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No Solid Ground by RoxyRose
Chapter 5 : I'm Only Trying To Help, I'm Only Trying To Make It Through Another Day
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 16


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FOUR
Three weeks later
4th April 2023
 




Cassie woke to the sound of a muffled crash and stifled swearing. 


She struggled to sit up in bed, her legs tangled in her bed sheets, and heard a muttered “Stupefy.” 


For a second she flinched, as if the spell was aimed at her. But the moment passed. There was a dull thump of a body hitting a mattress then soft footsteps across a carpeted floor. 


Cassie’s heart stopped racing the moment her thought processes had caught up with her body’s reaction, and she recognised the voice. 


“I’ve told you a million times,” She hissed, “Forth bed from the end, moron. Not third.” 


“Sorry.” The hangings were briefly yanked open around her bed, and as they fell quickly closed she felt rather than saw the shadowed form settle himself on the end of her bed. 


“I can’t believe you just stunned my dorm mate,” Cassie shook her head even though he couldn’t see it. 


“I’ll bring her round before I go,” Albus said, indifferently, “She’ll never know any different.” 


“Cruel.” 


“What’s cruel? She was asleep, I woke her up, I put her back to sleep again. It’s really common courtesy if you think about it.” 


“Sure, you have a heart of gold.” Cassie said, wryly. “How’d you learn a stunning spell anyway? Like we’d ever get to do anything that exciting in Charms…” 


“No self-respecting younger brother gets by without having a stash of defensive spells up his sleeve,” Cassie was sure she could see the glimmer of a set of white teeth grinning through the darkness, “I’ve been able to do that since I picked up a wand.” 


Again, through the darkness, Cassie heard the soft whoosh of a wand cutting through the air and a muttered spell. “Muffliato.” “Lumos.” 


The bed hangings glowed a dim blue for a second, before the small area within them was cast in a silvery glow. Cassie instinctively pulled her sheets up over the top of her pyjamas and suddenly felt that the interior of her four-poster bed was a little too rumpled and dishevelled for company. But that was ridiculous. They’d agreed to meet in the early hours of the morning – it seemed ages ago now, she’d been looking forward to it – what was she supposed to do? Just stay awake in a pristine bed till then? 


“I didn’t hear you come in.” She said. 


“Window was open.” Albus indicated the two brooms leant against the foot of the bed. “Fancy a fly?” 


It had been three weeks since Cassie had mastered the dive. Three weeks since Albus had declared her ready for a night fly. Three weeks since Allen Davies had labelled Albus ‘trouble’. 


That hadn’t stopped Cassie accepting the invitation for a night fly eagerly. 


They’d flown together a couple of times a week. Sometimes for hours at a time, sometimes for no longer than twenty minutes. Sometimes all night. 


What Cassie did know was that she’d never truly appreciated the beauty of night when she’d been out alone. 


But tonight wasn't a good night. True, she enjoyed her midnight excursions so much more now that she had someone to share it with but at the same time she didn’t need it anymore. She loved it still, the beauty of the night, the thrill of the risk, but she no longer encompassed that desperate need for the rush. 


And tonight just wasn't right. 


“Actually I’m a little tired.” She said, apologetically. 


“Tired? You’ve been asleep for hours, lazy shit.” Albus said sceptically. “And this could well be our last chance to fly before Easter…” 


“I’m not going anywhere.” Cassie pointed out. She would be staying at Hogwarts for the Easter holidays, just as she had every year. Alone. Even before, she and Ryan would only really go home for Christmas and summer. “Are you?” She asked, realising that she had no idea where Albus would go in the school holidays. Surely he had nowhere to go either. 


He was quiet for a second. “No.” He didn’t elaborate. 


“Well then.” 


“Don’t you want to fly anyway?” He sounded incredulous. 


“I’m tired.” 


“But I wanted to show you something -” 


“I’m tired.” She said, more firmly. She was glad that the silvery glow was blocked partially by the mop of hair swinging in front of her face. She didn’t want him to see her eyes. 


He interpreted her tone and body language. “Oh. Ok. Do you want me to go?” 


Cassie shrugged. Then shook her head. Then shrugged again. 


Albus sat still. He was so good at reading her emotions. He just wasn’t so good at reacting to them if they were anything less than cheerful, content or sarcastic. Cassie didn’t know whether it was simply because he was a boy, or… other stuff. 


“I’ll leave if you want me to. But if you want…” He regarded her inquisitively, “What’s wrong?” Once again he demonstrated his frank, honest, bluntness. Not one for being subtle. 


“I’m fine.” 


“No you’re not. You were fine earlier. Now something’s changed.” So blunt that sometimes he was on the border of rude. But Cassie wasn’t offended by it; it was refreshing. It just sometimes got irritating when he didn’t let it go, such as now. 


“Cooper…” He said in a mock stern voice. 


Cassie smiled. 


“That’s better. Now…” He leant forward onto a hand then stopped abruptly. “What’s this?” He shifted his weight – his hand had been crushing something. He retrieved something from the folds of the bed sheet; crumpled, creased and faded from years of being fidgeted with. 


Cassie recognised it at once. If it were anyone else she would have snatched it away. But she didn’t. And she didn’t know why. 


The pale glow from Albus’ wand reflected in bright arcs from his bottle green eyes as they flicked from the photograph up to Cassie’s face and back again. Then they remained on the image as he spoke. 


“Is… this Ryan?” 


Cassie nodded. Then felt foolish when she realised that he wasn’t looking at her so he wouldn’t see. But he must have been watching her from the corner of his eye because he still responded. 


“He’s… he doesn’t look anything like you.” 


Cassie saw his eyes following the movement in the photo. She’d stared at it so, so much that the image seemed ingrained on the back of her eyelids – she knew exactly what he was seeing. So many thousands of times she must have watched, over and over again, as her younger self and brother battled in vain to keep a straight, ‘proper’ face, appropriate for the portrait their parents wanted. All it took for Cassie to fail and collapse into peals of laughter was a mock-prim, scolding look from Ryan. He’d always been better at keeping a straight face than her, even though he must have only been eleven – or maybe just twelve – in the photo. But it didn’t take a huge amount for him to ruin the photo as well. The photo-Cassie would snort with laughter, then jump in shock at herself and cover her face. Then, that was it – they were both hysterical. There was no hope for an ‘appropriate’ photo after that. 


But, in Cassie’s opinion, she couldn’t have asked for a more accurate representation. 


She smiled. 


“I know. That’s what everyone used to say…” Even as the words split from her lips she cringed. Used to. Because nobody spoke of the two of them as a pair anymore. “Everything he got from our Mum I got from our Dad, and vice versa. That’s what they used to say.” 


Albus was smirking at the photograph too. “You’re alike when you laugh, though.” 


She appreciated that he was using present tense. 


“We got in so much trouble for that.” Cassie said, gently taking the photograph from Albus’ fingers. He didn’t stop her. “It was supposed to be a nice photograph to put up for Christmas when the grandparents came for dinner.” 


“I think it’s a great photo.” 


“Me too.” Cassie watched her brother fondly as he burst into uproarious laughter at her embarrassment over her snort. She studied the creases around his eyes, the was his nose wrinkled up and his teeth clamped together in a huge grin. 


“But your parents didn’t?” 


“It wasn’t considered suitable behaviour.” Cassie half-smiled, “Not to show the family, anyway. And I always thought they’d thrown it away. I mean, it was taken at Christmas, just before Ryan… just before. And I didn’t see it again until way after. After the aurors decided they… they weren’t getting anywhere. After they stopped looking.” Cassie swallowed, but her voice carried on talking of her own accord. “Then I walked into Mum’s room and she was sat on the bed, just looking at it.” 


Albus didn’t say anything. Didn’t move a muscle. This was as close as Cassie had ever come to talking to him about Ryan’s disappearance… Hell, it was closer than she’d come to talking to anyone about it. 


“I took it when they send me back to school the next year. It wasn’t like stealing or anything, not really. They’d both already buggered off on some job or another without it. Or me. They would have taken it with them if they cared. Or they would have stayed at home. They should have stayed at home.” 


Cassie stopped abruptly, the familiar, bitter anger at her parents consuming her. 


They’d accepted it so quickly, that he was gone. It had barely taken them four months to decide that they were ready to go back to work, and that she was ready to go back to school. She didn’t even get to make that decision on her own. 


“Maybe it was all a distraction.” Albus said, quietly. Cassie was almost surprised to hear him speak, he’d been so respectfully silent for a few minutes. “Going back to work. Maybe it was because they couldn’t bear to just sit there going over the possibilities. Maybe they felt useless without it.” 


He didn’t seem to be really talking about her parents. Cassie watched him as he stared past her at the headboard. She remembered now, the controversy over Albus Potter being awarded the position of Quidditch Captain so soon after the family’s departure. There had been judgemental whispers – it was too soon, he wouldn’t be able to handle it with his siblings gone, he wasn’t affected by it, he was settling in too quickly on his own, he must have known something about their mysterious nonattendance… 


All contradicting one another. But all thought he shouldn’t have gotten the title.
He doesn’t care about anything. Only Quidditch.” Cassie could see it now. People thought he didn’t care because he’d gotten so into the Quidditch so soon after… But the reason he’d gotten so involved in the Quidditch was because that was all he had left. 


She really couldn’t see how no one could see through his act. The show of indifference he put on. How could anyone even suspect that he knew of his family’s whereabouts when she could tell how much it got to him? 


But what did happen? She wanted to know so much. Why are they gone and you’re still here? 
The appropriate amount of time for Cassie to respond to Albus’ words had passed and they sat in silence for what felt like minutes on end but couldn’t have been even one. 


“I’m going to go.” Albus said, after the silence had begun to make Cassie feel drowsy. “I need a fly.” 


“On your own?” Cassie asked. 


“Yeah. Why?” Albus asked, genuinely enquiringly. 


“Oh. I don’t know. I guess I just don’t like to think of you out there alone.” 


“Been doing it for years before I met you, Cooper.” There wasn’t a trace of the quiet, considered tone of his voice remaining. He gave a cocky smile, checked his watch and knelt up as if to leave. 


“Ok. Just… be careful.” Cassie didn’t know why she felt so odd about him going out now. Maybe it was because of the understanding they’d shared. Maybe it was because, as far as she knew, he hadn’t been out alone since inviting her for a night fly. Maybe it was because, now he’d decided to go, he seemed uncharacteristically rushed. 


“Always.” With a flick of the hangings, he was gone. 


Cassie stayed in the same position, sat up half-tangled in her bed sheets, for at least a minute. Longer than it had taken Albus to leave after he decided to go. 


She went over his abrupt decision in her head. It wasn’t like him, she was sure. He may have been a bit of a dunce at reacting to emotion at times, and to be fair they’d shared a lot tonight, but he wouldn’t leave her so soon after something like that… would he? 


Something was different. 


She could either disregard it and attempt to get to sleep, or she could find out what it was. 


In the bed next to her, Freya snuffled in her sleep. Cassie swung her legs out of the sheets. She knew exactly which option Freya, Nina and Juliet would choose. The easy option. The safe option. The boring option. 


Whipping open the hangings, Cassie saw that he’d left her broom. 


Excellent



** 



“Cooper!” 


Cassie disregarded the greeting and marched on toward the Great Hall. 


“Hey. Cooper?” He sounded confused now. 


Cassie didn’t turn around. She kept her pace along the corridor. But it wasn’t long before his strides matched her own. 


“Oi. What’s wrong with you?” He demanded. 


Cassie carried on walking, “I’m not talking to you.” 


“Oh.” For a couple of seconds the only sound was their footsteps. “Um, why?” 


Cassie exhaled, frustrated. She wasn’t usually the girl that sulked. But then she was usually the one who knew the grounds at night. She owned it. But… 


“Where did you go last night?” She asked, annoyed with herself that she had to ask. 


“I… what?” Only a little stumble, but again Cassie felt that odd feeling. The one from last night. He wasn’t telling her something. “I went for a fly. You know I did -” 


“Where?” 


“Just… around. The usual.” Now he was definitely uncomfortable. “What’s the big deal? Did you not want me to go without you? You said you didn’t want to go -” 


“I looked for you!” Cassie surprised even herself with the fierceness of the outburst. 


“You… what?” 


“I came after you. I changed my mind. And you just weren’t… anywhere.” 


“I was just…” Albus trailed off, obviously unprepared for this. 


“Look, I don’t care if you don’t want to fly with me. Or whatever. I just need… I mean want…” 


A slow grin grew on Albus’ face. “You just need to know where I was. Because you don’t like it that someone knows something about sneaking out that you don’t. You don’t like it that I’m better…” 


Cassie glowered, knowing that there was no use in lying. Unfortunately for her sense of pride, his grin was infectious. “Yes. Alright? I want to know!” She laughed at herself. 


The laughter vanished from Albus’ face. “Well I… can’t. Exactly.” 


“What? Why? Come on!” She hit him light-heartedly in the arm, even though the seriousness of his expression was making her a little uneasy. 


“It’s not… it’s not that I don’t want… I just… I mean, I was going to take you last night but I -” 


“Cassie.” A voice, calm and collected in comparison to Albus’ hesitation, interrupted. “Hi.” 


Cassie released Albus from her accusing glare for long enough to recognise the intruder. “Hey, Allen.” She returned her stare to Albus, who was looking more than uncomfortable now. “Tell me.” 


“I… not… er, right now.” Albus didn’t even flick his eyes in Allen’s direction, but it was obvious to Cassie, and surely Allen, why he wasn’t. 


“Cassie I just wanted to -” Allen began. 


“Is it important?” Cassie interrupted bluntly. She didn’t have a whole lot of patience for Allen. He was probably just going to tell her that Albus was bad news again, or something equally valid. Albus might not be being totally honest with her right now, but she still in no way would even consider him ‘bad’. “Because we’re kind of in the middle of something here…” 


“You’re… oh.” Allen raised his eyebrows. “Am I interrupting something?” 


“Yep.” Cassie folded her arms. “Sorry, we were just -” 


“Oh. No. I’m sorry. I’ll just… I’ll talk to you later.” He left in a bit of a hurry. 


“Wow.” Albus smirked. “You sure know how to put a guy on the spot.” 


“He was interrupting something. An interrogation.” Cassie shrugged. 


“I don’t think that’s exactly why he left in such an awkward rush.” 


“He shouldn’t make assumptions, then.” 


“Right. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m pretty starving so -” Albus made a sly move to follow Allen to the Great Hall. 


“Nice try.” Cassie yanked on his arm. “Tell me.” 


“Cooper.” Albus yanked his arm back and threw it around her shoulders. “It’s not that simple.” He steered her towards the Great Hall. 


“I think I can handle it.” Cassie rolled her eyes as they passed through the doors to lunch. “Do you want me to beg? ‘Cause I will I swear… you’re so annoying…” 


“No I do not want you to beg. I don’t think you’re quite the type. Your idea of begging probably ends badly for me.” He pulled in the arm that was around her shoulders into a quick headlock. 


“Oi.” Cassie squirmed out. “People make assumptions, remember?” She swept her hair out of her eyes and in one brief scan of the hall could pick out Freya, Juliet and Nina staring unashamedly. 


“Let them, like they even matter.” Albus shrugged. 


“You’re avoiding the question again.” Cassie accused. 


“Cooper…” He grinned wickedly and wrapped his arms around her. 


“Al! Stop it! I want to know -” 


“Tonight,” His voice was low as he pulled her into a hug, then withdrew quickly and raised his voice again. “I’m starving. I’ll catch you later, Miss Cooper.” 


As he strode across the Hall to join his team mates at the Gryffindor end, Cassie felt that odd sensation in her abdomen again. Something was weird. And not just the cold, forlorn feeling she was left with when she realised that his hug was just so that he wouldn’t be overheard. 


Something was really weird. 



** 




For the second night in a row Cassie woke to the sound of a muffled crash and stifled swearing. 


“Are you serious?” She hissed, ripping the hangings open to see the idiot backing away from the wrong bed again. “Fourth bed. Not third. How hard is it to remember?!” 


She heard Nina stirring in her sleep as Albus was fumbling for his wand in his back pocket. Whipping out her own she sent a quick, silent stunning spell in the direction and heard a satisfying ‘thump’ to confirm that she’d hit her target. 


“You’re welcome.” She smirked smugly, then straightened her face in horror as she realised that the smirk was probably not a whole lot different to Albus’. 


“I had it covered.” He protested, slumping back onto her bed. 


“Yeah, well I haven’t hexed anyone in a long time.” Cassie reasoned. 


“You can do non-verbal spells.” He said. It wasn’t a question. “Lumos.” His spell filled the space within Cassie’s hangings with the familiar silvery glow. 


“You can’t.” She realised that all the spells he had performed in front of her had been verbal. 


“They don’t teach it.” 


“That’s true.” 


There was a pause. For a moment it was like when they’d first met, conversing in their riddle-like exchanges as each tried to work the other out. 


“Bet Buchanan loves it.” Albus’ teeth gleamed in a mocking grin. 


Cassie let out a breath of relief as it felt like they were back to normal. “He hates me.” She nodded matter-of-factly and Al laughed. 


“I assume it’s ‘reckless and hazardous behaviour’?” He quoted the frequently-used phrase of the Transfiguration teacher. 


“Of course.” 


“Much like when I brought the snitch into a particularly boring theory lesson.” 


“It did get tangled in Gladys Galveston’s hair, didn’t it?” 


“It may have done. But it was hardly a hazard. There were no need for the tears.” 


“I heard they had to shave and re-grow her hair.” 


“You shouldn’t listen to everything you hear. People make assumptions, remember?” He mimicked her. 


“But it’s true.” 


“So?” 


“I’ve forgotten the point of this argument.” Cassie shook her head. “Yet again, I’m forced to believe that you are just avoiding the question.” 


“What question?” Albus asked, innocently. 


“Al.” Cassie appealed. “Please tell me.” 


“I will. Just… come on. Let’s go outside.” He patted his broom. “Up for a fly?” 


Al.” 


“Just up to the roof. I don’t… We can’t be overheard.” He stood up and picked his way across the room towards the window. “And you can wake her up,” He nodded towards Nina’s stunned form on the bed next to Cassie’s. “Miss Check-out-my-non-verbal-shit Cooper.” 


“I had to last night.” Cassie grumbled. “Pick the right bed next time. Can you not count past three?” 


“I won’t have to,” Al didn’t pause as he climbed up onto the window ledge. “They all go home for Easter tomorrow, remember?” 


The spark of excitement that had grown at the prospect of flying seemed to jab at Cassie’s throat a little at the mention of Easter. Another Easter she would be spending at Hogwarts. Without Ryan. 


“Cooper?” Al was hovering just outside the window. 


“Go on then,” She shook herself and took in a lungful of cold air to focus. “What are you waiting for?” 




** 




Cassie was comfortably parked in her old seat on the base of Merlin’s robes, watching Al hovering restlessly in front of her. She couldn’t help but remember that this was where they’d first met. She remembered how freaked he’d been when she’d slid carelessly down the roof. 


He was slowly moving up and down the roof absently scraping his trainer on the tiles. 


“Are you scared to get off your broom?” She asked, irritably, “You won’t fall, you know.” 


“I’m not scared.” He stopped kicking the roof, “I’m thinking.” 


“Well stop thinking and start talking,” Cassie suggested, “You owe me an explanation.” 


“I know.” He dismounted and nudged her with his toe. “Budge up.” 


Cassie looked down at her comfy seat of Merlin’s robes. It was true, there was just about room for two on it. She’d never realised before. Slightly grudgingly she shuffled to the side. Merlin was her seat. Now she was sharing. But she did appreciate the warmth and stability of Al’s arm against her side rather than Merlin’s crumbly stone knee. 


“Well?” She prompted. 


Al was staring straight ahead, his gaze skimming over the roof before them, past the lake and the forest, towards the dark horizon. His profile was framed by the velvety midnight sky and the dim light of the stars. While he wasn’t answering Cassie’s eyes travelled down his furrowed brow and straight nose to where he was agitatedly biting his lip. 


Something was definitely weird. A shiver ran down Cassie’s spine that was only partly due to the crisp breeze. 


“Are you going to tell me or not?” She asked, impatiently, “Because it’s cold.” 


“Yeah.” Al said, automatically lifting his arm to put around her shoulders. She could tell that he wasn’t thinking about it because he was still staring ahead, trying to sort his words out. But she did appreciate the extra warmth. “But like I said, it’s not that simple. It’s not just a case of me telling you where I went and you happy that you have a new place to play.” Cassie glared briefly at the insinuation that she was a child. “I could do. But there’s more to it. And I probably shouldn’t tell you.” 


“Why?” Cassie demanded. 


“Because it’s important. I haven’t exactly been told not to say anything, but I think they’re taking it for granted that I have no one to tell. Which was true. For a long time.” 


“Who’s ‘they’?” 


There was a long silence. Cassie didn’t take her eyes from Al’s face. He didn’t lower his gaze from the stars. She thought he wasn’t going to answer. 


“My family.” He said, finally. 


Cassie blinked. It took a second for the information to process, before a thousand questions fought for prominence. 


“You know where they are?” She asked, finally selecting one. She was surprised at how steady and casual her voice sounded. 


“Not exactly.” 


It was as if a hope that Cassie hadn’t known had emerged at his initial answer was dashed. It was irrational that she should feel this way. It must have been because she was just associating his loss of his family with her own loss. 


“But you’ve… spoken to them?” 


“Not exactly.” 


“Al, what -” 


“Sorry. I’m sorry this isn’t answering anything, is it?” 


“Not even a little bit.” 


“I’m trying, I just don’t know how to…” Al stopped again. For the first time he moved from his stony position, let out an enormous sigh and leant his head back against the statue. “I don’t know where they are. And I haven’t spoken to them. But they’re… writing to me. Kind of.” 


“Are you serious? For how long? Why didn’t they tell you where they are… I…” Cassie couldn’t stop the questions tumbling out this time. Then one important one wrestled it’s way to the front. “Do they know?” 


This ‘they’ wasn’t an ambiguous one. They both knew exactly who she was talking about. 


“No. No one knows. No one can know. This is… do you get how big this is?” 


Cassie glowered again. “I’m not stupid, ok? I know what was in the papers – everyone does…” 


“It’s not just about what’s in the papers. Sure, they’ve been made out to be the bad guys and everything, but it’s more hushed up. It’s… my Dad could get arrested. They could all get arrested. And even if they don’t people are going to be watching them the whole time. They won’t be able to do anything without people interpreting it badly – there’s no point even trying.” 


“That’s… why they left?” 


“Yeah. Well I… I guess. I don’t really know. They’ve been writing to me but they can’t just send it with the morning mail signed ‘lots of love Mum and Dad’, can they?” 


“Surely no one reads your…” Cassie trailed off, understanding. People are going to be watching them… “They’re watching you. The teachers.” 


“I got a letter at the start of last year. All it said on it was ‘don’t give up on us’. But the wax had been resealed. I check them all out of habit; me and James used to nick each others letters from mates and girls and stuff so I always had to. So someone had read it. The others came ages later, never too close together but they were all written weirdly, all in riddles and codes. I had it pretty much worked out but I never knew if I was right. They always said don’t reply at the end.” 


Cassie thought she knew why working out Albus had seemed such a riddle when they’d first met. His whole life was a riddle. 


“What did they say? What did you work out?” 


“Well not a lot. I think… I think they’re ok. They’re staying out of the way. But it was mostly kind of a warning.” 


Cassie’s skin prickled. “A warning.” 


“I don’t really understand, I can’t… This is going to sound stupid.” Al shook his head. “And I might be wrong. Probably am. It’s probably best that I’m telling you, so I can see how bizarre it sounds to hear it out loud and realise what a mug I’m being.” 


“I won’t think you’re a mug.” Something stopped Cassie adding in a sarcastic comment. This was serious. More serious than anything they’d discussed before. The whole of the world seemed to hush and the presence was their conversation. 


“Ok. Well I think it’s kind of a warning about the school. It was a warning that they were watching me; that they didn’t trust me. That I shouldn’t trust anyone. Things have changed around Hogwarts.” 


“I know.” Cassie agreed. Al stopped and looked at her curiously. She carried on. “Of course it’s changed, you can see it for yourself. Anyone can. All the stupid rules, restrictions. No one ever telling any of us anything useful, no one -” 


“No one caring.” Al finished for her. “It always seemed so strange that all this stuff had changed and no one cared. Not the teachers, not the students. It was just me, I thought I was the only one…” 


“You just weren’t looking in the right places.” Cassie delivered the familiar response and was glad to see a smile grow on his unnaturally serious face. “So do you know anything more -” 


“Potter!” 


Cassie jumped and hit her head on Merlin’s knee at the abrupt interruption. In the same instant Al jumped up and drew his wand in a smooth movement, his sudden absence leaving Cassie cold and slightly dazed from her hit to the head. She scrambled to her feet in a much less fluid motion and scrabbled for her own wand whilst squinting in the direction of the unwelcome addition to the evening. 


“What… Cassie?” 


Cassie flipped her hair out of her face and squinted into the blinding beam being thrown over them. Slowly her eyes adjusted and took in the shape. The dark figure so at ease on a broomstick, straight shoulders, the bristly hair… 


“Allen?” She blurted in disbelief. 


He seemed to recover quickly. “I might have known where one is the other will be. The two of you seem to be pretty inseparable these days.” 


“What are you doing?” Cassie asked, too taken aback to act calm. Albus was doing the cool, silent thing enough for the both of them. 


“Disciplining. Prefect, remember?” 


“But.. what…? Prefects don’t just nip out on their brooms and patrol the roofs to coincidentally find people.” A dropping sensation in Cassie’s stomach reminded her. Of course. They were watching Al. Once more, he must not have been careful enough. 


“It doesn’t matter how or why. Point is, you’re out of bed past curfew, you’re out of bounds. I should be asking you what you were doing, but I think I’ll leave that to the professors.” 


Cassie was suddenly very aware of the broomsticks at their feet. Sure, she’d only been flying for two months and he’d been flying for five years. Albus had been impressed at her flying. And even if Allen was faster than her, he’d have trouble catching Albus. And there were two of them, he couldn’t chase two of them… 


“Come on then, you might as well face them now.” Allen was saying. With his words, Cassie felt foolish to even had considered running away. Where did she have to run to? 


Al stooped to pick up the two brooms and silently passed Cassie’s to her. Allen seemed to take for granted that they would follow him, and drifted away slightly. Cassie reluctantly mounted her broom, feeling trapped even though all she could see was the open sky. 


“Hey Davies.” Albus spoke up suddenly. 


Allen turned around, acknowledging him wordlessly. 


“What did you hear?” 


“Pardon?” 


“What did you hear?” Al repeated, clearly. His expression was nonchalant but Cassie could see a muscle in his jaw jumping. 


For a few seconds Allen remained silent, before replying with a sneer. “Don’t worry yourself, Potter. I don’t think I could handle listening to your sweet-talk even if given the option.” 


Cassie was relieved. If he was making snide comments he couldn’t have heard what they were really talking about. 


“What is that supposed to mean -” 


Cassie could see that Albus was half just trying to wind Allen up, but the muscle in his jaw was still going. And Allen’s heated sneering didn’t indicate that he was quite so even-tempered right now either. 


“Al.” She said, warningly. 


Both heads swivelled in her direction. 


Ah


“Um. I meant… Albus. Stop it.” She mumbled, her scolding not having quite the same effect.

Albus was smirking. Allen’s face was cast in shadow by the moon behind him. 


“Well as long as that wasn’t remotely awkward,” Albus commented, dryly. 


“Follow me.” Allen’s voice was cool and firm, “Professor Buchanan is waiting.” 


Cassie groaned. 


“And we thought it couldn’t get any worse.” Albus shrugged. “Suppose it’ll only be lines again.” 


“For our ‘reckless and hazardous behaviour’.” Cassie agreed. 


“You’re a bad influence on me, Cooper.” 


Cassie opened her mouth in protest. 


He smiled his crooked smile and disappeared from view, his words lingering behind him. “I was never caught before I met you.”



 

 



















A.N. Hello. I'm going to have to apologise AGAIN about the long wait, I'm sorry! Its happening a lot right now but I promise I haven't ditched these stories, and I do have excuse but they will sound feeble and boring so I won't burden you with them. 
But I really would love to know what you think! And I know we don't really learn a whole lot in this chapter, but the next one you will be very well informed! Please leave a review!
Rx.
 


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