Chapter 6 : Angry Albus Potter
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I was barely inside my cube when James's head popped around the corner, a big grin on his face. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had been watching my cube, waiting for my arrival. I set my bag down, giving him a raised eyebrow in question. It was barely 7 AM and James was never here before 8.
"About time you got here!" James said, hopping into my cube after me.
"I think the real question is why are you here? It's Friday. Isn't Friday your slacking day?" I asked, rearranging the files on my desk.
"Don't be ridiculous, Al. Every day is my slacking day." James waved a hand dismissively before grabbing my shoulder and giving it an excited squeeze. "Don't you know what today is?"
I racked my brain for birthdays, anniversaries, or pointless holidays that James was in love with but came up empty.
"I'm not entertaining some make-believe holiday if that is what this is." I told him, remembering when we were younger and he declared November 3rd to be Nargle Hunting Day. He woke up early and made Lily and I hunt nargles all day.
"This is so much better than Whomping Willow Aerobics!" James laughed. That was September 30th, possibly the most dangerous day of the school year.
"James, I don't have time-" I began, but he pulled his wand out with a crazy grin that made me stop in my tracks. Was waking up this early making him go bonkers?
"Today is the annual Auror dueling competition!" James said, branishing his wand, emitting small yellow sparks.
"Aren't you going to duel?" James asked, placing his wand at his side. I snorted in response. I wasn't a good dueler and he knew it. "Come on, everyone is doing it!"
"I feel like we are back at Hogwarts and you are trying to convince me to swim in the lake again."
"Everyone was doing that too!"
"It was December, James."
He sighed, giving me an expectant look.
"At least come and cheer me on. I'm going to win this year!"
I looked at the paperwork on my desk and then at my older brother. I cheered him on all through school during his Quidditch matches. I never missed a single game. I was his advocate for everything and always made sure I was there for him. I blinked slowly, knowing I should stay behind and do my paperwork, but I was sure to never live it down if I didn't show up.
"I will watch and that is it." I finally caved. James wrapped his arm around my shoulder, dragging me from my cube.
"I'm going to pummel Nott this year, you'll see!" He said loud enough to get the attention of a few other Aurors who were making their way towards the training room.
"Go Potter!" Someone shouted towards him, receiving a laugh from a few people.
Not surprisingly, there were a lot of people in the Auror training room when James and I arrived. Most weren't even Aurors, just people coming to watch the show. There was a lifted stage set up in the center of the room, platformed for those dueling to stand on. Every year there was an Auror dueling competition to fine-tune Auror's dueling skills. A lot of people thought it was just for Auror's to show off their talent, but people from every department still showed up to watch. The person who managed to either knock the competition off the stage or disarm their opponent won and would stay on the stage, continuing to duel until a 'championship' round. Whoever won that championship round got an extra week of time off.
Considering I have never used my six weeks of time off, I never saw the appeal of this competition.
"Come one, come all! Raise your wands if you dare and duel to the death!" Teddy leaped onto the stage dramatically, raising his wand in the air, getting a good amount of laughter in response.
"You're not even an Auror, Lupin!" Someone called to him. Teddy jokingly pointed his wand towards the voice.
"Because I am better than an Auror!" He countered.
"Get off of the platform, Lupin." I heard the drawl of Stanley from the opposite side of the stage. He lumbered up and Teddy reluctantly climbed down. Stanley's small eyes narrowed as he looked around the filled training room. Normally this room was used to train new Aurors, but occasionally it was used for more. Though only meant to fit the roughly 20 Aurors that were in our department, there were at least double packed into the room to watch the festivities.
"In light of recent events, I expect every one of my Aurors to duel today." Stanley began. I felt dread bubble in my stomach. Though this was my first year as an Auror, these duels had always been voluntary. "We will start with last year's champion defending her title. Raine Nott."
I hadn't expected Raine to be the first one to duel. I would have thought that having won this competition last year she would have gotten a pass until the end. Needless to say, she didn't seem surprised by the announcement. She rolled her eyes and jumped onto the stage with ease. Her face was expressionless, which was something extremely terrifying to a new Auror as myself. After our argument the night before, I hadn't expected our first encounter to be pleasant, but I didn't expect for it to be at opposite sides of wands.
"Nott, you know the rules. You are up here until someone can disarm you or knock you off of the stage." Stanley didn't make eye contact with her, surely still bitter about my father standing up for her last week. Raine got a few cat calls that she easily ignored. Her wand was in her hand and if I didn't know any better, I would say she was just getting ready to go for a casual stroll. "You may pick your first opponent."
"Potter." She said coldly.
"I'm not going easy on you this year, Nott!" James laughed, walking forward.
"Not you. Your brother." She barked at James, stopping him dead in his tracks. The room became silent as all eyes turned on me.
How bad would it look if I turned and ran out the door right now.
"Well then... go on, Al." James mumbled, sinking back to my side bitterly. A few people whispered around me and I could only imagine what they were saying. Raine and I were supposed to be partners and she was calling me to duel her.
Slowly, I somehow dragged my legs towards the platform. When I reached it, i hesitated as Stanley reached out his plump hand to help me, but I reluctantly took his sweaty palm and let him help me up. A few people snickered as Stanley hobbled off of the platform. Raine was looking at me, her face completely blank of any emotion. I swallowed the lump in my throat. Surely she wouldn't make a huge fool of me, right? Surely, she wouldn't actually hurt me...right?
"You wanted to be a tough guy, Potter? Here's your chance to prove it." Raine growled at me.
"Kick her arse, Al!" James shouted. I glance his way and the lack of confidence radiating from him hit me hard.
I used to be amazed by the elegance that some people could possess with their wands. I remember watching my father when I was younger waving his wand to do simple charms and being entranced with the beauty of magic. It was like wizards and witches had their own private dance with their wands that only they knew the steps to. My wand and I, however, did not seem to have the same grace that others had. I didn't have the best reaction time and it led to sometimes having clumsy wandwork.
Raine's hand went up and a sharp, fast jab towards me led to a silver light shooting towards me. It was such a small, fast movement that I barely noticed it until the spell cast me off my feet, shooting me across the stage. I landed on my back with a loud thud, a gasp from the group showing they were just as surprised by Raine's speed as I was. Somehow my wand stayed in my hand and I tightened my grip on it. I heard her words echoing in my head. I had to stand up for myself. I couldn't let Raine beat me this fast.
I waved my wand from my spot on the ground, shooting a spell in her direction. She was caught off guard, but was able to deflect it rather easily. She flourished her wand above her head, bringing it down like a lasso, another spell heading my way. I was barely able to roll to my left before it hit the exact spot I had just been, leaving a singed ring. I jumped to my feet as fast as I could, stumbling slightly in an attempt to keep my eyes glued to Raine's wand.
That was when our own dance happened. While I may have thought one wizard with their wand was elegant, it was nothing compared to a full-fledged duel. Dueling was something that you had to see to believe. While not intentional, the magic produced by a duel looked like a ballet in action. Raine would cast on me and I would barely have a moment to react before I had to cast on her to get an opening. She would easily deflect everything I sent her way, almost immediately shooting a spell at me. If I had a moment to admire it, I would have found her movements so incredibly graceful that it may have given me a new appreciation for her.
I grunted as a stinging hex hit my wrist, but determination didn't allow me to drop my wand in pain. I quickly lashed forward with my wand and caught Raine off guard. My hex hit her shoulder, sending her crashing to the ground. I think I heard a few people cheer, but ignored them, holding out my wand, ready for her next attack. Her dark eyes turned up on me, a look of pure hatred in her eyes.
Before I could register what was going on, a spell came shooting towards me. I didn't even see Raine move, nor did I see her wand anywhere in sight. The spell pulled me straight off of my feet, sending me flying off of the platform. I crashed hard onto the laminate floor, groaning as I felt white pain searing through my shoulder. I rolled over, ready to get back to my feet, but I saw James above me, cringing slightly as he stared down at me.
"You okay, Al?" He asked, kneeling down next to me. There were a few people that were clapping at Raine's victory. I was off the platform. I lost.
"I'm fine." I grunted, letting James help me to my feet. I winced when he touched my shoulder.
"Should we get you to a mediwitch?" He asked in a low voice.
"I'm fine." I repeated myself, my voice far harsher than I intended it to be. I wasnít a prideful person, but for some reason I felt embarrassed.
Raine had a smirk on her lips as she hopped off the platform and came towards me. I could see her right arm was slumped slightly and a sick part of me hoped it was from the hex I had actually hit her with. The rest of her body held the arrogance that I was used to seeing with an extra splash of smugness that lit the familiar fire in me that only Raine could ignite.
"Looks like I was right all along, Potter. You really don't belong here." Raine growled at me. I felt like the smallest person in the room suddenly.
"He held his own, Nott." James defended me, which just seemed to make Raine's smirk grow.
"Just about as well as you did last year, eh James?"
I don't know what caused me to do it, but my wand was up and pointed threateningly at Raine before anyone could react. Without even realizing it, a spell came from my wand and hit Raine square in the chest, sending her shooting into the air and onto the other side of the platform. James immediately grabbed my arm and put himself in front of me to prevent me from casting on Raine again, but the damage was done. People were gasping, a few people had screamed at my actions, and Stanley was now in front of me, completely red in the face.
"Get. Out. Potter." He growled at me.
I didn't need to be told twice. I turned on my heels and was gone before I could register the astonished look on James's face. I ignored the swearing of Raine that was definitely directed towards me.
What the bloody hell did I just do?
"Probation?" I asked, my voice small as I could feel my hands shaking.
This was the second time I had sat in front of my father's desk. The first was to ask me to become an Auror. And now it was to suspend me from being one.
"You attacked your partner, Al." His voice was calm, but his eyes looked worried.
"I don't know what came over me." I whispered, looking down at my shaking hands. "I was just so... angry."
I was answered with silence. I looked up to see Dad studying me carefully, his round glasses pushed far too high on his nose. He sighed and leaned forward slightly, placing his hands carefully on his desk. I wasn't used to being punished. I never got in trouble. I wasn't the bad Potter. I was the Potter who followed the rules. I don't think Dad would have ever expected to see me sitting here in front of him under these circumstances.
"You're an Auror, Al. You've got to learn to control that anger." He said calmly.
"But..... I'm Albus Potter. I don't get angry." I tried to explain, more to myself than to him. "It was just like something snapped."
"Some people can pull very powerful emotions out of us. Some of those emotions can be good... some can be bad."
"Are you propheting us, Dad?" I heard Lily's voice from the door. She was leaning against the frame, her hair completely wild and a burn mark on her cheek. I have learned not to ask.
"I'm almost done, Lily." Dad answered, giving her a small smile.
"Wotcher, Al?" Lily entered Dad's office, ignoring his obvious attempt to get her to leave. She hopped into the chair next to me, tucking her legs underneath her bottom. It felt surreal, sitting here and getting reprimanded. I almost felt numb from the shock of it all.
"This is work related, Lily." Dad said, a little more sternly this time. Lily frowned, looking confused at both of us.
"You're not... in trouble, are you?" She whispered to me, a look of disbelief on her face. I felt my cheeks flush.
"I'll be out shortly, darling." Dad got to his feet, helping Lily off of her chair. He shuffled her out of the door before she could say anything more.
The room was silent.
"How long am I on probation for?" I choked out. They were words I never thought I would speak. Who was I turning into?
"Two weeks. We will have you working in the office on some files. Most importantly, we need you to stay away from Raine Nott."
It felt unfair. I wanted to stomp my feet and yell that it wasn't my fault. I wanted to scream that Raine was the one who started all of this. She wasn't even getting a slap on the wrist. I never got in trouble. Ever. And now Raine Nott had not only got me put on probation, but she also made me lose the respect of the most important person in my life: my father.
"I understand." I nodded, feeling a hard lump forming in my throat. "Can I go?"
"Donít forget about dinner Sunday at the house." Dad said, attempting to smile at me, but I could see the worry behind his eyes.
"That's just not fair!" Iris gasped as I recalled the previous day to her. I ran my hand through my hair with a sigh.
"That bint will get what's coming to her, mate!" Adrian called from the kitchen of Scorpius and my flat.
It was Saturday night and somehow the girls had conned my mates and I into a quadruple date. Rose had even agreed to it when Scorpius had invited her and she was not the type to enjoy the company of girls like Kendra Bates. Nevertheless, she was sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, laughing as Scorpius attempted to throw chips into her mouth and missed horrifically.
"Good thing you didn't go into professional Quidditch," Alicia laughed, taking a small sip of her butterbeer in her hands. She wrapped her arm in Luca's and I saw him blush. Even with age Luca still was a bit awkward with women.
"I think I could fly circles around Adrian!" Scorpius puffed out his chest and Rose snorted, rolling her eyes at him.
"Love, you're the bloke who fell off of his broom because you thought a butterfly was attacking you." She said with a smirk, earning laughter from all of us who had been there to experience it.
"It was a huge butterfly! And it caught me off guard!" Scorpius whined in his defense.
"Yes, it was just vicious." Rose responded easily with a roll of her eyes.
Her red hair had a similar shine to it as Iris's, except she didn't pay as much attention to it as Iris did to hers. She normally had her hair tied in a loose ponytail on top of her head, pieces sticking out in random directions. Rose always put a bigger focus on her studies and never spent too much time on how she looked. Not to say she wasn't pretty, because she definitely was, but her beauty was subtler than one would expect of a girl in this day and age. People had been surprised when the pretty boy Malfoy had expressed an interest in Rose Weasley, but after seeing them together for years, it was hard to picture them as anything but perfect for one another.
"I proposed my column to the editor today." Iris said in a small voice when the laughter died down and people broke off into their own conversations. I perked up at her news.
"And?" I pressed.
"He loved it." She smiled at me sheepishly. I reached forward and squeezed her hand. I wasn't big for public displays of affection.
"At least one of us is having success at work," I joked, but felt the bitterness in my stomach. "So what's it about?"
"That's a secret....but I think after recent events, you'll truly enjoy it." Iris smirked at me knowingly, grabbing my fire whiskey from my hands and taking a gulp. I raised one eyebrow at her, but didnít press her for more information.
"-And she fell flat on her face! I'm not one to find other people's pain funny, but the way she hit the ground...." I caught the end of Kendra's story as she burst into laughter. I shared a knowing look with Rose and Scorpius who were across from me. Kendra Bates was your stereotypical 'mean girl'. There was no doubt in my mind that anytime someone fell, she laughed.
"That reminds me of the time that Luca fell into the Black Lake!" Adrian responded loudly, laughing hysterically. Luca's entire face turned red.
"Or when your dad chased me with a butcher knife. I don't think I've ever had to contain my laughter so much as when he fell and your mum told him he deserved it for running around with a knife." Scorpius laughed, but the look on Rose's face was anything but funny. She was giving him a death glare in warning.
"When was that?" I asked, feeling as though I definitely had to hear the entire story. Scorpius glanced nervously at Rose, like the words never should have came out of his mouth.
"A few nights ago." Rose answered cooly, not elaborating further. This immediately caught everyone's attention.
"Oh, come on. You can't leave it at that, you codger!" Adrian called, throwing a piece of popcorn in Scorpius's direction.
"It's a little late to take it back now." Scorpius said apologetically to Rose. She grunted in disapproval, keeping her eyes narrowed on him.
"We agreed-" She began in a low voice, but Scorpius reached forward and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.
"But we also agreed that this whole thing might not go according to plan and that was fine." I could see him rubbing small circles on the back of Roses hand and I wanted to vomit.
"Are you pregnant?!" Kendra asked loudly with a gasp. "I did think you were gaining a little weight, but I didn't want to say anything."
"There are just some things you don't say, Kendra." Alicia growled to her friend with a shake of her head.
"We're not pregnant." Scorpius interrupted before Kendra could retort to Alicia. He glanced at me and I could see in his eyes that he felt sorry. He was apologizing to me.
"We're.... engaged." Rose finished.
It felt like everything suddenly stopped. My best mate was engaged. He was going to get married.
And I was finding out with everyone else.
Maybe I was being childish, but I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach at this.
"You're going to be a Malfoy?!"
"Scorp, just take her last name."
Scorpius was looking at me, guilt all over his face. Maybe he had meant to tell me before everyone else, but that didn't mean it fixed it. I didn't get to see the ring he was going to use. I was seeing it for the first time as Rose shoved it out in front of herself. I didn't get to let him practice his proposal on me. I didn't get to give him advice on how to break it to Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. I didn't get to tell him to make sure to ask Uncle Ron before asking Rose.
I didn't get to help my best mate of years make the biggest decision of his life. And it hurt a lot more than I thought it would.
"Congrats, mate." I said in a small voice as I approached Scorpius.
"I meant to tell you-" He began, but I cut him off with a shake of my head.
"You're not supposed to apologize right now. This is your moment. Enjoy it." I told him, but the skepticism in his eyes said he knew I was still hurt by his actions. Adrian came forward and tackled Scorpius in his own weird form of congratulations and I found myself sinking back towards Iris. She reached over and gave my arm a squeeze.
"Her ring is so beautiful!" Iris giggled, grinning at me.
I didn't get to help Scorpius pick out the ring.
"Mind if I stay at yours tonight?" I asked Iris. She looked a little confused, but nodded anyways.
Scorpius's life was moving forward and it was going without me. A part of me was not okay with that.
"So, what's this story with Rose's dad chasing you with a knife?" Iris asked, settling in next to me as people began to take their respective seats again.
"Well, it was a carving knife, not a butcher's knife." Rose laughed, playfully glaring at Scorpius.
"I suppose in retrospect, I should have asked your dad for permission before proposing to you." Scorpius responded easily, getting a laugh from everyone except for me.
"I could have told you that." I found myself saying in spite of myself.
The room was silent for a beat as my bitterness filled the air. I immediately felt guilty. This wasn't about me; it was about Scorpius and Rose. I jumped to my feet before anyone could say anything, grabbing Iris's hand and pulling her up with me.
"I'm not feeling well. I think we should get going, Iris." I tried not to make eye contact with anyone.
"We're in your flat, Potter." Adrian shifted uncomfortably.
"I'm staying at Iris's tonight." I turned towards Iris and gave her a tight smile. "Ready?"
"Yeah... congrats again, guys." Iris gave a sheepish smile towards everyone.
"Thanks Iris." Rose answered in a mumble.
I didn't look up as I pulled us both out of my flat and into the hallway. I let out a breath I hadn't known I was holding.
"You okay, Al?" Iris asked after a beat of silence.
"I just...." I ran a hand through my hair. "He's my best mate. And I didn't know. I didn't know he proposed to Rose."
"I'm sure he meant to tell you-" Iris began but I raised one eyebrow at her and she stopped short.
"He had all the moments to tell me. Like when he was thinking about proposing. Or when he was picking out the ring. Or when he was planning on asking her. Or when he was debating asking my Uncle Ron or asking Rose first. Or even when he actually did it. Instead, he waited until it slipped out in conversation." I felt myself getting angrier and angrier with each word. It was like there was a secret bond that Scorpius had just broken and I felt incredibly betrayed.
"Al, I think you're taking this a little too seriously." Iris said quietly, but that only made me angrier.
Anger from Albus Potter twice in the past few days? This wasn't supposed to happen.
"You don't understand." I grunted. Iris reached forward and squeezed my hand.
"Well then let's go back to my flat and you can explain things to me." Iris tried. But I didnít feel like explaining anything. I didn't want to think about Scorpius and Rose. I wanted to get my mind completely off of the past few days. I needed to get this anger out of my system.
So, I placed my hands on Iris's waist and pulled her into me. The look of shock in her eyes was barely registered as I crashed my lips against her, hunger and anger taking over. I was probably being far more aggressive than Iris was used to from me, but I needed something else in my mind. The intoxicating smell of Iris's shampoo was a great distraction, but I needed more. I needed her. My hands pushed at the bottom of her shirt, eliciting a gasp from Iris's lips.
"We should probably take this somewhere more private." Iris groaned as she pulled away. I trailed kisses down her neck and onto her collarbone.
"Your flat is still empty." I whispered and she nodded, grabbing onto me as we apparated away from my flat.
Author's Note: Well, it was a long time coming, but ALBUS POTTER HAS OFFICIALLY SNAPPED!! Can you see the downward spiral he has started for himself?! Oh Mr. Potter, what are we going to do with you?
A lot of you asked for Scorpius and Rose, so here you go! I give it to you in the best fashion ;). Thoughts, comments, concerns?!
xoxo until next time!
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