someway or another… so when they found out he cheated on Aaliyah, they weren’t sure what to say or do. Should they be angry? Should they take their cousin’s side and stick with him? Or yell and scold and shun him? In end, they ignored what happened… except for James that is. He couldn’t just ignore it, not when he is close to Aaliyah, but he does still stick by Fred (but he sticks by Aaliyah too).
They all have a mature look to them now, one that was nonexistent a few years ago. It is a wonder what time can do to you.
I’m shaken from my thoughts when a warm hand comes on top of mine. Its Lily’s. “Take care of her, Al.” She stares at me and then our hands. Remorse and regret shadows the angles of her face. She wants me to take care of Aaliyah… not for only her, but for all of them… so they can have closure, so they can feel less guilty about how they didn’t stand by Aaliyah when Fred screwed her over. I nod and Louis smiles a sad smile and James nods at me in approval.
They all lean out simultaneously. I take my attention away from them and my eyes immediately land on Rose, who’s watching me. Her eyes are narrowed but she’s not mad at me. No, she’s mad at herself for not stopping me. Fred glances up at me finally. His dark eyes reflect loss but he doesn’t seem bitter about my decision. Not now, not today.
I then glance next to me at Aaliyah. She’s staring at me too. I look into her gray eyes and I don’t see anything. No happiness, no sadness, no hurt, no anger… just nothing. Her eyes lower to my hand and her fingers curl around mine and she leaves it there.
She doesn’t look back at me. Her eyes are now on James and they chat like old friends (which they kind of are). I go back to my food but I can’t eat. There is a pit in my stomach, a gaping hole as if it is there to send me a message. I shake my head, ignoring it.
I look to my left again and I a couple of feet away I see a blonde keeping an eye on me. Her deep blue eyes pierce through me even from there. Her lips twist in dissatisfaction but she nods at me. Next to her, a head peers out. Dominique, Louis’s sister and another one of my many cousins, waves. She then points in Aaliyah’s direction and then gives me wink and a thumbs up. I chuckle to myself and Gabby rolls her eyes at Dominique’s antics but a smile pulls at her lips.
“So Aaliyah, would you like to hear about the time Albus proposed to Aunt Audrey’s sister when he was five?” Lily asks. I whip my head around at her and she has playful, cunning smirk decorating her face. Oh, gosh.
“No,” I straight out say, putting down that idea immediately. James chuckles and even Rose snorts into her pumpkin juice.
Aaliyah has a thoughtful, curious look on her face. She tugs at our intertwined hands, a sign that she’s going to say ‘yes.’ Oh no.
“Sure,” she agrees. And the story comes out and while it does I whisper into Aaliyah’s ear.
She glances at me briefly. “Yeah,” she breathes out, “I think I am.”
The clock strikes 11:10 pm. I make my way to the door. The door swings open, I step out and shut it. I climb the stairs down as quietly as I can. When I reach the landing, I’m surprised by how there is no one there. Weird.
Exiting the common room, I navigate my way to the Gryffindor Common Room. The moon shines through the windows and the walls are dark and eerie. The floor is hard as always but also cold. Torches light up part of the way but most of them are out by now.
Tonight there is a Weasley Night Gathering. One that Aaliyah is invited too. I don’t even know when is the last time she ever went to one, probably one way back at the beginning of her fifth year.
Weasley Night Gatherings have always been a tradition. We hold them from time to time. Usually the oldest cousins (currently Fred, James, Molly, and Dominique) decide which nights they are held. They are what you expect them to be: a time where the whole family spends time with each other by playing games (sometimes including alcohol), spilling secrets, catching each other up on gossip, and etc, etc. We are usually allowed to invite a person (each of us) but this time it is only the family and Aaliyah.
Before I can comprehend, I’m standing at the Fat Lady’s Portrait. She’s snoring. Very loudly, might I add.
I cough. She continues to sleep. I cough louder. She gingerly wakes up and squints her eyes at me. “Password,” she yawns.
“Forti Animo.” The portrait swings open and I step inside. I already feel warmer, heat rising up my body.
In my opinion, the Gryffindor Common Room looks better at night. The bright reds and shades of gold are more muted and hurt the eyes less. The fire still roars too, illuminating the center of the room. And right by that fire is Lily, James, Dominique, Louis, and Aaliyah. I come up behind Aaliyah and wrap my arms around her waist. She’s surprised at first and but when she realises it is only me, her shoulders loosen up.
“Did you get here okay?” I whisper. She nods in a yes, eyes watching the fire dance.
“Well, aren’t you two cute,” a feminine voice says from beside me, punching my arm playfully. Aaliyah steps back closer to me in shock. We both turn to see Dominique, her pale, green eyes shining at us. Her long, straight, blonde hair cascades down her back and her smile seems genuine.
I’ve always liked Dom. She’s a sweet person for the most part and she doesn’t judge much. I mean yeah, she is girly and all but hey, she was raised by Aunt Fleur. What else can you expect?
Aaliyah gives her a shy smile. “So have you managed to make Al blush yet?” Dom asks Aaliyah, reaching over and pinching my cheek. I slap her hand away and rub the spot. It hurts. This only makes her smile even more. “So have you?” she asks again.
Aaliyah shakes her head in a no. “Well, trust me, you will. It’s hard to make him blush at first but once you can, he’ll just keep blushing all the time. Isn’t that right, Alby?” She pinches my cheek. Again. And it hurts. Again. Damn the woman’s nails.
“Shut up,” I grumble and this makes Aaliyah smile once more. She’s kind of cute when she smiles. She should probably do that more often.
Right then, Molly rushes in. I let go of Aaliyah and step back. Molly sees me and gives me a hug which I return. Her flaming red hair hurts my eyes but it is a familiar sight. She lets go of me after a couple of minutes and smiles at Aaliyah sheepishly. “Sorry I wasn’t at lunch. I was at the library and lost track of time,” she apologises to the both of us before going off to talk to James.
Following Molly is Lucy. She completely ignores me and goes straight for Aaliyah, hugging her from behind. “I’m so, so, so sorry about missing lunch. Today was a Ravenclaw lunch day where I sit with my friends from my own house.” Lucy lets go of Aaliyah and Aaliyah rotates to give her a one-armed hug.
“It’s fine. You’re here now, aren’t you?” Next to James, Aaliyah knows Lucy well too. James is her best friend/childhood friend, Lucy is one of her good friends, she gets along with Lily, and kind of knows Dom since Dom is Gabby’s bestie. Other than that though, Aaliyah doesn’t know the Weasleys all too well (except for Fred that is, ex and all).
“Oh, so she gets a hug and I don’t even get a ‘hey’?” I complain jokingly, crossing my arms over my chest.
Lucy comes over and squeezes me around the abdomen. She’s short one being only five foot three inches. Her hair isn’t like the rest of the family. It’s a light brown color with a little red in it. So instead of getting dark brown locks like Roxanne or a ginger color like Lily, she got stuck in between. Dom describes is as toffee hair, whatever that means.
It doesn’t take long before she bounces off to greet the rest. Being in Slytherin and all I don’t see my family as much as the others see each other. You see, I don’t really eat lunch with them and the only ones I have a chance of having classes with are Rose and Louis. From time to time, I see them in the hallway but that’s basically it. There is always winter holidays and summer break though.
I count off everyone. There’s only four more left: Rose, Hugo, Fred, and Roxy.
It doesn’t take long before the sound of stomping feet comes from the staircase that leads to the boys dorm and out comes Hugo wearing a childish grin.
“Hey, guys!” he bounces. Seeing Aaliyah and I, he adds, “Al, Aaliyah!”
He comes in our direction, ginger hair sticking out a tad. He’s still at his lanky, every-which-way stage; his face still young and less refined and his growth spurt still going on, pulling him up.
“So, why weren’t you at lunch?” I inquire, crossing my arms over my chest again.
“Oh, you know things to do, people to meet,” he answers, the grin still on his face.
“Now, now Al. That’s for me to know and you to never find out.” He starts to make his way to Lily, beaming at Aaliyah when he passes her.
“He’s getting more devious,” I voice.
“I think it’s cute,” Aaliyah says, a fond look in her eyes. I quirk an eyebrow at her and she mirrors me. I then eye her up and down, taking a look at what she’s wearing. Granted, everyone comes to the gatherings in their pajamas or night wear but Aaliyah’s PJs are what I call boring. Flannel PJ bottoms and a plain, white, long-sleeved top… barely any skin… how innocent.
A smirk comes before I ask it to, “Nice PJs.” I whisper it into her ear so only she could hear.
She glares at me and my smirk just grows wider. “Exactly how innocent are you?” I question, curious if she will answer or not. I grab the hem of her shirt and pull her closer.
She leans her head in. “And exactly how do you know I’m innocent?”
I press my lips together, answer playing on my tongue. “Just an assumption,” I finally say.
“Well then, we shouldn’t be making assumptions, should we?” Her eyes stare at me through her lashes and I chuckle.
“I guess not,” I contemplate.
She puts some space between us. Three minutes later I feel her eyes on me. “What?” She keeps observing me, her mouth twisting in consideration.
“Maybe if you stick around long enough, I’ll show you my wild side.”
Everyone’s here. Excluding Rose that is since she has prefect duties tonight. We’re about to start when Roxanne tugs at my sleeve. Her dark eyes already asking many questions.
“Aaliyah, you won’t mind if I steal him away for a minute, right?” Roxanne doesn’t wait for an answer since she’s already dragging me to a corner where no one can hear us.
“What are you doing with her?!?” she hisses.
“She’s my girlfriend. What do you think I’m doing with her?” I pry her hands off of my sleeve. She glares at me, not satisfied with my answer.
“She’s Fred’s ex!” she whisper-yells.
“So?” I ask somewhat annoyed.
“Why would you date your cousin’s ex?” Her expression isn’t happy. Her stance gives off anger.
“He’s over her,” I lie.
“And how would you know that?” she counters, brown curls getting in her eyesight.
“Because… I don’t know if you’ve noticed Roxanne but he cheated on her. Not to mention that it has been like a year.” My tone is apathetic, trying to not let any sort of anger in it.
“That doesn’t mean he’s over her. Look at him.” Her eyes motion in the direction of her brother. He stands next to James, stealing a glance at Aaliyah occasionally. Even from here, I see how he still has feelings for her. I shake my head and focus on Roxanne.
“Roxy… I know you and your brother are close. I know you care about him. I do too. But what he did to Aaliyah was wrong and you know it was wrong. He’s had time, a years worth. And the only reason he’s not getting over her is because he doesn’t want to. For whichever reason, I don’t know. But you can’t hold it against Aaliyah. I know you liked her… and you still do. And I know you care about me too so… please, learn to accept this. Please.” Her stance softens and she looks longingly at Fred before staring back at me.
Her eyes fixate on Aaliyah. Her eyes fill with regret and tenderness. “What if she’s using you?” she sighs.
“She isn’t,” I reassure.
Roxanne nods and looks back at me, her eyes downcast. “I just want him to be okay, to be happy.”
I wrap my arms around her. “I know. We all do.” I peck the top of her head and we stand there for a few moments, feeling for Fred.
“Fred, truth or dare?” Dominique asks when the bottle lands on the burly fellow across from me.
He doesn’t take long before replying, “Truth.” He usually goes for a dare.
“Hmm… have you ever fell in love?” Dominique questions, probably not expecting a serious answer. I don’t think any of us do but we end up getting a lot more.
“Yeah..once.” His amber eyes meet Aaliyah’s smoke coloured ones.
Everyone stops and watches them before Aaliyah averts her eyes elsewhere. I hear her swallow and I reach out and touch her hand. It’s cold. She clutches mine tightly, her breathing hitching a tad. I squeeze hers back and the action calms her… the knowledge of someone there calms her.
“Okay…” Dom tries to break the tension. She spins the bottle once more. It lands on Aaliyah. Well, isn’t this just dandy.
“Truth or dare?” Fred rumbles, eyes burning into Aaliyah’s head.
“Truth,” she breathes out, biting her lip.
“What,” I hold my breath, “is your favorite colour?” Aaliyah’s eyes flash up and again they are staring at each other.
A minute later she says, “Green.” She adds on to her response, “Not green like the forest but soft sea green. Like the ocean, calm and moving.”
Fred nods his head shakingly. I squeeze her hand once more and she squeezes mine back.
“Has anyone read Witch Weekly’s latest issue?” Dominique asks to no one in particular.
“Nope,” answers Molly.
“I haven’t had the time to. Is it any good?” chimes Lucy from her place on the floor.
“I read part of it.” This comes from Roxanne who is still rooted next to her brother. Sibling loyalty goes a long way, I guess.
“I have,” Lily chirps, a smile on her face.
“It was good, wasn’t it?” Dominique looks down at Lily from her sprawled out position on the couch.
“Did you take the test?” Lily’s eyes bounce up and down in pleasure and excitement.
“Yeah. I got the second one, what did you get?”
“The fifth one.”
“What test is this?” Molly’s tone is a curious one.
“What type of guy you would end up with,” Dom and Lily say at the same time.
“I have a copy right here.” Dom waves the magazine in her hand. The girls sans Aaliyah huddle around her. I roll my eyes at their antics. Girls will be girls, I guess.
I tune them out ‘til I hear a familiar name. “Aaliyah, do you want to go first?”
Aaliyah looks up from her conversation with Louis and I wait for her reaction. She bites her lip, unsure.
“Go on,” I whisper, nodding my head toward the group. She lets out a sigh before standing up to go over.
“What do you think she’ll get?” Louis asks me, pulling at the carpet.
I shrug. “We’ll have to wait to find out.”
A couple of minutes later the group of girls burst out into giggles. Aaliyah’s cheeks tinge a light shade of pink. She slowly makes her way back and plops down next to me.
“What did you get?” I incline my head in query.
“You really want to know?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“The sweet and sensitive guy,” she says, a sort of smile on her face.
And all I can think of is... I hope she does end up with that type of guy.
The sweet and sensitive one.
When I walk her back to the Ravenclaw dormitory I only say one thing.
“Yeah,” her lips twitch upwards, “I think I am.”
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